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A Surprising Offline Benefit to Online Marketing

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By Kevin Getch+

paid search marketingWhile everything seems to be about online business these days, in reality e-commerce only accounts for five percent of total sales in the U.S. Online business will only continue to grow, but armed with that knowledge, it’s a good idea to broaden your horizons in regards to what your goals are in an online marketing strategy.

One of those goals relates to local SEO and how an Internet marketing company can greatly influence offline business for their clients. For instance, a new study reveals an interesting fact about paid search engine marketing: it has a much bigger impact for local business offline than it does with online sales.

Over a two-year period of research, retail marketing firm RevTrax found that “for every $1 of e-commerce revenue generated from paid search, marketers can expect to see approximately another $6 of in-store revenue.”

For the mathematically challenged, that’s six times more in-person business than online. What does this tell us? While this is a study about paid search, do businesses see the same benefits from organic search? Anecdotally, there doesn’t seem to be any reason a direct correlation can’t be made.

Until recently, it’s been understandably difficult to track a correlation between online advertising and offline sales. But this time around, RevTrax was able to track in-store sales accurately using landing pages with coupons and unique IDs. Here’s how it worked:

A paid search ad was displayed, which led consumers to a printable or mobile landing page where a coupon with a unique barcode was displayed (each coupon could then be tracked back to the online search and keyword). The consumer then redeemed the coupon in person at a brick-and-mortar store.

Here are some more details about the study’s results:

– The average paid search click generated about $15 of in-store revenue. Some businesses saw as much as $28.

– About nine percent of paid search clicks generated an in-store sale. Some saw as much as 26 percent of clicks generating an in-store sale.

Maybe the most intriguing finding was that about half of all those customers who came in person (40 to 50 percent) were new customers. When you’re trying to grow a business, how valuable is that?

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