Every month we hold a customer conference call that all of our customers are invited to join. At the beginning of these conference calls we have a section on what is new in the online marketing world that we believe is worthy of your attention. Below is a video of the introduction of January’s conference call. This month the focus was not so much on new information, but rather a focus on moving your website analytics forward in the year ahead. The first topic discussed is increasing conversions by designing and testing landing pages to optimise them, the second topic is 10 new years resolutions to focus on with your Google Anlaytics account.
My Kindle got a good workout during the holiday break and one book that stood out as worth a comment was the Arnold Schwarzenegger biography – Total Recall. Man – what a motivated soul Mr Muscles is. Anyway, one part that relates to online marketing is his life in movies. Trust me there is something of value here.
Apparently when a movie was getting close to release the team would test screen what they had so far to an audience to survey their reaction. Having someone say they liked the movie wasn’t enough. They were looking for those who said they would rave about it to their friends whilst also seeing it multiple times themselves. Great scores in both these areas nearly always produced a fantastic result at the box office. And conversely low scores almost always meant it was time to re-shoot parts of the film to get things back on track.
Now I realize that not all businesses have the budget that a movie studio may have to “test screen” their product. That is fine. Fortunately for most businesses who have been trading for a while a lot of the answers can be found in their customer database.
What you are looking for is your customer’s expected lifetime value. This is a prediction of net profit amount attributed to the relationship they have with your business. Think of it in rather crude terms as the value of each of those customers who decide to come back again and again – just like those that did the same to see Arney’s latest classic. The more times they come back – the more they are worth.
It’s a simple concept to grasp but one rarely known by business owners.
For instance – last month I asked three business owners what the expected lifetime value of their customers were and received exactly the same response from each.
“I have no idea.”
All three provided a product or service that would be purchased multiple times by their customers over a twelve month period and had been trading successfully for many years. Even so, neither knew the amount.
“So what’s the problem with that?” I hear you say. Each is surviving well. Profits are being made. So why bother spending valuable management time digging out this fact? The simple answer being that not knowing this fact is going to make your future online marketing efforts a challenge.
You see each company existed within a category that was becoming more competitive online by the month. This was naturally pushing up their cost per lead and unless they knew their customer lifetime value they could end up spending more per lead than they would return in profits for the life of the customer. Not a happy space to be in as the year starts to ramp up.
I can guarantee that a high proportion of your competitors will be in exactly the same space as these business owners. It’s just so much easier to think this way. It lets you treat all customers the same. Plus you avoid the hassle of allocating sales to customers to locate those that really do buy more than once.
But you are smarter than this. So don’t be afraid of the data. Get stuck in there and dig it all out for everyone to see. Here’s what may come up.
Scenario #1 The gift that only gives once.
I have seen a few customers uncover the sorry tale that this reveals. Yes you have a product that should be bought many times during the year by the same person but No none of your customers are taking you up on this.
All of those transactions were driven from new customers, with a fair dollop of marketing spend attached to them, buying for the first and last time. Lot’s of sales but hardly any profits. Some serious triage is required at a product or service level to sort this mess out and get people buying again. But once sorted, the results can be amazing as a new stream of repeat revenue floods the business with practically zero marketing costs attached to it.
Scenario #2 The gift that keeps on giving – but to just a select few
A step in the right direction this time. All the data analysis turned up some good news – there is a small selection of customers who bought more than once. Now all you need to do is find out what makes these people so different from the rest to make it easier to find more of them.
One customer I worked with found out that everyone of their repeat purchase group had a rural postal address way in the back blocks of the NZ countryside. Another sold a cosmetic product that were being purchased by a certain ethnic group. Neither could see this in their data beforehand but now, once revealed, it heralded a new approach to marketing to find more of these groups.
Scenario #3 – The gift that keeps on giving – to everyone.
Occasionally this one comes along and what a nice surprise it is when it does too. This is when the data shows a broad range of customers who are doing exactly as you hoped they would – buying more than once during the year.
Now it would be too much to ask for every customer to do this – so there are still a bundle who do the single purchase – but still the good news is there for all to see. The job now remains to a) follow the marketing thread back to see where these multiple purchasing customers came from so you can get more from this space while also b) motivating them to keep doing what they are doing and finally to c) explore ways to get more customers into the phase of purchasing again and again.
So there you have it. One goal for 2013 would be to tune your business so that scenario #3 is for you a reality. By linking your customer database with your online marketing activities you can go searching for those customers that have the highest potential of delivering a super duper lifetime value.
You can find our latest website marketing update here
I first arrived in Auckland in August, 1986. I remember taking the bus from the airport into town and noticing the green fields of pasture along the way. Fresh from a 3 month tour of a very urban America this was a refreshing change. It reminded me of my home back in a very green part of Sussex in South East England.
I came full of hope but severely lacking in hard cash. Long story short – after touring both Islands I landed a job driving around the city selling engineering wares. My job had me leaving the office at 9.00am, crisscrossing around the city and returning later that evening after seeing a half dozen or so clients. Back then, day time Auckland traffic was a breeze.
Then things got busy.
All Aucklanders have their own personal traffic horror story. Last week I added a new one to mine when I tried to get to the Airport from Grey Lynn for a 11.00am flight to Wellington. I left the office at 7.30am and only just made it in time to check in. These days there is no way I could leave the office in the morning hoping to see six people across various parts of Auckland and hope to be home by 5pm. Things have changed.
The same can be said of Google’s AdWords system and the amount of people now using it or planning to use it in New Zealand. Strategies that used to work two years ago would flounder now. The competition for attention around those search results is so much greater.
Fueling some of this demand is the mainstream promotion of paid search advertising. For instance I noticed running across the sidelines of the last All Black test at Eden Park advertising for Search Engine Marketing services. Then a few weeks later I pull out an eight page insert to the New Zealand Herald trumpeting the benefits of Google’s advertising. All great marketing – all targeted at middle New Zealand companies keen to grow their business and looking for the next space to do it.
So what does this all mean for you – the long term user of Google AdWords?
Firstly – when it comes to your costs per click you are either a “price maker” or a “price taker”. Those “making” the bid prices are the ones bidding up the costs per clicks as they are driven to grab as much traffic as they can. These advertisers know their numbers.
They see costs per clicks as costs per leads which naturally trickle down into costs per successful sale. When the system is performing well – transforming clicks directly to profitable sales – then pushing more money into clicks makes perfect commercial sense.
This is frequently the opposite approach for those who are price “takers”. These marketers usually run a system bereft of any analysis. Here they take the click cost they are given by Google and “hope” it translates into sustainable marketing.
Secondly – now’s the time to stand out when all around you are your competitors. A few years ago you could select a few keywords, kick off your campaign and appear with very few – if any – competitors around you. You may well have been the only option in paid search for that keyword– what a luxury.
Move forward three years and you are one among many listed in the 10 paid search places on page one of Google. So what is going to make your 25 character headline and two lines of 35 characters of description stand out from the rest? Already know what to say? Great – any strong unique selling proposition can be distilled down into three lines of text.
Stuck? Well now’s the time to let your AdWords activities help you locate exactly what makes you different from the rest AND attracts the right prospects to click your ads.
And finally – your ongoing success online may well be dependent on what happens AFTER your clicks become leads. We spoke about this point during our conference call last month. Consider these two scenarios to move the concept further ahead.
Let’s say suppliers A and B are from the same industry. Both buy 500 clicks off Google for the same price of $1000. Each have their website tuned to deliver 20 sales leads from this traffic. However supplier A has a sales process that is unreliable, weak and very ineffective. So staff don’t follow leads up – conversations are hurried and have no structure – and very poor questions are asked. All this results in only 5 sales worth $750 are made producing a total of $3750 revenue. Remove just the advertising cost and we have $2750 remaining.
This compared to supplier B who has a super sales process that is crafted to make the most of each contact. People are called back – the conversations that ensue are well thought out and the right questions are asked. Due to this they close 10 sizable sales worth $1250 each which produces a grand total of $12500. Again remove the advertising and we are left with a sizable $11500.
So who’s in a better place to manage a tripling of the click cost taking the monthly advertising cost to $3000 for the same amount of leads?
Gone are the days of buying AdWords clicks and looking like the only game in town in paid search. Now expect the space around you to get “chocka block” with every person and their advertising pet. Whether you remain there in 12 month’s time will depend on the strategies you deliver both on and off your website. The three strategies outlined above should get you going in the right direction.