On the heels of Groupon’s $700 million IPO, stock market analysts and strategists are taking a wait and see approach before they deem it a long-term business success. Wall Street and tech experts aren’t sure Groupon can sustain profitability within its current model. These concerns are valid: the daily deals giant has had a difficult time scaling costs, maximizing spend and driving growth. By building its brand around the one-time, sale-conscious consumer, Groupon has struggled to drive repeat revenues for businesses. Perhaps the time has come for Groupon to strategically position itself by way of performance marketing.
Groupon has successfully leveraged performance marketing on the advertising side drastically increasing subscribers and sales from 2009 to 2011. Now, they should consider utilizing it to reinforce their brand image and build or re-build relationships with their clients. Consumers love Groupon because they get great deals. Groupon needs to convince businesses that continuous revenues could be generated through improved targeting, localized search and media buying, deeper multi-channel engagement, better compliance and precise measurement.
It’s been almost a year since Groupon spurned Google’s $6 billion purchase offer. At the time, many experts understood and even praised Groupon’s decision. 11 months later, that hindsight is 20/20 thing is rearing its ugly head. But with a $700 million IPO, it’s clear Groupon will be around a while. In order for the online couponed to reassert its long-term growth strategy, it needs to demonstrate continuous improvement in sales and efficiency. Leveraging an integrated performance marketing program would certainly help.
B2B marketers, which of the following performance marketing channels do you consider your bread and butter for turning prospects into clients? Social? Search? Email marketing? Affiliate? These are all worthy lead generation programs, especially when they are integrated to form a multi-prong approach. But how are you leveraging these channels? What are you doing to engage potential clients? Are you getting tired from all of these questions? If you are, grab some coffee because it is time to re-focus on your content strategy.
The bells and whistles of integrated performance marketing are only as strong as the content they promote. Being able to identify prospects is a great start but it is important to provide them with compelling content. In the fast-paced digital age, relying on your brand reputation – no matter how stellar – is not enough to secure partnerships. Continuously reinforcing your position as an industry leader is essential in order to remain top of mind with your existing and prospective client base.
So what kind of content will compel your target audience to act? Again, the digital age has changed the game. Prospects are savvier. They are not interested in self-reverence or brand boasting. Make your content informative and objective. It’s about showcasing your intellectual capital, not showboating. White papers, case studies, blogs and webinars are great examples of high level content that can attract and engage prospects without preaching to them. If the content is great, it will resonate through your might performance channels ultimately driving leads and client conversions.
Remember: Don’t be content with subpar content. Great content will drive great multi-channel results.
Setting up and maintaining a successful brick and mortar business has always presented unique challenges. Offline storefronts are in constant competition with neighboring franchises, co-ops, malls and mega retail chains. In order to stay a step ahead of potential customer foot traffic, local businesses must have a strong online search presence to deliver traffic from the initial search to the final purchase.
For franchises, leveraging Search expertise is about more than constructing a web site or creating a social media page. In order to maximize the Internet’s revenue-generating capabilities, your online presence must be continually optimized to increase brand awareness and improve sales conversions. This requires developing relationships with Search experts to precisely target your audience. These Search professionals are able to apply proven strategies which can support your ROI goals.
Local business owners have a results-driving entrepreneurial spirit and are accustomed to directly dealing with issues that can positively or negatively affect their franchise. It might be tempting to attempt to tackle a Search program internally. This should not be your tact. Running a brick and mortar shop is complex. So is Search. The do-it-yourself approach could end up costing you time and money. It could also adversely impact your online reputation.
Effectively launching and running any Search campaign requires specialized expertise. A forward-thinking Search team with experience driving results within your industry can tailor a robust Paid (PPC) and Organic Search (SEO) campaign to meet and perhaps exceed your program goals helping you acquire customers more profitably. How do they go about laying the foundation for online to offline growth?
PPC experts can incorporate tightly focused, cost-effective branded and non-branded keyword groups into your landing page or site to drive user engagement. Search professionals can thoroughly optimize registration and contact fields as well as continually revise and expand content to improve rankings, keep up with customer interest and stay ahead of industry trends. Also, Search marketers with a track record of building profitable online programs can strengthen your social media channels. They can create buzz and control messaging, thus protecting and growing your brand.
Franchise customers have many store options to choose from. Search makes it easier for them to locate your business and saves them from another trip to a crowded mall. They will thank you for it with their business.
Though they are distinctive approaches to Search, Organic and PPC provide a strong value proposition to users when implemented together into a Search campaign. Organic and PPC Search campaigns drive legitimacy for the user and prospective customer. Click-Through Rates see increases in these dual search initiatives. For Organic and PPC, their significance in establishing an effective Search program is their most important similarity.
It is easier to draw distinctions between Organic and PPC Search. The course you decide to take depends on your Search needs and what you are looking to accomplish in your campaign. Going organic enables your search program to generate long-term growth through efficiency. The cost of an organic campaign is far less than PPC. Organic campaigns produce more clicks and give your business, product or service the potential for vast exposure. Organic Search engages the user at the “moment of relevance”. This is when a user is actively seeking information on a product or service of interest. Going organic maximizes highly relevant traffic while building brand equity and consumer trust.
Still, there are contrasting benefits to PPC. PPC provides users with complete control over their campaign, the manner in which it is managed and how the campaign is ranked. Also, PPC offers quick, short-term results and generates ranking based on accuracy, not assumptions or projections.
The success of a search campaign is ultimately defined by ROI. In order to drive the biggest bank for your Search Marketing buck, consider launching a coordinated SEO/PPC campaign. By integrating Paid and Organic, you can position your Search iniative as a short-term and long-term results driver.
To open an email or not to open an email? This is the question email recipients ask themselves when they are on the fence about opening or deleting a message. Email marketers understand the importance of the subject heading. It has to entice the reader with an immediately recognizable benefit without making an over-the-top hard sell. If this weren’t tricky enough, adhering to CAN-SPAM compliance makes creating an engaging, actionable and deliverable subject heading all the more challenging.
In order to increase conversions, improve sales and drive results for clients, email marketing and creative teams should work together to produce highly-targeted, high-performing messaging. To maximize collaborative effectiveness, these departments should keep the following email subject line best practices top of mind:
- Avoid obvious SPAM words like Free, Coupon and Cash
- Keep it Short – Subject length should be up to 50 characters or less
- Refer to best performing competitive offers
- Include company name for credibility and better branding
- Create a recognizable, relevant benefit for the reader
- Continually test and compare open rates
Obviously, the subject heading alone will not convert to sale. Email marketers must ensure that the body messaging offers strong selling points. But if the subject line doesn’t grab the reader, the body of the email might as well be lost in online space.
Many health and beauty businesses are in the unenviable position of competing for the same consumers. Here are five steps these vertical businesses can take to drive beautiful engagement and ROI results:
Enhancing Search Results via Social – Health and beauty vertical brands and publishers can enhance their authority with Facebook Likes, Tweets and YouTube views. Organic rankings benefit from a strong and sound social presence. Since Facebook has grown into a robust, non-traditional search engine, it’s become increasingly aware of like-building methods that seem suspect; therefore, target potential and existing vertical customers for the long haul, not the quick fix. Also, it’s important to make social profiles keyword friendly. For instance, skin care solutions companies should include search terms like “laser treatment”, “chemical peel” and “microdermabrasion” on their profiles.
Rejuvenate Performance with Affiliate Marketing – By placing health and beauty offers with a relevant, reliable and technologically advanced affiliate network, media buys can be more strategic and contextually driven. This is a unique value proposition, which encourages complete market optimization increasing business options and driving better, more profitable results.
Putting Beautiful Results on Display – It is no longer enough for cosmetic surgeons to post before and after photos on their website as proof of their exceptional skill, not in an industry with many facilities competing for the same prospective patient. Precise targeting of banner ads can promote a cosmetic brand by showcasing its beautiful procedural results thus driving clicks and conversions.
Email Marketing Can Garner Beautiful Results – Consumer engagement and reengagement is a major goal of email marketers. To that end, email newsletters can help personalize the experience for an already engaged customer giving the reader a better view of your products and services. And coupled with the right tracking initiatives, the email newsletter can gage lifetime customer value.
Leverage Data via Group Buying and Daily Deals Sites – Group buying and daily deals sites are widely used within the health and beauty industry to maximize demographic reach and target highly relevant, in-market consumers. This is perfect for the business and consumer.
Following these five steps could help health and beauty companies drive better campaign results. In the meantime, take a moment to evaluate your overall campaign goals. This will help you meet your ROI objectives.
When influential people die before their time, the natural reaction is a mixture of sadness over the passing, awe at the person’s accomplishments and envy wishing it was you who made such a lasting impression. In the days and weeks ahead, there will be an onslaught of personal reflections on Steve Jobs. We will no doubt read a blog from someone claiming to be his 5th grade math teacher who could sense his preternatural brilliance build with every square root equation solved. There will be tweets and Facebook posts from neighbors, acquaintances, perhaps even the new owner of the garage from which Jobs built his first computer. These remembrances and tributes will be heartfelt with a sprinkling of self-indulgence, as if six degrees of separation will inspire them to works of staggering genius. And apart from the revolutionary products and services Steve Jobs created – iTunes, Pixar, the iPod, iPhone and iPad – perhaps it is this desire to be part of something truly innovative, to dream bigger than most human minds can grasp, to truly change the world that is at the heart of the Steve Jobs legacy.
In time, there will be autocratic recollections of Steve Jobs. This is also human nature, the need to bring people down a peg. These remembrances, too, will stem from sadness, awe and envy for the likelihood of their being another Steve Jobs, a genuine game-changing visionary, is indeterminate.
Whether the coming remembrances of Steve Jobs stem from childhood, adulthood or Apple fanhood, whether they are praiseworthy or steeped in jealousy, there is no doubt that the universal reflection will be on his greatness, his unparalled acumen, and his standing as a true immortal.
The service mediums of Online Performance Marketing – Affiliate Marketing, Search, Social, Display Advertising, Email Marketing and Data Acquisition – can drive results and highly measurable returns for your campaign. But proper implementation is the key and outsourcing to experts has many advantages.
Online Performance Marketing is getting many organizations to reevaluate their established marketing practices. Developing an in-house digital marketing team means first learning new techniques before effectively incorporating them. This means more personnel, more time and more money. Outsourcing to experienced practitioners will jump start the organizational capability needed to deploy these new techniques productively with maximum efficiency.
Online Performance Marketers are in the business of effectively and efficiently driving results through a cycle of continuous improvement. This methodology includes targeting media; designing the user experience; capturing, qualifying and converting the data; continual analyzing and optimizing. Their day-to-day expertise strengthens with each problem fixed or opportunity seized. In the end, outsourcing to a performance marketing team that has been where you want to go and accomplished what you hope to achieve will accelerate the success of your marketing strategy.
The F8 Developer Conference didn’t reveal much about Facebook. Oh wait, my bad. It kind of did. After leaving the San Francisco conference stage last Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg effectively tossed aside the social network you’ve come to know and love, at least most of the time. Unless you’ve been living under one of Mark’s old, worn-out hoodies, you know about the changes that make up the new Facebook. But just in case, here they are in broad strokes:
- The integration of Spotify and Turntable.fm making Facebook a premier entertainment hub. Somewhere, Justin Timberlake is cursing Sean Parker. ‘Why oh why did I play you?’
- A complete profile redesign and increased user control over news feeds
- The introduction of “Timeline” or what Mark continuously referred to as, and I’m paraphrasing, the story of your life. It enables users to add photos and events making your profile look like a really cool Apple commercial
Pretty exciting stuff. Actually for marketers, it’s all a little frightening. Why? Because it ups the ante on the whole notion of compelling content. We’ve all heard the term engagement ad nauseum. Content has to be engaging blah blah blah. Now, it really does. For content to hit a user’s news feed, it has to be amazingly compelling, authoritative and relevant. It has to mean something. And that brings us to the world famous Like.
In one of the unintentionally funnier moments of the Zuckerberg presentation – Andy Samberg wins the funny award hands down – Mark announced verbs are coming to Facebook. Yes, verbs! Though tempting, the follow-up question shouldn’t be ‘What about adverbs and pronouns?’ but rather ‘What does this mean for the Like button?’ Certainly, the Like lost a little luster on Thursday. By adding buttons like Read, Watched, Listened, brand ambassadors will be able to go further with endorsements. Advertisers and marketers obsessed with getting likes will finally have to come to terms with the fact that a like means nothing if it doesn’t convert. With Read, Watched, Listening and down the line perhaps Purchased buttons, advertisers and marketers will have quantifiable and measurable conversion metrics.
So what’s the marketing story? Delivering compelling content and measuring conversions.
If the benchmark for Organic Search success is ROI, the process to achieve this goal begins with a sound link building strategy. When it comes to link building, it pays to be popular. Link popularity measures the quantity and quality of sites that link to your site. With link building, relevancy directly correlates to rankings. The more relevant incoming links your site receives, the greater the chances of your site ranking high on major search engines.
Incoming links are an extremely valuable part of link popularity and link building. Incoming links bring considerable amounts of traffic to your site. Linking to third party sites increase user visit potential. Their effectiveness is contingent on strategy. It is important to develop direct and indirect incoming link sources to establish search integrity and maximize relevance.
Effective link building is a continuous process. Success does not come overnight. When it does, it’s generated from careful evaluation. Three important factors go into effective direct linking:
- Quantity – Total incoming links directed to a site or webpage
- Relevancy – Degree to which the incoming links relate to your site
- Strength – The amount of authority the site providing the link has
Adhering to these factors will positively impact your organic search position. Proper research is key. You are likely to find sound linking partners within your network. Sites with high ranking relevant search terms, keywords and themes will benefit your link building strategy. Don’t forget your manners. Create personalized direct link requests when seeking incoming link partnerships.
Indirect linking is a more natural approach to incoming link acquisition. It relies on content to draw sites to your site. But as is the case with direct linking, indirect linking best practices should be implemented for link building and Organic Search success.
- Make Your Site Linkworthy – Add educational and instructional content; include case studies, blogs, press releases and white papers
- Submit to Directories – DMOZ, specialized directories. It’s about relevancy.
- Market Your Memberships – Promote industry affiliations, contacts and connections
- Freshen Your Content – Increase your site’s visibility and attractiveness
Formulating a strategic link building plan requires expertise. A novice approach can raise warning flags across search space adversely affecting your rankings and reputation. Remember – link popularity measures quantity and quality. Therefore, it makes sense to avoid link popularity farms, linking to your own site, linking to sites that house hundreds of links on a single page, unknown link solicitations and bulk list submissions. And as always, think before you link.