Monday, November 22, 2010

Driving toward better ROI: How one small business uses the Conversion Optimizer to increase sales

Elliott Antal, eMarketing Manager from the Richard Petty Driving Experience, recently won the Google AdWords Conversion Champion Challenge. His sweet, sweet reward was one-on-one time with the Conversion Optimizer team (and a free trip to Google headquarters).

While Antal was here, we gained more insight into why the Conversion Optimizer, an automated AdWords tool that manages bids to achieve conversion targets, has become an important part of his small business marketing strategy. “We don’t have a large marketing budget so we have to optimize everything we have,” says Antal. “Using the Conversion Optimizer makes perfect sense because it allowed us to track all dollars and maximize efficiencies.”

Renowned NASCAR driver Richard Petty founded the driving experience in 1994 to provide high quality motorsports entertainment with new audiences. The business is headquartered in Concord, North Carolina and it runs NASCAR driving experiences at over twenty racetracks worldwide. The Richard Petty Driving Experience is all about the in-person adventure, so marketing it online requires creativity and dedication.

Antal’s initial strategy was to target new audiences with two campaigns: one focused on race tracks where Richard Petty has a presence and another focused on Richard Petty branded terms. He quickly noticed that while he was reaching a vast audience, clicks weren’t resulting in as many purchases as he had hoped.

When he activated the Conversion Optimizer, Antal knew he’d found the solution to his problem. By automatically investing budget in clicks that are likely to lead to sales, the Conversion Optimizer reallocated funds to the most cost-effective terms. “Our main goal is to have people book a riding or driving experience and this allowed us to move money to keywords that lead to those conversions,” says Antal.

Before using the Conversion Optimizer, Antal had allocated budget equally across branded and non-branded terms. When he activated the tool, conversions on branded terms increased significantly and yielded a stunning return on investment -- even better than other non-AdWords initiatives. To capture even more conversions, Antal moved some of his overall marketing budget over to the branded terms campaign.

“As much as I would like to do so, I’m not able to comb through my AdWords account every hour,” says Antal. “The Conversion Optimizer is like my assistant, helping me change bids and keywords even when I’m not able to. For many small businesses where marketers have to wear multiple hats, I think Conversion Optimizer is a huge help.”

To learn more about the Conversion Optimizer, please visit the Conversion Optimizer site.

Posted by Lisa Coffey, Product Marketing Manager, Conversion Optimizer