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Expert Advice
For Success in e-Commerce
Our team of e-Commerce experts outline an effective strategy for increasing and optimising your sales!
 
The daily mission of every e-tailer: to attract more traffic, as qualified as possible, to your e-Commerce website ultimately leading to more sales.This is also our e-Commerce Experts’ mission.

An essential part of your e-Commerce strategy should be SEM (Search Engine Marketing) which includes SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SEA (Search Engine Advertising), the subject of this Oxatis Expert Advice. SEA involves purchasing part of your traffic coming from search engines. The idea is this: the online shopper uses his or her favourite search engine, types in key words and is presented with a page of search results. Here, the shopper can click on different links suggested by Google or Bring or Yahoo. Some of these links are sponsored, meaning that the advertiser pays for each click on the link.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
1. SEA – Search Engine Advertising, is the art of attracting qualified traffic (that converts) to your site through Pay Per Click ads on search engines.
2. The choice of keywords is the secret to a successful SEA strategy.
3. You’ll need to work on your ads to make them encourage internet users to click on them, using very few characters.
4. Be careful not to get carried away: make sure you invest in campaigns whose performance has proven to be in your favour.
5. Test, modify and adjust your ads constantly: your SEA isn’t ever “over” but is a constant battle, just like your SEO!
01 SEA: Try it, you’ll love it!
    Why try SEA?
    We recently talked about the importance of e-tailers taking charge of their SEO very early on.

    SEA is the other side of the same coin and the combination of the two is the key to success for many e-tailers. The idea is not to put all of your eggs in one basket but to find the right balance between your website’s different sources of traffic. There are several advantages to SEA:

    - Immediate results (compared to several months with SEO).
    As soon as your ad is online, it’s only a matter of seconds before the first visitors arrive on your site.

    - The ability to pick up speed once you’ve found the magic formula.
    Are a group of ads are doing well? Invest further in these ads as long as the PPC is within your budget.

    - The ability to target the right people, at the right time, at the right moment.
    Unlike SEO, which allows you to spread out your presence, the targeting options of different advertising platforms are very specific and allow you to focus in on your target market and prospects.

    - Reach a large audience.
    A very high number of internet users use search engines daily: use SEA to access this audience and expose them to your offers, products and sales.

    - Use analytics to measure the efficacy of each ad and compare costs and income generated.
    Everything is tracked, real time. You can fine-tune your budget and prioritise ads that covert the best, which will lead to more orders on your end!

    - A better conversion rate, if you have the right ads/keywords/landing pages…
    Overtime it’s been shown that visits coming from purchased keywords have a better conversion rate than SEO, which is generally less qualified.

    - The ability to protect your brand’s visibility.
    Buying your brand name is a good way to be sure that the top search result is actually you, and avoid losing qualified traffic to your competitors.

Like The Stick & Cane Shop, get to the top of Google!
    Linda Naysmith from the Stick & Cane Shop testifies:

    We worked closely with the experts at Oxatis to carefully select the keywords we wanted to optimise, and followed their advice on the optimisation of our site. Thanks to these efforts combined with some paid advertising, we were able to improve our status to second place in Google for a highly competitive keyword.

Call our
e-Commerce experts today at 0845 129 4800 to put into practice the top SEA techniques
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    Some vocabulary and acronyms

    PPC – Price Per Click: this is the amount you pay each time an internet user clicks on your ad and lands on your page. It can vary from a couple of cents to several pounds.

    Google Shopping: a special kind of Google ad reserved for E-tailers with images, prices and technical details for the product in question.

    CTR-Click Through Rate: this is the click rate for 100 impressions. This is a good indicator: when the number is too far from the average number for your ads, either for a lack of results (a very weak CTR) or, on the contrary, an overly broad impact.

    CPA-Cost Per Acquisition: is the overall cost to win a customer. If, for example, you convert 1 sale per every 5 visitors to your site from an SEM ad, and you pay 2 pounds PPC, then your CPA is 5 X £2 = £10.

    SEM – Search Engine Marketing: this includes everything that helps you improve your search engine visibility. This means SEO, SEA and SMO.

    SMO – Social Media Optimisation: this includes all of the tactics used to generate traffic to your site using social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest…). Here again there are organic and paid options.
02 Getting Started with SEA: an overview of the things you need to know
    To do or not to do is not really the question: it would be criminal to not even try this acquisition channel, widespread and based on a pay-for-performance model. If you plan ahead you’ll find that the acquisition cost of a new customer is covered by the profit you’ll make on his/her first order. It’s in your best interests to progressively increase your budget…following, of course, a few practical tips!

    Keywords and choice of messages
    When you start using SEA you enter into a world of words—key words—that once online shoppers type them will trigger (or not, depending on your bidding) your ad.
    For an e-Commerce site this can quickly lead to several campaigns as well as different combinations of keywords in order to reach the most interested audience…
    But be careful: a good campaign isn’t measured by the quantity of targeted keywords but the relevance of these keywords. A common error that our e-Commerce Experts find with the accounts they follow and work on is the presence of non-optimised keywords, added according to Google’s automatic recommendations. Avoid the temptation to add hundreds of keywords. The key to success is to control each keyword: how much it costs vs. how much it generates.
    Work on the wording of your ads!
    It’s kind of like the art of tweeting: you only have a few characters (generally less than 150 total!) to explain your product, reassure your customers and make them want to click on your link. For example, for Google, the classic structure for an ad is as follows:

SEM - Characters
    Take it as an exercise like writing a haiku: show in just a few words the benefits for online shoppers if they click on your link. And this is where everything counts: friendly URLs (clear and easy to understand), reusing keywords in the ad (they will be highlighted in bold) and having a good sales hook. Don’t hesitate to read lots of ads with different keywords to get an idea of what stands out.

    Recognise the difference between looking for information and ready to buy
    All searches aren’t the same! And they don’t have the same ability to convert into sales once the internet users land on your site…
    For example, the following keywords would both be favourable for the same subject: “dog training” and “dog training books.” In both cases, internet users looking to train their dogs are likely to type these keywords. But the first set of keywords is a lot less specific. Maybe the people typing these keywords would be satisfied with a YouTube video or blog post on the subject. For the second set of keywords, it’s obvious that the people searching are ready to make a purchase.

    Choose your keywords carefully
    This is obviously your most valuable weapon. There are a few tools that can help you decide: Google Insights, Google Trends and the keyword planner but, ultimately, Google doesn’t help all that much. It submits a lot of things and it’s not always the best idea to follow all of their recommendations (unless you want to end up going way over budget…)

    While the idea that more keywords means more visits is generally true, here you’re in a situation where you have to use your creativity. Here are a few guidelines:
    - study your competitors: look at what keywords they’re using. You might need specific tools here.
    - Use the keyword planner tool to see which ones are the most lucrative and which ones you should avoid using in your ads.
    - Look at the keywords searched for on your site, chances are they’re also used on Google and other search engines.
    -Build your keywords around keywords that are already working and develop relevant combinations.

    Invest in campaigns that work
    Before launching a paid campaign, it’s crucial to set up your metrics and follow your stats to keep an eye on your conversion, the traffic generated, order amounts, the cost of clicks…all of this plays a part in calculating your ROI and is important for analysing your performance. The amount you spend can quickly increase – and potential gains as well, but here it’s a question of using your head: invest, yes, but not blindly!
03 Tactics for becoming an SEA master
    At this point you should have a few ads perfected and a few resulting sales…and now you’ve developed a taste for it! Good! Now we’re going to go over a few advanced techniques to constantly increase your profits and draw more buyers to your site!

    Where should you send your traffic?
    Creating the best possible ad, with the right keywords, at the right price, at the right time is great. But it’s not everything. After they click, they will arrive on your site. It would be a shame to waste all of the effort to get visitors to your site just to lose them once they get there. Here’s where landing pages come in. Check out our Expert Advice on the optimisation of product pages, and work on your landing pages.

    Define your targets
    As you know, our e-Commerce Experts won’t budge on this point: you succeed when you follow your metrics. This means keeping an eye on your stats and what’s happening at all times (as we might have mentioned previously…)
    It’s important to know your acquisition, conversion and average shopping cart size goals…and to continue to analyse how each pound spent performs in order to succeed in SEM/SEA!
    Here again, take a look at Oxatis' exclusive campaign tracking feature, fine-tuned by our e-Commerce Experts, a key metric for really understanding whether your ad campaigns are working.

    Long live retargeting!
    Once a visitor has visited your site through an ad (so you’ve paid) they are tracked. And if they don’t buy on their first visit to your site, you now have the ability to follow where they go on the web. You’ve probably already noticed that when you surf on the web, an ad will instantly appear for a pair of shoes you’ve searched for, or a trip, or a lamp…This is called retargeting, and it’s an excellent persuasion tool, especially when combating shopping cart abandonment. We talk about it in more detail here).

    Google Shopping Campaigns (formerly PLA: Product Listings Ads)

    Google search results pages are not just made up of “classic” adverts and organic search results. Google Shopping is Google’s price comparison site and it words on the same principle as AdWords, but with a mini product page rather than a text-based approach. And it works: 8 out of 20 of the biggest AdWords users in the US received more traffic from PLAs than classic AdWords ads. Using this feature is in general a bit less expensive and according to certain studies allows you to improve your conversion rate by almost 11% while being less oppressed by competitors as few e-tailers use this platform today. Why not give it a try?

    Our e-Commerce Experts have gone through the metrics of 7,300 e-Commerce websites and the Google Shopping Results are convincing as on average:
    - ROI is improved from 1.71-3.47 points (for example, for every pound spent you make £9.89 with Google Shopping compared to £6.42 with classic ads)
    - A PPC £0.02-£0.22 lower!
    - A 0.5-5.5% increase in conversion rate
Like Brolliesgalore, seize the Google Shopping opportunity!
    Christine Naysmith of Brolliesgalore testifies:

    We sell Brolliesgalore products on eBay, Amazon and Google Shopping. Using multiple distribution channels gives us access to a larger customer base and helps improve our products’ visibility.


Call our
e-Commerce experts today at 0845 129 4800 to put into practice the top SEA techniques
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    Three good reasons to give it a try!

    Possible to decrease dependency on Google's SEA?
    You’ll have noticed that we've focused mainly on Google so far. Google is the most widely used search engine in the world, and along with AdWords, dominates a large share of the market. But there are alternatives that can limit your dependence on Google and AdWords a little. This might mean using price comparison sites, video ads or increasing your efforts (especially with paid ads) on social networks. It’s up to you to test your options and see what works.

    Last but not least, Google has a little competitor who’s on the rise: BING.
    Microsoft’s search engine (and now Yahoo’s as well) while used less than Google today, can be a good alternative: lower PPC, less competition…give it a try!

    Now it’s your turn to act!