Winning In the Wedding Industry with PPC
Elizabeth Marsten Oct 27 2008
We’re all familiar with the wedding industry’s spending power, no matter what the economic climate, the lavish wedding will always prevail. The industry is highly competitive with high barriers to entry, so how do you generate a positive ROI in a sector that can bleed your budget dry within an hour?
- Build Up & Be Smart.
Pick a few items or products to start out with. Go with broad long tail keywords and with more of a budget on those niches rather than trying to break right out of the gate into [wedding invitations], [wedding favors], [wedding dresses] and [wedding photographers] — which are the most expensive wedding keywords out there. The idea is you build up your account’s credibility, Quality Scores and garner some revenue that can be recycled back into your marketing efforts.
- Create Relevance.
If you sell wedding invitations, but only 6 kinds and are going up against a giant that sells 600 kinds, you might want to take another look at that campaign. You’re just not going to be found to be as relevant, you’ll pay the higher cost per click and sure you’ll get some visitors, as long as your ads show, but you just won’t be out there long enough advertising with enough funds to capture enough visitors to get the ones that will end up converting. So go after the niche…
- Be Realistic.
If you can’t compete with the giants on the big stage, start with a niche and get them where they’re not. If you sell wedding invitations with pink daisies, build a campaign around daisy wedding invitations. It’ll be far more affordable and you’ll be highly relevant. Ask yourself what you have that’s unique or special that you can market.
- Invest In a Budget.
If you can’t meet a certain threshold of spend, you’ll just never get enough visitors to get the ones that convert. A budget of $300 a month for wedding favors just isn’t going to do it. You need more like $300 a week at minimum (at least if you follow the rest of the tips here) to get out there and get enough face time on a search engine results page to get the quality visitors you need.
- Be Realistic.
I really mean it, hence the repetition. If $3 cost per click is for a $4 item, it’s not a niche you should be going after right now. If you really must (since it’s the only thing you sell) than you better build one heck of a product or landing page to help get those cost per clicks down.
- Sell During the Best Time of the Day.
It really matters. A lot. For items that the bride and groom make a consensus on, let’s face it, they’re not going to sit there and surf the web together for hours. You know when they do it? During lunchtime at work. Then they go home and show the other what they found, email themselves a link or email the significant other a link. Big purchases such as wedding invitations are primarily done from home in the evenings. Customer sees what they want online while surfing during lunch, couple gets home from work, takes a look together and then processes the order there.Now this is where PPC loses some of it’s sales. While they might have found your site during the day via a PPC ad, they may have a direct link, bookmark or organic search that they perform at home to find your ad again. But it is also fair to say that a lot of couples will perform the same search again (particularly for those longtail keywords) and try and find their way back to the site they same way they got there in the first place.
So make sure you’re there when they’re looking by using ad scheduling. And if you can do incremental bidding, do it. Look at your traffic patterns around 11am to where they’ll start dropping off (around 2pm) and then back up again around 6pm. Turn your ads off when they don’t need to be running, drop the bids when they should be on but not full blast.
- Have Deals.
Weddings cost a lot. A lot. As if you didn’t know. While there might not be as many limits on budget when deciding the wedding dress and bands, you know that where the pocketbooks will tighten is on the “extras.” Items like wedding favors, bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts, monogrammed anything, cake toppers, thank you cards. The little things that add up so fast. So how do you convince the couple to choose your extras? Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Bulk discounts are great for bridesmaid gifts, package the matching thank you cards in with the wedding invitations for half off, free shipping, and personalized anything go along way to assure the bride and groom that their money is well spent. And then promote those deals like crazy in your PPC ads.
- Get the Free Stuff.
See if you can find a free AdWords credit if you’re starting a new account. Same for Yahoo and MSN. Then there are directories, product feeds and bloggers that could be promoting your items for you. Submit your site to all the free directories you can find for your wedding niche. Go after Google and MSN’s free product feeds. Write a couple pieces of inventory off and send them to a good wedding blogger for review. While that last part isn’t technically PPC, it sure doesn’t hurt to know. Yahoo’s product search feed isn’t free, but it is pay per click based.
- Use Google Checkout and Live Cashback.
Check them out and see if they’re do-able for you. Nothing like a nice colorful badge right there in your advertisement to help draw eyeballs to your listing. Plus it’s an added convenience for your customer if that’s the way they prefer to pay…OR GET PAID.
The wedding industry is immense, both in size and competition, but it’s also growing. Each year, more and more couples seek unique items and good deals online.
There’s still plenty of room for you to get in!
Vice President of Search Marketing
Elizabeth supervises the overall search division at Portent, which includes PPC, SEO, Social Media and Analytics. If you really want to know more about her check out her bit.ly bundle. Elizabeth has written several ebooks, is a ClickZ columnist, a Lynda.com course author, a Dummies book author and speaks on PPC across the USA at various conferences including the SMX shows, mozCon and Hero Con. Read More