Should IBDs use paid advertising?

Phil Baker from digital marketing agency Objective 1, which specialises in helping cycling businesses with e-commerce, helps you navigate the world of pay-per-click

This piece first appeared in the December edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

Paid advertising, pay-per-click (PPC), Google Ads, call it what you will, but if you have an e-commerce website, it’s likely you have come across these terms whilst doing research into digital marketing, or you may have already given it a go. We all know attracting new customers to your website is key to online success, but can paid advertising really benefit stores without the big budgets of national retailers who dominate the digital game with significant resources at their disposal?

The simple answer is yes. Anyone can make it work for their own business, and we aim to point you in the right direction regarding paid advertising in the cycling industry. There are many guides online on how to set up your account and get campaigns up and running, as well as the Digital Marketing Guide provided to all retailers on the launch of their PushRetail website, so we won’t go into the ‘how’ to do this process, but focusing more on the ‘why’.

Target local
The main benefit of PPC is the ability to target your advertising. One method of doing so is through geo-targeting, choosing locations/radius targeting, to only show your ads to people in a certain area.

Instead of competing nationally, where your budget may be spread too thin and there is a lower chance of generating a sale, putting your budget into a smaller regional area around your store means you will show more often where your products and brand may already be known to the local audience, as well as encouraging users to use the click and collect delivery method, or visit in store.

Running a select number of products
When running shopping campaigns, you may not want to show all of your products. This would be expensive and a lot of work to manage and analyse the performance of. Instead, you may want to select a handful of products you are competitive on, ones where you may have excess stock, or even only promoting high value products with good margins.

This allows you to give them an extra push, instead of thinning out your budget on all products, which may reduce the returns you get from your advertising budget. Often your store may not just be selling bikes and P&A, you may also be providing supplementary services, such as maintenance checks, bike fits and hire options.

Often it is hard to know where to generate interest in these services, but by running text ads you can do just that. Here, you can run a keyword targeted ad in the local area, and generate highly relevant traffic straight through to your website and a relevant landing page.

If sustainable, expand and grow
We know that running a bike store is hard work, and you don’t have all the time in the world, or the resource to have experts in every digital marketing field. That’s why it’s key to spend your time on the areas that give you the best results. PPC is a great testing ground to see what products and service pages work well through your website.

When running any campaigns, it is always important to review what is working well and plan on how to optimise it for future success. If you see a consistent amount of sales coming through, why not increase your budgets slightly one month and see what impact that has on sales? Or broaden out your geo-targeting to see if you can attract customers from further afield. There are many options to test out, and try new strategies to attract customers to your business.

Objective 1 is a multi-award-winning digital marketing agency, offering services ranging from UX design, to web development and social media management.

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