Before you know it, every local newspaper, radio, or community group will be knocking on your door asking for holiday advertising--if they haven't already.
Before you buy any holiday advertising you should make sure that you are getting the best value for what you paid. Many local newspapers have online versions of the ads you place in print. It seems like an increasing number of online community websites are also appearing too, and they are generating a good amount of traffic to jeweler's websites.
Today I'm here to tell you what working and what's not in the online advertising world, and give you some ideas for this upcoming season.
I've put together this table of data showing the most popular types of referral traffic for the holiday seasons of 2010, 2011, 2012, and then for the month of August 2013.
This only shows referral traffic from non-search engines and non-paid search on search engines. In other words I removed organic traffic from google.com and AdWords, from Bing.com and their paid advertising, and Yahoo.com and their paid advertising.
For the 2012 Holidays this type of traffic only accounted for 17.9% of all visitor traffic and for August 2013 it only accounted for 14.8%. Please take this into consideration when looking at this table since the numbers below are the percentages within those small percentages.
This shows the number of random blogs that are referring traffic back to retail jewelers. Getting links from blogging websites is a great way to build your SEO, but not necessarily a good way to sell products or services. Although the Blog numbers from 2010 and 2011 are significantly higher, I'm going to attribute that to the different financial climate that we were experiencing during those years.
If you're a member of your local chamber of commerce, make sure to get a link from their website back to yours.
The number of random Directory websites popping up all over the internet is nauseating. Anyone with enough money to buy a database of business names is slapping together a directory of local or national businesses just so they can make money with Google AdSense. Your business information probably appears in hundreds of locations online. The large directories include Citysearch.com, merchantcircle.com, and insiderpages.com. Those are the reputable ones that also provide some type of online review service and give you the ability to claim your business listing.
Most of the directory sites don't have a way to claim ownership of your listing and make corrections. This is completely annoying but I recommend you ignore them and just enjoy the traffic they are sending your way.
The Links you see in the table show all the random links that people have included on their website pointing back to a retail jeweler. There was a drastic dip in this number for the 2012 holidays and then a resurgence during last month. My feeling on this is that during the holiday season people are looking for fast ways to purchase and are not haphazardly browsing the web. Referrals from links happen more when people browse.
You'll notice that the Link numbers from 2010 and 2011 follow the same higher trend like the Blog for those same years. You'll find that the visitor traffic and mentality from both of these sources is similar and reflected the financial climate from those years.
Like Directory sites, I'm seeing an uncontrollable number of online news sites popping up. Some of them are legitimately backed by print newspapers and some are completely online. I'm also starting to see several news sites that purchased business directory databases and attached that to an automated news feed from other news services without producing any of their own original news articles.
Take a look at every website for all your local newspapers and either update the listing they have for you or pay to get yourself included.
The trends show that more visitors come from online paid advertising during the holiday seasons more than during the summer months, but my feeling is that's only because jewelers are advertising less during the summer. The types of paid online ads include banners on town or community websites, radio station websites, magazine websites, and services sites like theknot.com.
In fact theknot.com provides several different micro sites for regional businesses. Your paid advertising with them could go a long way if you can get your listing included in one of those regional micro sites.
The biggest contributor to paid visitor referrals is clearly the local community website. Seek out and get involved in one of these if they are available.
Local community websites are also included as part of the Paid type. They are an important part of getting your visitors to your website. Most of them are poorly designed but they refer a lot of traffic so don't be afraid of them.
I'm finally starting to see some reasonable numbers in the category. The 2.19% showing from August 2013 is mostly from listings in Amazon and eBay, but something else is also happening here. Several jewelers are starting to upload their products into tablet shopping apps and users seem to be jumping out of those apps and visiting the websites directly.
I expect to see an explosion in this number during the 2013 Holidays.
I've included this number so you could see that Social was more important in 2010 and 2011 but has dropped since then. The number from August 2013 is actually slightly higher than the 2012 Holidays. I believe this number will stay about the same for the 2013 holiday season so don't spend too much money trying to unnaturally churn your Facebook engagements. That money might be better spent on local other online paid ads.
This number represents visitors who searched for a local jeweler on a vendor's website and clicked over to the jeweler's site. Vendor websites have always been a good source of visitor referrals but the dip in last year's holiday referrals seems unusual, but also follows the dip in the numbers from Blogging and random Links. Regardless of the reason of last year's dip you still need to make sure you appear on in the zip code search for all your vendors.
By the way, this vendor referral is another good reason to carefully select the designers you carry in your store from those who will support your store. No-name brand jewelry vendors might be less expensive to carry but the reality is that people shop by brands. Those brands reward their retailers with marketing support and zip code referrals.
No referral report would be complete without some indications of visitor traffic from the plethora of 'yellow page' directories out there that call themselves yellow-something-or-other. There are a lot of them now other than the original yellowpages.com and yellowbook.com. There are so many that they now account for a whopping 8.66% of the referral traffic.
I could have included this as part of the Directory type, but I've always carried it as a separate line item. The important thing to remember is that even if you cancel your yellow pages advertising they will not remove you from their website directory, otherwise they would look like a desolate wasteland.
As a closing thought for today's Nugget, just remember that whatever offline paid advertising you do, always ask for the upgrade deal that includes some type of online link back to your website.