What Does an Optimal Digital Mix Look Like for a Retail Store?

digital marketing for retail storesFor large retail chains operating in an extended geographic area (from one county to nationwide), it is wise to use traditional mass media options like TV, radio and print for top-of-the-funnel offers. The visual and audio aspects of these media channels create brand recognition and elicit a craving for your products.

Strategically targeted digital campaigns supplement that traditional mix. Digital ads can be hyper-localized to individual store locations, making them an excellent way to translate broad brand recognition into actual consumers walking through your door.

These campaigns can be focused on a specific event, like a sale you’re promoting, or a more extensive goal, like encouraging customers to join your loyalty program. In either case, the localized targeting allows for highly effective search optimization, budget-friendly mobile and display ad placement, and a range of fun and interesting social media options that can actively engage customers who are close enough and intrigued enough to stop in within minutes or hours of interacting with your marketing content.

Of course, this optimal scenario requires strategic media planning and a lot of coordination on the backend, including collecting and analyzing a tremendous amount of data in order to make the most cost-effective decisions as to which channels to focus on, when, and with what message. Among other factors, marketers putting together these kinds of digital campaigns will need to analyze:

  • Goals
  • Target audience
  • Timing
  • Scale
  • Size of target market
  • What media options exist
  • Competitive set

All of this information is available, but most retail brand marketing departments don’t have a performance reporting solution as well as the know-how to gather, collate, analyze and benefit from that data consistently.

To put this into context, let’s walk through a few case studies:

Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware is a well-established brand on the national scene with years of accumulated brand authority and a strong retail presence in a wide geographic area. Their top-of-the-funnel marketing efforts were consistent and effective in maintaining that position, but they came to us with a challenge.

They were struggling to produce quantifiable results via digital because their channel mix and range of tactics were led more by a “me too” philosophy rather than a true strategy, which diluted the effectiveness of every campaign. To resolve this issue, our retail experts analyzed reams of data and discovered some golden nuggets that yielded valuable answers.

One particularly important discovery was the fact that 80 percent of each location’s revenue consistently came from a relatively small geographic footprint around that location. This provided a basis for a series of test campaigns that we set up using a small group of Colorado-based locations as a subset of the national chain.

We established a clean test by only promoting previously un-marketed products and services, and we used our tools and proprietary methodology to monitor an array of digital channels and formats in various combinations to determine the optimal mix that produced the best results while maintaining positive ROI.

The winning combination produced a stunning 2:1 return on investment based solely on actual physical sales of just the products and services promoted. These returns don’t take into account other valuable factors like any other purchases customers made during their visit or the lifetime value of that customer if they were brand new.

That winning combination served as a template for Ace Hardware’s ongoing digital strategy on the national scale.

Good Feet Arch Support Stores

In this case, our goal was to drive traffic to Good Feet Arch Support Stores using a multi-channel, multi-platform media mix to maximize the reach while controlling the targeting. To accomplish that, we incorporated the following strategic elements:

  • Geo-Targeting/Proximity Targeting – By specifically targeting a radius or zone around Good Feet’s retail locations, both budget and frequency were maximized.
  • Education – Good Feet’s messaging focuses on both educating and addressing the specific needs of their customers. The media mix included long-form infomercials as well as a paid search strategy to drive traffic to videos on their website. The webpage where the video was hosted also featured a strong, prominent call to action to visit the store.
  • Continuity – From broadcast to digital, the video messaging was consistent across platforms. Broadcast drove awareness, serving as a reminder to targeted consumers. Digital reached those light TV viewers in the same targeted area.
  • Community Partnerships/Cause Marketing – Good Feet partnered with the Denver Broncos for a multi-element campaign that was both philanthropic and a consumer-facing promotion. Every time the Broncos kicker scored, Good Feet would donate money to Goodwill. Fans would then be encouraged bring their old shoes into a Good Feet location (who would then donate them to Goodwill) for a discount on their purchase.

So, what should you do with this information?

Consider getting help from the experts.

At Blue Onion Media, we’re navigators of evolving media. We guide our partners and clients to success through wise investment. Our retail marketing experts have the access to this data as well as the knowledge and experience needed to leverage it on behalf of your brand.

Creating that strategy requires collecting and analyzing data to determine an optimal mix of channels and formats unique to each brand’s target market, brand authority and budget. If you’re ready to streamline your retail marketing strategy by leveraging digital data, contact us today to discuss your options.

Call: (303) 232-1100

Email: VP Business Development, Peter TenEyck PeterT@blueonionmedia.com

Email: VP Media, Eileen Weinert EileenW@blueonionmedia.com

Digital Trend: Ad Blockers

Ad Blockers

Ad blockers are becoming an increasingly popular choice for internet users around the world. According to Adobe and PageFair, there are an estimated 198 million ad blocker users worldwide, which is a 41% increase from a year ago. One in ten users in the US and UK have some kind of ad blocking software.

Where did this come from?

Some feel that the current approach to digital advertising needs to be reexamined. Business practices for television or print can often include frequent repetition of images and videos around audiences. When this translated to the online advertising world, it became apparent that these ads can often feel invasive to the user experience. Ad blocking is a symptom of a system that needs to clean up its act.

With the increased use of smartphones for internet use, overly intrusive ads are becoming an increasingly hot topic. Sites with data-sucking video ads increase the time and cost for mobile viewing, which is driving mobile users, especially millennials, away from their sites.

When we factor in spotty cellular service, overloaded public Wi-Fi networks and the cost of data plans, ad blockers can feel like a necessity for a functional experience. Some ads are so disruptive that they practically chase people into the arms of ad blocker companies.

What are the impacts?

Ad blockers are positioned to have a serious impact for online advertising. For sites that depend on pay per click ads to fund them, ad blockers pose a serious question towards their ability to keep the content free of charge. Some sites are choosing to only allow users without ad blocking software, while others are still considering the problem.

Can advertisers and users meet in the middle?

A middle ground is being developed, such as with the Acceptable Ads Program. This program aims to enhance the user experience with the inclusion of ads that match specific criteria, such as:

  1. Acceptable Ads are not annoying.
  2. Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort the page content we’re trying to read.
  3. Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.
  4. Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.
  5. Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site that we are on.

There are several other new programs and strategies on the horizon as well. Some companies are simply educating their audiences, requesting them to allow ads in order to keep the sites free. Google recently announced its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, which allows ads for mobile devices, but only permits them in specific formats so that they don’t slow down page loading or eat up data. LEAN is another initiative, for keeping things “light, encrypted, ad-choice supported and non-invasive”.

This evolution of online advertising gives advertisers an opportunity and a challenge: create ads and product placements that are enjoyable, relevant and enhance the user experience. It’s an opportunity to clear out a lot of the online advertising “clutter” and create a lighter, cleaner landscape for engaging with our audiences in a meaningful way.

If you’re ready for fresh ideas that your clients will love seeing, you’re ready to talk with us! Contact us today to find out how we can create advertising that your audience will love!

Tips to Make PPC Advertising Work for You

PPC pay per click illustrationWhat exactly is PPC? PPC stands for Pay Per Click. While traditional avenues like television commercials and print ads can reach a broad spectrum of people, PPC advertising can help you reach out to search engine users looking for what you have to offer. PPC ads only show up when a user is actively searching for your type of product or service, which makes your advertising dollars work more efficiently.

PPC also gives you tangible minute-by-minute data on the success of your ads. One such metric is your click-through rate, which is how many actually clicked the link to your landing page. Another is your conversion rate, which is the amount of people who, after visiting the landing page, contacted your business. With this information, you can make your campaign even more relevant for search engine marketing.

Tip: Did you know that PPC ads can also generate calls for free? By placing a phone number in the ad, people are able to call without actually clicking on it. In order to effectively trace these calls to your PPC campaign, make sure to use a unique phone number or track line.

When working with a professional team that knows their stuff, you can expect to see your ads on the first page of search engines within a day of launching. Unlike SEO, which takes time to build, PPC has a more immediate impact. A skilled team, like the Blue Onion Media, will make regular adjustments (daily or weekly) as you test out different ads and campaigns.

How do I make the most out of PPC advertising?

  • Get specific. Don’t be afraid to use long-tail keywords. While you will attract a narrower group of people, you’ll target users further along in their customer journey, leading to a higher conversion rate.

For example, if you have a flamenco dance studio, putting out PPC ads for “dance classes” will make the ad visible to anyone searching for dance classes. Choosing a more specific term, such as “traditional flamenco dance classes”, will bring people to you who are specifically looking for what you offer. You have a much higher chance of being contacted by someone looking for flamenco classes than you do someone looking for generic dance classes.

  • Get their attention for the next step. In your ads, it’s important to have clear direction for people interested in your business. A strong call to action (CTA) is key to getting consumers to take the next step.
  • Be willing to learn and reevaluate based on feedback. The gift of PPC advertising is that you have an incredible amount of feedback at your fingertips. Let it guide you. Ads can be modified in real-time based on the responses you get. It also helps you create ads that are increasingly relevant and engaging.

If you’re unsure how to read and interpret the data, skilled professionals, like those at Blue Onion Media, can help you interpret your feedback and translate it into a solid strategy for increasing your business.

Get your company out of the shadows and into the limelight! Our team provides a blend of creativity and meticulousness that will help you create specific, engaging, and relevant content for your PPC campaign. If you’re ready to see an increase in your business, contact us today at 303-232-1100.

How Digital Media Planning Helps Your Marketing Mix

Availability and visibility are important parts of marketing. They build trust and interest in your company. The ways in which we reach our intended audiences are constantly evolving. We’ve gone from town criers to the printing press to radio and television. Which brings us to now: the age of the Internet. Are you using it to your fullest advantage?

When you have a strong digital presence, there are far more touch points with your audience, and that creates space for more dialogue and interest to be generated. With some creativity and close listening, you can open up many new opportunities for garnering interest and encouraging action. Not sure how to listen effectively? We can show you how!

Knowing your way around digital media planning is a powerful and necessary part of participating in today’s market. However, many don’t have the time to utilize digital tools to their full potential. For example, do you know how much money should you invest in social media? Which platform has the best ROI? What the touch points are for the most committed leads? Each type of advertising has its own strengths that enhance other parts of the process.

Not all leads, as many of us have learned, carry the same weight and commitment. A lead calling in from a TV commercial may be someone who is further along in the decision-making process and interested in talking to an actual person. A lead from Facebook, in contrast, might be at an earlier stage of interest and may want to keep any communication digital.

There are also subtler ways to give you the advantage, like remarketing. Remarketing shows your ads to people who have already visited your site while they are browsing elsewhere online. It helps keep your services fresh in their minds. People are influenced by how often they see something; the more often they see it, the more credible and familiar the company seems to become. We are creatures of habit, and this helps your audience to become more comfortable and familiar with your business which, in turn, makes them more likely to choose your services.

Tracking pixels are another way to get a good look at the amount of interest and action that your website experiences. They’re the size of a single pixel, invisible to the naked eye but underneath they’re powerhouses of information. Tracking pixels can show you how many people saw your digital ads and engaged with your website. They can also show you how many visited but did not choose to make a purchase, which are helpful tools when fine tuning your marketing strategy.

At Blue Onion Media, we specialize in digital media planning and work to help you navigate this ever-changing process. We know use these tools and many others daily, to give our clients the exposure and feedback needed to take their business to the next level! With us, you’ll never experience costly expenditures with little return, because we us our collective years of experience to help you get the most value for your advertising dollars.

Contact us now to explore every possibility, by calling 303-232-1100.

How Does PPC Work?

Pay Per Click (also called Cost Per Click or PPC/CPC) is a form of online advertising that uses real time bidding to direct traffic to websites. Advertisers only pay when the ad is actually clicked by an end user, or the “searcher.” The end user types a search query or search term into their web browser, ultimately defining a question they want answered into a “keyword” or “keywords.” As the searcher looks for an answer to their query, the advertiser has an opportunity to connect with the user by bidding on those keywords. Each time a user sees an ad containing their keyword(s), it is called an Impression.

Once the searcher finds a potential answer to their question or query, they’ll be inclined to click on the link that directs them to the website they are looking for. For our purposes, this could be a paid listing or an organic listing. The paid listing is what we call PPC. (For more information on organic listings, please see blog posts on SEO – I don’t think we need this).

There are two main kinds of PPC—Search and Display.

Search PPC is when a text ad shows up at the top of a Search Engine Results Page or SERP. Based on the advertiser’s bid, and ad quality/rank, the ad will appear higher on the top of the SERP.

Display PPC is when an end user or searcher is reading content about their query and a display ad is shown to them based on the content of the relevant webpage or landing page (so long as that page accepts display advertising).

It is good to note that Search and Display PPC typically reach potential customers at different points in the purchasing funnel. Most likely, someone clicking on a Display ad is in the process of learning about a product or idea. They are still towards the top of the buying funnel, in the discovery phase. A searcher who clicks on a paid Search ad is usually closer to making a purchasing decision, and is therefore more likely to convert. They are at the bottom of the purchasing funnel, and they know exactly what they’re looking for.

Now that you know WHAT PPC is, how should you use it?

Google offers a lot of training and certification materials to become familiar with PPC. While PPC is available through several platforms, Google seems to have the most extensive training program currently available, so Google AdWords is a good place to start.

To create a campaign you will need 4 items to start:

  • a budget
  • ads/ad copy
  • keywords
  • billing information

Google makes the planning process easy by providing a Keyword Planning tool that will help create keywords, as well as give you an estimate of daily traffic and spend (which then gives you an estimated budget). That knocks out two of the four above items in one fell swoop. As for ad copy, we always recommend that you use two forms of ad copy so that you can test which ad performs better. Once A/B testing is complete, you can optimize from there. We also know that it’s good practice to use keywords in the ad copy as a means of making the copy more relevant to the user/searcher. For billing, just enter in your credit card information and you’re ready to go!

Now that you’re all set up, you can move into the optimization and maintenance part of PPC. We recommend looking at the past 30 day trend for position, click through rate, impressions, clicks, cost, cost per conversion, quality score, and bounce rate (if you connect Google Analytics to the AdWords account). Once you are familiar with optimization and maintenance, you can work on scaling the campaign to a larger budget, so long as the margins remain profitable.

So there you have it. A brief run-down of PPC, what it is, and how it works. Want to get your own campaign set up but aren’t sure how to dive deeper? The Blue Onion Media is always here to help!