Does PPC work for a retail store?

by pex7
24 replies
  • SEO
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I have about 20 retail stores that I manage around the US. I am trying to figure out how to drive more traffic to the individual stores.

Do PPC campaigns work for driving traffic to an actual brick and mortar store or is it more effective at just sending traffic to a website?
#ppc #retail #store #work
  • Profile picture of the author AfteraDream
    My father owns a wallpaper shop in my country (Lithuania) and started using AdWords recently, he said it did improve the traffic to his shop and is pretty happy with it.

    Of course, it will depend on your costs for each click when you buy. If you pay a lot for a click and your average customer transaction isn't big then you're in trouble probably.

    Definitely test them. If they don't work, go advertise on blogs in your niches, just contact them directly and buy a banner (or just write an article with great tips and some might accept it too).
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  • Profile picture of the author TopBackBuilder
    If you have not already, I highly recommend you start taking full advantage of google maps reviews, though your target market may or may not be using gps devices to find your shop (I have not done the research on your market).
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  • Profile picture of the author pex7
    Our niche is funny in that we have such a unique product, that most people have never heard of until they come in our store. So they won't be searching for in online generally so it is hard to find any type of similar blogs etc.

    I was thinking the best way would be to target keywords that tourists may type when researching cities we have stores in.

    Example: Lancaster, PA shopping

    But that is definitely not targeted to our specific product so I am not sure that would be worth paying for clicks on.

    Any thoughts?
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    • Profile picture of the author Matthew Anton
      Originally Posted by pex7 View Post

      Our niche is funny in that we have such a unique product, that most people have never heard of until they come in our store. So they won't be searching for in online generally so it is hard to find any type of similar blogs etc.
      Hard to give solid advice with half the puzzle, but I understand the want to protect your niche.

      I think you are running into a problem. You have to educate your audience on the product, then convince them it's worth buying. Usually as Internet Marketer's we only have to match people who already know a product and are possibly interested in buying.

      Since it's a tourist type product area I'm assuming you can target areas you have stores in. You need to educate these people on your product, but can't find them, until they find you.

      Create a hubpage, squidoo lense, and youtube video all closely related to the same topic. Depending on your ROI, I would recommend submitting to all the top tier article sites as well with terms familiar with others, yet similar enough to convert for your product.

      Example:
      Things to do in Lancaster, PA
      -related keywords to win - events in lancaster, PA

      Tourist Attractions in Lancaster, PA
      -related keywords to win - tourism lancaster, PA

      Quirky gift shops for tourists in Lancaster, PA
      -related keywords - shopping Lancaster, PA

      You can quickly see how you are covering your target demographic. You won't be paying for clicks, but be paying for the content to be distributed. Each article will of course link back to your brick and mortar store and perhaps mention the product to warm them up to the idea.

      The reason you can't skip to PPC is because of the education phase. If a Google searcher, searched for shopping in Lancaster, PA and was immediately taken to your product page they might bounce immediately as they don't realize they need your product yet.

      If the youtube vid is done decently, with yourself or someone talking about the area + product then you can promote that through adwords PPC. Videos have naturally great ROI so you can do just this step if you want to test, but the above would blanket any possible leads (assuming they are tourists, you know your niche better than me).
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      Originally Posted by pex7 View Post

      Our niche is funny in that we have such a unique product, that most people have never heard of until they come in our store. So they won't be searching for in online generally so it is hard to find any type of similar blogs etc.

      I was thinking the best way would be to target keywords that tourists may type when researching cities we have stores in.

      Example: Lancaster, PA shopping

      But that is definitely not targeted to our specific product so I am not sure that would be worth paying for clicks on.

      Any thoughts?
      Hi Pex7,

      First let me say i have an agency that does PPC management for clients, including clients with brick and mortar stores. So yes, you can absolutely drive foot traffic through PPC, probably better than any other available method.

      What may be a bit of a challenge is getting targeted traffic for a product that is not in demand. Key to successful PPC marketing is extremely targeted traffic.

      A good approach may involve creating curiosity about your product in the Display Network, driving them to a landing page that encourages calls, visits to your showroom, or where applicable, onsite estimates and quotes.

      A better approach may be to select a closely related, high volume, commodity type product to feature along side your primary product line. You can then target ads to your high volume product to get foot traffic, and website traffic, in front of your primary product line. You could even do a loss leader to stimulate other profitable sales of your primary product line.

      If there are no blogs centered around your product niche then you have an excellent opportunity to establish yourself as the thought leader in your industry niche. Create several blogs, one specifically about your product line and a couple others that target the interests of your primary customer base and work blog posts in that generate curiosity about your primary product, complete with links to you primary blog, and primary money site.

      The idea behind this approach is to create separate websites/blogs targeting the 3 stages of the buying cycle: Interest, Information, Purchase. You then develop separate campaigns targeting the specific stages of the buying cycle, optimizing each for that particular phase.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    I'm not really into offline & local SEO, If it was me doing the PPC, I would be offering only the PPC customers a coupon or something similar with a unique ID number to verify that exact customer was generated by PPC traffic. This way you don't have to ask them any questions (How did you find out about us, etc...).

    You might be able to build an email list with that same coupon/discount for only PPC customers.

    Very few people will turn down a discount on a product.

    You can never have enough traffic data, especially with PPC, you have to know If the ROI is worth the trouble.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikest4u
    If you want fully optimized your retail store, you have to focus on Organic SEO, As many merchant based keywords you targets, as many you will get qualitative traffic!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kreative4
    It works very well. I have operated a lot of PPC for different kind of business and all worked fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart william
    definitely you will get good amount of traffic through Google Adword services but you should manage your campaign wisely so you can get better traffic and leads as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author uoftenwinny
    I think so. And make a good plan to promote your retail stores, it will get you good traffic. Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author pex7
    Thanks Matthew! You are exactly right on this, I don't know why I didn't realize this before but the way you explained it made it all click!

    Educate the customers through articles, vids etc...that's what I wil do! Our company does have some of that stuff, but I never have targeted keywords for specific locations, I think this will make a huge difference.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
    Can you ship the products to people?

    If so, yes.

    If not, no.
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  • Profile picture of the author pex7
    No, shipping is not what we are shooting for. We want to drive foot traffic to the store.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    The challenge I always have with PPC for my local clients is evaluating the effectiveness in driving traffic to a physical location. However, like Yukon mentioned you can use coupons or some special offer to do this. Again though, you cannot really measure how many people are walking into the store due to a PPC ad, but you can measure the direct sales from it.

    One thing I would take a look at is Facebook Ads. Facebook lets you narrow down to the locations where your stores are, but it also lets you choose demographics, and more importantly interests. You can advertise directly to people who might have an interest in your product.

    For example, I was talking to a guy at a booth a few months ago for expo at a half marathon. They were selling a new type of earphone that you can use with iPods or other MP3 players, but the unique selling point was the design made them less likely to fall out of your ears while running. Perfect opportunity for Facebook ads. You could target people that have an interest in running, hiking, biking, going to the gym, working out, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author jordanberg2311
    Yes. I believe those are not affiliate stores right?

    Try to have your store phone number on those ads. That will help greatly!

    Google loves you to use Adwords if you are not offering anything shady
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  • Profile picture of the author korneld
    PPC can work, but your margins need to be high most of the time (think luxury products).
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  • Profile picture of the author pex7
    I will just tell you what the product is so that you guys can have a better idea of what I am looking to do.

    The product is clothing that changes color in the sun. So, while we do have a decent sized following from people who have been in our stores and had great experiences, it is hard to target new customers online.

    Most people don't think to search for "color changing clothes" unless they already know who we are, which means they have been to a store already, so those keywords are out.

    That's why I think the best thing is to target keyword like "shopping in X location" where we have a store. These people are at least planning to do some shopping there, then we provide a link to a landing page that contains a coupon for a free gift just for coming in our store.

    There have been some good suggestions on here about blog commenting etc., but now that you know the product, you can see there are not really blogs about this.

    Again, our stores are successful not because people are looking for a color changing product (unless they are a repeat customer) but because they happen to see our store while they are on vacation and then they think the product is cool.

    So how do we start educating people online about this product that they are not searching for directly?
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      Originally Posted by pex7 View Post

      I will just tell you what the product is so that you guys can have a better idea of what I am looking to do.

      The product is clothing that changes color in the sun. So, while we do have a decent sized following from people who have been in our stores and had great experiences, it is hard to target new customers online.

      Most people don't think to search for "color changing clothes" unless they already know who we are, which means they have been to a store already, so those keywords are out.

      That's why I think the best thing is to target keyword like "shopping in X location" where we have a store. These people are at least planning to do some shopping there, then we provide a link to a landing page that contains a coupon for a free gift just for coming in our store.

      There have been some good suggestions on here about blog commenting etc., but now that you know the product, you can see there are not really blogs about this.

      Again, our stores are successful not because people are looking for a color changing product (unless they are a repeat customer) but because they happen to see our store while they are on vacation and then they think the product is cool.

      So how do we start educating people online about this product that they are not searching for directly?
      Target the emotional benefits. What is the benefit of "color changing clothes"?

      I believe the key to marketing your product is to bundle it with certain types of common high demand offerings. An obvious one that comes to mind is sunglasses. Perhaps sun related products, sun tanning products, swimsuits, beach wear, etc.

      Your product line would probably do well as a novelty gift too. Novelty gift shops, Souvenir shops, and similar keywords.

      The key to success is market segmentation, there are probably thousands of viable keywords to target once you start segmenting your potential markets.
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      • Profile picture of the author pex7
        Originally Posted by dburk View Post

        Target the emotional benefits. What is the benefit of "color changing clothes"?

        I believe the key to marketing your product is to bundle it with certain types of common high demand offerings. An obvious one that comes to mind is sunglasses. Perhaps sun related products, sun tanning products, swimsuits, beach wear, etc.

        Your product line would probably do well as a novelty gift too. Novelty gift shops, Souvenir shops, and similar keywords.

        The key to success is market segmentation, there are probably thousands of viable keywords to target once you start segmenting your potential markets.
        Thanks for the response. We actually carry color changing sunglasses, etc. I will look into keywords for sun related products.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lucid
    I've done PPC management for brick and mortar as well and it does help the bottom line.

    What you have to remember, and I think you know this, is that people are now using the search engines as the first place they use to look for something, even to buy. But you have to do things correctly or it won't work.

    For example, one business in my city uses Adwords. But they bid only on their name. I'm trying to convince them otherwise. Sure, they are well know but if I'm looking for Kodiac boots for example, I'm not going to see on their name. They have thousands of products and could make more sales, not only locally but province wide or even national if they wanted to.

    Don't bid on "lancaster pa shopping". That's not likely to work.

    Yukon has a good point about the coupons. You need to track somehow that the campaign is generating sales. Discount coupons with unique codes on them serve that purpose. That's exactly what I suggested to a client.

    So I encourage it as long as you bring the clicks right to the page of what they searched for. Unfortunately I've seen many smaller companies selling all kinds of products but their site does not reflect that, car parts stores come to mind. I would definitely do PPC if you have a unique product.

    Specific to you Pex, since you tell us what the product is, you need a display campaign to let people know this sort of thing exists. I would also sell it online and ship to whoever wants to buy it, not just people close to your stores. Don't discount a search campaign but yeah, unlikely people are looking for it. They need to be told somehow that this exists.
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    • Profile picture of the author pex7
      Originally Posted by Lucid View Post

      I've done PPC management for brick and mortar as well and it does help the bottom line.

      What you have to remember, and I think you know this, is that people are now using the search engines as the first place they use to look for something, even to buy. But you have to do things correctly or it won't work.

      For example, one business in my city uses Adwords. But they bid only on their name. I'm trying to convince them otherwise. Sure, they are well know but if I'm looking for Kodiac boots for example, I'm not going to see on their name. They have thousands of products and could make more sales, not only locally but province wide or even national if they wanted to.

      Don't bid on "lancaster pa shopping". That's not likely to work.

      Yukon has a good point about the coupons. You need to track somehow that the campaign is generating sales. Discount coupons with unique codes on them serve that purpose. That's exactly what I suggested to a client.

      So I encourage it as long as you bring the clicks right to the page of what they searched for. Unfortunately I've seen many smaller companies selling all kinds of products but their site does not reflect that, car parts stores come to mind. I would definitely do PPC if you have a unique product.

      Specific to you Pex, since you tell us what the product is, you need a display campaign to let people know this sort of thing exists. I would also sell it online and ship to whoever wants to buy it, not just people close to your stores. Don't discount a search campaign but yeah, unlikely people are looking for it. They need to be told somehow that this exists.
      As a company we do have a website with an online store, but that is not my job. My specific job is to increase sales in my brick and mortar stores, so I need to drive traffic to the stores.

      We do some local marketing, but I have been thinking there has to be a way to use the internet to drive some traffic.

      I'm not sure if PPC will work for this product because there are no laser targeted keywords to use.

      I like the idea of doing some social media to try to rank for things like "lancaster shopping"

      If we had articles written to optimize those keywords and then linked to a landing page with a coupon, but I could not submit those to ezinearticles could I? Is that more of a "how to" article database?
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      • Profile picture of the author AfteraDream
        If people don't look for it online, don't do PPC probably. I think I'd stay away from PPC now. Use the budget you have to sponsor a local event, contest, buy advertising on a popular related niche website or print some cool posters.

        I'd try buying ads in related websites.

        Originally Posted by pex7 View Post

        As a company we do have a website with an online store, but that is not my job. My specific job is to increase sales in my brick and mortar stores, so I need to drive traffic to the stores.

        We do some local marketing, but I have been thinking there has to be a way to use the internet to drive some traffic.

        I'm not sure if PPC will work for this product because there are no laser targeted keywords to use.

        I like the idea of doing some social media to try to rank for things like "lancaster shopping"

        If we had articles written to optimize those keywords and then linked to a landing page with a coupon, but I could not submit those to ezinearticles could I? Is that more of a "how to" article database?
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  • Profile picture of the author ukcarl
    Retail as a sector spends more money than any other on paid online advertising, so does that answer your question?
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  • Profile picture of the author C Rebecca
    Yes, PPC campaigns work for retail stores... but its depends on you, how you are managing it. But, PPC involves money, So I would advise you to conduct a PPC test before actually investing into it.
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