Article: A Retrospective of Working in PPC for 20 Year by Brad Geddes

If you have a few minutes, read this article. In it, Brad Geddes @bgtheory, gives a great overview of how digital marketing has changed in the past 20 years.

For me this was a nice trip down memory lane: GoTo.com and the early years of AdWords.

https://bgtheory.com/blog/a-retrospective-of-working-in-ppc-for-20-years/

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Effective Digital Marketing for Food & Beverage Businesses

By Evander Lim

Given the rise of online food ordering and review sites, coupled with a saturated business environment, these are some effective digital marketing strategies that can be used to increase traffic and profitability.

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Build a Geo-Specific Digital Marketing via Competitive Analysis

Before any food and beverage owner markets their own brand, it is important that they conduct a market analysis so that they can understand the different types of tactics used by their competitors. The background information will help you to come up with creative marketing concepts and presentations for scaling the business. One of these is to use digital marketing for your F&B business because people tend to check out online reviews before making a decision.

In particular, the types of tactics used to reach their customers. This background info will help food and beverage establishments to come up with innovative marketing concepts. One of the most essential involves targeting at people who check out food or restaurant reviews online, at sites such as Yelp, Zomato and even TripAdvisor, prior to making reservations. Review sites influence dining decisions. Almost twice as many consumers reported reading restaurant reviews compared to doctor/dentist reviews, the next popular category. 34 percent of diners reported that information on a peer review site is likely to affect their decision when choosing a restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association’s National Household Survey. As proven, online reviews can help make your business to a great extent according to Harvard Business School Professor Michael Luca. He found that a one-star increase in a Yelp rating leads to a 5 percent to 9 percent bump in revenue. Listing at strategic partner sites such as online reservation site, OpenTable or online food take-out sites, SkipTheDishes and Nomme, will also provide you with more keyword search referrals to your website. OpenTable, in particular, is a leading provider of online restaurant reservations that allows sharing of dining experiences. About 24 hours after dining at the restaurant, customers will be invited via email to provide their feedback.

If you have not created a Google Plus and Google Places accounts for your business, start creating one now with important information such as address and contact number listed. This will also boost your Google search ranking with geo-specific information. A search on Google or Google Maps also embed a link for “Google reviews” within the listing for your own website.

Email Marketing

Some people may not know how effective email marketing is since it has been around for a long time. Though some people may think this form of advertisement is outdated, it is still a very powerful tool that can be used for many marketing strategies. That said, here are some effective promotional email marketing schemes:

  • Send customized emails to previous customers to get them to return again. Offer discounts and savings for popular food items to get them to return within a specific period of time.
  • To stimulate the taste and appeal, sending out mouth-watering images of the restaurant’s food can help to generate and stimulate cravings for their most popular dishes.
  • Email gives the owners a medium to keep in constant contact with their customers.
  • E-mail diners thanking them for their visit, encouraging them to review your restaurant online. For instance, TripAdvisor offers a free Review Express option that invites customers for reviews. This creates another opportunity for the restaurant to reach out to their customers.

Don’t Forget – Social Media Marketing

People love to share about their experiences on social media platforms, particularly with food! Often, friends and acquaintances comment on their dining experiences on Facebook or their blogs. Therefore, create a social media account at platforms your clients visit (with food pictures!) and let their posts speak for themselves. This also ensures SEO for your business with more referral links to your website. However, this form of digital marketing will require constant monitoring in order to manage your reputation since social media is public. Hence, make sure you live up to your reputation by responding to postings on these platforms in a timely manner.

What about Mobile Customers?

With accelerating smartphone penetrations, consumers are increasingly accessing information on the go, through apps such as Foursquare or Yelp. Searches on Yelp’s mobile app were responsible for 46 percent of all Yelp searches in 2013. As mobile customers are more likely to look for immediate dining decisions, reaching out to them at the right time becomes even more crucial.

Check-in offers a great way to entice this type of customers. Customers can “check in” to your restaurant on Foursquare or Facebook using their mobile devices. You may even provide incentives, such as rebates or discounts, for diners who check-in to encourage revisits and good reviews.

Find Other Digital Ways Of Marketing

Finally, look into the blind spots - platforms that are less popular as compared to Facebook and Instagram, but gaining in popularity depending on target audience, such as blogs, online magazines such as AvenueCalgary, and Q&A sites. You may also collaborate with Zomato (similar to Yelp) that allows restaurants to link to their Twitter feeds and re-tweet posts. Take advantage of any opportunity to drive customers to your site, where you have full control over your messaging. Yelp also helps you track the number of clicks from its site to your website, offering even more useful data to retarget your potential customers.

Start getting creative too! Denny’s include a survey code on their receipts to attract customers to share their feedback, and collect data for marketing purpose. In doing so, customers are rewarded with free pancakes for their next visit! Starbucks and McDonald’s also require guests to log in with their email accounts whenever they are tapping into their Wi-Fi networks, in order to stay in touch with them. All these strategies combined with quality SEO, and SEM services will give your F&B brand the muscle it needs to establish itself as an authority in your territory!

 

Measuring The Impact Of Gift Cards

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We encourage our clients to use Mx3 Metrics for all their channels, not just digital or social. An important channel that some of our clients rely on is gift card sales. Gift cards are explicitly measurable and proven to generate a high Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI). Gift cards can help with new customer acquisition, as they act as a defacto recommendation from the gift giver to the recipient, while also being popular among returning customers as well.

Gift cards are a multi-billion dollar business in Canada and the U.S., and their popularity is still on the rise. Gift cards are not only popular with consumers — businesses are adding them to their marketing mix, and for good reasons:

For consumers:

  • Gift cards make gift giving a lot easier. Just about every retailer — from clothing to coffee to high-end restaurants to books and electronics — offers gift cards. That means the person you’re buying the gift card for can purchase something you know they’ll like.
  • Gift cards are convenient. You can purchase gift cards pretty much anywhere — directly from your store or restaurant of choice or at gift card “malls” or “kiosks” at convenience stores and major retailers.
  • Gift cards make it easier to stick to a budget, especially during the holidays.
  • Most provinces have legislation in place to prohibit expiry dates on gift cards, which means your money won’t go to waste.

For retailers:

  • Gift cards provide an additional revenue stream for retailers, generating revenue in advance of sales.
  • Shoppers using gift cards are 2.5 times more likely to pay full price for the products they buy.
  • Many gift cards are not redeemed for their full value so that encourages repeat visits.
  • About 6% of gift cards end up unused.
  • Many people spend more than the value of the gift card. (72% of consumers will spend about 20% more than the value of the gift card)

From these statistics, it’s clear that for some businesses, gift cards can make a great addition to your marketing efforts.

Case In Point:
One of our restaurant clients, Japanese Village Edmonton, offers a discounted gift card through Costco stores in Edmonton. We were tasked with figuring out how to track the performance of these gift cards with our Mx3 system. Our client, Tenkai, sells these gift cards for his restaurant through Costco Edmonton's gift card “kiosks.”

The gift cards sell for $40 each: Tenkai keeps $35 and Costco gets $5.

Tenkai’s customers get $50 worth of food at his restaurant for $40.

We decided to treat these gift cards purchased through Costco as a separate funnel so we could get a good read on the revenue generated from them and Tenkai’s return on investment.

Costs:
Real costs include how much it costs Tenkai to produce the gift cards to sell in Costco. The average cost of design and printing plastic gift cards is $1 each.

It costs Tenkai $5 for every gift card purchased through Costco. The total cost is $6 per gift card.

Impressions:
An impression is created every time a customer walks by the gift card “kiosk” in Costco.

We did a rough calculation based on the fact that there are 3 million visitors to Costco every day. Divide that by 727 stores in North America and that means about 4000 customers visit each story every day.

Multiply that by 30 days and you have about 120,000 visitors a month. Not every one will walk by the gift card “kiosk” so let’s say that 10% do. That means about 12,000 impressions a month.

These impressions may lead to an explicit benefit: the immediate or future sale. This is the outcome Tenkai is striving for, but impressions also carry implicit benefits such as branding. Exposure to the brand will increase consumers’ brand awareness while the prestige of being sold in a Fortune 500 company like Costco will build brand equity.

Revenue:
Through Costco, Tenkai Sells around 300 cards a month, around 2.5% of our monthly impressions. This number fluctuates greatly, especially around the holidays, so we smoothed it out to a round monthly average.

At $35 a card, Tenkai’s revenue stream from Costco sales is approximately $10,500 any given month.

Return On Marketing Investment:
To figure out our ROMI for each individual unit, we divide our profit per unit by our unit cost. $29 A Card / $6 Cost Per Unit equates to an ROMI of $4.83. This figure demonstrates a very healthy return on Tenkai’s investment.

At $8,700, Tenkai’s monthly profit from the gift card program provides him with consistent clientele and an opportunity to generate business from first time customers. This figure is also lower than the actual impact, since customers generally spend about 20% more than the value of the card. Congratulations Tenkai!

As the example above proves, gift cards are a tool that can tell us a lot about our clientele. We can track and measure their impact on our bottom line, but they can also generate information about our audience. For instance, we can spread them across various stores around town, telling us a lot about who our customers are and where they are coming from. This information can inform marketing strategy going forward. This data, in tandem with Mx3 Metrics, may encourage us to invest in under-developed markets and grow essential elements of our business.