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Bringing 1,700% more bearded leads to Mountaineer Brand

  Article , Retail , Success stories

Clix Marketing found Mountaineer Brand 1,700% more leads on the Bing Network

Paid search: the intersection of technology and people

Clix Marketing Managing Partner John Lee has a knack for anticipating business trends and thrives on staying on the cutting edge of new developments. Back in 2006, the Indiana native was in the technology field, but intrigued by the newly developing field of search engine marketing (SEM). When a pay-per-click (PPC) job opened up at Hanapin Marketing, Lee thoroughly researched the subject and educated himself enough to land the job. “I was driven by a desire to get into what I saw as a growing industry,” he explains, “I saw search as the intersection of technology and people, tying those things together. I was very curious. And that curiosity remains today; it’s what drives me.”

Lee had a chance to make history at Hanapin when he helped develop and launch what became the world’s most popular PPC blog, PPC Hero. In 2009, John left Hanapin and later that year joined Clix Marketing; in 2011, he became co-owner of the company along with his business partner, Mae Polczynski. Along the way, Lee has become a powerful presence in the industry as a public speaker and thought leader. When he isn’t in the office, Lee plays keyboards and sings backup vocals in a rock band and rides a Harley Davidson Street 750.

There are these pockets where the Bing audience is just far more valuable, and if you’re not there to begin with, you’re going to lose it.

John Lee, Managing Partner, Clix Marketing

Developing PPC “spidey senses”

John Lee, managing partner at Clix Marketing

John Lee, managing partner at Clix Marketing, is a public speaker and thought leader in the PPC industry.

At Clix, Lee leads a team of PPC, social and display experts who are hands-on about developing and managing the high-level strategy and day-to-day tactical details of their clients’ digital marketing campaigns. Each client services staff member has five or more years of experience. That collective expertise allows them to create dramatic, consistent growth for their clients with a focus on driving revenue and conversions. The team keeps an eagle eye on industry trends and breakthroughs, and is vigilant about keeping up with other thought leaders in the industry, as well as staying ahead of the curve when new platform products and features are released. They also run their own widely read blog and work to build trusting relationships throughout the industry and with partners, including Google and Bing.

Lee and his team combine a high level of creativity with science, but there’s also something extra they’ve developed along the way (or perhaps they’ve had it all along). It’s a kind of sixth sense that kicks in, especially when it comes to PPC, that lets them know when they need to be concerned, take extra time with a client, pay closer attention, do something different. A colleague of Lee’s coined a term for it that inspired a recent Clix blog post: PPC Spidey Senses: They’re Real and You Want Them.

With Bing Ads, we were able to target locations that we previously couldn't afford, and had a cost per acquisition close to $25, where previously it would have been hundreds of dollars.

Amy Bishop, Director of Audits, Outbound and Training, Clix Marketing

Clix and Bing Ads: reduced CPA, higher volume, more conversions

Lee and his team have developed a close relationship with Bing Ads and have been early adopters of the platform’s new products, participating in pilot programs, providing feedback to product engineers and getting their clients on board as soon as possible — usually the very day a product is released. An important part of every Clix search campaign is making sure the client is on board with Bing Ads.

Clix team members each have client success stories that highlight impressive Bing Ads performance. One of Director Michelle Morgan’s clients is an investigative firm that generates phone leads via search. Morgan explains, “The cost per call from Bing is 25% of what the cost per call is from Google. That’s drastically lower with no discernable difference in quality.” Director Amy Bishop works with a firm in the legal industry, where leads are very expensive. When she opened up a separate Bing Ads campaign for them, she explains, “We were able to target locations that we previously couldn’t afford, and had a cost per acquisition (CPA) close to $25, where previously it would have been hundreds of dollars.”

One of Lee’s clients did a lot of business in Texas, where the Google AdWords market is costly and hadn’t been performing well for years, he says, “but they were still going after it. On Bing Ads, from a conversion standpoint the metrics are far more in our favor, so over time we’ve been able to get more and more volume from Bing. There are these pockets where the Bing audience is just far more valuable, and if you’re not there to begin with, you’re going to lose it.”

Reaching Bing’s beard culture

Screenshot of Mountaineer Brand website.

When Lee and Polczynski bought the firm, they decided to lift any strict parameters on the size of client companies. This flexibility allows them to take on smaller businesses and make a huge difference, which was the case for Mountaineer Brand, a client Clix took on in July 2015. It’s a brother-sister team who make 100% natural handmade beard supplies such as oils, balms and shaving products. The company wasn’t doing any marketing beyond organic social networking on Facebook, but they had a great product. Lee explains, “They knew a significant part of the beard culture was on Bing, but they didn’t know how to get into the marketplace.”

Lee immediately began search campaigns with Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Since Mountaineer Brand products are lifetime products, with customers returning every few weeks without additional ad spend, the short-term goal was to build brand awareness and get conversion numbers up to reach a wider customer base. They started out with a small monthly budget across Google AdWords and Bing Ads with a commitment to keep increasing spend as long as ROI was positive. By December, the overall ad spend had increased by more than 3,800% with a 3,300% increase in revenue across Bing Ads (both search and Bing Shopping Campaigns) as well as Google AdWords, Facebook, Yahoo Gemini, Pinterest, Twitter and Amazon. By December and on the Bing Network alone, ad spend had increased more than 1,500%, revenue increased 2,300% and conversions increased 1,700%.

An inspiring, constantly innovating industry


The Mountaineer story also showcases the Clix commitment to immediately onboarding new Bing Ads features. When Image Extensions (when a search ad includes an image in its display) were in pilot, Clix used them for top keyword phrases like “beard oil” and “beard care tips.” Clix was the only one bidding on those terms while adding Image Extensions. “We beat the competition to market with a very attractive ad,” Lee explains.

Lee’s favorite Bing Ads feature is Universal Event Tracking (UET), which uses a single tag by which advertisers can retarget their search audience and track conversions, even across multiple accounts and campaigns. The Mountaineer Brand campaigns use UET tags, and Lee is applying remarketing lists to the search campaigns and bidding them up. From December 15, 2015, through January 15, 2016, ROI on Mountaineer’s ad spend for Remarketing in Paid Search was more than 300% and yielded an 11.7% click-through rate.

Lee’s sentiment about the SEM landscape echoes those of his team and many in the industry. “Search is fun,” he says. “The technology is constantly changing, and that’s enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. I have to stay ahead of the curve, and to me that’s exciting.” Morgan, the director, ended up connecting with Lee and joining Clix through Twitter hashtag #ppcchat, and adds, “I’m a huge fan of how we’re so open with each other in this industry. We share strategies, talk about common challenges, that kind of stuff. We’re a very open community, willing to share and learn new things from new people.”

The dedication and curiosity of the whole Clix team is what will continue to guide clients successfully through the highly dynamic and ever evolving search industry. And as long as Lee isn’t signed by a record company any time soon, the PPC industry has a top role model to follow.

Keep reading

See a quick summary of how Mountaineer Brand gained a huge conversions boost with Bing Ads features like Image Extensions, Universal Event Tracking and Remarketing in Paid Search.

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