Pay Per Click Management Services Vs. SEO Companies

There is a common debtate within the internet marketing world asking which form of marketing is more effective between pay per click management services and seo companies. Although both sides have obvious advantages as well as disadvantages, I wanted to focus today on the benefits of going with a pay per click management company.

Sheer ControlPay per click ppc management allows the marketer the ability to control exactly what words are to be used per campaign. If you want to use the word tennis racket for example, google adwords pay per click management allows the notation option for match types. If you want to launch a wide and deep marketing net, you can select broad match and pretty much any keyword search relating to tennis rackets will trigger your ads to show. Move one step down to a slightly more specific reach and you can select modified broad match type keywords. In this case, the words tennis and racket must show on a particluar search to trigger your ads to show. So a google search for “find the best tenis racquet manufacturer” even if there are mispellings, will most certainly trigger your ads. Furthermore, if you want to get even more specific, you can tell google you only want your ads to show in the order they are typed in google (phrase match = “tennis racket”) or even exact match types meaning [tennis racket] will only trigger ads on those search terms EXACTLY as you would like them.

A pay per click marketing service also allows for control on all bids. Since the google adwords platform is built based on an online auction, you must bid a certain price to appear on the first page. Other influential factors like Click Through Rate (CTR) and landing page relevance are to be taken very seriously, but your initial bids set the tone and allow you tremendous control over your keywords and ads showing in google.

Immediate Traffic – A pay per click management company allows for immediate traffic to a particluar landing page, website, or social media page. In a matter of minutes especially if you know what you are doing, your campaigns with their targetted ads and keywords can show in google. If you know what keywords can bring conversions (leads) and how to write emotional ads triggering relevant offers, you can do some damage quickly! And most internet marketers will tell you that it is pure bliss not having to wait on the google SEO gods to grant permission for traffic to your website of choice.

In short, ppc management services provide unique advantages that straight organic, natural search engine optimization can not provide such as control and immediate results. SEO can still be effective if you do not cut corners and keep strategies described as white hat. Eventually, the reason why everyone wants to get to the top of natural search is because those clicks are FREE. But don’t be mislead by the fact that nothing is ever really free. If you want to post content and get backlinks while avoiding any Panda and Penguin updates, you must spend time doing it the right way, and as the saying goes “time is money”, consider spending money on a top pay per click managment service.

Local PPC Management Tip Of The Week: Don’t Doubt The PPC

If you are searching for the right local ppc management company but can’t find it in your heart to trust, then I don’t blame you. In truth, the art of paper click marketing can be an absolute nightmare, and I know from first hand experience that this journey, nope I mean this discovery, no still not it, this PROCESS has resulted in the actual lines on my forehead that I now study.

The reason for this stress is because before anyone tries their hand at becoming the next pay per click managerial game changer, no one is there to tell them how monstrous the task at hand is. It’s not like the guy at the local watering hole who knows a little about it but pretends to be the expert. That person might say something along the lines of, “so you have these keywords and this website and they should match up correctly if thats what will bring you traffic or leads or even revenue. What’s the big deal? Doesn’t seem hard to me.” (I did have someone describe the art of pay per click consulting that way to me in a bar about a year ago.)

That experience stuck deep in the back of my mind and momentarily challenged my beliefs on how important ppc is for almost all businesses. Remember, there is someone somewhere searching for something in the shape of information, casual browsing, to make a purchase, or all of the above. Consequently, there is a good chance they are searching through google, bing, or yahoo to get what they so desperately seek.

PPC professionalism lies in the ability to remain linear. Imagine a keyword search in google that is met with an ad precisely about the heart, soul and purpose of that keyword, which then leads the shopper to a landing page divinely inspired by the origin of both the keyword and ad. If the pay per click professional is able to master the ability to remain linear, then they will have understood the nuts and bolts of ppc search engine marketing.

5 Steps To Improve Your Email Newsletter

“Email is really a place where timeless marketing tactics can be employed. It’s an invaluable tool for responding to your customers’ needs,” said Joel Book, Principal, Marketing Research and Education, ExactTarget.

Since newsletters are permission based, the consumer is already interested in what you have to say. The challenge for the marketer is then to sort through the overwhelming amount of information available to provide the consumer with the value they actually want.

Newsletters are often the first stop on the path to conversion, providing a preview of the value prospects will receive from your main site and, eventually, your product.

“The first fundamental aspect is that they provide a lot of value. People love, and interact with, [newsletters] because they are teasers that drive to the full content. They can often provide a service of actually directing people toward the content they are seeking,” said Loren McDonald, Vice President of Industry Relations, Silverpop.

Step #1. Create a caring mentality

Even if marketers aren’t able to have face-to-face interactions with consumers, it’s important to create that feeling with content. Creating and utilizing opportunities to connect not only your company and its employees to your customers but your customers to each other can have a big payoff.

“You have to care about the subscriber,” Book said. “Email enables a large company to appear small, and a small company to appear larger, because you are creating this community of consumers.”

One of the strengths of email — its efficient nature and cost effectiveness — is in danger of becoming a major detriment when it comes to applying this more considerate approach.

“Unfortunately, I see too many companies sending large one-size-fits-all ‘email blasts’ to their customers,” Book said, adding that some common personal courtesies should be applied in the email marketing sphere.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The impression that the consumer comes away with is, ‘Wow … company A is asking what my interests are, what my preferences are, and company B over here is just blasting away, and I’m getting emails from them that I didn’t even opt in to.’”

Ask how to best serve the consumer

“The really smart and savvy companies — and I would say even the most respectable and responsible marketers — are the ones that really give control to the consumers,” Book said.

They do this by asking consumers a simple question that should be present throughout the entire process: “How would you like to be served?”

It is vital to understand basic interests and other relevant details of a consumer. However, Book advises that to truly serve the consumer, it is equally as important to know their challenges, as well as their newsletter likes and dislikes. Use whatever information is available to deduce what problems they have, and how your organization can help solve them.

Book suggests having boxes subscribers can check with their own particular interests and giving them a choice on which newsletters they want to receive — a consideration consumers appreciate.

Along with this variety opt-in preference, Book said, “It is also important to ask, ‘at which email address would you like to receive this newsletter?’”

Immediately show value

“You have to show a potential subscriber what he or she is going to receive,” Book said. Value is critical in growing your list, and consumers must immediately see the benefit to them in subscribing. He suggested the following tactics:

    • Create a preview of the newsletter on your website for people to see

 

    • Figure out what keywords your ideal recipient would be searching for

 

  • Use the main website to show the value of being an email subscriber

The process of subscribing should be as painless as possible for consumers. You should take care to avoid overwhelming them, or making them uncomfortable with information they are asked to give.

“You don’t have to ask all of your questions at once,” Book advised.

Initially, get the absolutely necessary information , and then gradually build up with each interaction. He said this helps to foster the idea that the company is “serving” the subscriber and checking in with them. The ongoing process will “fine-tune” subscriber preferences, and help to avoid losing first-time subscribers with a lengthy sign-up process.

“That’s actually one of the most effective things you can do — to ask questions along the way,” he concluded.

McDonald has a similar vision of the relationship between company newsletter and subscriber, saying, “There is a promise of answers and solutions.”

Content should reflect that and become a consistent source of timely and relevant information, “following what’s going on in the marketplace you are in,” McDonald said. “People have gravitated to newsletters as one of their key ways of finding content.”

Step #2. Personalize content

“There is so much opportunity today to personalize content,” Book said, citing dynamic and data-driven content. Both of those, he said, describe how “really smart marketers are now personalizing their content.”

Book claims it all goes back to relevancy, “Effective email marketing is all about catering to the needs and interests of individual customers, and now it’s possible to do that on a large scale. The information to personalize is critical. It should be the foundation of a marketing campaign.”

However, the quest for personalization can be overwhelming with all of the data available to find use for and analyze.

“We’re in an era now (that) is often described as the era of ‘big data,’ which quite simply means that now most companies have an enormous amount of data that is being collected about current, as well as prospective, customers.”

The mistake marketers make, McDonald added, is to, “throw everything in there, cross our fingers and hope that something resonates. Just because it’s a newsletter doesn’t mean it has to be a generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ newsletter.”

Book advises that with so much information available, shrewd marketers make it a priority to know “which five or six pieces of information will actually be useful” when personalizing newsletters or email.

Scotts Miracle-Gro

Book cites an ExactTarget client, Scotts Miracle-Gro, a lawn and garden products company, as an example of a company that uses email to deliver locally relevant content to subscribers.

Once a consumer registers on the Scotts’ website, Scotts invites the consumer to become a subscriber to Scotts’ email newsletter, Lawn Care Update, so they can begin receiving expert advice and special offers from the company. The company then uses targeted information to deliver on that promise of value.

“Scotts is about teaching, about serving the consumer. Scotts understands really clearly that most people don’t know how to seed their lawn or apply fertilizer or insecticide. So in order for consumers to get the best results, they need to be taught.”

In Book’s estimation, Scotts is best at focusing its newsletter on teaching consumers how to get the best product results. Different areas of the country can affect use in a myriad of ways, such as soil or climate. By one simple request of a subscriber’s ZIP code, Scotts is able to provide countless tips and information that is essential to product success.

By providing specific links within the newsletter, the email can lead the consumer back to the website for further information or help, or even for advice from other customers using that product.

This helps to solidify the connection between company content and solutions in the mind of the consumer, which will keep them reading your newsletter and visiting your website.

By utilizing other assets, such as social media, the company has been able to see, and share in future newsletters, the results of its personalized content: customers who are passionate enough about the company to send a caring message back.

Scotts’ customers share pictures and results with the company, and, “Scotts sends updates; they actually share those photos. This phenomenon which Scotts has taken advantage of is called brand advocacy.”

Step #3. Use newsletters to nurture brand advocates

“[Marketers] really haven’t understood well enough, until maybe now, the importance of nurturing brand advocates,” Book said.

McDonald refers to brand advocacy as “sideways marketing.” The idea being that marketing has moved from push and pull, to most consumers looking to their fellow consumers for brand trust. Brand advocates recommend the brand to their friends or others, and in return, that behavior encourages people, possibly even motivating them to buy the product.

“Marketers’ job is increasingly becoming how do we enable our customers and prospects to become brand advocates, and how do we let them actually do the selling for us? It’s about creating that environment for our advocates to become … part of the marketing team,” McDonald concluded.

The best way to bring in personality from consumers is to give it, according to McDonald. Every company has real people behind it and a human connection to offer. Consumers want to care about the person writing the newsletter, and keeping content light and funny can facilitate this connection.

“Whether they are talking about their family or their summer vacation … whatever it is, it’s a way to bring in an engaging human voice.”

He advises companies to use their employees to bring in these anecdotes of using the products themselves, or a story of their experience with the company, to give newsletters a trust and friendship that readers may choose to reciprocate.

King Arthur Flour

McDonald cites a Silverpop client, King Arthur Flour, as a prime example of how effective using brand advocates can be. The company designed an A/B split test with one newsletter featuring three brand advocates, each with a short favorable quote and their location.

“The lift was 30% both on actual conversion and revenue on the email that had those three customer quotes.” He advises that, “It isn’t this magical thing, where if every company ran out and added in a couple of customer quotes they are going to see a 30% lift in revenue, but you know it can have a significant impact.”

Step #4. Design for mobile

Design in general is an area where “you can under do it, but you can very easily over do it, by trying to pack too much in,” said Book. “I think that is something every marketer needs to constantly revisit.”

Mobile design assessment is an increasingly important step, with the rapid change in how consumers are viewing your emails. According to a March 2012 Nielsen statistic, 49.7% of U.S. mobile subscribers own smartphones. These kinds of numbers dictate how your email will be opened, and marketers are still figuring out how to adjust.

McDonald lists design for mobile as “the single hardest question in the industry today. It’s still sort of early in, and nobody has it all figured out yet, and there are a lot of different views.”

One of the most critical elements he believes marketers forget about is context. Marketers need to add into the design discussion the inevitability that most consumers interacting with email on their mobile device are distracted. Whether they are waiting in line at Starbucks, commuting to and from work, or even sitting at home in front of the television, design goes beyond details of font sizes and width.

Every aspect of the newsletter — from the subject line to the content — has to react to that limited attention span, and newsletters should be designed simply but dynamically. McDonald offered a few pieces of mobile design advice:

    • Try to find a format that works for many, if not all systems

 

    • Move into a one-column newsletter format

 

  • Conduct A/B split tests to determine the most effective design

 

Step #5. Test to learn about your customers

“If I understand how a visitor to my site is behaving, and if she or he is an opt-in subscriber, I can use that behavior on the site to trigger certain follow-on communications,” Book said. “The reason why that is so important is once people are on your website, you can see how they are behaving. How long are they staying? What pages do they spend time on?”

Asking, and using testing to answer these questions, is another way to serve your consumer and to cater to the questions plaguing them or the subjects they find most interesting.

Along with testing on the website, Book advises that, “Subject line testing, offer testing and design testing are all critical. Knowing when and how to use dynamic content to really respond to the needs and interests of the individual is critical.”

The most important thing to understand is that email is not a stand-alone tactic, and your newsletter has an end objective that testing can help achieve.

“Email and your website go hand and glove, and we’re learning a lot more now about that relationship. Most successful marketers are the ones who understand that the end game for them using email is to re-engage and re-attract individuals to the site.”

Top 5 Social Media Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

1. Not knowing your social targets

Before investing in social media it is important to define your audience and have a clear understanding of your demographic. Being able to analyze their online activity will help you identify which networks are worth it for your company to invest in. Social media is not about numbers, it’s about connecting with your key target audience. Forrester is a good tool to better understand where your audience spends their time online.

If you are trying to grow your audience, you need to identify and follow customers, clients, company partners, key media and tastemakers. Once you get someone you really respect, see who they are following and use that to start building your audience. Because social media is as much a listening and learning tool as it is an engaging tool, seeing what this select group is interested in sharing will help you create content well suited for your target audience.

2. Implementing a scattered strategy

Once you understand why you have selected these specific networks, you need to proceed with a purpose. Having a plan during the initial stages will help you identify your ROI down the road. With no plan there is nothing to measure. Identify why you are using social media, what you want to accomplish and how you will achieve your goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness, consumer revenue, connections or engagement? You can also use social media to build credibility, find talent and generate leads.

Facebook is great for promoting culture, recruiting and retention. It is the most important social network for B2C companies because it helps promote lead generation while building presence, improving name recognition and promoting ideas. 77 percent of businesses acquired new customers through Facebook in February 2012. Blogging is also very helpful: 60 percent of businesses acquire customers through a company blog. To maximize the reach of each blog post, make sure to tag blogs correctly in the backend, use relevant keywords and promote each post on Twitter multiple times.

3. Sharing without listening

Don’t place too much focus on updating. The focus should be on who is seeing the content you are promoting and tracking if they are engaging with it. To successfully build an interactive audience you need to show that you’re listening. This means regularly responding to comments, following competitor’s social networks and reading relevant industry publications. You should also be monitoring what is being said about your company on sites like Yelp and Glassdoor.

4.  Putting the wrong person in charge

Think of your social media manager as a brand ambassador. Make sure you choose someone who knows the company and its products or services. If you are not comfortable putting whoever is managing your social media on a sales call and selling to an organization, they have no business managing social media channels for you. If they are not comfortable talking about your business, they are not going to know how to respond or communicate through social media. Having a digital marketing background or a strong understanding of digital marketing and strategy is also very important.

The person running your social media should have excellent communication skills and be naturally curious. The most effective social media managers will be doing sales and social media. They should be able to engage audiences, identify what is important to them and understand how to personalize content so it works on a variety of platforms. Because social media is not a 9-5 job they should be constantly training, aware of the newest technology and love spending time online.

5. Making poor content choices

Good content asks questions and sparks interactive discussions. The ultimate goal is to produce content that gives your audience something valuable that they want to share. To successfully vary the content you are posting include both original content and relevant industry content. Make sure this content provides useful information while being fresh and original.

To improve the quality of your content post consistently, vary the type of content (video, blogs, graphics, photos, articles, events, etc.) and expand who is producing it. Tracking the response to your content will help identify what is working and what is not.

Other social media no-no’s include being unclear or confusing your audience, telling customers/clients that they are wrong, failing to respond gracefully and restricting social communications.

Top 10 AdWords Innovations to Watch

In the future world of Google AdWords, ads will contain dynamic features and ads will create themselves. Searchers can become more interactive with ads by watching video, getting coupons, or downloading apps with one click.

Sound like advertising sci-fi? Determine for yourself with our Top 10 AdWords innovations, recently released and in various stages of testing.

Search Engine Results

1. Media Ads

In limited release, Media Ads contain a video component served in the AdWords ad in search results. Google serves the ads based on linking keyword queries with the movie title. No keywords are selected and the pricing is flat rate. There are two links from this ad, one to the landing page and another to the video view.

adwords-media-ad-1

When someone clicks on the video thumbnail, the video expands to contain a larger portion of the screen. You can see in this new screen, integration with Google+ and local showtimes at theaters.

adwords-media-ad-2

2. Product Listing Ads

These ads are different from product extensions because the ads are shown in a non-highlighted sponsored area, directly under (or to the right of) the traditional top text ads. These campaigns don’t require keywords or text, but are directly linked to a Google Merchant Center account.

adwords-product-listing-ads

With a keyword search, Google will automatically select the most relevant product from the merchant center account. The cost is still CPC or CPA. Currently in limited release.

3. Enhanced Sitelinks

Our old friend the sitelink gets a makeover. Recently released, enhanced sitelinks take up more real estate in the SERPs. Automatically generated, they appear in the top and bottom of Google search results. On desktops, two, four, or six links are shown in addition to the display URL. Mobile ads can show up to two additional links.

enhanced-adwords-sitelinks

The enhanced sitelinks look like four other ads attached to the primary mother ad. The account must contain active ads closely related to the sitelinks in the campaign.

Google claims in testing, the enhanced sitelinks had a higher click-through rate than the two to three line sitelinks. Google has reported ads with the basic sitelinks to be a 30 percent improvement over ads with no sitelinks at all.

4. Remarketing for Search

Now in beta testing, advertisers can retarget their audience based on previous keyword search history, and serve the ads in search engine results page. Check out this comprehensive article on this impending product here on Search Engine Watch.

5. Offers Extensions

adwords-offer-ad

In limited release, the perfect marriage between offers and ads in the SERPs helps to take up more valuable real estate. The new offer extensions appear in the ad content and are specific to coupons, discounts, rebates, etc. The coupons can be redeemed online or can be printed out and taken to a physical location.

This feature also appears to have advanced integration with the Google Offers product in that one can save the deal to “my offers”. This has been in beta and/or limited release for some time and I have seen links or buttons with the call-to-action.

6. Reminder Extension

reminder-extension-adwords

Reminder Extensions, new in beta, enables searchers to send themselves an email reminder for an advertised event. These events can be in a physical location or online. Some examples of “reminders” would be a sales event, a store opening, application deadlines, or even happy hour specials at a local pub.

Google Display Network

7. Remarketing for Google Analytics

Recently released, new and powerful targeting lists can be built in Google Analytics based on advertiser-defined segments. Along with visitors to certain web pages or sections of a site, advertisers can target visitor segment by source, for example, all visitors from YouTube or other referral source. Lists are much easier to create than through AdWords, but completely integrated.

8. Dynamic Display Ads

Finally the ability to take display ads to the next level. In limited release, display ad creative can be dynamically generated to specific users or websites.

Using the Display Ad Builder and Google Merchant center, Google will update ads in a template with products from the merchant feed. Display ads can be targeted and customized a variety of ways. For example, serve a specific ad based on site content, or shopper behavior on your site.

Other Ads

9. Comparison Ads

comparison-ads-google-advisor

In limited beta with limited verticals, but this is still a fascinating ad model. Cost-per-lead model that shows the searcher an offer with comparison to other companies. In the finance industry, the current advertising testers, consumers can compare rates and offers for credit cards, CD, checking account, and savings accounts.

10. App Promotions

There is an app for that. Target your apps to people using apps. Ads can be automatically created with AdWords provided graphics and formatting, then updated with the rating ad reviews. Advertisers can promote their apps to app users with a target CPA.

Bonus: Communication Ad Extension

get-offers-adwords-ad-extension

This ad type has made an appearance in the SERPs several times in the past year, with varying CTAs in the button. Sometimes “view offer” or “subscribe to newsletter.” Wordstream described it as “a means of collecting information (i.e., a lead) from a visitor without actually sending them to a landing page – you can grab their data right there in the SERP on Google.com.”

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