7 Tips for Designing Paid Search for Sustainability

Although paid search is typically associated with quick wins and guaranteed conversions there is still an element of doing things right (the first time) from a long term sustainability approach that needs to be followed. Designing paid search programs for sustainability takes time and patience but it is well worth the effort. In doing so you are building efficiency into your program, setting yourself up to pay a lower average cost per click, and helping grow your business. Otherwise, not designing paid search for sustainability affects all paid search programs, frustrates parties involved, and fails to move the industry forward.

And finding the right instructions for designing paid search for sustainability is not hard to come by. Google makes it painfully clear how to design and manage paid search programs to ensure that you are paying the lowest possible amount for a click. And I would say that 95% of Google’s advice and policies are valid. I know that Google and the other platforms are in this business to make money, but I also know that Google and the others will reward you, over time, for doing the right things when it comes to well planned and designed paid search programs.

Paid Search Design for Sustainability

So how does one go about designing a paid search program for sustainability? First, I want to clarify that we are discussing mostly pre-click and traffic related tactics of a paid search program. Obviously, there are post-click analytics that influence pre-click actions. Also, from a systems thinking perspective, there is a broader scope of how a paid search program fits into the mix with other online marketing channels, but for now let us just focus on the task at hand - paid search design for sustainability.

1. Plan. And plan again. Based on the problem solving process P-D-C-A (plan-do-check-act) made popular by W. Edwards Deming, planning is the most important and critical step. If starting from scratch, map out your campaign structure by using something as simple as your website navigation or site-map. For more advanced planning, use mental model or affinity diagram methods. While mapping out your campaign structure,  think about what you have to offer and how it provides a solution for your customers.

2. Campaign naming. This is often over looked, but assuming you are running a paid search program on multiple platforms, you will want to name your campaigns and ad groups accordingly. This does not tie into Quality Score directly, but it does help when managing and reporting on the program performance. For example, if you are running a paid search program in Google, MSN, and Facebook and you have the same campaigns with the same name in each account, third party tools may roll-up all three campaigns into one view. Naming your campaigns and ad groups specific to the engine in which they live reduces the time wasted in guess work and work-arounds to solve the problem otherwise.

3. Develop highly targeted keyword sets. Once you have thoroughly mapped out your campaign structure, you should now have a foundation to bucket your keywords in a way that each ad group is unique. Beyond advanced match type tactics, each ad group should contain keywords highly relevant to each other. The number of keywords in an ad group is irrelevant. At a certain point you will know when enough is enough.

4. Create relevant and persuasive ad ad creative text. Text within an ad creative should in some way reflect the keywords being targeted. When possible make sure that at least one keyword (phrase) in your ad group is in the ad creative title and in the body of the ad. Three to four ad creatives is recommended unless you are multivariate testing.

5. Landing page relevancy. Technically, the landing page comes into play post-click, but it is a component of a paid search program that ties into Quality Score. Just as keywords and ad creatives are required to be relevant to each other, the landing page also is required to be relevant to the preceding components. Landing pages should be as relevant as possible to what the ad creative messaging is about.

6. Negative keywords. Use them and use them deliberately. At a minimum they should be used at the campaign level and when required they should be added at the ad group level.

7. Search Queries. This is really what it’s all about – matching your keywords to the search queries users are actually typing. If you are not analyzing search queries for keyword expansion and negative keyword implementation, you are missing out on conversion and cost reduction opportunities.

This is not an exhaustive list of paid search design for sustainability tactics, but it is a good starting point. Besides aligning your program with Quality Score requirements, following these steps has implications outside of the components of a paid search program. When you do this part right, you have more time to analyze the post-click data. You will also spend less time reorganizing mega lists of keywords from one ad group to multiple ad groups and spend more time ad creative testing. Following the Quality Score requirements and designing for sustainability also allows for more accurate bid testing.

Overall, if you do things right and design for sustainability there is less time being spent on the things that do not add value and your program has much better chance of out lasting the competition while continuing to maximize its return.

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Matt LeVeque is the Founder & President of SEM Science Consulting, LLC and Senior Member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ).

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Landing Page Optimization, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, keyword research on October 21,2010

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Whose Conversion is it Anyways?

Paid search marketers love to track everything – sales, geography, demographics, time of day – if we can measure it, we want the data! Data, however, can sometimes lead us to make wrong decisions, especially if that data is easy to misunderstand. To quote Mark Twain, “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

I’ve recently noticed an alarming trend whereby marketing partners are stretching the truth in an effort to give themselves too much credit for my conversions. The primary culprit of this “conversion land grab” is the concept of “view-through” conversions. Most people are familiar with “click-through” conversions – when someone clicks on your PPC ad and converts on your Web site, you count that user (and the keyword they rode in on) as a conversion.

A view-through, on the other hand, occurs when a user simply lands on a page where your ad was served. They never actually click on your ad, but – the theory goes – because they saw your ad, if they later convert on your site, the ad should get some credit for this conversion.

In theory, this isn’t an absolutely ridiculous metric, because we know that people respond to brand advertising on TV or billboards, and that this sort of advertising can drive sales. The problem with view-through conversions, however, is two-fold. First, most paid search advertisers don’t know the difference between a view-through and a click-through and thus don’t know how to value each. For example, did you know that your view-through conversions on Google include “views” of ads that are below the fold (require scrolling), whether a user actually scrolled below the first page or not? That’s like having a billboard facing one way on a highway but counting all the cars that go by in both directions!

Second, the reporting from many marketing partners completely muddles the distinction between a view-through and a click-through. Facebook’s reporting, for example, gives users a high level “Advertising Performance Report” but makes no mention of the fact that the conversions listed in this report are both view-through and click-through data. And Facebook’s misleading reporting pales in comparison to standard practices in the display (banner ad) space. As PPC and display ads become more and more intertwined, search marketers will need to tread cautiously into this new category.

Josh McFarland, CEO of TellApart, recently provided a scathing critique of rampant view-through counting in the display space, in particular with respect to “retargeting” (which Google AdWords calls “remarketing”):

“We all agree online advertising needs a more comprehensive metric than the click.  But the view-through (or post-impression) conversion is not it — especially for your retargeting campaigns.  In fact, if you’re being billed for view-through conversions from your current provider, you are massively overpaying for events which were going to happen anyway.”

My advice – at least for now – is simple: ignore the view-through, the multiple-conversions-per-click, and anything else that looks like an attempt by a search engine to give itself more credit. Over time, we’ll all figure out a way to give some credit to these non-click-through metrics, but until there are established standards and clearer explanations, it’s best to err on the side of caution!

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David Rodnitzky is Founder of PPC Associates, a leading SEM agency in San Francisco. To learn more about full service AdWords management from PPC Associates, contact David at david@ppcassociates.com.

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, social media on October 7,2010

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A Recent PPC Summit Survey Reveals What Advertisers Need to Focus on To Improve Their Search Marketing Results

As search engine marketing evolves at light speed pace, new opportunities are constantly arising–making Search Engine Marketing (SEM) that much more challenging and harder for marketers to keep up with. PPC Summit recently surveyed 3500 past PPC Summit attendees who provided valuable insight on the top areas where Search Engine Marketers feel they need more education. 

According to survey respondents, the topics that Search Marketers want to learn more about to improve their ROI are:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaign Optimization
  • Integrating Paid Search, Organic and Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

While Search Marketing and Search Engine Optimization remain strong revenue drivers for online marketers, Social Media is rapidly moving up in importance. With social media sites like Facebook (500+ million users), LinkedIn (70+ million users), Twitter (106+ million users) and YouTube (300 million accounts) all securing their justifiable placement in the marketing mix, SEM specialists have to be on top of their game in order to keep up.

ISSUE #1 – Pay Per Click Campaign Optimization: The goal in pay per click marketing is to write compelling ad copy that directs prospects to your site or landing page and then entices them to sign up or buy your product/service. Easier said than done, right?

According to the Survey Results, 82.5% of SEM respondents feel they need to focus more on PPC Campaign Strategies by:
 

  • Improving their Quality Score. One way to improve your Quality Score–and pay less per click– is by properly using header tags (more here).
  • Utilizing Website Optimizer & Google Analytics: Paying more attention to your analytics and constantly analyzing your cost-per-customer can really help your results.
  • Fine-tuning Google AdWords PPC strategies: Save time and optimize your AdWords campaigns with the AdWords Interface.

ISSUE #2 – Social Media and Search Marketing Merge: Your customers are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more. Incorporating these social media sites into your marketing mix is a must in today’s SEM world. Use Social Media Marketing to complement your paid search and organic marketing strategy and reach a broader audience.

More than two-thirds of Survey Respondents ranked “Integrating Social Media with Search Marketing” in their top three priorities. Here are some quick tips: 

  • Incorporate Keywords. Use keywords in your account names and all SMM communications ie. SEO blog postings, Tweets, Facebook updates, etc
  • Develop Quality Content. This is critical in attracting quality prospects through the Social Media Channel.
  • Social Media Time Management. Streamline your communications with automation tools.

ISSUE #3 – Search Engine Optimization: We have heard from attendees–countless times–how they invested so much time and money on creating a fabulous SEO campaign, but in the end conversions were low due to poorly structured websites or landing pages.

Up to 82% of the SEMs polled told us they need help with their SEO campaigns. You can start by: 

  • Creating Appropriate Site Architecture. Customers should be able to find what they are looking for on your site in a click or two. If it’s more than three clicks, then you should re-think your site structure and messaging.
  • Using Tools Many SEO Experts Use. Utilize the industry leading tools like:

You can learn more about these challenges and how to solve them at the upcoming
PPC Summit Presents: Search & Social Media Successconference. We built a brand new three-track curriculum based on the results from this attendee survey. On Sept. 21-22 Marketing Professionals will gather in Los Angeles to hear from an impressive line up of experts in SEM/SEO/SMM who will share their top strategies to increase search and social media marketing ROI.

We look forward to seeing you in September!

Kelly Larsen
Director of Marketing, PPC Summit

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Facebook, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Landing Page Optimization, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, keyword research, social media on August 11,2010

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The Secret Truth – They’re Called Ad Groups

Article Posting Offered By Craig Danuloff, President ClickEquations

This article is part of a series of blog posts provided by ClickEquations that goes ‘behind the scenes’  on paid search. See the full post here.

We wanted to share this insightful article about paid seach campaigns and how important it is to organize your ad groups. Most spend too little time building ad groups primarily because goals aren’t clear.

Here are the goals of an ad group that you should follow:
•  To perfectly align questions (search queries) with answers (text ads).
•  Every query that comes into an ad group should go into ad copy that directly addresses its topics, issues, intent, and desires.
•  It not good enough for all the keywords in an ad group to be similar or narrowly focused or contextually similar or anything else.
•  If the people whose queries come into a group don’t see text ads that satisfy them, the ad group is a failure.

Rebuilding Ad Groups: Ad group reorganization doesn’t happen a lot in large part because it isn’t easy enough to reorganize within our tools. Without a clear set of organizational goals how can you know that something is wrong or how you should fix it?

There is only one legitimate way to analyze the success of an ad group: make the list of search queries the ad group has attracted. Put this list next to the text ad copy that has been shown to the people who executed those searches. If the text ads on that list are not aimed at answering the question implied in the search query on the other list, then improve your ad groups.

The Ads Are The Targets:  Here’s the basic idea – build ad groups around ads, fit in keywords that attract compatible queries, make ads the target (build a nice small target and then hit it). Build as many ad groups as you need, but make sure they are tight and focused.

Special Note: if you allow unaligned queries into your ad group, the downhill spiral begins:
•  Queries that don’t target the ad copy get impressions but not clicks
•  CTRs drop
•  Good queries are under-served by inappropriate ads
•  Quality score suffers for the keywords, target URLs
•  Money wasted, and cost rise in the future

The key is to build highly targeted text ads then construct ad groups that only bring very specific people to them.

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Craig Danuloff, President of ClickEquations, a complete, easy-to-use paid search platform for large advertiser and agencies. For more free tips, check out the ClickEquations Learn section and their paid search blog.

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Google AdWords, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, keyword research on March 16,2010

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Contextual Advertising Finally Hits Its Stride

By Mary T. O’Brien, Founder PPC Summit

For years Search Engines have been pushing contextual ads (content advertising) as a way to increase their distribution and revenue, but it seemed like advertisers just weren’t buying it. Ads on content networks have historically performed far worse than their counterparts in search campaigns causing many advertisers to just give up working with content networks at all.

Now, finally, that seems to be changing.

At our recent PPC Summit in Los Angeles, David Szetela’s “Successful Content Advertising – Why Content Ads Can be Your Ace in the Hole” session played to a full house. Of course, that is partly explained by the fact that David is a great trainer and previous attendees know that David always shares a ton of great information and is a fount of search knowledge, but it’s also because content ads are finally coming into their own and capturing their share of advertiser dollars.

In addition to the offerings by Google Adsense, Yahoo Publisher Network and Microsoft adCenter, there are also many stand alone content networks that provide the opportunity to target your customers successfully earlier in the buying cycle, often at a cheaper price than a search campaign.

Some of the networks that you may want to check out include: Context Web (particularly their ADSDAQ self service product), Kontera, Quigo (now part of AOL) and Industry Brains (part of Marchex, and particularly good for B2B targeting). Bigger publishers/Social Networks are also getting in on the act successfully like Facebook, Linked In and Digg’s new content ads offering.

Many of these networks provide excellent Behavioral, Demographical and Geographical targeting that allow you as an advertiser to really drill down and reach your target audience. But still, this is a much more complex product than search. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can blow through a significant budget in a weekend, hence the interest in David’s session in LA. Advertiser’s now get that there is opportunity in content networks – IF you really know what you are doing.   

So what are some things to look out for?

1) Assume that buyers reading content ads are in the very start of the sales process. Actually they may not be in the sales process at all yet. Your ad needs to whet their interest and push them into the funnel. Ads need to read like headlines from the National Enquirer, obnoxious, eye-catching, jumping off the page.

2) As keywords aren’t bolded in content ads, and aren’t counted for Quality Score, you can focus less on USP’s and more on just trapping clicks.

3) These potential customers need strong incentives to click through, so offer free white papers, samples, reviews, trials etc.

4)  Study your where your competitors ads appear. You are not only competing with them you are competing with all the content on that page, so your ad needs to shout just to get attention. Use all of those words that you would never normally use in your copy like: STOP! WAIT! CLICK HERE! LOOK! REGISTER NOW! Etc.

5) Include product prices and special offers. Just make sure they are tied back to specific landing pages on your site that mention these offers so there is no disconnect for your visitors.

6) Create separate search and content campaigns.

This will allow you to:
• Optimize your ad groups and ad text specifically for content pages.
• Target different audiences.
• Use more general (earlier buying cycle) keywords to strengthen the theme of your ad group, without affecting your search performance.

7) Before you even think about attempting a contextual advertising campaign, make sure you have a comprehensive tracking solution in place. Content campaigns can really benefit from testing and tracking, even more than search campaigns.

These are just some basic steps to get you on the right track with Contextual Advertising and there are far too many to list here. David covers more than an hour of tips in his Content sessions at PPC Summit and AdWords Advantage. Overall these campaigns take a lot more tweaking to get them to perform, but the point is they CAN perform very effectively if you do them correctly.

Think “Media Buy” rather than “Search Campaign” and that will help you to focus your attention more effectively. The networks will continue to add targeting and distribution options to make this traffic more effective as time goes on. Pay attention and keep up with the changes. Sometimes a little tweak that works for your particular audience is all it takes to make a content campaign really effective. Once you get this traffic source to work for you, it can really help your budget by allowing you to capture a much lower CPA. Just as with search where you what you take away (negative keywords) really impacts results the same thing is true of content. The traffic sources you remove from your campaigns will determine your success overall.

For more info on Contextual Advertising follow David on twitter http://twitter.com/Szetela or check out his upcoming session in Chicago at the PPC Summit or online at our upcoming online AdWords Advantage event.

Pay Attention. This could be the best source of traffic you’re underutilizing and you can’t afford to do that for much longer.

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing on October 9,2009

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The Unlucky No. 13 Proves to be Lucky in B2B, More Touch Points!

By John Robbins, Account Executive, Anvil Media, Inc.

According to Business.com, on average, 13 different people within an enterprise level organization touch a purchasing decision before final approval.  Even within mid size companies, those 13 people are likely spread throughout the organization horizontally, and, even more so, vertically.  Because of this, only targeting upper level management is a short sighted and typically ineffective model for advertising for a B2B provider.   By understanding how each level of an organization searches for your solution you can effectively target multiple management levels by advertising to their needs, desires, and wants.

Middle Management

This is the level of a company where most pain points for day-to-day operations come to a head.  Because of this, these managers are likely to perform searches that are solutions based and are attempting to solve a specific problem.

How do they search?
For example, your company is offering document management software solutions and a potential customer is experiencing issues with processing document approvals efficiently.  A mid-level manager may not be familiar with industry jargon or terms and instead performs a query for “help with document approvals”.  This is a very broad query as they may not even be aware there is a software solution out there to search for. 

How do you reach them?
Unless you are using broad match, in your PPC efforts, on a term like “document approval” you would miss this impression and this initial touch opportunity.  Using the search query tools provided can help you ensure you are not missing opportunities at a broad match/very general keyword level. 

Also, these searchers are seeking education and solutions.  The messaging and landing pages for these keywords should reflect this need.  While seeking information, this level of management is less likely to provide contact information as they often do not desire or feel comfortable being the original contact point.  However, that doesn’t mean you should not track how they interact with the site.  Tracking paid visitors that used these keywords and creating specific KPI’s for them can help ensure your first impression is a good one.  While these visitors may not convert often, understanding and tracking how they interact with the site is still important and they should be given specific KPI’s that track their on-site engagement through metrics such as time on site and page/visit.
 
Upper Management

When a need for a solution to a problem reaches this level of management, it usually is receiving some significant attention by the organization.  However, the focus will be on product specific queries as they will already been given a list of 2, maybe 3, options of solutions with recommendations potentially already made.  While using jargon can be a dangerous proposition in marketing, if the search volume is there, there is no reason not to go after it as long as the messaging is not overloaded with it.  Besides jargon, more specific industry terms will also fall into this bucket as upper level management will either have, or have been given, information/research about these terms.

How do they search?
This level of manager doesn’t have the time or even the need to research solutions based keywords (as this has already been completed).  Where lower management is often seeking solutions to specific problems, upper management makes the shift to searching for the products that provide these solutions.  Instead of searching for “help with document approvals”, upper level managers will search for “document management software”.  These types of keywords are likely your current bread and butter for generating leads and this is for good reason – you are now speaking to those who are decision makers and instigate conversation with potential vendors. 

In addition to product specific keywords, these folks will also use branded searches to quickly find the site for review.  Ensuring your branded campaigns are properly optimized and the ad messaging is speaking to the big picture solution your company provides will help to ensure these final searches are effective.  For example, say an Information System Manager participated in your webcast and is the initial lead, remember they have likely passed that information on to at least 2-3 other people that will be involved with the decision and they are now searching via branded terms (either company or products).

How do you reach them?
As the goal of this keyword group is to have a high conversion rate, focusing on providing options to convert will allow the highest opportunity to produce a viable lead.  This level of management is where real lead generation begins and the conversion points should reflect this by collecting as much contact information as possible through a wide range of capture points on the site – webcasts, downloads, white papers, sign-up forms, etc. 

While this strategy focuses on tracking keywords based on management level, don’t forget about the content network.  This strategy can be augmented to target placements based on what each level of management is reading online.

Now, I am not recommending you change how your PPC accounts are organized as this method is about tracking keywords and their reach and effectiveness at driving the next touch point.  What this really comes down to is Attribution – tracking your many touch points within an organization using broad terms to reach mid-management, using product and branded terms for upper management and high level executives.  By understanding why each management level is searching for your solutions and providing a targeted message to each, you can ensure your brand is presented to each level of the decision making process.

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John Robbins is an Account Executive at Anvil Media, Inc.  John graduated from Portland State University with a BS in Marketing.  John has been working with Anvil Media in Portland since 2008.  John has extensive experience with both B2B and B2C clients, specializing in developing SEO, social media, and PPC strategy to increase client visibility and ROI.

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, keyword research on October 9,2009

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A Simple Step-By-Step Formula to Dramatically Increase Customer Engagement with (Ad)Words

Learn How to Develop Smart Ad Text and Landing Pages to Quickly Increase Qualified Leads.

By: Jon Rognerud, Entrepreneur.com’s SEO columnist and Founder Chaos Map

To begin, think for a moment about these real-life Pay Per Click (PPC) business scenarios:

1. A large budget, #1 position bidding, random click streams, poor keyword matching, low CTR’s, low conversions

2. A limited budget, competitive positioning, targeted clicks, phrase and exact keyword matching, high CTR’s, excellent conversions

Which one would you rather see in your results? Personally, I’d use smart bidding, ad copy development and testing strategies, and scale up from the second option. However, to succeed, a PPC manager of the latter should also spend creative time thinking about how to reach out, and into the psyche of their users and marketplace.

Start with the end goal in mind; and know who your users are. What is their persona? Audience checker is an interesting tool to help kick start your thinking. Make sure you understand the difference between an influencer and a real buyer (the person with the credit card). Also, think about how the ad and message fits within the purchasing stages; awareness, research, compare and buy. The messages will and must vary.

I ask the analytical minds out there to stretch a bit here. You need to get more creative and learn to develop connection points with your customers early on. The notion of the discovery and results of pre/post-clicks must be included in your strategy. Relevancy is super important, and throughout the user navigational experience. Most everybody has heard of and some experienced the Google Slap. I’ll share some techniques and a simple formula that can help you prepare for a better outcome, and not simply waste dollars and time doing A/B testing at will.

At the end of this post, ask yourself this question: “How much time do I spend on ad and landing page strategy”? If the answer is “10-15 minutes”, you need to start over.

The Best Ad Example – Ever?

The well documented and trusted “AIDA” (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) formula is used by many copywriters. See how this story and example fits that structure.

You may not be familiar with Ernest Schakleton. He was a bold adventurer who took 20+ men on a virtually impossible trip to the South Pole and back in the early 1900’s. To start his campaign, and solicit his men, he allegedly wrote this ad, and placed it in a London newspaper:

“Men Wanted (headline): For hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful – honor and recognition in case of success”.

Think about the message here. Extremely direct, action oriented and with a clear benefit statement. The ‘landing page’ was his address. He supposedly received thousands of applications from this ad.

While he did not have to conform to Ad standards per se, and with short text ads constraints like Google Adwords, it’s important to know what Google offers as your canvas for creatives. You have 4 lines with an optional Geo-target to work with:

• Head: The all important headline (Draw, Create Attention, Keywords)  (25)

• Line1: A clear benefit statement (Build Interest)   (35)

• Line2: Decision statement (Click, But Why?) (35)

• Display URL: Action page (Now Do it: Click!) – keyword rich (35) • (optional) Geo Targeting: Example: California You’ll have to narrow your copy down to fit these guidelines.

Demographics

Do you know if your audience is targeted, qualified, and who they are? You must know who you are writing to, and then present them with the information.  When writing, keep this knowledge in mind, and try a more personal approach, versus a (boring) business approach. People buy from people! You might run a survey and special polls in your blog, for example – to see what needs your customers are having. Microsoft asks: What is their (commercial) intent? Get your research done, and compare messages from your competitive landscape. Use Google search, type your keywords – and review the ads, while you also add tools like Spy Fu to discover more details about them.

Setup

Just like in the movies, you start with a setup, work your plot and finish with a killer punch line. You need to do your research (Google Keyword Tool, Google Trends). Your goal must be to ensure a match of what they are looking for, what they want to hear – and not what you think.

If your CEO or VP doesn’t like the ad copy, politely explain that you are researching, and that you will be testing against many. One way to begin this process is by writing a longer paragraph, and narrowing it down from there. You will feel too constricted by editing your ad directly within the platform. Write it down on paper. For fun, try to have a customer, friend or vendor read the ad copy. At least read it out loud for yourself. Much like text on a landing page, your ad copy should be clear and make you want to take action.

Inform

Are you helping to enforce the pain established and by educating them further? Make sure that you are speaking their language, and match with keywords in the headline to begin. Continue to test and tweak, and track it. Read up on advertiser guidelines from Google and Yahoo. A simple exercise to help develop a finer ad copy edge is to listen, observe, be curious, ask questions, problem solve and make connections. These drivers along with competitive analysis, even outside of your niche – can really help!

The Sizzle

When they (scan) read through the copy or ad, make sure it’s not only personal, but do stimulate with special offers and emotional ties. Make sure to include benefits, and use questions in headline and within body. Try numbers and different symbols to make it stand out. Draw them to the most desired action.

The Most Desired Action!

The call to action should be strong, clear and direct. Think of the outcome desired, and reflect that both on the ad and the landing page. Do not introduce many options, make it easy. Action statements are: Learn more, Buy now, Click now, Download now, Free shipping (if you act now), etc. Build more landing pages and test those, keeping relevancy in focus. Do the same with the ads. Adding an extra / keyword parameter in the Display URL can help. Building out multiple, custom domains should also be tested, including sub-domains. Continue to test, don’t stop!

On the Adwords side, create smaller keyword sets in tighter buckets, and use phrase and exact matches to related landing pages with an eye on SEO page copy development. You’ll have created optimum leverage, and a nicely integrated system to test with.

Conclusion

Begin to apply these tactics to shift to a more creative side, whilst maintaining top performance across all your campaigns. Yeah, and purchase this book right now – it’s a perfect fit for your ad copy development: “Tested Advertising Methods” (J. Caples).

And, finally – in the words of Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich: “Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive & Believe, It Can Achieve”. These are inspiring words to start making a change in your behavior and approach for ad copy development and more.

P.S. Make sure to check the load speed of your landing pages, and always test ads and landing pages against your best performing ones. Google Adwords can do this for you at the ad level (A/B testing ads) and Google Web optimizer at the landing page level.  For more advanced users, try the Duration Calculator to find out how long to test a page when using multiple elements.

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Jon Rognerud is Entrepreneur.com’s SEO columnist, an SEO consultant and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimization, in bookstores now. He has more than 20 years experience building software and marketing projects, including creating content and application solutions at Yahoo!/Overture. His SEO company in Los Angeles provides search marketing solutions for midsize businesses, and focuses

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, keyword research on October 9,2009

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Four Strategies for Building Your Negative Keyword List (and How to Implement Them)

By Elisa Gabbert, Content Development Manager, WordStream

It’s crucial to find and use negative keywords if you want to maximize the value of your pay-per-click campaigns. Setting negative keywords ensures that you don’t waste advertising budget on impressions for search queries that aren’t really relevant to your ad. Those useless impressions will quickly drag down your click-through rate and Quality Score, driving PPC costs up.

So how do you develop a list of negative keywords for your PPC campaigns? You can sit around and brainstorm for possibilities, but this is inefficient, and there’s no way you’ll dream up every negative keyword that your ad might match for.

Here are four simple ways to discover negative keywords, and some tips on how to implement them.

1. Generic negative keyword lists
Pre-assembled lists of negative keywords are available for a number of industries. For instance, if you’re selling a B2B product, you might want to include “free” as a negative, or you might want to create a list of adult terms you don’t want your ads to match on. These can be a decent way to get started on building your list. However, the downside is there in the name: these are generic negative keywords, and they may not all apply to your specific business niche. In addition, many potential negative keywords may be missing from these lists.

2. Through keyword research
 You can find negative keywords while you’re conducting regular keyword research; just keep your eyes open for keyword suggestions that aren’t relevant to your business. For example, one of the top keyword suggestions for “monitor” (as shown in the results from WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool below) is “heart monitor.” It’s a good bet that a number of those thousands of suggestions are similarly irrelevant to your computer supply business.

Start to create a list of negative keyword possibilities through your research, in much the same way as you would a list of keywords you want to target.

3. Search query reports
A third way to find negative keywords is to look at your search query reports in AdWords (or pay-per-click platform of choice). This report shows you the actual search queries that are triggering your text ads (as well as the match type, number of impressions, number of clicks, CTR and other relevant information). Accordingly it’s a good idea to comb through these regularly and eliminate any irrelevant keywords from your ad groups. This method of negative keyword discovery is more thorough than the above options, because it’s based on real data from your own PPC account.

4. Your organic search (SEO) log files or analytics
Perhaps the best method of all these four options, your own log files or analytics are an excellent source of potential negative keywords. These files keep a record of every phrase that drives a visitor from a search engine to your site. There’s one main advantage to this method of negative keyword discovery over search query reports: You can catch negative keywords before they trigger your ads. (And as a best practice, you should eliminate irrelevant keywords from your organic keyword research as well.)

Implementing Negative Keywords in Your PPC Campaigns

Those are some basic ways to expand your negative keyword research. But what do you do with the list once you’ve found them? You probably know about the various match types for keywords (broad match, phrase match and exact match). These match types also apply to negative keywords.

For example, you can use the broad match option (-heart monitor) to prevent your ad from showing for any search query that includes both “heart” and “monitor,” such as “heart rate monitor”; phrase match (-”heart monitor”) for any search query that contains “heart monitor” in that order, such as “holter heart monitor”; or exact match (-[heart monitor]) to eliminate only searches for “heart monitor” verbatim.

Experiment with these negative match options and monitor your campaign to see which is the most effective and cost-efficient for each negative keyword.

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Elisa Gabbert is the Content Development Manager at WordStream, Inc. You can get in touch with Elisa by sending her an Email at egabbert (at) WordSteam dot com, by following her on Twitter, or by reading the WordStream Internet Marketing Blog, where she is a frequent contributor.

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Google AdWords, Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, keyword research on October 9,2009

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Top 3 Landing Page Tips to Convert Clicks Into Paying Customers

By Kelly Larsen, Director of Marketing at PPC Summit

Is your landing page working FOR or AGAINST you? Landing pages that don’t convert are a common complaint from PPC marketers–we hear this over and over at our PPC Summit training events. PPC advertisers spend so much time and money to get the click through, but somehow they lose the potential customer in a split second after landing on their web page. We conclude that PPC marketers spend so much time perfecting their pay per click ads that the landing page becomes an afterthought. This is a huge pay per click marketing mistake!

Now is the perfect time to fine-tune your landing pages so that you can gain more customers and put more dollars back in your pocket–especially with the busy holiday season coming up! Following are three things you can do to make your landing pages convert better.

Top 3 Tips to Convert Customers with Effective Landing Pages 
1. Use Effective Calls-to-Action: A rule of thumb in pay per click marketing is to direct potential customers to what you promised them in your ad–the landing page should mirror your ad. If the ad says ‘SAVE 50%’, then it should be on the landing page too. To help entice the visitor to buy your product now, always include a
Call-to-Action like: Order Now & Save 50%, Offer Expires in 24 hrs, Buy One, Get One Free. And make sure you give the potential customer clear direction and tell them how to act in one or two simple steps.

Most search engine marketers use the call of action they’re comfortable with, but you have to understand your customer needs and wants. What it boils down to is putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and finding out which Call-to-Action method works best.

There are a couple of ways to do determine which Call-to-Action works best with your customers: 
    a. You can run a PPC split test campaign.
This will give you some concrete data to comb through.
    b. The easiest way is to just ask, ie, put a poll on your site. With free polling software, you can have a poll up and going in minutes and gain invaluable feedback directly from your customers!

2. Ask for a Little; Get a Lot: Don’t require visitors to give a lot of information in order to take advantage of any offer you may be running. In fact, you want to ask for as little info – initially – as possible. Consumers are very wary about giving out personal information. Once you gain their trust over time, you can do more progressive information gathering. This is why you’ll see so many pay per click campaign offers that only request an email address to “Get the free, downloadable report instantly”.

3. Create Customized Landing Pages: Many pay per click marketers use one landing page and let it do all of their selling/converting traffic. But, each landing page should have its own set of keyword phrases and be customized for the particular promotion at hand. Again, this goes back to putting yourself in your customer’s shoes.

While it may be more expedient to use one standard landing page, your customers don’t care about that. It’s important to take the time to create custom landing pages to connect with the buyer looking for the specific product/service in your ad. And creating more than one landing page is most effective in reaching ALL customers, those who may be early on in the buying cycle and those who are ready to buy now. 

Giving your customers what they need–when they need it–is a sure-fire way to higher conversions. This is why it’s important to test, test and test some more in pay per click marketing.

We’d love to hear your landing page success stories, email us at marketing@ppcsummit.com. We’ll try to include a few of your stories in our future newsletters.

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Pay Per Click, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization on September 16,2009

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The Truth about Search Engine Optimization, by Rebecca Lieb

Book Review by Mary O’Brien, Founder/Director of PPC Summits

The Truth about Search Engine Optimization by Rebecca Lieb is a great introduction to SEO. It explains the importance of search engine optimization with a simple step-by-step overview approach.

As with anything from Rebecca it is very well written and outlines everything in a very detailed easy to follow formula. Rebecca has been doing SEO for many years now, and she knows what it takes to do it properly and where to invest your time and energy wisely to get the best results.

Each chapter is short and to the point and it’s a great airplane read, as you can grasp one concept and then put it down and pick it up again easily whenever you are interrupted.

It shows how to make your business more visible to potential customers and how to determine what is working and where your website needs to improve.

The book is presented at “51 truths” basically outlining a road map to follow to get the most out of an SEO campaign. It covers all the fundamentals as well as several more advanced topics and contains some actionable tips, tricks and strategies. The “bite-size” approach to each chapter allows you to learn easily as you can review each strategy and then implement it step-by-step.

If you aren’t familiar with SEO, this is a great place to start. It’s not a technical book, it’s more aimed at managers or small business owners that need to figure out what needs to be done and who they need to hire.

The search engines want marketers to believe that SEO is the simplest of marketing science. It’s not. It’s constantly evolving as the Search Engines Change their algorithms and display differing results to the user.

 Rebecca shows that the more a company knows about search, the greater the opportunity in using it properly. Knowledge is power. For Search Engine Optimization knowledge is profit. You ignore it with high risk to your business.

I highly recommend this book as a first book on SEO. You can then delve deeper into other books, blogs and forums, for greater detail and more examples.

The book covers: The basics of SEO, site and page design, keyword development, writing for your users, analytics, page tags, links, local search, blogs and RSS, page rank, outsourcing your SEO, black hat tactics you want to avoid and SEO for mobile and global.

Posted by admin in Customer Conversions, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization on September 16,2009

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