People talk about search engine reputation management (SERM) like it only serves to hide nasty blog articles dated from 2 years before you settled the class action. I’ve noticed this for a while – but never seen it blogged – that savvy companies could use similar SERP-domination techniques for direct response. Specifically, they could save money on coupons.
Let’s imagine how SERM can save you money.
Suppose you’re Mac Cosmetics. Suppose further that your checkout process prompts people for a coupon.
Guess what 90% of people do?
They google ‘Mac cosmetics coupon’ . Or ‘promo code for Mac Makeup’ or whatever combination of (i) “money off” terminology your checkout asks for and (ii) your brand and variations on it.
What happens next?
They find an affiliate coupon publisher site. They click the link to ‘reveal the coupon code’.
If you’re lucky, all that’s going to cost you is the discount plus the commission for the affiliate that contributed NOTHING to generating the sale…
Or perhaps you don’t give affiliate coupons, so it just costs you for the discount.
But that’s unlikely. Because clever affiliates can use the ‘click to reveal discount’ call to action combined with a “site is loading” page after that. The click-to-reveal button cookies your visitor and the ‘loading page’ isn’t there to ask for patience but really to just reveal the non-affiliate coupon. Depending on your tracking, that cookie may mean paying the affiliate even if the coupon isn’t part of the affiliate channel.
If you’re unlucky, what that is going to cost you is the entire sale. The visitor just browsed your site for 5 minutes to find the product, add to cart, go through 90% of your checkout… It’s not a sure thing they’ll do it over for a 10% discount or free shipping.
So what is this notorious “that” in the phrase, “that is going to cost you”?
“That” is a failure to use reputation management to rank your own site and pages for “Brand + coupon” queries.