Death By Pepperoni
With I40 backed up due to sudden cold and rain in Raleigh it seemed smart to bail, eat at my favorite Pizzeria (Belle Mia Coal Fired Pizza in Cary) and write about the perfect ecommerce pie. Ecommerce, selling stuff online, is art and science (why I love it). Art because merchandising products in infinite space requires skill, intuition and an artist’s sense of timing. Science because everything anyone does online is trackable.
Tracking is more properly called Web Analytics. Web analytics comes with unique challenges but lack of data will never be one of them. The opposite problem is more likely – so much data you can’t see forest for trees. Most ecommerce sites organize their world into “channels”. A channel is defined as a way converting traffic arrives."Converting" refers to when traffic does what the site wants them to do (buy something, sign up for something or download something for a few examples).
Google has two channels – paid and “organic” or “natural” search. Converting traffic also often comes from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Visitors may stumble upon content from an ecommerce site within content ad networks or read a review on a friend’s blog. In my last gig as a Director of Ecommerce we set revenue goals for each channel:
- PPC (paid Google, Bing and Yahoo) [25%]
- Organic Search [30%]
- Email Marketing [30%]
- traditional media (print, TV, radio) [10%]
- Social Media (where we put our blogs) [5%]
We never reached perfection. How we defined perfection was and will always be a very particular thing, particular to the business model and vertical (category) your business inhibits. Your perfect ecommerce pie may look different, but you should have an aspirational goal since everyone needs something to strive for.
Defining your perfect ecommerce pizza pie helps you and your team see your businesses future while defining the now clearly. Defining your businesses perfect ecommerce pie (or content pie if your site is B2B) provides a medium for the message. The perfect pie is what you want. Where are you now, how far away from perfection? You want debate, controversy and a tug of war between departments or channel champions.
Your PPC guy should want your pie to be 50% PPC. If you are using my friend and a great SEO Bill Ross to do your organic work he will want more resources allocated to content creation and link development. If your email marketer is as talented as my friends at WTE.net they will argue they have the best margin of all channels (typically) and they should get a disproportionate share of the marketing money and resources for email marketing. Keep the sharp implements away from this meeting. Expect and want a smack down between "channel Chanpions".
Don't enter this scrum without a judge capable of listening, evaluating and then allocating money and time (another form of money). Channel champions should provide metrics on what is happening now, trends and projected futures. Debate, prioritize and do everything short of killing one another to allocate resources for how you think things will turn out. Create specific goals and identify important choke points then go create your perfect pizza ecommerce pie. Creating your ecommerce pie won’t TOUCH Bella Mia’s coal fired pizza, but it may be as close to perfection as you can get ☺.