Mimic Pro Paid Search Ads Reflection

Throughout the semester, I have been using a simulation in our Digital Advertising class. In this simulation, we have been creating both email and search campaigns and seeing the results based on our work. This post reflects my experience with the paid advertising portion of the simulation.

  • What have you learned about CTRs? What types of keywords did you find performed the best?

I found that while it is important to get a lot of clicks, the quality of those clicks matter just as much. I had a couple of rounds where I generated a lot of clicks but had few conversions. On the other hand, there were other rounds where I generated less clicks but had more conversions. It depends heavily on how much the customer is attracted after they click to whether they convert or not.

The keywords that worked best for me had a high number of searches with medium competition. I always increased my bid price up about 20-30% from the base cost in order to get some lower cost traffic.

  • What metrics did you find important? How did that change through your experience?

I always looked at Clicks and Conversions, because they were what directly affected my profit and profit margin. I always kept track of what the conversion rate was based on my clicks. This way, I could try to have the most efficient conversion rate as I could. I was more focused on the quality of the clicks before the quantity.

  • What strategy worked best for you in Paid Search? How do you think this will translate to the “real world”?

For me, I think finding the best keywords to use was the most important thing. I switched it up every round to try different options. Most of them didn’t do much of anything, so every round I’d take some of them and swap them for new ones. I think this is one of the most versatile ways to customize your paid ads and see how it can help or hurt you.

  • How did your experience with Mimic Pro match up with the tactics and knowledge you gained in the Google Ad Fundamentals Certification?

In the Google Ads Certification, we learned the basics of paid ads. In the simulation, we got to use that knowledge and apply it to a real scenario with fake money. We got to see how each input affected our outcomes but because it was a simulation, we didn’t actually lose money when we didn’t do well.

  • Do you feel this was a valuable experience? What would make the experience more beneficial? Do you feel this experience will help you execute Paid Search Campaigns in the “real world”?

Absolutely! Like I said above, this simulation allows us to try different methods and strategies but without the consequences of the real world if we don’t do that well. If a round didn’t do as well as we wanted it to, we could evaluate it and fix that issue in the next round. Then, we could see if our modification actually fixed an issue and improved the bottom line. If it didn’t fix it, there were no worries and we tried again in the next round.

  • If you could offer any advice to your instructor or Stukent on how to improve this experience, what would that be?

The only thing I would like to see would be is more feedback on the results page after each round. I wish we could see how every part of our campaigns did on those pages. I know I can access this in the next round, but I’d like to see it in both places.

Mimic Pro Email Campaign Reflection

Throughout the semester, I have been using a simulation in our Digital Advertising class. In this simulation, we have been creating both email and search campaigns and seeing the results based on our work. This post reflects my experience with the email campaign portion of the simulation.

  • What have you learned about Open Rates? What types of subject lines and/or preview text did you find performed the best? What about the different email contact lists? Which ones worked best and why do you think they worked?

First off, you have to go into this knowing that not a lot of people are going to open you email compared to how many you sent out in the first place. My best open rate was 15%, but that was still over 1,700 opens.

I found that if the subject line contained something about a sale or deals, people were more attracted to them. Sometimes people won’t even be looking to buy something, until they see it on sale and seize the opportunity.

The only contact list I had any luck with was the large 11,500 person list. I ended up getting 3 conversions with it. I used every single one at some point and the two smaller ones I never got a single conversion on. I’m wondering if the others were too small for the type of ads, I was running to get a conversion.

  • What metrics did you find important? How did that change through your experience?

The biggest thing I paid attention to was the open rate and click rate. Although these numbers are generally pretty low, they are what directly affects how much you make. Both of them also show the efficiency of your email campaign. A higher open rate might suggest that your subject line is good, and a higher click rate may suggest that your ad is visually really good.

  • What strategy and content worked best for you in the Emails? How do you think this will translate to the “real world”?

I tried to always include something about a deal or sale in the subject line for every round. I also always tried to make my ads as visually appealing as I could. I included specifications about that cameras on the ad to draw them in and include what cameras were also on sale. I think in the real world ads will always have to visually appeal to their target. This is why you see so many out of the box ideas for visuals on all sorts of ads.

  • How did your experience with Mimic Pro match up with the tactics and knowledge you gained in the HubSpot Email Marketing Certification?

In the HubSpot program, we learned what it takes to build an effective email campaign. Similar to the paid ads, we got to use that knowledge and apply it to a real scenario with fake money. We got to see how each input and different designs and subject lines affected our outcomes but because it was a simulation, we didn’t actually lose money when we didn’t do well.

  • Do you feel this was a valuable experience? What would make the experience more beneficial? Do you feel this experience will help you execute better Email Marketing Campaigns in the “real world”?
  • Absolutely! Like I said above, this simulation allows us to try different methods and strategies but without the consequences of the real world if we don’t do that well. If a round didn’t do as well as we wanted it to, we could evaluate it and fix that issue in the next round. Then, we could see if our modification actually fixed an issue and improved the bottom line. If it didn’t fix it, there were no worries and we tried again in the next round. I found myself trying out different subject lines, cameras, designs, and audiences each round to attempt to bring customers in.
  • If you could offer any advice to your instructor or Stukent on how to improve this experience, what would that be?

I’d like to see which parts of our campaigns did well and what didn’t. By that, I wish the program dissected each aspect of our email and gave feedback on how we can improve it or change it up. Overall though, this is a great simulation that gives us real feedback in a real life scenario.

Company Policy Debates

               In my Retail Sales Management class, we recently had debates regarding company policies in the workplace. Some of the subjects included profanity, tattoos, piercings, etc. In the end, we basically came up with one main idea; It really depends where you work, what the environment is, and who your boss is.

            For example, I worked at a body shop in high school and I knew my boss well and knew all of my coworkers well. When I worked there, there weren’t any written rules about profanity or tattoos or piercings in the workplace. In the shop area, we spoke freely and loosely for the most part. We weren’t necessarily trying to swear but it wasn’t a big deal if we did. However, in the office area, we wouldn’t swear much if at all. This was because there were occasionally customers in there and it’s typically viewed as unprofessional to swear in front of a customer, especially more than once. There weren’t any rules against it, but it was seen more as an unwritten rule of working there. On the other hand, another student in our class had previously worked at a church. In her workplace, it was a completely different story when it came to the policies. There were rules against both profanity and tattoos/piercings. I can understand this completely as violating these policies in a church setting is seen as much more derogatory versus a body shop setting. Also, in the shop setting, customers rarely came into the shop, so we didn’t worry too much about swearing around them or anything regarding tattoos/piercings.

            I believe how a company puts policies in place really boils down to a few things, management/owner beliefs, customer beliefs, legal obligations, and the type of business. In many companies, the owner or the upper management will put in policies based on what they think is appropriate for their business. Each company will slightly differ on how or why they implement these policies. Occasionally, a policy might not just be based on personal beliefs but rather an incident or situation occurred that made them come up with it. Rules and policies also might boil down to what the customer believes is appropriate for that business to implement. If a customer feels like the company is unprofessional for whatever reason, it could mean that customer doesn’t come back. Legal obligations are a more rare occasion, but some businesses have policies in place because there in an industry law regarding it. These aren’t usually based on tattoos or profanity but are typically related what the company does and avoiding issues relating to it. Like I said above, the main reason companies do or don’t have policies in place is due to the type of business they are. More white collar jobs will have stricter policies on profanity and tattoos/piercings than most blue collar jobs. It also depends heavily on what the industry standards/trends are. If it’s widely regarded in a certain industry that there’s a policy against tattoos, you can expect most, if not all businesses to have a similar policy.

            A lot of businesses will have these policies in place from the start based on industry trends or ownership/management beliefs. Sometimes companies will implement policies or rules as a reaction to an issue. For example, if a customer complains about profanity or an employee’s tattoos, the company may then create a rule based on that in order to not have that complaint occur again. How the company enforces these policies is also either up to them or will based on industry trends or laws regarding the industry.

Personal Brand Growth and Resume Building

Throughout this last semester, I have been taking a class at Western Technical College called Personal Brand Management. While I was initially puzzled why I had to take this class due to it not having a direct relation to marketing, I have since realized the benefit of this class. Not only has it taught me how to better market myself and set myself apart, but we have learned a lot about professionality and aspects of the business world. In my opinion, this is a class I think every business-related major should take.

Throughout this course, we covered everything from personal branding statements to professional etiquette to resume building to networking opportunities. One of the coolest things we did was create personal branding tri-fold to showcase our work and skills which I’ve included a picture of below. The purpose of these tri-folds were to be shown at Western’s annual Business Showcase, an event where all of the business students showcase their work and skills. Unfortunately, I am not able to attend the showcase this year because I will be in Orlando, FL for the national Collegiate Deca conference. While my tri-fold will still be showcased at the event, my teacher gave myself and another student who will also be gone another event to attend instead. We attended the Western Spring Career Fair which is an event where a bunch of area businesses come in and set up recruiting booths to try to recruit college students for positions in their companies. While we weren’t necessarily looking for jobs, we went and took it as a networking opportunity. We met with several companies which included Kwik Trip, Gunderson, and Frank Beverage. We had great conversations with all the reps there and even discovered some companies that I’d at least never heard of and thought they were really cool.

Two other events we attended for the class were the Etiquette Dinner and Ready, Set, Go Get That Job. The Etiquette dinner was a great experience because not only were we taught everything we need to know to appropriately act at a professional meal, but we also met others within the business programs and shared experiences about projects, jobs, life, etc. The Ready, Set, Go Get That Job event, on the other hand, was focused all around job interviews and how to help yourself stick out from the crowd. Once again, we talked with reps from several area businesses both in an open discussion and in break out sessions.

All of these events we attended were extremely beneficial to my personal brand, from a presentation standpoint to networking experience to simply learning more and more about how the business world works.

Another great experience from this class was our resume builders. We completed a mini-course early in the semester on building the perfect resume and then updated our current resumes to freshen them up and eliminate any mistakes. There were several things I’ve updated on my current resume throughout the semester to get where it is now. We also created alternate resumes as a “think outside the box” sort of way to draft a resume. The idea was to create a separate resume with the same information but while exploring non-traditional ways to design it. Not only did we gain more ways to design resumes and showcase skills through the designs, but we also learned about things that stick out to potential employers when they look at your resume. With that came critiquing on what we could and couldn’t include and the “rules” of resumes. Just this in itself would’ve made the class worth it for me. I feel my resume quality shows what I’ve learned in this class.

I stated above that I think this is a class I think every business-related major should take. It has taught me so much more than just how I can better my chances of getting that job. I now feel more ready to take on the world of marketing and business with skills I know will come in handy down the road.

Top 5 Places to Get Wings in La Crosse

(From what I’ve had so far)

1. The Sport’s Nut

Definitely a personal favorite of mine here in La Crosse. They are actually a solid top 3 for wings that I’ve had anywhere. The wings are lightly deep fried, so they have a really nice crisp to them. With 14 flavors to choose from, my choice is the Parmesan Garlic and the Hot Honey Barbeque wings. The garlic parm here is more of a seasoning and is heavy on the parmesan and lighter on the garlic. Not many places do it like that, but the Sports Nut has it down to near perfection.

2. Howie’s on La Crosse

Howie’s on La Crosse has always been a favorite place of mine because of the atmosphere. It’s an awesome bar and grill that has some of the best burgers and beer in town as well. The wings here are the opposite of Sport’s Nut, and what I mean by that is they’re BIG and full of flavor throughout. Howie’s is famous for their “special” sauces that are usually a mixture of several existing choices. Make sure to stop in when they have their honey BBQ-buffalo-garlic parmesan and chipotle-siracha-honey BBQ sauces. They are to die for.

3. The Arterial Tavern

If you’re in the mood for really saucy wings, The Arterial Tavern has you covered. They have 5 different sauces to chose from which include the Arterial Combo and the Spicy Garlic Parmesan which are my two favorites. The Combo is a mix between BBQ and a chipotle ranch sauce. Not many places have a flavor as bold as this but it’s definitely worth a try at the Arterial.

4. The Crow

The Crow in downtown La Crosse is another favorite of mine for not only the wings but the burgers and beer. It’s a modern sports pub type place with great food and a great atmosphere. The wings are similar to Howie’s in the fact that they’re big and the sauces are ridiculous. There are 7 sauces available and they’re all fancy combos also like Howie’s. The Crow Sauce, Sriracha Bourbon, Garlic Parmesan, Sweet Chili, Memphis Sweet BBQ, and Stingin’ Honey Garlic are all worth a try and are flavors that are not always seen at other wings places.

5. The Barrel Inn

The wings at The Barrel Inn are different in a couple of ways than the other places on this list. Not only are they deep fried in a thick, crunchy batter, the sauces are also served on the side. Not to worry though, the sauces are all still great and there is something for every type of wing-lover here. They will also let you try all of them too if you ask which I thought was pretty cool. You certainly don’t see that everywhere.

Three Trends in Retailing to Watch Out For in 2019

Image result for retail

The presentation below is an overview of three trends in the world of retailing that is expected in 2019. A couple of examples of La Crosse area businesses that could get help with this presentation are Dales Clothing and Festival Foods. Both businesses could take away from this presentation the need for more experimental retail and subscription-based e-commerce. A retailer like Fastenal could take away the need for faster shipping to remain competitive.

Planning Your Store Layout in 7 Steps

Article:
https://fitsmallbusiness.com/planning-your-store-layout/

I recently read an article for my Retail Sales Management class about planning a layout for a retail store. The article listed 7 steps to take when planning out your own retail store layout. The 7 steps were…

  1. Decide on a Retail Store Floor Plan
  2. Put Your Store Design Down on Paper
  3. Consider Traffic Flow & Customer Behaviors
  4. Position Your Store Checkout Area
  5. Position Products for Maximum Exposure
  6. Place Fixtures & Displays in Your Store Layout
  7. Create Comfort Zones & Other Amenities

The article goes into great detail about each step and why each is important. They also make a case to follow them in order when designing a layout as each will feed off of each other.

I believe this article has a lot of great ideas and reason behind why you should follow these steps. It takes customer behavior into account which may prove that certain layouts work better for different types of retail. I can think of a couple of businesses in the La Crosse area who could use these steps to drastically improve the layout and atmosphere of their store. I can also think of a few who have pretty good layouts already but could make a few small tweaks from these steps to make their layout shine. Improving your store atmosphere will allow customers to be more comfortable and they will be more likely to be drawn to feature products. If someone is currently designing a retail store or redesigning their current store, this article could certainly be a great help for them, not only in overall design and design type but also to avoid simple mistakes. Obviously, different types of retail will take different approaches to their layouts based on their own customers’ needs and behaviors. This article acts as a base for a majority of retail establishments and I think every type of retail could take at least a couple things away from it.

Pearl Street Brewery Retail Analysis

PSB Retail Analysis EBook

I recently performed a retail analysis as a project for my Retail Sales Management class. In this analysis, I explore types of retail as well as a full analysis of competitors, industry, products, as well as geographic and internet/ website details. I chose to do my analysis on Pearl Street Brewery because I, along with many in Wisconsin, share a passion for craft beer. PSB happens to be one of my personal favorites as well as a local craft brewery here in La Crosse.  Attached is my full analysis ebook.

Top 5 Places to Get Wings in La Crosse

 

(From what I’ve had so far)

1. The Sport’s Nut

Definitely a personal favorite of mine here in La Crosse. They are actually a solid top 3 for wings that I’ve had anywhere. The wings are lightly deep fried, so they have a really nice crisp to them. With 14 flavors to choose from, my choice is the Parmesan Garlic and the Hot Honey Barbeque wings. The garlic parm here is more of a seasoning and is heavy on the parmesan and lighter on the garlic. Not many places do it like that, but the Sports Nut has it down to near perfection.

 

2. Howie’s on La Crosse

Howie’s on La Crosse has always been a favorite place of mine because of the atmosphere. It’s an awesome bar and grill that has some of the best burgers and beer in town as well. The wings here are the opposite of Sport’s Nut, and what I mean by that is they’re BIG and full of flavor throughout. Howie’s is famous for their “special” sauces that are usually a mixture of several existing choices. Make sure to stop in when they have their honey BBQ-buffalo-garlic parmesan and chipotle-siracha-honey BBQ sauces. They are to die for.

3. The Arterial Tavern

            If you’re in the mood for really saucy wings, The Arterial Tavern has you covered. They have 5 different sauces to chose from which include the Arterial Combo and the Spicy Garlic Parmesan which are my two favorites. The Combo is a mix between BBQ and a chipotle ranch sauce. Not many places have a flavor as bold as this but it’s definitely worth a try at the Arterial.

 

4. The Crow

            The Crow in downtown La Crosse is another favorite of mine for not only the wings but the burgers and beer. It’s a modern sports pub type place with great food and a great atmosphere. The wings are similar to Howie’s in the fact that they’re big and the sauces are ridiculous. There are 7 sauces available and they’re all fancy combos also like Howie’s. The Crow Sauce, Sriracha Bourbon, Garlic Parmesan, Sweet Chili, Memphis Sweet BBQ, and Stingin’ Honey Garlic are all worth a try and are flavors that are not always seen at other wings places.

5. The Barrel Inn

            The wings at The Barrel Inn are different in a couple of ways than the other places on this list. Not only are they deep fried in a thick, crunchy batter, the sauces are also served on the side. Not to worry though, the sauces are all still great and there is something for every type of wing-lover here. They will also let you try all of them too if you ask which I thought was pretty cool. You certainly don’t see that everywhere.

Inside Coca-Cola’s Marketing Strategy

Recently, I read an article from the Content Marketing Institute that dove into the marketing strategy at Coca Cola. It’s quite interesting because the main product of the company hasn’t changed since the company started back in 1886. Because of this, the company itself has to change the way they market to tell stories and show why customers should pick them besides just being a great soda.

Along with the article, the magazine interviewed Kate Santore, the marketing content manager at Coca-Cola. To sum that up, she oversees all the new advertising content that the company releases. Kate explained her and her team’s strategy to creating and revealing new content. Unlike most other companies, Coca Cola can’t rely on new products constantly being released to be the main focus of advertisements. They must figure out ways to still draw people into the product, despite it not changing in well over a century. A lot of the ads you see from Coca Cola today are aimed at telling a story and attract customers to the company as a whole versus just the soda. One thing she pointed out that that caught my attention was asking the simple question, “What if?” By that, they don’t just mean what if they made an ad this way instead, but what if someone did this with a Coke, or what if someone did one little thing with a Coke that brightened everyone’s day. They ran a campaign in the 1970s that stated, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke!” The campaign went on to show everyone how happy we’d all be if we’d buy everyone a Coke.

Image result for coca cola logo

Kate also went on to say, “If we find a story that can be told without Coca Cola, then it isn’t a Coca Cola story.” She shows that she really wants the stories to be unique to the brand, not an idea that somebody else could use to deliver the same message. In doing this, they also form an emotional connection with the market in the sense that when they think of the idea, they know that only Coca Cola could do that. I enjoyed how she explained how many of the stories they tell are not even created by Coca Cola. Around 80% of the content created is based off ideas of the fans. In my opinion, this is a great idea to attract ideas from all over the spectrum as well as give viewers what they want to see from the brand.

Kate Santore is a great example of how to find ideas when it seems there is nothing else to come up with. So much with marketing today is thinking outside the box and finding new ways to push a product. New ideas attract everyone simply because it’s something they haven’t seen before. It certainly works too, as Coca Cola has been the top beverage company worldwide for many years despite having a relatively unchanged product.

Go Behind the Scenes of Coca-Cola’s Storytelling

Bryce Schiffman