Category Archives: Advertising

6 Ways to Create Effective Coupons to Increase Sales

4 Jun 2014 | written by Samantha Karren for the Advertising, Small Business Tips section(s)

Wondering why so many customers fail to follow through with a purchase? In a study by PayPal and comScore, they identified the following reasons for online shoppers abandoning their carts:
reasons for online shoppers abandoning their carts

Consumers could give you a variety of other reasons for abandoning their shopping carts, but there is one way to address all of those reasons:


Coupon use is on the rise, especially among mobile phone users. One thing is clear: you should definitely be implementing coupons for your online shoppers. The next steps involve optimizing those coupons so that they lead to more purchases.

Strategic Coupon Offers for New Clients

There should be some strategy behind how you decide what coupon to offer customers. If most of your customers are new business, will you see results from offering 10% off for repeat customers? Probably not. You’ll need another coupon to entice more new customers to your door first. Decide what type of special will bring in new customers versus repeat customers, such as a particular product, an overall store discount, or a service that comes free with a purchase.

Coupons will be more effective if you align them with your current marketing strategy. For example, if you are a dentist’s office and your SEO campaign is currently focusing on clients looking for teeth whitening, then create coupons for “free teeth whitening for new patients” or “10% off teeth whitening with exam.” This is also a great way to test what coupons and ads bring in more business.

Custom Deals for Repeat Customers

Generally, it should be easier to guess what your existing clients want from you once they’ve already done business with you. Offer customized coupons based on the customer’s interests, such as these:

  • Birthday discounts you send to loyal clients on their birthday
  • Service reminders to clients who need service at routine intervals
  • Holiday specials
  • In-season products

Try to rise above “coupon spam” with your strategy. Consumers get tired of being bombarded with emails and texts that offer discounts they aren’t interested in. Give them coupons they really want and use.

Making Coupons Mobile Friendly

Now that you have a strategy, you need to push the coupon out to your customers. If your goal is to drive online conversions and sales, then you have to optimize your coupons for mobile users and online shoppers.
The future of coupons in mobile phone apps

Format your coupons for easy access on mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. You can format mobile coupons in a number of ways:

  • Text only (for text messages)
  • Images (for social media posts and emails)
  • Web-based coupon (for your website, an app, or other webpage)

Remember, your website should also be mobile-optimized, especially if you want mobile users to be able to find or redeem coupons on your website.

Distributing Coupons

It’s up to you to decide how your targeted demographic prefers to receive coupons. Some of the most popular methods are:

  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Social media posts and updates
  • Apps
  • QR code scans
  • A clickable banner on your site

You may need to do some testing to see which distribution methods get the best response. Here’s a look at some customer-preferred methods:
Preferred method of receiving mobile coupons

Keep in mind that you have to capture the customer’s phone number or email before you can send them a coupon code. QR codes work great for customers who are already in the store. Social media coupons can also entice customers to follow you or submit their phone and email to receive future updates. Social media coupons are a great way to bring in new leads, because you can urge users to “share this coupon with friends.”

Managing Coupon Logistics

It seems obvious, but make sure the terms of your coupon are clear. The coupon should state where and how to redeem the coupon and provide a clear window before expiration. The urgency conveyed by your coupon can also affect how likely the coupon is limited to one per customer, per visit, etc.

You don’t want to lose money with coupons. Use Michael Scott from “The Office” as an example for good or bad. It’s great to start with a cute coupon idea like a “golden ticket,” but make sure the discount doesn’t backfire and cause you to lose money because you didn’t establish terms or set limits on who can redeem the coupon and how often.

Tracking Coupon Redemption and Sales

Finally, set up a redemption code to help you track the coupon’s performance. Some websites offer unlimited coupon use for whoever enters the code at checkout. Others offer a completely unique redemption code for each customer. It’s up to you. Just make sure you can keep track of how often those codes are used at checkout and whether it improves purchase rates.

Want to improve customer retention as well as first-time purchases? Update your coupon strategy often and keep them coming!



Year by Year: How Google AdWords Changed Online Marketing Forever

22 May 2014 | written by Elizabeth Baier for the Advertising, internet marketing, online marketing section(s)

How Google Adwords Changed Online Marketing Forever

Let’s take things back to the year Y2K. That’s when Google launched the first version of AdWords and at the time, only had 350 customers.

To be honest, the idea wasn’t completely original. AdWords was a variation of an idea developed by Bill Gross: featuring PPC ads on his search engine on There was a legal dispute when Google launched their version, but it was settled outside of court and AdWords went on to become a very profitable entity for Google. The ads made more than $70 million in the first year.

Just like anything else Google does, it changed online marketing forever.

Within a couple of years, the platform made some improvements and launched AdWords Select. The new changes included CPC-based pricing, so advertisers could pay only when the ads are clicked instead of by impressions. There were several other benefits, as well:

  • A built-in “discounter” ensured that you paid the lowest amount possible and adjusted to the marketplace
  • It only took four steps to create a new campaign
  • There were tools to make sure the ads were shown to a targeted demographic
  • You could choose specific countries to target and it made ads in different languages

Things only got better from there. The display network came in 2005, as did conversion tracking. Up until that point advertisers couldn’t pinpoint what leads were coming from which keywords or ads. Google added a keyword tool and enhanced the display network, which enabled it to show more relevant and advanced ads.

Google’s account management service was also launched in 2005. Jump Start offered a service to set up your campaign for you, handling the first steps of the process, and then handed off the campaign management to you after the initial set up.  This was also the year that they finally offered a training program that taught you how to set up campaigns correctly.

The Google Online Marketing Challenge started in 2008 and is still held every year. More than 50,000 students have participated through the years and this opportunity gives students and professionals the chance to put their mark on the digital marketing landscape.

Last year, AdWords launched Enhanced Campaigns. In short, this update included the ability to match ads with context, meaning you can now optimize ads for mobile and desktop users and even make adjustments for time and location of search. Enhanced allows you to bid more or less depending on these specifications. Most importantly, there was an algorithm update last year—this is currently how Ad Rank determines your position in the live auction.

How Ad Rank determines your position in the live auction

We already know 2014 will include AdWords changes because they are hosting a livestream on April 22 to announce new innovations.

Users Don’t Need to Be Pros

Sure, there are hundreds of online marketing firms that now specialize in PPC advertising. Heck, we are even one of them. But the average user doesn’t need to be a pro to start seeing success. The platform is inherently easy to use with Google’s guidance and you don’t need to hire someone to do your ads if you don’t want to.

  • Campaign creation only takes a few minutes
  • There’s no minimum buy
  • You can pay only for clicks
  • You can stop or pause the campaign whenever you want

Whether you want to use Jump Start or try to do it yourself, you have options. If you decide to go with the expert route, make sure to choose a company that is a Google AdWords Certified Partner.

Results-Based Advertising

AdWords takes a lot of guess work out of online marketing. Up until Bill Gross’ idea, there wasn’t any way to get your advertisements in search results. Now that thought is foreign because we are all very accustomed to seeing paid ads when we search.

AdWords allows companies and advertisers to see metrics and results from their advertising efforts. Whereas SEO strategies can take months to see results, advertisers can start seeing the fruit of their labors—ahem, money—very quickly.


Why Your Business Should Consider Using YouTube


What do Red Bull, PlayStation, and Apple have in common?

The answer may surprise you: they are in the top five most popular consumer brands on YouTube as of October 2013. You may think of YouTube as just some website your kids use to show you funny videos, or if you’re like me, you use it to watch endless clips of Sophia Grace and Rosie from Ellen, but this social media site is proving to be very important for brands trying to establish a reputation.

Read On


The ROI of Marketing


Investing in online marketing is a big deal for any small business. After all, marketing can be expensive. But it’s also the best way to get people to find out about your products and services. Here are just a few ways to get your ROI with online marketing. Read On


How to Use Word-of-Mouth Marketing to Promote Your Business

10 Feb 2014 | written by Megan Palmer for the Advertising, internet marketing, Mobile Web, online marketing, PPC, SEO, Small Business Tips, Social Networking, Uncategorized section(s)


Keeping up with all of the current trends in online marketing can be tricky. Internet marketing is always changing, and people are often coming up with new strategies and tactics to get noticed. If want to make sure you’re covering all your marketing bases, consider asking yourself these 5 important questions.

Read On


Google’s Top 10 Searches of 2013

7 Feb 2014 | written by Ashley R. Cummings for the Advertising, Fun Stuff, Uncategorized section(s)


Now that we’re well into 2014, let’s take a look back at what the rest of the world was busy searching for in 2013.

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Social Media Trends for 2014


The world of social media marketing is growing rapidly each year. Every social media platform is consistently bringing their A-game to provide both individuals and businesses with creative ways to stay connected with. In order to keep up with social media and make sure you’re really getting the most out of it, it’s important to educate yourself on where you need to be in 2014. Here are some ways you can ramp up your social media strategy in 2014 in order to get the most social media exposure. Read On


Why You Should Schedule Your Paid Search Ads


Here’s the deal: paid search advertising can be expensive, especially if you’re vying for attention within a competitive industry like finance, law, or HVAC services, just to name a few. While paid search advertising can be expensive, it can produce a ginormous return on investment (otherwise, who would do it?). And there are ways to maximize your invested dollar to produce more results. One way is ad scheduling. Read On


Google’s New Keyword Planner


If you’ve used Google to do keyword research in the past few months, you may have noticed a few changes. In an effort to increase search engine relevancy, Google has eliminated their Keyword Tool and replaced it with the Keyword Planner. Change, at first, can be difficult, but the Keyword Planner can help you both select excellent keywords for ads and build effective ad content—both of which will help your online marketing. Here is what the new Keyword Planner does and how it works. Read On


How to Use Google Plus to Increase Your Reach


I know what you’re thinking! “I’ve just updated my Facebook business profile with some pretty great content. Then I spent some time tweeting, hashtagging, favoriting, and even retweeting. Then I created a board on Pinterest that I know my audience is just going to love. Finally, I wrote an engaging blog post on my company website that my clients are going to eat up. And now you’re telling me I need to post on Google+ too?” Read On