Paid Search Marketing Challenges For Your Apparel Brand

By Rob Ilas

With so many ways to market your apparel brand which ones are really where you need to adjust your focus on to grow your sales. Many CMOs are faced with how to grow their brand against other apparel competitors and feel the constant pressure to do it at such aggressive rates, that many times the most fundamental parts are overlooked and mismanaged. Besides the constant website optimization issues and finding ways to increase average order values many of the challenges fall into having an effective performance marketing strategy.

While there are many areas where you can place your efforts in performance marketing one of the core areas, which must be a priority, is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and also synonymous with PPC (Pay Per Click). According to Forrester Research retailers say search engine marketing “was more effective in 2013 than the year before”.(1) This Forrester Research survey also stated that over 85% of the respondents indicated paid search was the best way to acquire new customers. The main premise for having a robust PPC campaign is to be sure you are tapped in to the right audience so you are reaching a high quality pool of customers. Paid search marketing is very powerful with eCommerce brands, since it represents the best way to connect with a customer online, which has the intent to purchase. You want to make sure you have a presence during this zero moment of truth and your ad shows up. Otherwise you have now lost the sale to your competitor and the opportunity of growing the lifetime value of the customer. This is quite different than understanding their behavior where Facebook is a great channel to leverage on that which will be discussed in a future article.

There are some important variables to consider when developing the right strategy for your brand. You want to set a healthy budget so you can ensure you have enough impressions to cover the searches that are being made for your keywords. There are two types of keywords, branded and non-branded. Branded keywords are searches such as Levi’s, Ralph Lauren, Nike, etc. Non-branded keywords are terms like skinny jeans, men’s dress shirts and designer sunglasses. Finding the right keywords can be accessed using your Google AdWords account or having an insightful partner that can utilize a keyword strategy to build out a pool of keywords to capture the right audience. It doesn’t stop at that though, it is imperative that budget is spent the right way. It’s key to understand where clicks are being driven from inside your keyword strategy and which ones are underperforming. Once you begin to have enough data it is best to cut off the ad groups and keywords, which are not producing conversions, and then to shift that portion of the budget over to the ad groups and keywords that are producing. This is an ongoing process and an efficient brand is constantly testing ad copy to always maximize clicks. Ultimately this means more revenue for a website that is finely tuned and optimized for the user experience.

Tapping into the right audience for your brand is also important. You don’t want to generate a bunch of clicks, which could cause your bounce rate to jump if directed to the wrong customer. This just means you were targeting the wrong audience with your keywords and ultimately results in a low return on your marketing budget. It’s crucial that you segment your audience inside of AdWords and come up with a strategy to acquire high quality users. While it may sometimes cost a considerable amount to acquire a new customer via paid search, the benefit is now you have the opportunity to re-market to them via e-mail campaigns and via retargeting to help convert future sales.

Whether you have a rock star media buyer on your team internally or you use and outside agency it is a must that you are using creative content which speaks to your audience mapped back to your ad groups. The ultimate goal is to win the game against your competitors and also other online retailers such as Amazon, Zappos, Nordstrom and others who also have a keyword strategy based upon your products. Not having a bulletproof strategy will result in losing this game and also the opportunity to gain new customers to extend the longevity of your brand.

If you would like more information on how your paid search marketing strategy stacks up against your competition take a moment to complete this form and we will share a case study for one of our partners and also be glad to talk more about the challenges you are facing.

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