Insights Into Advertising
As you know, all shops on Ruby Lane pay a monthly $30 advertising fee. Ruby Lane uses this fee to help cover the ongoing expenses to market the site. This article is designed to give shop owners a more in depth view and analysis of some of the latest marketing vehicles we are using, as well as to offer some insights into how Ruby Lane arrives at the vehicles we choose.
Blogs Gain Credibility
It's no secret that the Internet has spurred a rate of change that is literally on steroids. Years ago no one would have considered advertising on a blog operated by someone who wasn't a household name. Today, this couldn't be further from the truth. Today there are thousands of blogs developed by individuals who write about their passions such as interior design, fashion, and stylish living – all relevant to our marketplace. The best of these blogs have an enormous number of fans and followers. Many of them accept advertising to support their endeavor, and the rates for many are reasonable. And there are new ones popping up all the time.
We can tell from Google Analytics exactly what advertising venues are sending us traffic. We can tell that advertising on key blogs is driving a significant amount of high quality traffic to Ruby Lane, and a high percentage – up to 87% are first-time visitors to the site. And we can see that they remain on the site once they arrive.
We're always on the hunt for possible new blogs on which to advertise. Often when a new blogger contacts us inviting us to advertise with them, they are so new that their page rank is very low. So we hold off on advertising, but continue to keep an eye on them because some of them will eventually take off in popularity. It is at this time that we reconsider whether to add them to the roster. If quality traffic from a blog to Ruby Lane declines, they are removed from the roster, and we test new ones, or we may increase the size of the ads on blogs that are driving traffic. Below is a list of the latest websites and blogs on which we advertise:
You may have noticed that in the past year our outgoing newsletters have taken on a brand new direction as well as a new look and feel. Now they are much more product and theme-focused, and we send them five days a week to our opt-in lists of tens of thousands of subscribers. Since these updates our traffic from outgoing newsletters has increased tenfold, and the number continues to increase. And we can tell that these visitors are buyers – many view up to ten pages of the site per visit.
Many of you are aware that Ruby Lane maintains an active presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Squidoo, Hubpages and many more social sites. We get a lot of quality traffic from these sites – especially Facebook and Pinterest. So part of the monthly advertising fee goes to maintaining this activity. Shop owners should be utilizing these vehicles as well!
Using Analytics to Uncover the "Next Big Thing"
Another area where Analytics is helpful is in helping us get a jump on the next big thing. We can see the traffic from virtually every site that sends us traffic. We constantly comb our reports to look for referring sites that appear to have potential to send us even more traffic in the future. We figure out ways to "work" and engage on these sites.
The marketing vehicles discussed above are just part of the overall marketing program for Ruby Lane. Below is a more complete list of vehicles:
Print and Offline Advertising:
-Google Adwords (includes video and mobile ads)
-Yahoo and Bing Keyword Advertising
-Cost to develop and maintain banner ads/links on other relevant sites such as high quality blogs
-Cost to advertise on Google Shopping
Cost to advertise on Yahoo Home and Mail pages
-Cost to advertise on Facebook
-Cost to create and manage quality content on Ruby Lane's blog, Notes from The Lane, which helps drive traffic to Ruby Lane
-Cost to maintain ongoing email newsletter campaigns to opt-in subscribers
-Cost of Engaging In Social Media to create buzz and drive traffic to Ruby Lane (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, Squidoo, etc.)
-Cost to syndicate links to Notes from The Lane's article content on other quality sites
-Monthly full page participatory MAD ads
-Cost of Ongoing News Media Public Relations Campaign
-Shop reimbursements for exhibition at antique and collectible shows (Pre-approved shops)
-Cost to reimburse 40% of costs to shops who have done their own advertising and included their Ruby Lane shop URL in the ad
Again, with Google Analytics we can test new marketing vehicles and immediately measure the results. If a vehicle isn't delivering quality traffic, they are dropped from the roster and we re-allocate funds to other vehicles that are already working well, or to new vehicles as a test.