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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Back Into the Penalty Box, Microsoft

Over the past 30 days I paid Microsoft $114 for just five conversions on Bing/Yahoo, or $22.81 per sale. That's about $225 in revenue. $23 to land an average $45 sale is just too much, and a couple of rounds of slaying the most overpriced and underperforming keywords didn't make enough difference. I'd rather keep the 114 birds in hand than go for 225 birds in the bush, so Microsoft AdCenter is suspended again. I'll fire these ads back up again to capture Christmas traffic after I get back from Michigan next month.

For comparison's sake, I paid Google $580 over the same month for 39 conversions worth $1,672, or $15 per sale. Not great, but better. Ideally, advertising would run 10% of gross, or $4.50 per conversion; historically, anything under 15% ($6.75) is good. Fifteen bucks looks like it's way off the scale, but not all of my sales come from paid clicks. When you factor in my unpaid traffic, advertising totaled 17.6% of sales last year. Google is obviously indispensible, and Microsoft is not.

I need to reorder a lot of stuff that I let deplete over the summer and start bringing in Christmas, and I need a lot of money to do that. This was one of those frustrating feast-or-famine weeks: $110 on Sunday, $350 on Monday, $0 on Tuesday, $288 on Wednesday, $0 again on Thursday, $0 so far today. Every time it looks like things are breaking out, they fizzle.

Taking off six days off in September is a terrible idea, but one's niece only gets married once (one hopes), so I should never have to take time off in the fall again. Rather than "close" the store as I do in July, I'll check in daily and try to do everything except ship orders while I'm away. I'm only vulnerable for the first few days, when people will be expecting delivery before I can even ship.

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