I sometimes feel I do too much critiquing and too little suggesting. Like, somehow, I’m the 400 pound, mullet-sporting guy on his 3rd beer at the baseball game yelling at the 2nd baseman to hustle. So, every once in a while on a Wednesday I’ll try to balance the scales a bit and put my own ideas up for display, analysis, and critique. (view all ‘WID’ posts).
I’ve learned marketing lessons in a lot of situations – seminars, books, mentors, classrooms – but these two come straight from the school of hard knocks. Partly born from original mistakes, these are from my data, my money, and my losses. Maybe that’s why I remember them.
Lesson #1 – DIY PPC ROI, OK?
Years ago, I was marketing a physical product on the web that sold for about $400. Among a dozen other initiatives, we were using PPC. Even with a high quality score on Google Adwords, when we crunched the numbers, our margins were scarily slim. I was ready to bail on PPC and put our time and money into other channels. However, as I am known to do, I decided to try a little experiment.
The ads at the top of this post are much like the ones we were running. The one tweak I made was this: I listed the price in our ads. We went through a few more rounds of testing to get the clicks up and carefully watched our stats. Total orders dropped by 5% but PPC spending decreased by almost 75% and our margins went through the roof.
In other words, we had stopped paying for people to come look at the price, realize it was something they didn’t want to pay, and click the “back” button. True, the numbers tell us a small number of people that didn’t click because of the price would have bought anyway. But that number was small enough compared to the PPC savings that we easily made up that difference (and then some) by expanding that campaign using the money we saved.
Lesson #2 – Email Copy Conundrum
Maybe with that lesson in mind I had always included the price in my emails for a product I was marketing a few years back that cost around $40-$50. For one reason or another, it was always there. I didn’t realize how much revenue I was losing.
Finally, I did a split test. In one email, I included the price. In the other, I didn’t. After the first two days of the promotion, the click-through rate had reached 32% on the one without price and was only 17% on the copy that showed the price – a similar trend to my PPC test.
However, the email without price had generated 20% more revenue than it’s price-showing counterpart. In other words, when you’ve already spent the cash to send the email, you want as many clicks as you can get and let the site do the selling.
CTR v EPC
The moral of the story is this: when you are paying for each click (e.g., PPC), price can be a simple tool to qualify each click by answering the most common question about your resort’s offer and make that channel more cost effective. When you have already paid up front (e.g., email copy), not showing the price can be a simple tool to get the largest number of clicks possible and, in turn, the largest number of people on your sales page where you can do some more powerful marketing.
Yes, some of the people who don’t click on your PCC ad because of the price would have purchased. In my experience, that number is fairly small and is easy made up by the cash you save.
So, that’s what I do and that is what I would try if I were you. Price is a question almost every has about your offer. Listing it wisely can make your resort’s marketing that much more effective and efficient.
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