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Why SEM works for Catalog Companies


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Catalog companies make great case studies. They take advantage of a variety of media channels, have a very loyal customer base, pride themselves on maximizing "on-page" real estate and make every effort necessary in order to grow their house list of customers. Furthermore, Paid Search in particular, they are sometimes not as aggressive as they should be. Why? Because they are not taking advantage of offline awareness, new customer acquisition and spear-heading new product merchandising.

Offline Awareness:
Some catalog companies utilize other offline channels such as Radio, Newspaper, Magazine and Television in order to attract new audiences or to lure in existing audiences who have yet to become loyal customers. However, it is quite often to find that these offline channels DO NOT collaborate with the online marketplace. It’s important to make sure than any interest coming from offline is reflected online, especially in SEM, SEO and on the website. Of course, SEO will need a longer time to establish itself, but SEM is a great example of adapting to the audiences behavior of using all means necessary to find out more information.

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Customer Acquisition Costs:

Catalog companies are often competing heavily for qualified buyers and prospects by offering promotions, discounts, free shipping, etc… And as you can imagine, this can be very expensive when considering printing costs, postage and handling, photography and all overhead to make it all happen. However, with SEM, the CPA is significantly less when comparing to mass mailing catalogs to new prospects who came from mailing list. How is this? Obvious, you do some keyword research, write a few Ad/creatives, create a landing page and your off to the races. (Of course, you need to do it intelligently and monitor it closely to maximize your efforts)

Get an edge on the competition:
One of the biggest advantages of Paid search is the ability to showcase to the world new and exciting products before any of your competitors. It’s the ability to develop and prepare SEM campaigns built around targeted keywords of the product or service utilizing everything from long tail and short tail search terms to creating an "eye-popping" landing page that captures the visitors attention before anyone else. What better strategy to acquire more new customers, tap into un-saturated waters, and get ahead of the competition which makes you unique from the rest.

So in closing, SEM in general is not always the best way to profitably grow a business, no matter how optimized it is. However, it’s the "outside the box" thinking, as well as the perceived behaviors of your customers that make your business stand out and that is what matters most. Giving the customer the best experience possible is what creates loyalty and loyalty means happy repeat buyers.

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One Response to "Why SEM works for Catalog Companies"

  1. Marketing and Measurement?

    I saw a posting on SEMGEEK.com asking the question of whether or not Web Analytics (WA) are hurting paid search. The first thing that popped in my head was another question. Are there really SEM providers or clients out there that are blindly launch

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