Customer Tag

A great guest piece from Dan Schock, Google Retail Team Director

Search as a means of driving sales has evolved in the past few years. As recently as three years ago, most retailers and brands still viewed their “Internet” plan as a means of driving e-commerce. The Internet was a distribution and sales channel measured by its ability to drive online revenues.

Then, as the Internet evolved into a broader media platform where consumers researched, watched videos and compared products/prices, and then often made their purchases in a physical store, many advanced companies began to include offline sales as an additional factor in measuring their overall Search ROI. In 2011, the most forward-thinking retailers and brands have started looking at a new measurement to calculate the success of their online campaigns: new customer acquisition and the lifetime value of those new customers. Think about your own search strategy: most likely you bid on as many of your brand terms as possible. And you should: here are customers that know you, who are raising their hands (via “queries”) and asking for information, then converting at a high ROI. But what about “non-brand” terms: queries higher up the purchase funnel like “makeup”, “detergent” or "paper towels”? These shoppers are still browsing and researching but they’re not converting at the same rate as those searching for your brand terms, so you may either not be buying non-brand terms them or buying very few. Why? – Most likely because you’re hooked on those brand ROIs. Why pay a higher CPC for a lower conversion rate?  
I’ll tell you why: because those non-brand terms drive a higher percentage of new customers to your site – and when you consider the lifetime value of those customers they will pay off! Here are people looking for products and services you offer, but did not think to type your brand into the search box. You are not (yet) part of their top consideration set. And look at the advertisers

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Infographic on how Social Media are being used...[/caption]
It’s easy to get distracted by trivial social media arguments. Social media experts spend a lot of time hashing out old fights about the best tools and tactics for the same reasons some people  can spend hours looking at new faucets or cabinet doors. The less important something is, the more fun it is to kibitz about, because the responsibility that comes with being wrong is relatively minor. It doesn’t really matter what your kitchen looks like; so long as it is functional, durable and built on a stable foundation, you can have those cabinet arguments worry-free.

Key Answers to Key questions;

The trouble is, too many people have the cabinet door conversation without ever talking about the foundation. The way I see it, there are only seven questions in all of social media that really matter. Of course, they’re pretty big questions. But if you can answer them to the fullest, then the answers to many of your minor questions fall into place.
  1. Who am I speaking to? And don’t just say “potential customers.” That’s a dodge and you know it. Get specific. Think about who you’re trying to reach in terms of both demographics (age, location, income, etc.)  and psychographics (what to they believe? what do they like? what are they worried about?). And remember that the latter often tells you more than the former. Unless you really know, on an intimate level, who are you’re speaking to, everything else you’re doing is essentially guesswork, because audience knowledge informs your answer to every one of the remaining questions.
  2. What do they want from me online? The temptation is often to focus on what you want from your customers — and we’ll get to that — but you’re setting yourself up for disaster if you focus on yourself first. Because before anyone is going to do what you want, you have to give them a reason to care about you first. All businesses, nonprofits and institutions exist to serve a function. You do something that people want or need — or