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Old 03-02-2005   #1
rustybrick
 
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Measuring Offline Sales & Conversions

Robert asked for it, so I am here. I've seen it before, hope they mix it up some.

Patricia Hursh from SmartSearch Marketing. She will present two case studies. Search advertising generated by phone conversions and estimating results when you cant directly control or measure offline conversions. (1) Tracking phone orders: Client is an online retailer of homeopathic cold remedies. Goal was to understand the "true" ROI for paid ads. Approach was to create a unique landing page with a unique 800# and this is how they tracked the sales. 27% of their orders came via the phone and 73% bought online. She said this is the typical distribution in most industries (maybe I got that wrong, doesn't sound right - that it is the typical dist.) Implications: assume you spend $100 to drive 73 internet orders and 27 phone orders. If you are blind to the phone orders (cost per conversion at $1.37 versus the $1 cost per conversion with the online orders). So what they did was make a unique 800# for google, overture and findwhat, respectively. They also added a customer reference code on the site and the reps on the phone asked for that number. There is a "new kid" in town, ingenio, pay per call. Pay Per Call advertising, same concept of PPC but its a call instead of a click. They show a 800# from findwhat and when they call, and you answer the call, it says, lead from findwhat preceding the transfer of the call. The second case study is a national chain of childcare centers, and the goal was to convince management that ppc does drive enrollment. People research childcare options online but all people enroll offline. They came up with options to track these conversions; enhance center's enrollment processes and tools. Train directors to record and report "lead source". Landing page encourages prospects to print an enrollment discount coupon, which is redeemed at centers. Landing page encourages prospects to find their local center and register for an enrollment discount. The client said they will not do any of these. The solution: (1) implement periodic, non-consecutive search ads campaigns. (2) Try to run campaigns when other marketing efforts are at a minimum. (3) Correlate search and ad spend. The results, 157% increase in traffic, 78% increase in online leads (lead defined by a search for a local center - center locator), lowest cost per lead then anything else, in 3 of 4 cases search campaigns were directly correlated with a 2.5 - 4% lift in overall center registrations.

Jon Schepke from Proceed Interactive was next up with two case studies. Great Expectations is case study one. They have a $400,000 monthly internet marketing budget, 20,000 raw leads generated online, 50% from SEM efforts. Solution, work with the client to build an integrated web based lead tracking system. 800# with IVR phone system for tracking. Ultimate goal for everyone; marriage of frontend marketing data and backend conversion to measure roi. The IVR system is www.databasesystemscorp.com, there are many good systems (i love these systems and the flexibility with web integration). 3% of all leads came from IVR system, the cost of IVR is $.35 per minute, so very affordable. He showed a screen shot of the custom lead reports system. Next case study is a LA Weight Loss company. They built an online lead tracking system and 30% of internet leads came from the 800#. Custom landing pages and promo codes are great. Pay per call model he is a fan of.

Mike Sack from Inceptor was next up to show some research first. Over 90% of online searches result in an offline transaction (consumer electronics category). AIC survey concluded that a $180.7 billion in offline spending was do to online research. MSN Media Accountability study in 04 said the results suggest significant impact on brand (no figures disclosed by MSN yet). Methods to track offline conversions; call tracking, lift measurement, post purchase surveys and promo codes. He goes on to explain each, questions, I'll answer them (fingers starting to hurt ). He then shows a "p-code" which is a code they want the phone call to mention. Results for a specific diamond client; online conversions 1% and offline only were 9%. Combined was a 10% conversion rate. The next step was to start applying formulas, Offline CR + Online CR = Actual CR. Actual CR * Visitors = Sales. Sales * AOV = Estimated Rev. Value and so on. They took that data and improved keyword grouping based on the online and offline data. They changed bid parameters, and they were able to bid more then competitors because they knew they were making money. And then they had more money, so they expanded the keyword program to by more generic terms. He feels that businesses with offline components appear to benefit more from SEM then online 'onlys'. As businesses begin measuring impact of search on offline sales expect to see significant increase in online spending. The price that can be paid for keywords, generic keywords, will rise. You need to track offline conversions, you need to be prepared to spend against ROI metrics that incorporate offline conversions. PPC ads will cost more money, bottom line.

Misty Locke from Range Search Marketing is going to show us how she fought to get a bigger budget from clients. She goes over the ways to track offline conversions; focus groups, in store pickup of referral, coordinate with call centers, track sales locator pages, and only advertise online (scary). She then showed some slides; 61% shop online or research online, 66% utilize both online and offline to buy, she then get a bit more detailed - too much to type it all out that quickly (i am quick but not that quick). She designed a Pier I Design U one page interactive site. They used Google, Overture, MSN and local and findwhat. They did some rich media. And they have a discount that gives 15%. They only put the promo on the rich media (flash). She spent big on generic keywords that were not directly related to Pier I. 76k opted in, 63% of unique registrants 12k avg unique registrants per week. The stores said they drove of 343k in store transaction, 79% increase compared to last year TV ads. Net sorre sales were up 62% and online rev up more then 40k.
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Old 03-02-2005   #2
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Originally Posted by rustybrick
Robert asked for it, so I am here. I've seen it before, hope they mix it up some....
Barry - Thank you for above and beyond on this one.

While I haven't seen this material at SES, I was familiar with a lot of the tracking techniques (like the special offers and the 800 numbers), but the stats were new material for me. Thanks for scrambling to record them all. I was hanging on your every keystroke.

It was quite interesting that several different marketers reported that 25-30% of internet-generated orders came by phone.

Too bad that no one got into intangibles like branding. I'm convinced that for certain kinds of clients, being high up in the natural results of the major engines provides a strong branding boost, but I'm too unschooled in marketing metrics to be able to quantify what this might be worth. It's got to be a less immediate thing than the 25-30% response rate, but that surprisingly large figure suggests it may be a more important boost than one would guess from the small size of most current web marketing budgets.
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Old 03-02-2005   #3
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Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
Too bad that no one got into intangibles like branding. I'm convinced that for certain kinds of clients, being high up in the natural results of the major engines provides a strong branding boost, but I'm too unschooled in marketing metrics to be able to quantify what this might be worth. It's got to be a less immediate thing than the 25-30% response rate, but that surprisingly large figure suggests it may be a more important boost than one would guess from the small size of most current web marketing budgets.
Actually (I am too lazy to read what I wrote, so if its not there I apologize), they did mention the branding affect.

For example, Misty Locke with the Pier 1 client showed how PPC can be used not to bring in direct phone or online orders BUT bring higher sales in $ to the actual stores. They measured it and the figures were very compelling.

Regarding building brand awareness, I don't think (or remember) anyone discussing the dollar figures associated with that. Not only is that an offline conversion, it is a conversion that has always been hard to track. Robert, what are your thoughts on the topic of measuring brand awareness and the value in that?
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Old 03-03-2005   #4
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Originally Posted by rustybrick
Regarding building brand awareness, I don't think (or remember) anyone discussing the dollar figures associated with that. Not only is that an offline conversion, it is a conversion that has always been hard to track. Robert, what are your thoughts on the topic of measuring brand awareness and the value in that?
It's always helpful to be able to explain benefits to SEO clients and prospects. I'm not a marketing analyst, though, so I have to rely on others to provide the data and suggest the interpretations.

I do believe that ranking high in organic serps, perhaps even for more general terms that might not convert well (as well as for more specific phrases), has a long term branding value that's not necessary measured by conventional ROI tracking, but which might ultimately result in increased sales.

These top rankings are essentially producing eyeball moments, much the same as other advertising off the web. The difference, as you know, is that web results are delivered to people in a buying mode actively searching in the desired market area, and that there's probably also some credibility that is attached to ranking high.

As buyers spend more time on the web, what they see online is going to affect offline buying as well as online buying. That's why I was intrigued by the reported 25-30% offline sales figure for an online campaign. But those were for measurable sales fairly close to a PPC campaign in time... and not for ongoing organic rankings.

Branding would be more long term and less likely to be attached to a specific offer or sale (though price of course always enters into it).

I assume that marketers have ways of measuring buyer attitudes for non-Web branding efforts... in A-B focus groups or whatever... and I'm sure they're iffy at best. In some market areas, the timeframe for real-life branding probably involves constant exposure over years. But there must be some off-Web method of justifying marketing dollars that go to brand building.

I'm just wondering whether anyone has assigned any analogous offline branding benefits to online organic rankings. I was hoping it might have come up in this session.

I understand, of course, that the quality of a site and its marketing message would be a strong factor too.
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