Omni-Channel Marketing: A New Approach to Keyword Research

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For many marketers, performing keyword research is a pretty standard procedure. What has primarily changed over time are the tools used to source key search queries and determine the quality and intent behind those keywords.

While the approach to research remains largely the same, the landscape in which consumers search and move toward a purchase has changed. The path from search to purchase is no longer as linear as it once was and consumers generally don’t follow clear paths anymore. Your approaches to keyword research and deployment of marketing content need to adjust for this omni-channel era.

In this article, I’ll define what this new path looks like, how you can adjust your strategy to be more visible to your ideal customers, and how targeted keyword research and optimization can lead to a dramatic improvement in engagement and retention.

What is Omni-Channel?

onmi-channel-graphicCustomers are now engaging brands across multiple channels at the same time. (Image Source)

Up to this point, there have been a few different channel strategies for businesses, mainly offline businesses, but they’re applicable to online retailers as well:

  1. Multi-Channel – This is a common channel strategy in which a business uses more than one form of media for advertising. For example: a car dealership may have a Facebook page and also send out direct mailers. Those are multiple media channels for outreach and engagement.
  2. Online to Offline – This channel strategy consists of online media outlets driving traffic specifically to an offline, brick and mortar business.
  3. Cross-Channel – This channel strategy involves an experience that starts in one channel and is then carried over into another. A few good examples of this would be locating a product in a print catalog and ordering it online, or searching for a restaurant online and clicking the phone number to call in an order that will be completed via carry-out.

So what about omni-channel? This strategy involves using multiple visible channels which support one another in a single merged experience with the customer or prospect. The lines between channels blur as the brand and the customer engage across multiple mediums.

For example: A customer pulls up your website to research an item while they’re in your brick and mortar store. They search for other information online, which leads them to a blog post you wrote to address a specific pain point. A rep emails the customer some info on the product and they later order the product on your website or through your Facebook store integration.

It’s important to understand the omni-channel approach because it has transformed the way customers shop nowadays. 75% of shoppers who find helpful information alongside local retail info are more likely to visit those businesses. Likewise, over 70% of smartphone users research while shopping to help them make more informed decisions.

Search Intent Across Multiple Channels

Search isn’t the same creature it used to be. Today, search overlaps a variety of other channels as the results fill up with social media pages, local listings, videos, images, location-specific data, and more.

While many marketers take a blanket approach to keyword research, many of those channels have their own search variations. Marketers mistakenly think the research they apply to search optimization also applies to social media and other channels.

The truth is that the user’s search experience varies greatly based on the platform and intent. Not only do you have behavioral differences across the channels (short queries on Twitter vs. multi-keyword queries on Facebook or YouTube), but there are also big differences in a standard search query vs. a conversational search in social media.

consumers-search-for-local-informationSearch habits change throughout the purchasing process. (Image Source)

When researching keywords for the optimization of those individual channels, it’s important to consider user intent for each channel, as well as the user’s position in the buying cycle and whether or not they’re searching for local information.

Keyword Research for Omni-Channel

When you’re conducting keyword research for organic search and content optimization, you’re typically trying to determine the search volume and relevancy of keywords. For paid advertising, you’ll also want to gauge how competitive a term is.

Conducting keyword research for social and other channels as part of an omni-channel strategy is a bit more involved. When I perform research for omni-channel efforts, I have a lot of points to look at including:

  • Popular and trending topics across various social channels
  • Search and query frequency on a given channel
  • The market interest for products and services
  • The demand for specific search queries or conversational searches
  • User intent; the “why” behind their searches
  • Specific points of engagement around important keywords

Here’s how you can perform this research on a few popular social channels:

Facebook Keyword Research

facebook-roasted-coffee-keyword-researchUse Facebook’s search function to research key phrases for your audience.

Consumers often turn to social channels like Facebook to see what other people are saying about a product, topic, trend, or brand. Keyword research on Facebook can provide a lot of insight when you’re mapping out your optimization and marketing strategy:

  • The frequency of public topics around a keyword
  • What kind of content is most-often shared and discussed
  • How discussions change based on location
  • How well the results align with the search intent
  • Trending topics and hashtags
  • Other keyword trends to expand your research

From an omni-channel perspective, think about how your potential customers might be using Facebook to find information about your brand and your products or services. Build your keyword list and start researching with the Facebook search function.

This will help you refine and locate more keywords, and from there, you can optimize your profile and plan the use of specific keywords within targeted public posts and content shares.

Twitter Keyword Research

twitter-advanced-search-screenshot-september-2016Twitter’s advanced search can show you the keywords your audience is using most frequently.

Keyword research on Twitter is similar to Facebook. I recommend using the Advanced Search feature.

This gives you more opportunities to narrow your targeting by date, location, and broad or exact match phrasing. The goal on Twitter is the same as on Facebook: you’re looking for topic and keyword frequency, post and discussion intent, trending and relevant hashtags, and any opportunities to expand keywords.

Considering the brevity of Twitter posts, you’re less likely to see long tail search phrases being used. Instead, your audience is more likely to use shorter, topical words to find discussions, brand names, and product names.

Like Facebook, this presents the opportunity to take the most relevant keywords you discover and work them into your posting strategy in order to get relevant content in front of the consumer.

YouTube Keyword Research

google-adwords-display-plannerCombine YouTube searches with the Display Planner tool to research popular search queries.

YouTube used to have its own keyword tool, but that was shuttered in 2015 as Google favored the use of Adwords Display Planner. This makes keyword research a little more complex for YouTube than other social channels, but it also provides a lot more data. If you use the AdWords Planner for any other type of keyword research, then you should be familiar with the process.

Log in to Google AdWords and select the Display Planner under “Tools.” From there, you can enter any search phrases you think your customers would be interested in and AdWords will display individual targeting ideas along with impressions and some basic demographics.

Enter the keywords you develop into YouTube’s search and examine the types of content that show up in the top results. You’ll be able to piece together opportunities to create new content for those search phrases as well as optimize any existing videos you have to improve their visibility with the new search phrases.

Just remember to make sure that you’re always matching the search intent of the user.

Omni-Channel Marketing Thrives on Content

buzzsumo-pro-content-researchBuzzSumo uncovers the most engaging content around a keyword or topic.

Omni-channel marketing doesn’t target customers who are set on a purchase and are ready to place their order or head into the store. This kind of keyword research and optimization is meant to attract and educate the customers who are actively engaging you through multiple channels and researching information to help them make a purchase decision.

For that reason, I always try to produce and position content that is most beneficial and relevant to the keywords I discovered during the research phase.

To ensure that I’m consistently providing the best content, one tool I like to use is BuzzSumo. While the research process is predominantly manual for digging into topics and discussions on social, BuzzSumo automates things as you search for content.

Plug in your keywords or relevant search queries, and BuzzSumo will display content to match – specifically the content that has received the most shares and engagement. You can use those results to craft your own content or curate those posts and share them publicly using targeted keywords across various channels.

This way, no matter where your prospective customers are in the sales funnel – either online or in your store – they’ll find your content and your high-value content shares, regardless of the channel in which they search.

Conclusion

Focused keyword research across multiple channels allows you to leverage public content to keep it in front of your audience, increasing the likelihood that they’ll find you when they research purchasing options.

More importantly, optimizing your content with keywords across multiple channels will capture the attention of the user. If a prospective customer finds your content through means other than search, then the relevant keywords will stand out and encourage them to start engaging you through multiple channels as they enter your funnel.

Keyword research isn’t just for organic search anymore. Use this information to improve your omni-channel visibility, attract new customers, and keep your current prospects engaged through to the conversion.

What’s your take on omni-channel marketing and the optimization of social channels? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

About the Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, their Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.



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The Secret Formula of a 13.11X ROI Google AdWords Campaign

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Do you want your AdWords account to do more than just get you some clicks?

Do you want people who are searching for your product and services on Google to find you and buy from you?

If you do, then read on…

I came up with a formula for building AdWords campaigns that ROI in any industry.

I tested it with my eCommerce business, a SaaS business and a local service business.

1 thing is consistent… Predictable ROI.

Why?

This formula gives the person searching on Google exactly what they are looking for (whether that’s chocolate chip cookies, your software product or eCommerce product).

After executing the “The Cookie Monster Formula”, the number of conversions I got (leads and sales) shot up like a rocket:

adwords-campaign-results

More importantly, this 1 campaign made my company $4,500 profit.

Yeah, I know, I know… that is chump change for most of you corporate execs.

But this AdWords campaign structure is SCALABLE.

The more search volume you have for your keywords, the bigger you can scale your ROI.

And I’m sure your business has more search traffic than my small business in Brisbane, Australia where half the population is made up of kangaroos.

But the question is…

Do you want to scale 13.11X ROI?

Also, as a nice bonus, you can get more high value email leads.

This 1 campaign has driven 155 new high ‘buy-intent’ leads onto my email list.

Not just 155 email leads who have a casual interest in what I offer.

155 email leads who opted-in to download pricing for my exact product.

The best part?

You can do the same thing for your company – even if you don’t have a Fortune 500 marketing budget or have never run an adwords campaign before in your company.

Replicate This AdWords Campaign Structure In Your Business for Massive ROI

To attract high quality leads and sales with AdWords…

All you have to do is remember to use “The Cookie Monster Formula”.

cookie-monster-formula

In every ad group you have:

  • 1-5 keywords
  • 2 ads
  • 1 landing page

If you have a high enough volume of traffic (250-400 conversions per variation per month) to get statistically valid data, then you should also be a/b testing your landing page.

How My AdWords Campaign Broke Down After Implementing The Formula

Again, here are the results:

adwords-campaign-results

6% of people who saw my ad, clicked on it.

59% of people who clicked on my ad converted into a lead for my business.

Now remember, I can’t go giving my whole AdWords campaign data away 😉

This is just 1 ad group in 1 of my campaigns from last financial year. This ad group is highly targeted with only 2 keywords. That is why my impression and click data is low. But this ad group converts like crazy.

It is also simple, scalable and repeatable across all the other products, services and geographical locations I service in my business.

I only had to spend $343 to get 155 leads!

That is 155 people who have already entered the buying cycle and looking for a solution. How do I know this?

Because Google is an ‘intent-based’ advertising network. People searching for product/service keywords like mine have commercial intent. Compare that to social ad networks like Facebook and Twitter, which are ‘context-based’.

The people you advertise to on social networks may or may not have entered the buying cycle for your particular product or service. So you generally need a more sophisticated sales funnel to convince and convert them into becoming your customer.

Would you place more value on a lead that is actively searching for what you sell on Google? Or someone who stumbled across your ad while scrolling through their social news feed and just opted-in because they were ‘interested’?

Not all leads are created equally.

Case Study: The AdWords Campaign, Landing Page And Sales Funnel I Used To Make 13.11X ROI

Here is a short case study of how I used the formula myself in my business to find new customers to buy my Snow Cone Machine Hire Package product from people searching on Google in Brisbane, Australia.

Here is a full breakdown of 1 of my AdWords campaigns:

Campaign Name: Brisbane Hire

Ad Group Name: Snow Cone Hire

Keywords:
+snow +cone +machine +hire +brisbane
+snow +cone +hire +brisbane

Ad Copy:
brisbane-adwords-ad-copy

Landing Page:
snowcone-adwords-landing-pageNote: this page cannot be found on my main website, it is a dedicated landing page I set up specifically for AdWords.

The Simple, Yet Unusual Sales Funnel That Converts My Leads Into Sales

Now let’s break down my sales funnel after I collect a lead from AdWords…

You can see from my landing page that the first step people need to take to enter my sales funnel is to download a pricing sheet. The reason I do this is because I want to build an email list.

My email list is a business asset I can use to stay in contact with my hottest leads every month about special product offers and news. If people don’t decide to buy after opting-in, I can automate follow-up with them via email.

If you don’t want to collect email leads via AdWords like me, you don’t have to. This is the sales funnel that I have found is the best for my business.

I have SaaS clients that target enterprise level clients where our landing page call to action is for a free enterprise software demo. And SaaS companies that sell to small businesses where our call to action is for a free software trial. I also have eCommerce clients where we send people straight to a product detail page to buy.

Do what makes sense for your business.

Just keep in mind, in general, the higher level of commitment you are asking for on your landing page, the lower your conversion rate will be. I also use Google Shopping Ads to send people straight to my product pages to buy. But my Google Shopping Ads campaign structure and optimisation is a whole other beast for another article.

Now, back to my sales funnel…

After someone opts-in for my pricing sheet, they get sent an email with a download link to the pricing sheet pdf, and automatically put on my “Snowy Joey Hire” email sequence.

adwords-pricing-sheet-email

The 10 email sequence is set up as follows:

snowy-joey-email-sequence

I used a marketing automation tool called ActiveCampaign to create this email sequence. I use it because it is simple and for more advanced campaigns it allows me to move my leads from 1 email campaign to another based on specific actions they take (eg: click on a link to visit a product page). However for this sales funnel I’m not using any advanced automation (because I didn’t want to get bogged down by all the automation rules in the beginning). It is a simple autoresponder sequence which is set up as follows after a lead downloads my Hire Pricing Sheet:

Wait 1 Day

Email #1: Hire Pricing Sheet Reminder
Email #1: Content: Link to the hire pricing sheet + product page

Wait 3 Days

Email #2: Case Studies
Email #2 Content: Link to a summary of all my businesses case studies (corporate and private)

Wait 3 Days

Email #3: Griffith University Case Study
Email #3 Content: Link to a case study on my blog for this 1 customer

Wait 3 Days

Email #4: 48 Hour Limited Time Offer
Email #4: Content: Free shipping + free product offer

Wait 1 Day

Email #5: Limited Time Offer Ending Today
Email #5: Content: Reminder that it is the last day to get the free shipping + free product offer

Wait 7 Days

Email #6: Kids Early Learning Centre Case Study
Email #6 Content: Link to a case study on my blog for this 1 customer

Wait 7 Days

Email #7: Specsavers Case Study
Email #7 Content: Link to a case study on my blog for this 1 customer

Wait 7 Days

Email #8: QUT Case Study (case study for 1 customer)
Email #8 Content: Link to a case study on my blog for this 1 customer

Wait 7 Days

Email #9: Zupps Case Study (case study for 1 customer)
Email #9 Content: Link to a case study on my blog for this 1 customer

Wait 7 Days

Email #10: Australia Zoo Case Study (case study for 1 customer)
Email #10 Content: Link to a case study on my blog for this 1 customer

We use a ton of case studies with our household brand name clients to build social proof.

The Results

This email sequence converts leads to customers at 10%.

Note: That makes our effective conversion rate from AdWords click to sale 5.9% (compare that to average eCommerce physical product conversion rates of 1-2%).

From AdWords we collected 155 leads. So with a 10% lead-to-sale conversion rate, 15 of our leads converted into customers.

Our average initial order value for this product is $450. The profit on that is $300.

That means for a total ad spend of $343.38 we made $4,500 profit from this 1 campaign.

13.11X ROI.

That does not include repeat purchases. If you take into account that approx. half of our hire customers repeat purchase. That makes the average lifetime value of 1 customer $675.

That is 19.66X ROI.

Now You Try It

I hope you can see the potential of The Cookie Monster Formula for your company from this case study.

Yes, it takes hard work to create something great.

But with this strategy you already know ahead of time that you have the best chance of getting your AdWords campaign to ROI (unlike adding all the keywords you want your business to show for into 1 campaign, and sending all the traffic to your homepage hoping that people convert).

Just because I got a 13.11X ROI from my AdWords campaign doesn’t mean it’s going to work the same for your company. Everyone’s target market, offer and sales funnel is different, so it’s important to test this in your own company.

The best way to take immediate action from this article is to run 1 test campaign in your AdWords account and monitor the most important KPI for your company against your current campaign to see what results you get.

About the Author: Chris Von Wilpert is the Founder and CEO of Rocketship Agency where he helps eCommerce and SaaS businesses turn AdWords advertising into profit. Learn more about his formula for making any AdWords campaign ROI over at his blog post: Cookie Monster Formula: How To Get 13.11X AdWords Campaign ROI.



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Step-By-Step Scaling: How and When to Grow Your PPC Campaigns

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Some of the most successful marketers involved in pay-per-click or paid search have earned their badges. Why? Because not only do they sport serious creativity, but they’re also hands-on and analytical to a fault.

Most importantly, they have zero fear when it comes to trying new things with their advertising.

There’s always a price to pay with experimentation, but it’s only through trying new things that I’ve been able to grow my PPC campaigns. If I delay when new AdWords features are rolled out or new opportunities present themselves, my competitors will reap the benefits instead of me.

If you’ve already got your feet in the shallow end of PPC, here’s how to grow those already-performing campaigns to improve your return.

Signs That It’s Time to Grow

Early on, you’ll spend a lot of time optimizing your campaigns to improve your performance. This includes:

  • Creating and testing ad variations
  • Tweaking copy and keywords
  • Optimizing landing pages
  • Adjusting audience targets
  • Endless A/B testing

You’ll eventually hit a point where the few ads you’re running are getting results, and you’ll have clear indicators that it’s time to put more into your campaigns:

1. Click-through rates are peaking

WordStream collected new data recently from a sample of 2,367 clients who utilized Google Adwords’ Search and Display networks in 2015.

google-adwords-ppc-benchmarksImage Source

The data shows average click-through rates segmented by industry, and shows variances from 1.35% to 3.4%. Based on that data, the average click-through rate in AdWords across all measured industries was 1.91%.

If you’re in that zone – or even higher – it’s a good sign that your ads are performing well and it’s time to expand what you’re doing with PPC.

A higher click-through rate usually equates to a higher quality score, and the higher the quality score, the less you’re paying per click. If you’re saving money, you need to put that money back into your campaigns.

2. Quality scores have improved

Your quality score is essentially a 1-10 metric on how much Google likes the ad that you’ve created. It directly impacts your cost-per-click as well as your impression share (how often Google is displaying your ads).

google-adwords-quality-score-column

If you’ve managed to increase your quality score well above 5 (as close to 10 as possible), you’ve likely spent time on improving keyword relevancy, ad copy, and your landing pages. It’s not an easy metric to improve, so if you’ve managed to keep your score up, then it’s time to replicate what you’ve done and grow your campaigns.

3. Spending is reduced and conversions are up

There are a lot of marketers and brands that funnel money into PPC without seeing the return on conversions. Those who aren’t seeing results or think it doesn’t work are likely making one of several mistakes:

  • They’re not leveraging both the search and display networks effectively (or just limiting their campaign to a single channel)
  • They’re not targeting effectively; they’re going after the wrong audience segments or targeting broad search terms without using negative terms
  • They’re pushing ads at the wrong times/days
  • The relevance between the ads and landing pages is shot – like sending ad traffic to home pages
  • The ads are garbage

Or, they’re just not tracking conversions effectively.

If your metrics show all the right signs that you’ve been able to keep spending under control, your CTR is up, and conversions look good, then double down on your efforts.

This is where you need to be careful, though. Just because you brought one or a couple of campaigns to a profitable point doesn’t mean you will instantly see success with every new campaign you launch. It’s possible to completely tank your ROI if you’re not careful.

How to Grow Your PPC Campaigns After The First Successful Campaigns

There are two ways you can grow your PPC efforts once you start seeing positive ROI from your existing campaigns:

  1. Improve your existing campaigns
  2. Roll out new ad campaigns

If you’re already getting average or slightly above average performance from the campaigns you’re running, who says you have to reinvent the wheel? I always use this opportunity to do better with what I already have and improve ads that have already proven their effectiveness.

Improve Performance with Ad Position Targeting

Google likes to tamper with ad placement on the search network. Once upon a time, we had ads at the top, right, and bottom of organic search results in abundance. Recently, Google made a change that dropped ad displays on the right side of desktop search results and limited ads to the top or bottom of the SERPs.

That still gives you plenty of opportunity to strategically improve the placement of your ads.

You might assume that getting your ad at the top of the stack is ideal, but this isn’t always the case. In an article for Search Engine Land, Amanda West-Bookwalter, account manager for Hanapin Marketing, shared an analysis of their PPC ad placement.

Using pivot tables, she reviewed their ad placement by revenue and impressions.

ad-placement-pivot-tableImage Source

She says:

“This is an example from one of our accounts. You can see that the highest RPM [revenue per one thousand impressions] actually comes from the 3.6+ positions. While it can be difficult to garner impression volume at those positions, I can see from this data that targeting these positions will be the most profitable in terms of ROI. This is valuable to have, because now I can take keywords that aren’t reaching ROI goals at higher positions and lower them drastically instead of pausing or deleting them.”

The top positions in the image above show significant revenue, but this is proof that other positions can have a substantial impact. Their ads with an average position of 3.6 are seeing significant revenue with a fraction of the impressions.

Experiment with trying to shift the placement of your ads to examine how they perform.

Get Hyper-Specific With Your Audience

If you’re working with search and display ads in Google, you can target broader top-level keywords and long-tail keywords.

Those long-tail keywords are more specific terms that target a very specific segment of your audience. A study from Statista shows that successful optimization requires that a large portion of your focus – at least 50% – be on long-tail keywords.

Customers who use more descriptive phrases, or long-tail search phrases, are typically more likely to convert than those who use more general terms.

visitor-intention-model-keyword-types

Neil Patel shared the above example in a deep-dive post on generating long-tail search terms (which I highly recommend as a “read and bookmark” post).

Improving your existing ads with more long-tail terms can reduce impressions since you’ll reach a smaller audience, but you’ll typically see a spike in conversions and CTR, and a reduction in cost-per-click.

You can achieve something similar if you’re using Facebook’s Ad Platform.

With long-tail keywords, it’s all about audience targeting. On Facebook, you have a lot more control over the audience that sees your content. Rather than targeting by keywords, you should work on improving your custom audience through layers.

Go deeper than demographics and geographics. Start targeting specific behaviors, purchasing habits, employment type, and interests. By layering all of those on top of one another based on your buyer personas, you’ll shrink your audience but dramatically improve conversions for your ads when they’re shown.

audience-definition-adwords

Add Remarketing to Your PPC Strategy

Rather than continually launching new search ads and pushing to create new audiences and ads on Facebook, I’ve saved a lot of time and ad dollars with remarketing.

Not only is remarketing often cheaper than standard PPC, but you’re also targeting people who have already engaged with you. They’re aware of you and your offer, so you’re much more likely to win the click.

show-tabs-google-adwords

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is an Adwords feature that lets you customize ads for people who have previously visited you. From there, you can tailor your bids and ads to those people when they do searches.

RLSA campaigns can generate twice the click-through rate, with up to 50% lower cost-per-clicks.

You can achieve the same with the Facebook Ad platform by installing a tracking pixel on your website. The pixel gathers data on visitor behavior, allowing you to generate highly-targeted Facebook ads based on those behaviors.

For example, I like to create Facebook ads that only target people who visited a specific offer or product page on my site, but didn’t complete the process. With that in mind, you could create an ad for people who completed an opt-in, reinforcing the need for them to move to the next stage of the funnel using your advertising.

Conclusion

The answer to growing your PPC campaigns isn’t to continually roll out new ads targeting different keywords in hopes of grabbing all the traffic. That only leads to a mountain of cluttered ad groups and campaigns that become difficult to track.

Instead, I always recommend finding ways to continue to improve your already well-performing ads while leveraging PPC campaigns to stay in front of people who have engaged with your brand – but have yet to pull the trigger.

How do you grow your PPC campaigns once you start to see performance improvements? Share your tips with me in the comments below.

About the Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, their Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.



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