Check out Permission Website Marketing’s October Newsletter Update.

For more website marketing information, take a look at our online marketing services, or give us a call on 0800 893 477.

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Air New Zealand PlaneWhenever Air New Zealand wanted to send an email campaign out to their database a few years ago, it always involved engaging with four or five external suppliers. It was time-consuming, clunky and, of course, expensive. In 2011 they decided to streamline the process by bringing it in-house.

They selected a dedicated internal team, chose an email deployment platform called Responsys, and then started the search for a local company to help with the technical side of using it. Fly Buys, an Air NZ partner, suggested Permission, the agency they use for their email campaigns. Two years on, Air NZ and Permission are achieving great things, says Nicky Ward, who heads up the dedicated in-house team in her role as Planning Manager of Direct Customer Communication, Customer Strategy and Analytics.

The airline company sends anywhere from 15 to 20 email campaigns a month to over 800,000 people. The campaigns are a mixture of retail (sales and promotions, such as flight deals to Australia) and loyalty-based ones, which include personalised Airpoints statements and engagement communications. Essentially, Air NZ comes up with the content and look of the email, Permission codes their artwork to create a html file (the technical bit) and then uses the deployment platform Responsys to send it. Permission also keeps an eye on email deliverability, ensuring the email content renders the same and gives a good viewing and customer experience no matter what device you use to open it, from your desktop PC to your tablet to your mobile.

Nicky says, “Since taking our email campaigns in-house and working with Permission, the number of campaigns we’re deployed and the range of campaigns has increased. We can now provide relevant and personalised communications to our customers. Our return on investment has improved due to the cost efficiencies we’ve had from bringing it in-house, using Responsys and working with Permission.

“I’d recommend Permission to other businesses because they are experts on producing and deploying email campaigns, particularly using the Responsys platform. We’ve been impressed with their ability to help us implement a wide range of different campaign requests. They are smaller than some other agencies, which means they’re flexible, speedy and responsive to our changing business demands – it’s a real bonus.”

people-magnetThe last time I looked, I could see over 75 different reporting options within Google Analytics. 75! All generated from just the one itty-bitty piece of javascript placed on every web page of your site. With so much to choose from, it can make life confusing – where do you find the actual information you need within this mass of data?

One option would be to start at the top of the navigation list and work your way down, keeping an eye out for anything interesting. But I predict a definite glaze will come over your eyes after 10 minutes. You could always head off to Google to see what reports others suggest as being worth your time. This could be an interesting exercise – but possibly also a real time-waster and completely irrelevant for your situation.

So how do you determine the reporting areas that matter the most to you and your situation? Thankfully there’s a simple answer. It all boils down to defining a “conversion use case” for your website and then wrapping an “analytics net” around it to track its performance. Below are two very basic examples of this approach to illustrate how this can work for you. For each, I have detailed the basics of the use case and then shown the ideal analytics net required e.g. what reports from the 75-pluswould need the most attention.

Theory #1: Simple service-lead generation.lead-gen

Conversion Use Case

It all starts with prospects using Google to look for what we offer. From there they click on our ranking or paid advertisement and visit our website. Once there they spend 2-3 minutes reading about who we are and what we do. This leads them to fill in our quote request form, which generates an email to our sales team. One of our team will contact them within one business day and make a time to visit them at their home. Job done.

Basic Analytics Net

Webmaster tools will tell us if our rankings within Google’s organic listings are being seen first and then – once seen – clicked. Our Google AdWords account will be linked to ensure any paid advertising is correctly separated out so we can correctly track individual keywords responsible for visitors arriving.

All the usual great engagement website stats such as bounce rate, time on site and pages per visit will tell us what people do when they arrive. For example, do they visit one page and leave? If they stay, where they go and how long do they spend on each page?

Setting up a goal in Google Analytics will help us follow the trail from visitor arrival to the quote request being completed. Plus it will give us a percentage take on those that visit and convert compared to the total visitors.

We also need to capture all the leads into an online tool of sorts – even a basic spreadsheet will work – so we can track the difference between those who complete the quote request and those who our sales team are able to
contact (Just in case there are those who don’t answer their phone or return left messages) And finally, of those who were contacted, we can tell which ones became clients, which leaves us with an overall lead-to-customer conversion rate.

And that’s the simple one!

Theory #2: E-commerce, pure and simple.

ecommerce-web-design

Conversion Use Case

Prospects looking for the products we offer will find us on Google. They will see our search listing or our search ad and visit our website. Here they’ll browse the product they’re interested in and possibly the category it sits within. They’ll do this for between 2-3 minutes. They’ll then either choose to purchase this product now – or decide to visit the site again and buy it later.

Once they’ve purchased their desired item, they’ll opt in to receive our email campaigns/offers. These messages are enticing enough to ensure they visit our website more often and spend longer on it each time compared to those who decide not to buy. All this translates into them purchasing more than twice a year.

Basic Analytics Net

The first part of the process is very similar to the situation before. Webmaster tools and a properly linked Google AdWords account will enable us to track all we need at the
start of the journey.

The engagement reports from the last use case will help us here too. Plus, establishing e-commerce tracking within Google Analytics will ensure we can match actual sale values to the orders coming through. So we can see not only the customers but also the products they purchased. We can then build a segment within the updated Google Analytics custom segment application to track visitors who arrive and decide to purchase
after either a single or multiple visits. Another segment will split out customers from prospects so we can see how their onsite behaviour differs.

Our email marketing campaigns will need some extra work too. By directing the links they contain back to the shopping site, we can then split this traffic out as a separate stream for further analysis. So segment #3 will show us
how our email subscribers differ in behaviour from the rest. (We could further categorise these people: segment #3a for email subscribers who are customers and segment #3b for those subscribers who are still just prospects.) This leaves it up to our ordering system to tell us how the purchase frequency changes for those who are opted into our email campaigns compared to those that aren’t. One should be bigger than the other.

As you can see, there are a lot more behaviours required to make a successful e-commerce site work well compared to its lead-generated cousin. Who said it was as simple as placing a shop online then sitting back to count all the money flowing in?! Nevertheless, once the correct analytics net is placed around either site, it will soon be obvious what’s working well and conversely what needs work.

So why not take some time this month to start the process off for your own site? Write out the conversion use case you want your website to achieve. Go ahead and include all the steps that are required – both on-and offline – to create the results you want. Then have a go at creating the right analytics net to wrap around the process. Contact us if you need help.

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. This is a video of the introduction of July’s conference call 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GEV6AX7mfk

wheelbarrow_of_cashVery rarely do we at Permission come across business owners with an unending stream of ready-to-spend cash to divert to their Google AdWords campaign. In fact, the opposite is generally the case. In which case, the best mantra for every Kiwi business owner to abide by is: get more for your clicks this month than you did last.

Sounds simple, but how do you do it? The first step is to thoroughly understand the way in which Google goes about spending your money. Let’s spend a few minutes pulling this apart.

In most situations your budget is allocated at a campaign level and represents a fixed cost per day. Some days you will be above the spend, some days below. But when you extrapolate this spend over a month, Google does a great job of ensuring you don’t spend more than you expected to – they do this by “throttling” your campaign…

Each day, at midnight, your budget is refreshed with new funds and your ads start to display. If your daily budget isn’t enough to gather all the clicks available for the next 24 hours Google will, by default, limit or “throttle” your
campaigning by exposing it gradually during the day. This allows you to get clicks from each part of the day: morning, afternoon and evening.

However, you have the power to edit this “throttled” setting. You can burn through your budget as fast as possible, if you choose. Or you can alter the time of day and days of week the ads are shown. So if your best leads come during the weekend and you receive poor-quality leads on a Monday, you can choose to stop showing then and move your budget to get more weekend traffic.

How do you know if your budget is so low that your ads are being “throttled”? Google makes finding this a breeze with one of their core reports – see the example below. Here Google reveals the “impression share” of the campaign (that is, the amount of times the ad would have been seen if it was available) due to both budget restrictions and campaign quality.

Impression Share

We all know what a campaign with a low impression share is like – it’s the one where your ad seems to be hiding when you go looking for it on Google. You type in your target keywords and your ad doesn’tshow. Or, even worse:
your boss types in the same keywords and arrives at your desks with print-outs proving the same failure.

Now let’s look at what causes your budget to deplete so quickly before the day is up. People clicking your ads is the simple response – hurrah for response! But let’s dive a bit deeper into how a campaign could be set up to make
Google’s puppeteering a lot less controlling than it needs to be.

Let’s say you run a bakery that supplies venison pies and cream buns. Both of these are available from your website, but it’s the venison pies that represent 70% of your revenue and a sizeable part of your profits. Wanting to
improve your traffic, you start advertising with Google on both keywords (“venison pie” and “cream buns”) and place them within the one campaign. This is set up with a budget of $20 per day and is configured to target Aucklanders.

After two weeks you have spent just under $300 and have sold just one pie and two cream buns. Total sales are a very measly $50 and you’re left with a feeling of distrust of all things Google. Especially when they tell you that there’s a lot more clicks available and that your ads were being throttled. What a waste of money.

Then you take a deeper look into what you got for your budget. You see that the campaign delivered 400 clicks for cream buns and just 20 clicks for venison pies. So an OK conversion rate for the pies but an appalling one for the buns. In addition, you realise the buns keywords were a lot more popular than the meat pies and therefore grabbed as much of the budget as they could. So the first lesson is to split the campaign into two groups– one for pies, one for cakes – and then apply the budget to each in a way that better reflects the commercial benefit of each ie weighted more heavily to the more-profitable venison pie offering.

Now let’s say the bakery owner goes home and tells their partner how they have beaten Google at its own game and are now spending their click dollars so much better than before. To prove this they get out their laptop and, at 6pm, search for “venison pies” – they proudly show their partner that their ads are still appearing at 6pm due to their budget being slowed across the full day. The owner then gets a bit show-offy and logs into their order system to smugly point out all the nice new orders coming from those who clicked and then converted. Good news. But not for long.

The bubble is quickly burst by the partner who takes over the laptop and types in keywords like “meat pies”, “fresh savoury pies” and “fresh meat pies”. Alas, no ads appear.

“Surely more people would be searching for these terms than a very specific “venison pies”,” he queries.

So the next day a rather deflated baker goes back to work, adds these keywords into her venison campaign and awaits for the torrent of orders. You guessed it – it doesn’t arrive.

What does arrive is a bundle more clicks, delivered by the addition of these broader target keywords – but unfortunately they’ve now carved into the budget, stealing valuable budget from the more targeted (and ultimately
more beneficial) “venison pies” keywords. The poor baker’s campaign has been “throttled”.

When it comes to allocating budgets to keywords, there are always trade-offs to be made (unless money is no issue for you). You can’t be seen by all search terms all the time, and nor can you grab all the clicks available. The magic is knowing where to invest the right amount of awareness (think ad impression) for each keyword and at what cost (think cost per click) to capture the optimum return on your spend (think advertising cost/conversion revenue).

Happy bidding.

Check out Permission Website Marketing’s September Newsletter Update.

For more website marketing information, take a look at our online marketing services, or give us a call on 0800 893 477.

September Newletter Update 2013

Here’s just a couple of the goals a good website has to achieve to pay its way for the business that owns it; be found by those looking in Google and appeal to all that decide to visit -so much so that it transforms these anonymous visitors into either live lead prospects or purchasing consumers.

Pick a simple business selling one product or service and this can be manageable. Replace this with any normal business that has multiple offerings to alternative markets and things become much more of a challenge.

If I was asked to create a list of tactics that can make this work even harder than it should be then the lack of an quality content would be #1. Yep forget about fancy design, super smart traffic building tactics or even the most detailed of analytical tracking. If a website’s content misses the mark then all the rest doesn’t matter.

Creating content is possibly the most snooze inducing subject we can talk about here at Permission. So I would not be surprised if by now if most readers are not feeling their eyelids sink lower and their breathing slowing down. No doubt soon their fingers will be twitching over a mouse button ready to move on.

Look I know that producing content is hard and therefore is the least appealing part of managing a website. Fortunately the giants of online marketing -think Google – are ready and willing to reward you for all your efforts. And when Google dishes out rewards, why not take an unfair share of what’s on offer?

Google’s engineers realise the power that a content laden website can deliver to it searchers, so much so that now they are rewarding those that follow this strategy where it matters most – in their pocket. Now don’t get too excited, there are no actual cheques being dished out. It’s more that a “bonus benefit” is being applied to those who want it.

Here’s just a few ways in which this benefit is being applied.

Improving your natural search rankings within Google

Many moons ago you could divide the amount of work required to improve a websites performance within Google neatly using the 80/20 principle. Twenty percent of the work applied to a websites content and how it was displayed. The remaining 80% was all about ensuring other websites linked into the site in the correct way. Nowadays it would be fair to say that the same 80/20 principle applies – instead the proportions of work are neatly reversed.

So if you want to rank for the search term of say “Spaniel Training Guides” on your dog training site then you will need a page that includes great content on exactly this subject.

This sounds super easy for product based businesses; however service suppliers have a harder job. For instance let’s say you supply domestic cleaning services. How many different ways do you think prospects would describe this service? Here’s just a few from the extensive list – domestic cleaning, house cleaning, home cleaning, cleaner Auckland and even home cleaning Sandringham. So if this was your business then somehow you need to have a piece of logical and well written content for every search term that makes sense for the reader.

Buying your Google paid advertising at the best possible rates

quality_scorePaid advertising solution – Google AdWords -is also busy rewarding with cheaper clicks those who have the best keyword to content match. So if your paid advertising keywords included the term “Spaniel Training Guides” and your clicking prospect was taken through to the product page then all is good with Google and their advertising Quality Score metric.

It’s a great thing this Quality Score thingy exists. It ensures that the Google bidding system is about providing relevant ads and not big fat advertising budgets. Without it we would be left with those with the largest budgets achieving the highest placements.

Now unfortunately Google doesn’t share all the ingredients of an advertiser’s quality score ranking with us. However the following factors are known to influence it; how long the advertiser has been buying clicks; the % of times an ad is clicked compared to how often it is seen; and the relevant one for our discussion -the ad to keyword content match.

We have all clicked on low quality score ads. You click, arrive and in seconds realise in a few seconds that what is in front of you is not what you wanted. Back you go to Google to continuing your search. The click didn’t work for you and fortunately it wasn’t the experience Google wanted for you either as they subsequently mark down the quality score of the advertiser.

In both of these instances Google is rewarding you for doing the hard work of creating great content. First up it affects your natural search ranking – which should lead to more visitors and hopefully more leads. Secondly it helps reduce the cost of your paid advertising clicks by producing a high quality score.

There you have it, two great reasons to make this next month the month of more content. Give us a call if you are not sure what type of content to create.

This month’s group customer conference call was all about how to use Google Analytics to “track the scent” of your  website visitors as they move through your website from page to page.

Here’s a quick list of what we covered during our 45 minute call:

Google Visitors Flow