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Ecommerce Without Adwords
tomhumf




msg:3925499
 9:54 am on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I'm running a couple of ecommerce sites, one for about a year, another for a few months. I am currently relying on organic traffic and Google Base for visitors.

I haven't started using Adwords or other paid traffic as I am a cheapskate, and don't think I could get a good ROI with my profit margins.

I was wondering how many/any other people run purely organic ecommerce sites. Am I crazy?

Tom

 

piatkow




msg:3925610
 1:10 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't think that I have ever bought anything as a result of adwords:

The three main sites that I use are as a result of:
1. General publicity (OK, its Amazon)
2. Printed ad in a specialist publication (not THAT sort of specialist publication!)
3. Came across while checking out affiliate marketing options and liked their product range.

When I received an Adwords voucher on upgrading my hosting I had a little play at setting up an Amazon aStore but didn't get a penny in sales through Adwords.

LifeinAsia




msg:3925700
 3:32 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I know it's difficult for people to understand it these days, but there were actually quite a few flourishing web sites BEFORE AdWords.

rocknbil




msg:3925727
 4:09 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have a client that started a new web site. We began a modest AdWords campaign, by most standards it was nickel/dime - started on $5 per day. Very cautious about choosing keywords and ads.

First sale came in one week.

We ran the AdWords for about a year on a $35 day/budget. Sales were good, but always always, watching those stats for increases in traffic NOT from the adWords server.

When it got to a point where the organics were sufficient to sustain sales, we closed all adWords campaigns. It was scary . . . .

But the sales continued at approximately 85% of the sales WITH adWords.

So no, you're not crazy, but what you need to be is patient, it will just take longer. Keep adding site content.

T_Miller




msg:3925773
 5:06 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was wondering how many/any other people run purely organic ecommerce sites.

Our ecommerce site has never ran any PPC ads or paid to be listed in any directories. Our site was built and tweaked slowly over time. And with one complete cart platform change thrown in there in 2006.

The growth curve has been steadily upward. The past year or so it has REALLY shot up (which makes me look good ;)).

It's all been done with content, SEO tweaking, analyzing stats & analytics, adding more products, listening to customers, etc.

buckworks




msg:3925812
 5:48 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

If the ROI is positive, don't hesitate to pay for advertising.

tomhumf




msg:3925949
 9:08 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi Thanks all for your replies.

I do plan to experiment with paid ads at some point, but glad to see some others have success without them.

I need to work on my content writing I think, and I am looking to increase my product range. I drop ship a few hundred products on each site, but I know the more the better.

Digmen1




msg:3925972
 9:41 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Very interesting.

I tend to agree, the expense of Adwords clicks these days means you need to have a high value product to make it worthwile.

I am concentrating on building relationships with companies via forums and phone calls. This seems to be a better use of my time that pulling my hair out with SEO campaigns and Google Keywords.

dickbaker




msg:3925975
 9:44 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

When I added an online store to my site, I tried Adwords and it was a huge loser.

Now I only advertise one type of widget, and only during the months of May and June. Even at that, the cost of Adwords consumes one-half to one-third of the profit of every widget sale.

For the rest of the items I sell, sales come through organic searches, Google base, or word of mouth.

Mine isn't a huge business, but it's enough for me to make a comfortable living (and have a one year old Mustang GT, a Harley, and other toys ;) ).

Digmen1




msg:3925978
 9:45 pm on Jun 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I also think Adwords is driven by SEO companies that have sucked other companies into using their services. It seems to be quite a big industry.

MrHard




msg:3926130
 4:21 am on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Putting them in at 5 cents is probably better then not putting them in at all.

tangor




msg:3926145
 4:57 am on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was wondering how many/any other people run purely organic ecommerce sites. Am I crazy?

You are not crazy. My commercial sites (not in my profile) do not google adword or adsense and have done very well since 1996... some better than others, but all at least paying their way. Making a "killing" on the net is more difficult these days because of the sheer number of competitors but a living can be made with the right product(s), marketing, and sales.

tomhumf




msg:3926221
 6:56 am on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

We ran the AdWords for about a year on a $35 day/budget.

I was wondering if rocknbil or others can say how long per week they spend managing an adwords campaign of this value. This would be something to consider if the ROI is small.

rocknbil




msg:3926566
 3:30 pm on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I spent a few hours a day over a month or so setting it up: finding the right keywords, trading "high cost, low quality" keywords for more focused less expensive keywords, determining peak usage hours to schedule when the ads run (this is really important on a budget,) identifying the ones that performed and which ones didn't, concentrating the budget on the ones that did. One path we chose was instead of letting "keyword envy" get the better of us and throw large chunks to expensive keywords - ones you'd think were important - we'd let those go and spread the dinero among three or four other keyword ads that were less expensive. The overall effect was were were spending say, $1 per click over 3 or 4 ads instead of $1 per click on a single ad, costing less and getting more exposure.

After it got into a "comfortable" position - ads that displayed in the first page of searches, and at least half the clicks let to conversions - we just let it run.

So basically all of the ads we displayed came up on the first page of results, during our peak traffic hours, or they were kicked out the door.

We left the content network alone, too much abuse there. Also a large input factor in determining "what works" is frequent comparisons against Analytics stats.

A second client of mine had an existing campaign that someone had set up, obviously clueless to The Way Things Work. He was spending $100 per day with a very modest return on leads. Some of the clicks were costing him $3-$5 per click in a very specific niche. I reviewed his account, set up a second campaign with focused keywords; his ads now ran from 5 cents a click to 25 cents a click, with the most expensive one at 50 cents. I also scheduled his ads to run during his peak hours only.

His leads increased to %200 over previous and his daily budget was now $15 per day.

So to answer the question, initially, 2-3 hours per day for a month or so, after that, pop in and check in it every other day, 10-15 minutes.

HugeNerd




msg:3926859
 10:12 pm on Jun 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I recently took my AdWords budget for my main e-com site down from about $500 to $750 per day (down from almost $1,000/day 2 years ago) all the way down to $150/day max. Sales suffered, of course, but not nearly by the percentage which I cut my ad spend. Granted, I am operating in an industry where the manufacturers absolutely dominate the first couple of pages of natural results and a few very, very big, very well known companies (i.e. (B)Lowes and Home De(s)pot..couldn't resist) and their various e-com operations, of which they have many, invest heavily in AdWords -- though they, too, are cutting back. Long and short is that I'm still around and still making money after cutting the cord, so to speak. I'm not completely weened off AdWords yet, but I'm now a functioning addict...

I'd suggest you investigate Amazon. I've been selling through their portal since December and am quite happy. With Amazon, their fee is a flat rate and is taken out as a percentage of each sale, so my ROI is determined by only two factors: how much time I spend adding product/writing descriptions and the sales price I set. Amazon takes care of all the advertising...simple, straightforward, easy math for me! I also gained access to customer base which previously didn't even consider me a viable option. Amazon has more than made up for the sales I've "lost" since cutting my AdWords budget.

pbradish




msg:3928701
 3:52 pm on Jun 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was wondering if rocknbil or others can say how long per week they spend managing an adwords campaign of this value. This would be something to consider if the ROI is small.

We do between $200-$300/day in Google Adwords. I spend 10-20 minutes daily tweaking and generally just doing what I can to make the campaign better.

The ROI is good. Good enough to dedicate the time towards.

ssgumby




msg:3929559
 2:05 pm on Jun 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

We spend $500/month in adwords and generate 20k/month in sales from it.

JohnRoy




msg:3929769
 5:59 pm on Jun 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Keep adding site content.

That's the million dollar question. Which type of content to publish. You need content that would drive traffic to a ecommerce site and convert.

MadeWillis




msg:3929803
 6:41 pm on Jun 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I spend over $100k/month on PPC which represents around 40%-45% of total sales. It's definately a pretty big driver for me and I'm sure it affects other marketing channels.

celerityfm




msg:3929835
 7:35 pm on Jun 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

The presence of adwords have also been shown to increase clickthrough on organic results if you buy ads on keywords you are already ranking for - so be sure to try to track for that in your ROI calculation :)

koan




msg:3929910
 8:55 pm on Jun 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

You need content that would drive traffic to a ecommerce site and convert.

Not necessarily. A lot of people complain that it's hard to get links and organic/referring traffic to an ecommerce site. Having a collection of good articles is one way to attain that.

rise2it




msg:3930159
 7:02 am on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

"I know it's difficult for people to understand it these days, but there were actually quite a few flourishing web sites BEFORE AdWords. "

Yes, and before everyone fell for the Goto/Overture .01 bid stuff.

What changed is you now get to sell three times as much stuff to make the same amount of (net profit) money.

..and if I sound annoyed, I am.

I can live with the money aspect - but the TIME it takes to set up and track this stuff is a real negative.

KFish




msg:3930283
 10:32 am on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

We spend $500/month in adwords and generate 20k/month in sales from it.

Then you should write an ebook. It will sell like hot cakes.;-)

[edited by: KFish at 10:33 am (utc) on June 10, 2009]

koan




msg:3930330
 11:30 am on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Then you should write an ebook.

Unless his profit margin is less than 2.5%, then he'd actually be losing money ;)

MadeWillis




msg:3930357
 12:50 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Unless his profit margin is less than 2.5%, then he'd actually be losing money

Sounds too good to be entirely true. I wonder what his margins are and if that 20k in sales is directly from Adwords or total sales for the site. If it is just from Adwords I would try to spend more like 5k per month and see where that gets me.

ssgumby




msg:3930394
 2:00 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

LOL ... our margins are 20-50%.

The 20k is directly from Google Ad Words not total sales. We have a tracking id on our urls in our google ads that tracks where sales come from and I can see in my reports total sales.

I dont personally manage the adwords, we have someone in house that handles that aspect of things (as well as many other things). All I know is the budget is $500 ... as far as I know, that is never depleted and we are always at the top for our ads.

I will speak with the person who does the adwords to see if I am correct or if we do actually run out of funds sometime in the month. If we do, the MadeWillis you make an excellent point in that we should be cranking that up.

I will say we have a pretty unique niche market with 5-10 competitors and of those 5-10 we have 3 or 4 that run adwords along with us.

Lastly, I do know that we have a pretty targeted campaign. We have a very large set of ads based on specific keywords and we also put in negative keywords so we dont show up places we dont want to be. We also target specific locales as we know where our customers are and are not. Lastly, we do no content ads, its all search ads. We spent a great deal of time fine tuning the campaigns and we also rotate them so the customers dont see the same ads over and over and the same offers over and over.

MadeWillis




msg:3930408
 2:19 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

ssgumby, do you run on Yahoo as well? If so, how is your performance?

Tonearm




msg:3930413
 2:24 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I also scheduled his ads to run during his peak hours only.

rocknbil, what is the logic behind this? Is it to minimize click fraud?

ssgumby




msg:3930414
 2:25 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

We tried yahoo multiple times and just never saw much out of it. We no longer use yahoo.

Also, we just recently started bing ads. So far im unimpressed with the result there but its still early. We started bing as microsoft is running like a 100 million ad campaign to get the name out and we hope to take advantage of that.

stevebaik




msg:3930736
 8:00 pm on Jun 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's not crazy at all. It depends on what you're looking for. It's 1 of 3 things. Either you do SEO and build organic traffic, use PPC to get immediate traffic, or both at the same time.

Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages for both. SEO is less expensive and beneficial for the long-term, while PPC gets you the quickest traffic for a price.

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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