In my last post I discussed how to understand traffic trends in your PPC accounts. We went over looking at year-over-year data, utilizing tools such as Google Trends, keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing and staying abreast of the latest industry news. Now that you how to analyze what might happen to your traffic in the coming months, let’s talk about how to adjust your account to address these shifts in traffic.
First and foremost, client communication is key. If you know that your account is going to experience a shift in traffic make sure you let your client know beforehand along with an explanation. If you can tell that your client may see a surge in traffic, let them know so they can make sure that they have the resources to handle more orders or requests. If it’s bad news and traffic may drop they will appreciate the heads up. You can also add value, by presenting ideas on how you can head off a loss in PPC traffic.
When you are managing a PPC account for a seasonal product or service, promotions are a great way to attract site visitors in your off-season. Make sure you promote the offer effectively in your ad text by enticing your audience with the details. You’ll need to work with your client to identify the right offer for the specific industry, but some ideas for promotions include providing a set percentage discount on your products or service, a tiered percentage discount (10% off of $100 or more, 20% of off of $250 or more) offering a package deal or a buy one get one free offer. This is a good short-term solution to offset a traffic drop.
Bid & Budget Management
When traffic is expected to go up due to a new industry development or for another reason competition for industry terms will increase as well. Make sure that you bid up on your priority keywords so they appear in higher positions.
Traffic for your core products might dip in certain months, but you can choose to promote some lower priority products instead. For example, you specialize in wedding gowns and there is less demand for wedding gowns in the winter. You may want to bid up on formal dresses keywords to regain some of the lost wedding gown traffic. It may make sense to pause your PPC account completely in the off-season and focus your funds on another marketing activity.
Dealing With Competition
As I mentioned in my last post, keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. You won’t be able to control what they’re saying in their ads but you can certainly set yourself up for success. Take a critical look at your ads and ensure that you are highlighting the unique point of differentiation for your product or service. Make sure that you are working closely with your client to continue reinforcing a consistent brand message both offline and online.
If traffic is dropping off in your account it maybe the right time to expand your reach and cast a wider net. You can broaden your reach by adding in new keywords into your account. I especially like using the Google Opportunities tab which provides keyword ideas for your account. Be aware that the tool doesn’t always place keywords into the most relevant ad groups, so you may have to pull out the best suggestions from the tool and then decide how to distribute the keywords among your ad groups or even create new ad groups. If you stay connected to your industry through blogs and seminars you can also stay mindful of new industry terms and buzz words that you can add into your account.
Google, Yahoo and MSN are all important search engines, but don’t forget about the third tier search engines either. As traffic trends downward you might want to research search engines such as Business.com or 7Search and monitor results and see how your accounts perform.
Consider broadening the audience for your ads by testing whether the content network is right for your product or service. If Google doesn’t match you up with the most relevant sites try hand-picking sites and adding them into your managed placements. There are some niche products that are just not going to perform as well on the content network, but it might be worth testing in your account.
Another ideas is to dig around in Analytics and use the map overlay feature see if there are any concentrated pockets of where site visitors are coming from. You can then set up geo-targeted PPC campaigns to attract new visitors from those areas.
The bottom-line is that there are ways in which you can identify traffic shifts early and there are ways to deal with these changes effectively. Just remember to be proactive and to keep communicating and setting expectations with your client.