Banquet Industry Corona Virus – Looking forward is important.

Banquet industry Corona Virus days – You can still generate business even when the spread of Corona Virus is making everyone stay indoors.

You need to focus on future bookings.

Corona Virus is not going to stay here for long.

It is a difficult time, but it will pass.

People, especially optimists, are certainly planning ahead for their wedding, parties, sometime in the future, once the Corona Virus problem subsides.

Yes, it is true that banquet hall business cannot run as normal in these difficult times. However, that does not mean that you cannot think ahead and take bookings for new business.

I know it can be tough for many businesses to think long term in these difficult times, but that’s the only way when the short term makes it hard to operate.

I happen to serve a banquet hall client in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) has had 239 cases of COVID-19 reported in Toronto so far, and yesterday, March 23, 2020, Mayor John Tory declared an Emergency  in the city of Toronto. ( https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/8643-MOH-Statement_23March2020.pdf )

Banquet hall business prior to Covid-19 Corona Virus

Earlier I was averaging around 40 form fills every week ( at around $3.55 per form fill) and numerous phone calls, and inquiries over social media for which I do not have proper count because of difficulty in tracking them ( without client investing in client tracking etc.).

banquet hall industry corona virus

Banquet hall business in times of Covid-19

Last week, corona virus took all the news space. Corona Virus patient’s numbers kept on rising everyday. Bad news kept on coming like a tornado.

However there were still some people planning ahead, for their weddings, events and birthdays. – THIS IS IMPORTANT.

We got queries from people planning weddings in July, August, September and beyond.

Even a fund raiser was being planned.

Someone was planning a bridal shower, someone else was looking for a quote for engagement.

There was even a query for a little girl’s sweet sixteen being planned for mid April and they came to us because the girl was heart broken that other venue had cancelled the event.

Given the current situation, we could not be sure whether the government orders would allow us to host an event in April, but my point is that people still think of events in future.

Most banquet halls will just switch off their advertising to cut their losses but this is exactly what you should NOT do.

Think long term.

Think positive.

Things will change and be normal again.

Your business should be the one to hit the ground running once things normalize.

Get your bokings today.

Yes the cost to get leads has risen up because consumers are in a different mindset. Very few are thinking positive and long term but you must connect with those who are, so that your order books are ready once the Corona Virus problem subsides.

catering business corona virus covid19 banquet hall

Last week, amidst all the Corona virus gloom, we managed to get only 14 form fills, at alomst $15/form fill. I am hopeful of reducing this cost per lead due to an improvement in targeting which I have now implemented but it is not going to be like normal times for sure. The phone calls have reduced too. BUT I think it is very important to have those order books ready.

This applies to other business too

While this article is for banquet halls but I am sure there must be something positive for other business too, who might teporarily be facing huge loss in business.

Think positive. Think long term and stay in front of those looking for your services in the near future is my message to all businesses like Banquets Halls in Corona Virus days. Banquet Industry Corona Virus problems would hopefully end soon.  

Positioning is important

Positioning is the foundation of every business.

positioning in business

*Image credit : https://twitter.com/randfish/status/1208135554275012608

How to keep PPC accounts healthy

This article on PPC Hero is a good pointer.

You could vary the frequency of executing the suggested steps as per your account’s requirements but the steps mentioned herein are all very relevant towards maintaining a healthy PPC account.

https://www.ppchero.com/ppc-task-checklist-for-account-success/

 

Automation is changing the way Adwords accounts are managed

Matt Lawson currently Managing Director, Ads Marketing at Google has written a very interesting article on account structure.

Many PPC Managers, including me, are what can be called “control freaks” – we like to tweak accounts in the hope of making them as relevant as possible, to squeeze as much performance as possible. This is of course time consuming but so far it has been very rewarding.

However even I am noticing that with automation algorithms becoming smarter, we can now stop tweaking a lot of small controls and start focusing at the big picture.

There is a definite need to give up the old way of managing accounts and start considering automation algorithms as a partner. The automation is still far from perfect but it’s worth a try as an experiment for sure. As we all know, more automation is definitely the way forward.

Analyzing what is happening is even more important when we give away some part of control to the algorithm.

Our role as PPC managers will now be even more focused on the big picture, analysis and making sure that automation is doing what we want it to do.

As of now, at least for some more time, I will continue to keep a mix of management style – some controls and some amount of let-go to the automation algorithms. However I am definitely convinced that it’s time to start thinking the way Matt is advocating in this article on Search Engine Land.

The future of marketing – Relevant, Personalized and Assistive. (All 3 are important)

Marketing should be about bringing the right buyers to the right products.

Bombarding ads in name of marketing is something I have always been against.

mobile advertising ppc management

Consumers always have a choice” and mobile has strengthened this statement even more because now information is so readily available.

As Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP Ads & Commerce at Google himself says in this article :

The expectations for relevant, personalized, and assistive experiences will continue to skyrocket.

I am also of the firm opinion that marketing is going to play a more and more assistive role in future.

Most current websites (especially those of small businesses, local businesses) are just not ready for this change. They are still quite static almost like a brochure or booklet. Even many large companies do not have websites which are really driven by this assistive role.

The advertising also needs to change.

I have always tried to be granular in my approach, trying to align as much as possible with user intent, as much as we can understand it from just the search query. I have also run ads to test “user intent” in cases where the search term does not clarify the intent on its own.

I strongly believe that advertising and marketing must understand user need, and the messaging, as well as the medium of delivering the message, must be relevant to user need.

This is not new but still it is an often ignored situation because there are costs of going “granular”, in trying to understand and align with user intent.

However, now, it is time that marketers must align with user intent and user needs more than ever.

I agree with Sridhar that

We’re heading toward an age of assistance where, for marketers, friction will mean failure, and mass messages will increasingly mean “move on.”

Do read the full article written by Sridhar at this link.

You can also join the Google Marketing Next event livestream on May 23, 2017, at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET.  I am sure it will be interesting. I will be joining for sure.

 

Value track parameters can be very useful with third party tracking tools like Hotjar

Auto tagging works well to communicate data between Google AdWords and Google Analytics, when both are linked together.

However if you are using third party analytics or tracking solutions like HotJar, then value track parameters can be very useful. ( You should not use UTM parameters along with auto tagging.)

For example, a useful tracking template for a search campaigns could be

{lpurl}&kwd={keyword}&mt={matchtype}&nw={network}&dev={device}&crid={creative}

which would tell you the keyword responsible for the click, the match type , the network (search, search partner or display), the device and the creative id (the ad which send the traffic to you).

Suppose you are watching a visitor’s video recording in HotJar to understand customer behavior on your website. Now without value track parameters, it’s difficult to guess what might be the intent of the visitor.

However if you have value track parameters set up, then you know the keyword that bought the person to your site, the creative id, the network and other information as relevant. All of this is useful information which can help you analyze better.

Similarly for display campaigns, the following tracking template could be useful as a campaign level tracking template :

{lpurl}?placement={placement}&network={network}&dev={device}&adgrpid={adgroupid}&targetid={targetid}&creative={creative}

Your usage might require more customization.

Do check the list of Adwords value track parameters available at – https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6305348?hl=en

The AdWords interface keeps changing but currently you can set value track parameters at campaign level by accessing the Settings > All Settings tab at campaign level. Look under Advanced Settings > Campaign URL options (advanced) > Tracking Template.

Most websites including WordPress websites usually work perfectly with value track parameters. However you should be especially careful if you are using some third party website ( like may be a ticket booking site) as your landing page in some ads. There is a rare chance that these sites may not work correctly with value track parameters.

So, when you enter the tracking template, always use the “Test” button (given in the AdWords interface) to make sure the landing page is still accessible with your value track parameters. It takes only a few seconds but you will be sure that your tracking and ads are working correctly.

I hope value track parameters will be useful to you.

Attribution model choice in Adwords

Attribution is about putting the performance of your keywords into proper perspective.

Advertising should always target higher volume of profitable conversions. Choosing the right attribution model can help in improving advertising returns

Attribution across every single customer engagement is currently impossible.

However, choosing the right model can help in identifying successful keywords and messaging that play important role in generating business. This can help all parts of your marketing efforts, even beyond search and online advertising.

adwords attribution models compared

You can read more about selecting the most appropriate attribution model in this Google support document  https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/7002714

Voice search, Artificial intelligence, PPC and SEO

How voice search might change PPC

The voice search volume is growing many folds. Many would agree that voice is a more convenient way to interact with computers- its more natural than typing text or using a mouse.

Today when you search by voice you get search results on your mobile or desktop device same as if you might have typed the search query.

The input is voice but the output is still text based. The online text and image ads are still showing.

However soon users might prefer the output itself to be in voice format.

Voice output could be more convenient and preferable because it would allow users to multitask while searching, thus saving time. Example a user might search by voice while driving or exercising or having his or her meal. When the output would be voice, the online ads as we know them today, will not be “visible” anymore.

Echo Dot was the best seller in November 2016.

Devices like these and the rapid improvements in the voice interface of mobile and desktop operating systems will certainly change the search and PPC world.

Purna Virji, Senior Manager, PPC Training at Microsoft wrote an excellent article about “How Voice Search Will Change Digital Marketing“. This article is very useful to understand how voice search will change the input side of search as we know it today. However it does not talk much about the output side – that is, how we consume search results.

Voice search will make top results even more important

Today, we are used to seeing the search results on a screen, scanning them fast and choosing between them.

In my opinion and as I see in my client accounts, the top positions of search result pages always enjoy significantly higher traffic and business than search results at the bottom of the search result page.

Page 2 of search results gets even less traffic than page 1 and that too would be from people who want to research their decision a lot, otherwise in most cases the top results on page 1 of search engines suffice for most users, especially for most commercial queries.

When voice search becomes popular and the user would start expecting the output to be in voice format too, then the top result that the “computing device” outputs would become even more important than the top result in the search result pages as we know them today.

Our eyes are far faster in scanning more results as compared to waiting for the computing device (the virtual assistant) to speak the next listing details.

So the “second listing” in search results might start getting even fewer chances.

Add to that the “artificial intelligence” technologies that are rapidly growing today. Our “digital assistants”will know more and more about our context and preferences, so the results are bound to get more and more personalized.

The consumption of search results via voice and the artificial intelligence algorithms constantly trying to learn each individual’s preferences will definitely make huge impact to the PPC and SEO landscape as we know it right now.

If today the web marketing world is 70/30 or 80/20 – the top 2 or 3 listings get majority of the business and clicks, then in the voice world this might be 90/10 – the top listing might start getting far more business share than the “listings” below it.

I cannot be sure and I could be wrong but I can imagine that users may not like to wait to “listen” to the second option, especially if the “assistant” keeps learning and in most cases presents very relevant results in the first “listing” itself.

It would become like a habit to accept the top listing – “the answer” that the assistant is providing.

On radio, most users are not really expecting any “results” to their query. Radio is mostly just entertainment and ads in between the content are digestible for most users. How many pay attention to such ads on radio or even on TV is a matter of growing debate, especially when we see around us that as soon as ads come, many users pick up their mobile or start doing something else.

However, imagine a scenario where you are communicating with your voice-assistant, seeking answers to your query. You would want the answer right now. You don’t want to hear three ads before your result (especially if you think the ads may not be relevant). In text search, you can easily scan past ads in case if you feel the ads are not relevant. However voice output would make embedding ads a bit more tougher.

More personalized and context aware ads, at more suitable timings.

On the flip side however, the personal voice assistants would know a lot more about us, than today’s search engines. So I am sure there will be advertising opportunities due to the “predictive response” behavior which we will start expecting from our virtual assistants in the “internet of things” world.

The virtual assistants might be able to guess when it is time to order something, as well as, what sort of activity we are involved in at a given point of time and whether we are receptive to ads at a given point of time.

For example, the virtual assistant could guess that we are on a routine walk, and communicate with us if we want to know about the promotions available for the next purchase due soon. We might consider listening to these “promotional messages” at such a time. Otherwise the assistant can learn that we are not interested in listening to messages when we are walking and try some other time, till it understands which time is suitable for what type of message.

These type of interactions and the context aware nature of virtual assistants could make new advertising chances available at most suitable timings.

So far, voice search is very new to me. I find voice search and AI fascinating and will definitely be thinking, reading and sharing more thoughts about it in near future.

A different but important perspective on CRO

10 CRO Truth Bombs That Will Change the Way You Think About CRO

Stuck in a CRO rut? These brilliantly straightforward tips will fundamentally change your conversion rate optimization strategy.

(Also read the comments exchanged between Larry Kim and  Sam Crocker.)

Source: 10 CRO Truth Bombs That Will Change the Way You Think