We always talk about content being king when it comes to online advertising, and that is certainly true. However, I’ve always felt that the overall setup of a program is just as crucial as the content when establishing successful campaigns. Below is part 1 of a 3 part series that will cover some important “Building Blocks” to consider as you develop your next online program.
Building Block #1: Success Metrics – How will you measure success?
The question above may seem pretty basic, but you might be surprised how often advertisers neglect to consider exactly what they are hoping to get out of a particular program. Success metrics can come in all shapes and sizes. One man’s click, is another man’s lead form, is another man’s phone call. Regardless of how you ultimately decide to measure success, having these metrics established prior to program launch is essential to a successful online campaign.
I spoke a few weeks ago about clicks, and how their importance can vary depending on where in the listing they originate from. Despite the questions I posed regarding how to truly quantify the value of a click, for many advertisers, it remains a viable measurement of success. It really boils down to what the click is doing for you. If the volume of web traffic you are receiving is crucial, then make sure that is a focus throughout your program. Point whatever links you can to the website, and track everything as far along in the sales process as you can. If you prefer for users to be directed to location profile content in order to learn more about your business, make sure your links are pointed to those location specific pages wherever possible (BTW this can be a terrific local SEO tactic). You may have to get a little creative in your efforts to steer potential customers in the direction you want, and you may have to break some conventional rules of wisdom in order to keep the focus where you want it.
Other advertisers prefer to drive form submissions with their programs. Some even consider this a subset under the general umbrella of clicks. In my opinion, form submissions are one step closer towards the ultimate goal, sales (and should be valued as such). Obviously, any time you can capture a potential customer’s contact information, your options for pursuing that sales opportunity grow exponentially. So if order form submissions are your holy grail, and all other metrics are subordinate, you will likely want to adjust campaigns to drive towards that end result. This may involve custom landing pages, and even the unthinkable (at least to Go Local), possibly removing phone numbers from the program’s landing pages. This will lead users to contact your company in the manner you want, and also lead them to provide the info you are looking for.
Of course, driving calls is what we are about here at Go Local, and most businesses agree that if the phones are ringing, the potential for sales is likely going to increase. However, it is important to take it a step further, and think about what you want out of the calls in order to deem the overall program successful. Do you want a high volume of calls? Do you want to sacrifice a bit on the overall number of calls, but have a higher qualified call delivered? Do you want calls that reach a certain duration threshold? I have worked on programs in the past that delivered really high call volumes each month, but there was virtually no emphasis put on the length of the calls themselves. A closer examination of these programs would often reveal that during some of the months where the call volumes dropped, the calls that were received ended up being significantly longer in duration. So while the client may have been unhappy with their overall call counts, they very well could have ended up having more sales, because the calls they did receive were higher in quality. It is all about identifying what you want from the program, and then setting expectations accordingly.
This is just one of the items that should be considered during the setup process for online campaigns. Check back next week for Part 2 of this “Building Blocks” series, where we will look at some in-house issues that should be addressed before launching that next campaign.