Thursday, February 24, 2011

Using Google AdWords to Promote "The KC"

This post was originally created as class assignment #8 for MSU's New Media Driver's License course, and posted to the course website on November 15, 2010.

Thank you for the opportunity to present a few ideas for utilizing paid search advertising through Google AdWords to promote the Kellogg Center (“the KC”).

Before we begin, let’s quickly recap your primary businesses and the audiences you target:

Currently, The Kellogg Center Hotel and Conference Center markets the following “products” on your website:
  • The State Room Restaurant
  • KC’s Lounge
  • Full-service Hotel
  • 35,000+ square feet of Conference /Meeting Room space
  • Gift Shop

Content on the website currently targets the following audiences:
  • Business customers – looking for meeting, conference, trade show, or banquet space
  • Wedding customers – looking for banquet space for wedding receptions
  • MSU parents, fans, alumni – visiting East Lansing for various MSU events, and needing overnight lodging
  • Local restaurant customers – looking for fine dining options
  • Local bar/lounge customers
Let’s now consider the advantages that online advertising, and specifically paid search advertising through Google AdWords, offers the KC to help you reach your marketing objectives:
  • Environment: Consumers have come to rely on Google search as an integral part of their shopping experience. Being present in the search environment is a vital at every stage in the purchase “funnel” – from building awareness to consideration to purchase intent to purchase – and even providing post-purchase feedback.
  • Precise targeting and delivery - Online advertising using AdWords lets you deliver a targeted message to a consumer exactly when and where they are looking for it. (unlike traditional media advertising, which requires the advertiser to commit a dollar amount based on an estimated audience, with very imprecise methods of estimating whether the target sees the ad.
  • Affordability and Efficiency -- Advertisers only pay when a consumer clicks on their ad, eliminating wasted impressions. Traditional media is very limited in its ability to determine whether and how a target acts on an ad message.
  • Market Knowledge -- AdWords provides detailed analytics to measure the effectiveness of a given campaign
  • Flexibility -- AdWords provides the flexibility to continuously improve effectiveness – based on the data reported, clients can change the parameters of their campaigns – including the keywords selected, ad copy, timing, daily budget, etc. – as they go. So you’re not stuck with a campaign that’s not working.

An efficient Google AdWords campaign can be designed for each of the product/prospect connections indicated on the above grid. For this presentation, and for the KC’s first foray into online advertising, we’ve chosen to design three individual campaigns that can run concurrently, each addressing a key business objective. This will allow the KC to put several different messages into the marketplace, evaluating what works and what doesn’t, and making adjustments as you go forward.

Campaign #1: “The KC Means Business”
Objective: Attract event planners and business executives looking for a venue for upcoming corporate events, company meetings, etc., and encourage them to request a quote using the KC’s online RFP tool.
a. TIMING: Using Insights for Google to look at the popularity and seasonality of keywords relevant to this category indicates that there is very little seasonality in search activity related to business event planning, but that there is a dip in activity during Nov/Dec.

A six-month plan (Jan-June) is proposed, with weekly adjustments to keywords, overall budget, ad creative, etc. to fine tune the campaign as more is learned.

GEOGRAPHY: This plan is limited to searches that take place within the state of Michigan. Businesses outside the state would be unlikely to choose Lansing as a destination for a conference or meeting (but this parameter could be changed if KC wishes to explore other regional targets)

AD PLACEMENTS/DAYPARTS: This plan assumes that professionals will be searching for venue options during regular business hours. Therefore, ads will be served up M-F, 8a -6p EST.

KEYWORDS:Beginning with a short list of potential keywords (such as “conference center”) along with the KC’s web URL, we used Google AdWords’ Keyword Tool to develop an initial keyword list for the campaign.
The following 18 keyword phrases are recommended for inclusion in the initial test:
  1. banquet halls
  2. business conference
  3. conference center
  4. conference center hotels
  5. conference center offers
  6. conference hotels
  7. corporate events
  8. event management
  9. event planning
  10. Hotel conference center
  11. hotels near conference center
  12. Kellogg conference center
  13. Kellogg conference center east lansing
  14. Kellogg conference center hotel
  15. Kellogg hotel & conference center
  16. Kellogg hotel conference center
  17. lansing conference center
  18. Meeting space
ADS TO BE TESTED:  Three text-only ads will be rotated throughout the campaign so that we can test the effectiveness of alternate copy approaches.

Meetings and Conferences
Best Event Location: On MSU Campus
Plan Your Event and Get a Quote

Hotel & Conference Center
Hold Your Next Event on MSU Campus!
Plan Your Event and Get a Quote

 (NOTE: In both of these ads we have chosen to focus on the functionality of the KC website to allow visitors to request a proposal using the online form referenced above.)   
Business Event Planning
Hold Your Next Event on MSU Campus!
Let Our Event Experts Help You

(NOTE: This third ad takes a slightly different approach, promoting the KC’s helpful event sales staff. This link redirects visitors to the staff directory page )

Campaign #2: “The KC is Your Wedding Destination”
Objective: Attract soon-to-be-married couples, parents and wedding planners looking to plan a wedding reception in the greater Lansing area, and persuade them to find out more about holding their reception at the KC.

TIMING: Again, we used Google Analytics to look at a key search terms.  Traffic was not highly seasonal, but definitely drops off during the holiday season (Nov-Jan.)

GEOGRAPHY:  This campaign targets potential customers within the state of Michigan. It is assumed that East Lansing is an unlikely location for a “destination wedding,” in other words, one of the families involved lives within the state.
AD PLACEMENTS/DAYPARTS:  All days and dayparts are to be considered for this campaign.

KEYWORDS SELECTED: Beginning with a short list of potential keywords (such as “wedding reception”) along with the KC’s web URL, we used Google AdWords’ Keyword Tool to develop an initial keyword list for the campaign.
The following 21 keyword phrases are recommended for inclusion in the initial test:

  1.  wedding reception
  2. wedding reception michigan
  3. wedding reception venues
  4. wedding reception halls
  5. wedding reception locations
  6. wedding reception halls in michigan
  7. wedding reception venues michigan
  8. banquet halls in michigan
  9. wedding reception planning
  10. wedding reception places
  11.  michigan wedding receptions
  12. wedding reception ideas
  13. places to have a wedding reception
  14. wedding receptions michigan
  15. wedding reception banquet halls
  16. banquet facilities
  17. banquet halls in michigan
  18. banquet rooms
  19. kellogg center msu
  20. msu kellogg center
  21. kellogg center michigan state university
Plan the Ultimate Wedding
Hold your reception on MSU Campus
Inquire Now About Special Discounts

This ad will send inquirers directly to “Planning a Wedding” page

Campaign #3: “Sparty On at the KC”
Objective: Attract MSU loyalists – including sports fans, parents and alumni planning trips to East Lansing for upcoming events in November and December (notably the remaining home football game, home basketball games and Winter Commencement), and encourage them to book accommodations in the hotel.

TIMING: This campaign is built around a specific promotional period of November 15- December 28. This time frame corresponds with remaining MSU home football game (11/20), the start of men’s basketball season (home games 11/16 – 12/31), and fall commencement (12/10, 12/11). It is recommended that a special Sparty discount be promoted during this campaign.

GEOGRAPHY: Since both parents and fans may come from around the country for these events, the entire US has been selected for this campaignAD PLACEMENTS/DAYPARTS – This campaign assumes that the audience may search anytime, 24/7, and any day of the week.

KEYWORDS SELECTED: Since this campaign will run nationally, the keywords selected all include a geographic reference point:
  1. east lansing hotel
  2. East lansing hotel deals
  3. East lansing hotels
  4. East lansing mi hotel
  5. East lansing mi hotels
  6. Lansing hotel deals
  7. Lansing hotel
  8. Lansing hotels
  9. Lansing mi hotel
  10. Lansing mi hotels
  11. Hotels near MSU
  12. MSU hotels
Note that campaigns can also be built around additional promotions, such as the upcoming Visiting Chefs Series promotion and Specials in the restaurant, lounge and gift shop, as soon as a promotional calendar is announced.

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of each of the three campaigns, we will activate the campaigns at an initial test budget level set high enough to facilitate competitive bidding for keywords yet low enough to experiment with a variety of ads and keywords while keeping overall out-of-pocket costs low:
  • Campaign #1 (Business): maximum spend of $25/day
  • Campaign #2 (Wedding): maximum spend of $25/day
  • Campaign #3 (MSU): maximum spend of $25/day
After approximately 2 weeks, AdWords can calculate a Recommended Daily Budget for each of the campaigns, the amount necessary for ads to appear as frequently as possible for the keywords selected. We will then compare the Recommended Daily Budget with the Test budget levels to determine whether and where additional spending may be warranted.

From that point forward, we will evaluate and modify each ongoing campaign weekly.

photo credits: Kellog Center 1 by John M. Quick; Meet by joe schlabotnik; The Spartan by A. Blight; Lavender Wedding Cake by Jessica Higgins; Thank You by RobeRt Vega.

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