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Bison Disc's paid-search ignites leads

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More than 90% of CD and DVD duplication provider Bison Disc's customers are generated online, so search has always been a big part of the company's marketing strategy. However, by 2010 the company's paid-search efforts were stagnant, said John Cleeveley, the company's CFO who also handles search marketing. Campaign ROI was poor and, as a result, Cleeveley cut his monthly search budget from $20,000 to $5,000. Still, this wasn't optimal, so Bison Disc hired search company Page Zero Media at the end of 2010 to handle its paid-search efforts. The first order of business, said Andrew Goodman, president of Page Zero Media, was cutting broader search terms on both Bing and Google, the two search engines on which Bison Disc runs ads. “We cut out all the scary waste,” he said. For instance, the term “CD copying” skewed very consumer. There were many other similar terms that did not have enough of a targeted focus, Goodman said. “Many of [Bison Disc's] search terms were very open-ended, and there wasn't enough differentiation between other closely related terms,” he said. For instance, “CD replication” was a much better business term than “CD copying,” Goodman said. Bison Disc also added additional keywords to the mix. To ensure the right terms were being used, Page Zero Media analyzed the company's product line to figure out new takes on its existing products. The company also spent time looking at past conversions and analytics to determine which terms converted and how people were finding the site organically. While that may seem basic, it's a step many companies skip when starting or expanding a paid-search campaign, Goodman said. “You've got to be constantly adding keywords and evaluating the ones you're already using,” he said. “It's also important to compare data on keywords that get people clicking through and the ones that actually get people to take action and fill out a lead-gen form.” Once the keywords were selected, Page Zero Media did an analysis of the company's landing pages. It discovered that many of the paid-search terms led right to Bison Disc's home page. “We were just sending everyone to the home page or slight variations of the home page, [so] we developed landing pages specific to keywords,” Cleeveley said. It is a strategy that everyone should use, Goodman added. “A prospect shouldn't have to think for a second about what they were looking for,” he said. “The search term they clicked on should be carried through to the landing page—the headline of the landing page.” Existing landing pages were tweaked as well, Cleeveley said. “On one page, we had a rotating image. The prospect saw an offer for 100 of a product for $199 and 1,000 for $790. The offer changed in and out,” he said. Those offers should be static, they were told, since people clicking through might not stay long enough to see both. Finally, Page Zero Media implemented constant testing so poorly performing keywords or landing pages could be lopped from campaigns immediately, saving Bison Disc time and money. It's working, Cleeveley said. “Since implementing the new strategies, requests for quotes increased by 450% between 2010 over what we're projecting through 2012. Cost per RFQ dropped by 35% to date,” he said. Just as important: New online customers increased by 80% between 2010 and 2011. This year, that stat is expected to rise again. “New online customers in 2012 as projected over 2011 should increase by 62%,” Cleeveley said.
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