Selling Successfully (Your One-Stop Resource for Setting Up, Managing and Marketing)
Utilizing Ruby Lane Search ClicksWe're well aware that the mechanics of the Ruby Lane Search Click Program is a conundrum for some shops. It's an advertising vehicle that is relatively new in the marketplace when compared with more traditional forms, and up until now has been fairly complex. So if you've been feeling like you just don't quite get it - don't worry - you're not alone! We have streamlined the process considerably and added tools to significantly simplify the process. Here is an overview of how it works, written in what we hope are the clearest terms possible, along with an explanation of some of the Ruby Lane features tools you can use to help you to make educated choices when using Search Clicks:
A Form Of Advertising - But More Targeted
In a way, paying for clicks is like traditional advertising where you would run an ad in a publication or on television. The difference is that by paying for clicks you are targeting a very specific audience - the audience who is actively looking for the product you are offering, at a given moment. And in contrast, you also don't actually pay for that advertising unless the viewer goes one step further than just seeing your ad, but clicks on your ad as well, in this case your item description. Of course, you can't do this with traditional advertising.
All Search Clicks tools can be found by going to Shop Owners Home, then clicking on Search Clicks which is found in the menu on the left.
Ruby Lane Search Clicks Are On Ruby Lane Only
First of all, it is important to understand that this particular click program is based only on Ruby Lane Site or Lane Search results. It does not include clicks within a shop, or searches within your shop. It is not based on visitors from any other source, including searches done outside via the major search engines. It includes only visitors who have already landed on Ruby Lane, and who are utilizing the Search tool found on the Ruby Lane Home page and throughout the site, to locate the kind of item they're looking for.
So How Does It Work?
In a nutshell, a shop owner chooses a specified rate to increase their chances of coming up higher in an item search within Ruby Lane. But they only pay when the visitor then clicks on their item. Here's how it works:
When a visitor on Ruby Lane puts the words Turquoise Bracelet into the Search Tool, they are then shown the Search results which list all of the items on Ruby Lane with these words in their title, catalog and/or description. As you can imagine, this can often be hundreds, if not thousands of items. The order in which matching items come up is based on a complex combination of those items that most closely match, the date they were listed, and a shop's paid click rate. However at this point, even if a shop's item is the very first on the list, they are not yet charged. The visitor is still just perusing the list of search results, looking at pictures and reading descriptions and prices. No one has yet been charged.
Now the visitor sees an item on the list that looks interesting to them and they click on it. The shop listing that item is now charged the amount they have agreed to pay for a single click. Then for example, the visitor might immediately return to the original Search Results page with all the listings. They then scroll down and see another item that interests them, and they click on it which takes them to that item in another shop. This second shop is then charged for a click at whatever rate they have chosen. Then the visitor exits the search completely. None of the other shops on the list are charged, because the visitor did not click on their item.
Free Clicks and Cost Per Click
So how much does it actually cost, and how can you improve where your items land in the Ruby Lane Search Results in a cost-effective manner? First of all, Ruby Lane offers all shops the opportunity to receive Free Click Credits. These Free Click Credits are given to all shops that add items, and to Exclusive shops. Shops that are Exclusive automatically receive 15 cents in Free Click Credits. On top of that, both Exclusive and Non-Exclusive shops may receive up to 10 cents in Free Click Credits, depending on the number of items you and other shops have added in the last 7 days. The maximum number of Free Click Credits that any shop may receive is 25. After that, they may choose to pay for additional clicks. To increase your Click Rate, go to Shop Owners Home, click on Search Clicks in the menu on the left, and then choose Click Rate in the tool box on the right.
The amount of Free Click Credits a shop receives for adding items is always relative to the number of items being added by other shops at the same time. So a week that is relatively slow where few shops happen to add items, requires adding fewer items to receive a certain number of credits, than would be necessary during a busy week when more shops are adding items.
Finding Out And Changing Your Click Rate
You can find out your click rate by signing in, and then going to Shop Owners Home, then clicking on Search Clicks in the menu on the left, then choosing Click Rates in the toolbar to the right. This page displays the current Price Per Click You Pay plus your current Free Click Credits, your total combined Click Rate, and your current Monthly Budget. You'll be able to adjust these on this page. Raising your Price Per Click allows your items to display higher in Ruby Lane's Search results, where more potential buyers may see them. You can make changes to your Price Per Click and Monthly Budget throughout the day, and your changes will take effect each night at midnight, Pacific time.
Monthly Budget Feature
The Monthly Budget Feature allows shops to manage the amount you spend for clicks each month. This will enable you to control what you're spending each month for clicks, without having to monitor expenditures manually. All shops who wish to pay for clicks will need to set a maximum monthly budget. New shops will automatically have their limit set to 0 until or unless they change it.
Shops who reach their Monthly Budget before the end of the month will automatically have their click rate reset to zero, and will be notified via email. You then have the option of increasing your budget for the rest of the month and going forward, if you choose. If you do not increase your budget, your Click Rate will remain at zero for the rest of the month. It will return to your previously selected Click Rate on the first of the next month.
Click Report Page
This report shows traffic details of the number of clicks sent to your shop from Ruby Lane search pages. It displays your "Click %" for this period as well as your cost and budget, which will help you determine how effective your Ruby Lane click advertising program is for bringing visitors to your shop. The figures on this page are averages and totals when the reporting period is not daily. The Monthly Budget is only shown on the report listing individual days. This page will also list the current site-wide Click % average of all shops combined, so you can see how your average rate compares. This page also gives suggestions for changes you may want to consider making to increase the number of visitors clicking on your items from a search.
Compare Rate Tool
This important tool will allow you to enter search keywords into the search box to see how different Click Rates would influence the page number where your items appear in our search results. These are only simulations and do not affect your actual Click Rate. This tool will allow shops to make more educated decisions regarding how much to pay - without overpaying, and will show the results you might expect based on specific keywords.
Click Rank Tool
This tool shows how many Ruby Lane shops are paying what total Click Rate. The highlighted/greyed-out field will show you where your shop currently falls.
Click Log Tool
The new Click Log tool shows the exact search pages visitors were viewing before clicking on your items from Ruby Lane's Site or Lane search results during any previous day of your choosing, up to 90 days prior. This will allow you to see and understand how your customers searched for items related to your shop.
Start Small and Test
When deciding whether to pay for additional clicks and how much, we highly recommend a conservative approach. While you may not see a traffic increase at lower rates, we recommend you start there until you are comfortable with how Search Clicks work. Start by adding a few cents, and then monitoring your traffic and sales activity. Continue increasing your rate incrementally and you will likely begin to see results. This could take a week or more. Since you are billed on a daily basis and will choose a monthly budget, you can easily monitor how much you're spending by checking your Search Clicks report daily (under Shop Reports), and then make any adjustments accordingly. This report shows you a daily summary of your total clicks from site or Lane searches and your total daily cost for clicks. This does not show you your Page Views and overall traffic level.
By now you can probably see why the use of keywords is so important. You can add lots of items and pay a relatively high rate for clicks. But without using keywords in your item titles, categories and descriptions, another shop with fewer items and paying less for clicks but who uses descriptive keywords will land higher than you in the results. What a waste! Some shops put unrelated, yet popular keywords in their titles and categories to manipulate the system. Not only is this misleading to visitors and unfair to shops using relevant keywords, but it is not likely to result in increased sales, and could get your shop flagged for search spamming. It is also wise to make certain that any catalog into which you are placing your items properly represents them. Placing merchandise within incorrect catalogs, even if accidentally done, can also be viewed as an attempt to Keyword Spam, not to mention that this practice can lessen the relevancy of the item in the very searches where you really want the item to find placement.
Traffic Does Not Always Equal Sales
It's also important to understand that increased traffic is not a guarantee of increased sales. In fact, if you're placing relatively high in the search results but aren't getting traffic, your overall item presentation such as poor photos or inappropriate pricing may cause visitors to pass your listings by. If, on the other hand, you are getting the traffic into your shop from clicks, but it's not resulting in sales, you'll also want to find out why. This can take some serious soul-searching as the problem could range from your item presentation to your descriptions, or even your shipping and return policies. Most visitors are indeed interested in your items - or they wouldn't be in your shop! If you're experiencing traffic but not sales and don't know where to turn, we invite you to start by visiting the new Selling Successfully Online! page at http://www.rubyLane.com/info/success and begin reading to determine where you need to make improvements within your shop.But don't necessarily despair if every visitor doesn't turn into a sale. That visitor may not have known about your shop previously, and now they do. They may simply have been "browsing," and plan to return another time. This is one reason why most advertising is difficult to track scientifically.
Another Way To Advertise
As with traditional advertising, utilizing clicks allows you to put your name in front of potential customers. And also like traditional advertising, it does not guarantee that those customers will buy. You have to target the right audience, and you have to have a compelling product that is presented well, priced right, and is what customers ultimately want to buy. Without these ingredients, you can advertise all day long - it's not going to increase your sales.
Click Rates, like advertising in a publication, can serve to showcase a business, no matter the size of the shop or its bottom line. The people running full page 4 color ads in any publication (who have paid the most) are usually going to be placed closer to the front of the book, while the smaller ads will go in the center and further on. The businesses running the big ads are usually more established, and have a bigger selection, and a bigger budget, and they've been around longer. But it doesn't always mean that their ad is better, or they have a better product. And there's always the smaller business that in fact has funding and can afford to "go for it" and run some of the more expensive ads. If they have the funds and use them wisely, they present themselves well and have a compelling product, advertising can work well for anyone.