Ken Burke

Ken Burke
Tips for Optimizing SEM Efforts, Part 2

As the search marketing industry continues to boom, paid search budgets are ballooning. Top spenders have increased their paid search advertising threefold since 2010, according to the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO). This means competing for popular keywords can be an expensive proposition, but there are also more ways than ever to segment a search audience. To maximize the relevance of your messaging and your return on investment, take full advantage of the tools available for targeted ad spending.

Tips for Optimizing SEM Efforts, Part 1

Search engine marketing has long been a top driver of online traffic and a key area of investment for e-commerce merchants. After all, using search engines as a resource dominates online life for all users. Consumers turn to search engines specifically for shopping-related queries. According to Forrester Research, 83 percent of online consumers conduct product research prior to purchasing and 39 percent of first-time online purchasers begin their shopping with search.

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

During the economic downturn, marketers had to become smarter at e-commerce. Savvy marketers tested e-mail campaigns, offers, on-site merchandising and targeting. Now, as the economy recovers, they must build on what worked to gain competitive advantage, grow their brands and increase their customer bases.

Get Personal

In today’s economy, acquiring highly qualified customers while increasing the amount of products and services they purchase is of critical importance. By making small, manageable improvements, online merchants can increase the lifetime value of each customer, drive repeat purchases and create stronger customer loyalty.

Boost Customer Experience

After a challenging holiday season, merchants face seemingly paradoxical imperatives in 2009: Continue e-commerce growth while holding the line on expenses. Now more than ever, merchants must invest wisely to stay competitive, and continue to improve and innovate online.

Valued Promotions

It’s February. Winter still has us in its grip and apparently, so does the economic downturn. Fortunately, there are specific things online retailers can do to mitigate its effects. The other good news is that growth in the online channel still outpaces brick-and-mortar.

'Tis the Season to Buy

As e-commerce continues to be the bright spot in an otherwise clouded retail landscape, successful multichannel merchants will take advantage of consumers looking to shop more online due to the convenience, cost savings in gas and the opportunity to deal-hunt this holiday season. By implementing the following five proven tactics, you will be able to turn browsers into buyers, increase the amount shoppers spend and convert first-time shoppers into long-term, brand-loyal customers.

Smoothing a Bumpy Ride

To combat the triple challenge of economic uncertainty, slowing market gains and seasonal swings, e-commerce merchants must shift focus to a previously neglected stage of the sales process: customer retention. Currently, online retailers allocate 53 percent of their marketing budgets to online customer acquisition and 21 percent of marketing dollars to online customer retention, according to's State of Online Retailing Study for 2008. By building a base of loyal customers, merchants can smooth their averages by driving repeat business over time.

Humanizing the Web

As the playing field levels for online retailers in terms of basic transactional capabilities—e.g., fast checkout processes, accurate shipping calculators, e-mail order confirmations—how can we increase sales and build competitive advantage in the years ahead?

Demystifying Social Computing

Social computing technologies are an increasingly vital part of consumers’ lives. Industry analyst Forrester Research reports that use of social networking sites grew a whopping 90 percent from 2006 to 2007; in the same time period, blog consumption grew by 83 percent and the number of consumers relying on RSS feeds to distill content jumped fully 300 percent. Consumers are talking to each other.

E-commerce Link: Holiday Countdown

Whether they start their shopping well before Thanksgiving or mere minutes before Santa climbs into his sleigh, holiday shoppers expect a broad choice of products, easy shopping, good prices and rapid, on-time delivery. These are some high hopes, but with carefully crafted marketing and merchandising, you can keep customers happy and sales high throughout your holiday and post-holiday seasons. Gift giving is, of course, the overriding driver of holiday sales. In its October 2006 report, U.S. eCommerce: Five-Year Forecast and Data Overview, Forrester Research found that half of all online buying is for others, and this percentage increases greatly during November and December. Research

E-commerce Link: Taming Web Analytics

Most Web analytics programs churn out a mountain of data—some of it relevant and much of it not. The challenge marketers face is how to sift through that mountain to uncover the nuggets of information that will help guide e-commerce design and decisions, and ultimately drive profits. When Forrester Research recently polled members of its Web Analytics Peer Research Panel, 53 percent responded that taking action on analytics findings was the most significant nontechnical hurdle they faced. At the same time, Forrester says analytics was the top spending category for research professionals in 2006. That’s because there is a proven business case for investing

E-commerce Link: Lights, Camera, (Sales) Action!

Online video is riding a wave of popularity. Industry researcher Forrester Research reports that 34 percent of all Internet users view video online at least monthly, and 53 percent have seen a video online at least once. The content of those videos ranges from movie previews to amateur productions to video-phone captures uploaded to video-sharing Web site YouTube, whose $1.65 billion acquisition by Google grabbed headlines last year—and put a hefty dollar value on the online video phenomenon. There’s no doubt that online video is cool. But for merchants who need to focus resources on maximizing conversions and loyalty, the hype factor alone isn’t enough

E-commerce Link: Smart Sending

E-mail is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach customers with relevant offers. But the prospect of delving into your e-mail list can be daunting; which demographics will deliver, and what offers will entice? In a study conducted by e-mail marketing firm DoubleClick, more than a third of consumers said they’d clicked on a message link immediately and made a purchase in the same session, while 78 percent of participants reported making an eventual purchase after receiving an e-mail offer. With such a high response rate, e-mail trounces paid search campaigns and affiliate programs when it comes to return on investment. A recent

E-commerce Link: Bypass the Inbox

E-mail marketing may not be in a state of crisis, but it certainly is not as productive as it once was. Every marketer knows that it’s getting more difficult to get a message into the inbox of suitable customers, and harder still to make the recipients act on it. To supplement e-mail marketing efforts, aggressive online marketers are tapping into new tools and technologies that consumers now are finding valuable. These new approaches provide marketers with a great opportunity for highly targeted marketing communications with individual consumers. The Problem With E-mail Traditional e-mail marketing messages increasingly are more difficult to deliver to the consumer. Every Internet