I’m here at ACCM in the session “Increasing Web Sales on a Shoe String Budget”. Here’s the session description:
As the cost of doing business online continues to increase, small businesses must be strategic and creative in how they expend limited funds and resources. This session will discuss ways to maximize your conversion and average order size without breaking the bank on expensive bells and whistles. Using solid web design, studying metrics and trends, taking advantage of strategic cost effective marketing and using strategic catalog mailings are all part of the frugal marketer’s playbook.
Mike Feiman of Pooldawg is up first. Pooldawg (a Netconcepts client, btw) was founded in 2003 and sells 2100+ pool cues. Pooldawg uses Google Analytics. Number of visits doesn’t really matter, it’s all about what they do while on your site. They are focused on visit length, visit depth, bounce rates, conversion rate. Have about 3000 pages total, fully indexed by Google, each page is a potential entry page. Very important to present a consistent feel throughout the site. Pooldawg buys PPC. Don’t get caught in bidding wars. Focus on the long tail. Drop keywords that don’t perform and focus on conversion and cost per action (CPA). They buy ads on Google Adwords, Microsoft adCenter, Yahoo Search Marketing. By chasing keywords they cost per conversion skyrockets. “billiards” as a search term converts poorly. Long Tail is where it’s at. Brand names + pool cues convert much better and are cheaper. They constantly evaluate keywords, trying to get them to perform by ad copy tweaks and landing page tweaks etc. and if they still don’t perform, they drop them from their PPC keyword list. Mike says: I’m willing to pay $1 a click if it’s costing me $5 a customer, but not $1 a click if it’s costing $40 a customer. People who use their internal search convert at 4x higher rate than those who do not. Signed up with Celebros and conversion jumped from 4x higher to 6x higher. Look at the results for searches coming through and if the results are poor, do something about it. Added a “Related Searches” tagging feature, thanks to Netconcepts, put them on the product page, and people use them. That creates more pages for Google to index, and they’re seeing search traffic already coming in directly to these pages. They just launched this but it’s already returning ROI. Only 10% of visitors are using the internal search. It’s really about taking advantage of their current customers rather than throwing money at getting all new customers. In terms of guerrilla marketing… Participating on message boards is hugely valuable to Pooldawg. They talk to the board leaders who then communicate to the forum users, sponsor the message boards. With blogging, they haven’t quite found their voice yet. They write articles internally and get them syndicated. One of their most popular articles is “the Anatamy of a pool cue”, get tons of traffic to that page and it converts really well, so the ROI on the hour it took to write the article was great. Before site redesign done by Netconcepts, only 30% indexation in Google. Now 100% and they rank really high. Affiliate marketing is great for low cost customer acquisition. 6-8 % of total sales. 1000 affiliates, and only 100 really drive any real revenue for Pooldawg. 49% of traffic from natural search, 9% from paid search. 85 of their Top 100 terms are in the top 5 rankings in Google, 80 of the Top 100 in Yahoo. Natural search is very cost effective. Give users engaging tools and content. Pooldawg is building a very nice library of proprietary content – over 100 articles – will be adding video too. They partner with trusted names and steer away from the shadier players in their market. Sponsor the WPBA, BCA, GenerationPool.com, AZBilliards.com – associate themselves with trusted names.
Steve Spangler, “Chief Mess Maker” (CEO) of Steve Spangler Science. Shows off his flaming wallet and how they took him to a private room at the airport. 😉 Steve is the originator of the Mentos + Diet Coke geyser experiment. Showing off some video of him on the Food Network, on the Ellen Show, on Denver’s 9News. Hilarious! Steve originally moved from public speaking for generating revenue to the website to do so. In 2005 the Mentos geyser things started to take off. How do you leverage this into a business that supports 30 employees? How do you go from an obscure backyard demo to an Internet phenomenon in less than 12 months? (i.e. get to 2 million + views on YouTube). In 2004 he wanted a redesign with some Flash but Stephan said no he wouldn’t do that but Netconcepts would create a blog instead. On June 1 2004 this amazing traffic spike happened. It was a brief mention of Instasnow and Steve Spangler Science on the blog BoingBoing. Stupid.com puts Instasnow on their stupidest products list and it gets on Good Morning America. Turned lemons (“bad press”?) into lemonade by blogging “It’s great to be stupid!” The blog is a perfect place for all sorts of great stories and testimonials like how Instasnow got a teacher out of a speeding ticket. Really important to write attention grabbing headlines on the blog: not “200 teachers engage in inquiry based science” but instead “Parents Beware: Teachers Gone Wild”. Not “Science project about pulling microscopic meteorites out of your gutter” but instead “A meteorite hit my house!” The blog post that really launched the whole Mentos geyser phenomenon, video news anchor wearing a beautiful St Johns outfit got covered with Diet Coke: “News Anchor Gets Soaked! Mentos Experiment Sets a New Record”. Where else would he put the fact that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? called Steve and wanted to put a Mentos + Diet Coke question on air: the blog! Does the blog generate sales? Measured that and the answer is yes. Steve makes the Time 100 most influential people nominees list. Is blogging really worth the effort? It is! Currently blogging 2-3 times per week, have an editor helping find stuff to blog about. #1 in Google for “science experiments”. Big spike on Cybermonday. 3,000 inbound links. 4% of total traffic is from the blog, but 12% of sales are attributable to the blog! Now Steve is looking at expanding into Twitter. Amy Africa in the audience says: “I love Twitter!” but she’s being facetious. 1.8 million views on the Steve and news anchor Mentos + Diet Coke YouTube video. What should you blog if you want to make money: best-selling products, “Did you know?” product information loaded with keywords, company events – past and present, “Behind the Scenes” information, customer testimonials.