…will cost you LOTS of money — with little or nothing to show for it.
Let me explain.
A few years ago a company contacted me after spending close to 100k on PPC marketing (primarily with Google). The problem was their ad spend did not make them profitable.
Far from it.
In fact, when we looked at the data it turned out their PPC campaign generated consistent numbers over a four month span of time. The problem (besides a failure to “test and measure” over that time) was that the company in question was going to go out of business unless we could turn it around for them.
Inside the Numbers
Their website was converting about 4.8% of visitors into a lead they could sell. Their cost per conversion was around $120 per lead! And since they made about $45 per lead… well you do the math.
Their problems — and there were many of them — came down to:
- too few ads
- too many keywords per ad
- no ad split testing to boost clicks
- poor ad/landing page matching
- no optimization of landing page to boost conversions
We retooled their ads and cut their ad spend by 80% while increasing the number of leads they generated each month. By optimizing their site’s landing page we boost conversions from 4.8% to 13.9%. So, less money on PPC marketing with more leads equals profitability.
But that’s only part of the story.
For starters, you can’t simply run 1, 2 or 3 ads and then pile 50+ keywords under each ad. Doing that will kill your ad’s performance, and that means you’ll pay more for each click.
Now, Google won’t TELL you that. But then again, they don’t have to tell you. They’ll simply make you pay more for each click and offer some suggestions to boost your numbers.
Fact is, you need multiple ads all built around a single keyword or keyword “theme.”
Then, you have to evaluate your campaign, find the keywords that generate the most clicks and kill off the ones that generate no clicks. This will boost your ad conversion rate, allowing you better placement with Google for a cheaper price.
Then, look at your analytics and see which keywords are converting the best on your site (here’s what theirs looked like back in the day):
In other words, sending a bunch of traffic to your landing page and then not evaluating the results (like bounce rate, time on site, conversion, etc.) is simply a big waste of your hard-earned money.
For PPC to work (hell, any web marketing) you need a tight integration of:
- keyword used to find your site (SEO, PPC, etc.) MATCHING…
- title and copy on the landing page
In other words, if you’re looking for plantation shutters (let’s say) and you type this in Google, some ads and organic results will show up. When you click on the ad or organic listing if you are not brought IMMEDIATELY to a page with plantation shutters (i.e. relevant to what you’re looking for) what are personally going to do?
Be brutally honest with yourself…
You’re going to hit the back button.
Everyone would — and they do.
Some years ago I was actually looking for plantation shutters for our master bathroom. And I found an ad from Sears, clicked on it, and landed on their home page (I even wrote about it). Needless to say I got the hell off their site and went elsewhere.
Now, Sears doesn’t want to hear about it. They’ve got “deep pockets” so to speak, and frankly I don’t think they give a damn about poor ad performance. But can you afford to waste money like this, hand over fist?
I seriously doubt it.
And those client’s I referenced earlier… they couldn’t either.
How PPC Marketing Typically Works
Gone are the days of 10 and 25 cent clicks. In fact, some niches can cost more than $25 per click!
Back in the day you could throw a bunch of money with little or no planning and get some results. Because when clicks are that cheap even a crappy ad and a lousy landing page will generate some results for you. And you just might be profitable on that level depending on how much a lead or sale is worth to your business.
But those days are over.
And they’ve been over for quite some time.
First, Google instituted “quality score” way back and started to penalize poorly performing ads by making them pay more for a page 1 ad. Meaning, you were paying much more for a “click” than other ads on page 1.
They they started looking at your landing page to make sure they were “relevant” to your ad. And relevancy, as they say, is “in the eyes of the beholder.” The end result is that your clicks would cost even more, or worse keep your ad from being shown at all.
Furthermore, to make your campaign actually work for you, rather than throwing money into Google’s bank account meant split testing your ad, refining it, until you got the most clicks for the least amount of money. Now, split testing takes TIME — which is probably why no one bothers to do it.
Remember the client I referenced above?
We spent a week split testing his ads until they were humming along. Then the system ran on autopilot for more than 6 months.
In fact, his new ad ran so well that competitors started to copy the ad, making variations on a theme, so to speak.
Would you like to know how many split test we ran until we got it working for him?
Forty four (44)… that’s right, 44 variations until we found the right mix of copy, punctuation, capitalization and keyword inclusion until it ran like a well-oiled machine.
Who else does that?
I’ll tell you… no one.
Marketing is a system, not an event
The point I’m hammering home today is that creating a marketing SYSTEM takes time. You don’t throw an ad up on Google in 10 minutes and think that will bring in a ton of traffic.
It just doesn’t work like that.
Most people default to “panic attack marketing” — meaning, they get scared from lack of sales or leads and then run around trying to ramp things up. The sad reality, however, is that marketing done well doesn’t work that way.
You need to “fine tune” the message, both OFF your site (ads, articles, etc.) that brings in traffic, and ON your site (website copy) that gets people motivated enough to call, email or fill out the damn web form.
Bottom line, there are no shortcuts.
And the little details matter, way more than you can know.
For example, we just launched a direct mail campaign targeting one specific niche. Here are the different variables involved that will impact results:
- size of envelope
- color of envelope
- return address sticker
- address label
That’s just to get the mailer opened. Then there’s…
- envelope contents (package)
- fax cover sheet
Meaning… once the letter is opened it must get read in order to generate a response.
And each one of these elements will help or harm your results, so when you first attempt ANY kind of marketing you need to realize that ALL the elements of the marketing piece (ad, advertorial, sales letter, postcard, etc.) will affect your results.
We’re also getting ready to do some postcard marketing for our Alternative Medicine website targeting Massage Therapists, Reflexologists and Acupuncturists. For this campaign we are testing:
- card layout
- color choices
- font sizes
- and of course the call to action to motivate them to check out the site.
Once on the site there’s the landing page (sales page) that we’ve already tested for folks finding us online.
Does this sound like a lot of work?!
You bet it is.
Then again, once you have a fully TESTED marketing SYSTEM in place you can keep rolling it out to generate more business. It’s like printing money (as Dan Kennedy used to say). So getting that system in place is the hard part, but well worth the effort…
For those who “get it.”
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