cost of sales

We have already noted it is probable that many printed advertisements are responded to via Google – so while Google is a conduit it is not fair to conclude that they are also the source of the webtraffic so derived. Sadly this is an unknowable metric.

Specialist publishers do not have the problem of  wastage in the same way as Google – people are most unlikely to go to a technical site just to find someone they already know – it takes too long – so technical sites are only serving the much smaller number of people who are specifically interested in the technical material and subsequently click on the web link. These publishers are not competing with the whole of Google – only that  part represented by people who don’t already know who or what they are looking for.

Plus these people are presumably reading technical journals to keep up to date with products and technologies so they are self defined as credible enquirers.  In the parlance of the motor trade 1 person with money in their pocket is worth 100 tyre kickers.

Difficult to prove I know – but I am aware of at least one specialist technical publisher who makes it his job to follow up with advertisers and identify orders flowing from readers of his publication, with some interesting results.

Since the coming of the internet we have all become used to large numbers associated with our web traffic – but do we really believe that thousands and thousands of new potential customers visit our sites each month – let us be realistic – just how big is your market in engineers and buyers – of the 50,000 or so engineers in the country how many are actually likely to be interested in your product? Numbers are great – I wouldn’t be without measurable data – but they only go so far and perhaps it is time we once again looked at quality over quantity in our advertising – and looked beyond the numbers.

Perhaps one can deal with this by excluding the company name from Adwords criteria – but if you do then another company will likely show at the top of the page – especially if your name is “The Blue Widget Company” as then every competitor with “blue widgets” in their Adword campaign will be ahead of your organic result.

As has been said before “Cui bono?” ( Cicero) and as usual one does not have far to look.

A situation which reminds me of the way that some printed publications monitised their pages by charging for “editorial” press releases with “seperation charges” and lost a great deal of credability in the process – so to with Google, especially since I and many others prefer not to click on the Adwords – using instead the organic searches which are there on merit.

Lets be clear, a system which charges for referrals from people who already know us is perhaps worth paying for, but let’s at the same time understand exactly what it is that we are paying for and what we are getting.

So if most of Google referrals are of low value where does that leave us?

Well clearly there are a lot of referrals from Google so it still leaves a valuable number – let us not desert a system which works – however expensively. But it does leave us to ponder the value of the specialist publishers in all this – the people who have for years been saying that they give us quality not necessarily quantity – could they have a point? Well I think they have.

The printed and technical online media often appear disappointing and with limited available metrics in comparison with the giant Google machine but – and here completely without evidence – let us go one step beyond the graphs and tables of data to an area they cannot measure – let us next consider the rationale.

Like many others I have speculated on the world directory that we call the internet – and it’s major librarian called Google.

In particular I and others have been interested to note that overwhelmingly the majority of our site traffic comes from Google – and most of that I am told comes from searches on the company name – in fact I noticed recently a respected blogger suggesting that 50% to 75% comes in this way – with 95% being within his experience.

So what is happening here?

The common suggestion is that people simply use Google as a convenient look-up for companies that they know since it is easier to type their name in than put every company they ever deal with on favourites – and since the company site invariably comes up at the top of searches it is a very quick way to an already known website. Type in the first few letters and Google will suggest a name, then a couple more clicks and you are there – easy.

Another as yet little considered idea is that people are typing in the name in response to some other stimulus – such as a word of mouth recommendation or a printed advertisement or from a newsletter or e-mail shot vaguely remembered but now passed by. Indeed the link between printed advertising and internet searches is obvious but ill defined – however the printed media continues to thrive in some sectors which suggests at least that many advertisers believe this link is worthwhile.

Further the general wisdom and statistical evidence has it that the place to be on Google is at the top of page 1 and as part of this view we see a continuing trend in the way that Google seems to be monitising it’s page 1 presentation, with more of the page being given over to pay per click advertisments. This pushes unpaid results down the page making it more inviting for a searcher to click on the top result – which of course happens to be pay per click. This parallels the trend to mobile phone access, with small screens presenting perhaps just 3 results – and say 2 of them ppc adverts on the first page, probably encouraging people to click on an advert rather than an organic search – they don’t care if the advertiser has to pay for their search – it doesn’t cost them £2 or £3 per click.

They search – the advertiser pays – fair enough you may think – but a worrying situation for advertisers I would have thought. If up to 95% of searches are for the company name and this comes up at the top of the page as an Adword then that click is paid for at whatever the going rate happens to be. So effectively the pay per click advertiser is in danger of paying 95% of their ppc budget just to serve company name searches which would have come up organically anyway – and in fact are paying twice if the original prompt came from a printed advert.


Where do you fit in? do you do nothing? or very little? Do you rely on your sales team for your marketing?

– or do you struggle between the demands of various advertisement and directory reps?

These may appear low cost routes to marketing – but are actually very high cost – since the result is that very little actual marketing is likely to get done and the opportunity cost is probably very high indeed.

Real Marketing can provide warm sales leads to an increasingly pressured and specialised sales team – and need not of course cost a lot – most industrial SMEs can either do it themselves as you can see from our Whitepapers on the subject – or employ an expert agency who could carry out your marketing program at a fraction of the cost of a sales rep.




How much should you spend on your website and blog?

Well lets think about this logically – 1. How much did you/would you spend on a brochure/literature? – £10K per year? £20K? £30K? More? 2. How much do you spend on a sales rep including salary, car, expenses? £50K per year? £60K? More? 3. How much did you/would you spend on a national exhibition? A shell […]

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