: By Joseph Kerschbaum :
At a time when
people are pinching
pennies, how do
still manage to
sell their high-ticket
Yes, the economy is
down and consumers
are spending less. But
that doesn’t mean your more expensive items
are dead in the water. Certain people will still
spend. The seven steps below will help make
sure you find them and turn them into paying
1. Think outside Google, Yahoo! and MSN. With the economy in a rut consumers are looking for deals, even on highticket
items. One alternative to the usual PPC suspects is using comparison
shopping search engines. With shopping search engines,
consumers can compare prices of several different companies carrying
the same item. Not only can item prices be compared, but also
shipping and tax amounts. The shopping search engines will then
call out the company with the best overall price. Some of these shopping
engines include shopzilla.com, pricegrabber.com, shop.com,
buy.com and shopping.com. The strategy here is to add your highend
products to these search engines. If you have the best price compared
to your competition, you are likely to get the sale. However, if
you don’t have the best price you might want to consider some other
incentives for a consumer to choose you over your lower-priced
competitors. An incentive could be free shipping, a gift with purchase
or a bounce-back coupon.
2. Increase traffic to your site with eye-catching ads.
If you have any kind of promotion or sale (free shipping, big
discounts, bounce-back coupons, buy-one-get-one, etc.) you need
to promote the same in your PPC ad text — you can be sure your
competitors are doing so.
If you don’t have any current promotions, be sure to highlight
your customer service strategy and clearly display all of your company’s
personal service benefits on your website. Some people are
willing to pay a little more for great customer service.
To really set yourself apart from your competitors use your keyword
or a key phrase in your ad display URL in Google, Yahoo!
and MSN. For example, instead of www.YourSite.com as a display
URL, consider www.YourSite.com/SonyTV (Sony TV is the key
phrase.) This will help get the attention of consumers, as they are
looking to click the ad most relevant to their search query.
3. Pull in the right people by qualifying your traffic.
Add negative keywords to your PPC account. If you have broad or
phrase-match keywords in Google or standard match in Yahoo,
chances are your paid ad is coming up for other keywords not in
your keyword list. It’s also quite possible that those keywords may
not be relevant to your site. For example, I had a client who sold
cake toppers for weddings. So, obviously, one of my best performing
keywords was broad-match “cake toppers.” However, when I ran a
search query report in Google AdWords I found that my ad was
coming up for terms like “Spiderman cake toppers” and “Mickey
Mouse cake toppers,” products my client didn’t carry. Little did I
realize I had spent hundreds of dollars on these irrelevant keywords.
Therefore, I added them as negative keywords in both my Google
and Yahoo! account. Now, I have more money to spend on people
who are more likely to buy from the website.
4. Save your budget for your high-priced items. By lowering
bids on miscellaneous items that return a very low margin and
increasing bids on your high-margin items you can maximize your
overall ROI. You may end up selling fewer items but, in turn, you will
sell more of your high-priced, high-margin products. For example,
one of my clients sells expensive musical instruments online. Sales
were down (perhaps due to the slower economy) but he continued
to sell a large amount of low-priced instrument accessories.
Unfortunately, these accessories take more time to package and ship
and, in the end, he generated less overall revenue. Therefore, we lowered
keyword bids dramatically on the accessories and increased bids
on high-priced instruments. At the end of the month, he saw a
decrease in overall items purchased, but his revenue and margins were
much higher due to an increase in high-priced instrument sales.
5. Expand your keyword list. If you feel that only long-tail
keywords are going to drive qualified traffic to your site, you might
be in for a surprise. I have many general, broad-match keywords that
convert regularly. The point is, you must try everything and eliminate
what isn’t working. To start, you could include key phrase variations
with words like “buy,” “shop,” “purchase,” or “order.” These
types of keywords will target consumers who are not just researching,
but ready to make a purchase.
6. Build trust with your consumers. People looking to buy
a high-ticket item online can be fearful if they don’t recognize the
name of your company. Remove any fears they may have by adding
trust logos and security symbols to your site, as well as product
reviews, testimonials and client logos with whom you have worked
in the past. I also recommend you add a “no-hassle return policy” on every page of your site. This will ensure the consumer that if they
purchase from your site and don’t like the product, they can return
it without problems.
7. Clean up your landing pages and/or website. Have
you actually tried to make a purchase on your own website? Try it,
and write down any questions or confusing elements a user might
feel when checking out. Speak with your programmers and make
this a priority to fix. Making it difficult for consumers to check out
on your site can hurt you in several ways: you may not end up getting
the sale, consumers will remember a poor experience and won’t
come back, or worse, they might tell all of their friends about their
negative experience. Word-of-mouth testimonials and reviews have
a major influence on purchasing decisions — good or bad. Giving
users great experiences when checking out on your site produces
loyal customers and positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Don’t feel that you need to hide your high-ticket items in light of
a sagging economy. There are still plenty of good tactics and strategies
advertisers can utilize to increase sales of even the most expensive
products. These strategies have proven their worth with my
clients and they can do the same for you.
About the Author: Joseph Kerschbaum is a member of the PPC Hero team, a blog that discusses
pay-per-click strategy, management, and industry updates – but
with a heroic flare. Joseph is a Senior Paid Search Marketing Consultant
for Hanapin Marketing, a Search Engine Marketing/Web Development
firm based in Bloomington, Indiana.