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Posts tagged: ppc management

PPC Management And The Power of Shoestrings and Bootstraps

PPC management is a service offered by many SEO companies — it’s the service of taking your pay-per-click marketing campaign under their wing and nursing it to health. Or just creating it from scratch if you don’t already have one; the point is, they manage the campaigns and make sure that they’re profitable.

Why is this important? Because for a great many entrepreneurs, ‘profitable’ is a line that’s hard to get across — it’s not that hard to make money, but it’s pretty tough to make more money than you had to spend in order to make the money in the first place. PPC management is the art of, forgiving the mixed metaphor, pulling your shoestring budget up by it’s own bootstraps.

Here’s how it works: you have a product with a profit margin. Let’s say you sell widgets for $8 at a cost of $3 per widget and a monthly cost of $5000 for rent and other expenses. Obviously, you need to sell a thousand widgets to break even. But in order to sell widgets, you need to advertise, and that takes money.

If you’re advertising online, you have two basic options: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or Pay-Per-Click (PPC). SEO is amazing stuff, capable of driving huge quantities of traffic to your site for almost no money, but even the most affordable SEO services take months to build that traffic up to an appreciable amount.

PPC on the other hand gets your traffic today, but it costs significantly more money (on the vicinity of 16x as much per customer) as SEO. But let’s do the math. Let’s say you have to spend $.04 to get a single visit to your website from PPC. Then let’s say that, on average, only 1 in 25 visitors to your website actually buys a widget — that means your total cost-per-sale is $1 per widget.

That means that your profit per widget has just dropped from $5/widget to $4/widget, meaning you need to sell 1,250 widgets in order to break even. The question then becomes: can PPC help you sell 1,250 widgets in a month?

The answer is yes, of course it can, that’s why it works. You’ll need to sit down and talk to your PPC management company about the exact numbers in each scenario, of course, but it’s well within the power of a solid PPC campaign to drive a thousand visitors to your website every day (assuming you’ve done your homework and a decently-sized audience for your product actually exists) — and you only need, on average, 1041 to break even.

Is it extremely efficient? No — but when you’re working with shoestrings and bootstraps, the question is simply will it work? And for most businesses, the answer is yes — PPC management works.

PPC Management: It’s How Startups Start Up

Have you ever wondered what happens to a brand new website created for a brand new company in its first few months of existence? The answer is not a lot. With the best will in the world, a new site is a new site, and a new company is a new company. No one knows you, and that includes Google. You could build the most beautiful website using the best web designers known to man. You could employ Matt Cutts himself to optimise the site, but you would still have no history, no reference point, and Google wouldn’t rank you highly because you would have no authority. Building up authority takes time, and putting a good SEO campaign together takes time, over months and year’s great sites are built.

Of course, this is problematic for companies who want to get going and find the business that they desire on the net. From day one they are a needle in a haystack no matter what their prime search terms are, so how do they get the business? The answer of course, is from PPC.
The first thing on the agenda for any company with a new site is to action a PPC Management campaign. A well worked PPC campaign can be a wonderful thing for any company, but it is absolutely critical for a start up. It’s likely to be the only source of income for an online company in the first few months, so not only do you have to make sure you use PPC, you also have to make sure use it well.

Finding the right SEO Company to deal with your PPC campaign is of course very important. It’s not a case of plucking terms out of the air and hoping that this term is going to match with what your potential customers are searching. You need a company who will work hard to find out what you should be bidding on, and how much you should be bidding. A good quality Organic SEO company should be able to offer you the expertise necessary to get your business kick started.

First Page Placement: Two Paths, One Result

There’s exactly one absolute law in search engine marketing: if your website doesn’t have at least one first page placements on Google, you’re not going to get enough traffic to survive. Even a 100% conversion rate won’t help you if you only get a visitor every five days.

There’s two (white-hat) ways to achieve a first page placement, and they’re both equally effective — only perhaps under different circumstances. The first, organic SEO, is slow, less expensive, more efficient, and lasts a long time. The second, pay per click marketing, is fast, more expensive, less efficient, and ends the second you stop spending money.

Organic SEO
Organic SEO is essentially the art of ‘tricking’ Google into putting your website at the top of the rankings for specific keywords. That’s accomplished through a huge variety of tricks (a complete SEO Bible would be longer than most encyclopedias) most of which involve manipulating the website itself to appear more relevant and authoritative for specific keywords (on-page SEO) or linking to the website in a way that makes the website appear more relevant and authoritative for those keywords (off-page SEO).

Organic SEO is slow because the way Google calculates authority is based, at least in part, on website age and number of incoming backlinks — and if you build too many backlinks too quickly, Google will penalize you for ‘cheating’. So it’s a process that builds up over time. That said, the cost-per-visitor once you reach the top spots is almost nothing, and the authority you’ve built take a long time to fade away.

Pay Per Click Marketing
PPC marketing is basically ‘paying Google for traffic’. All of the “sponsored links” you see when you Google something are people who are paying for PPC marketing. PPC marketing is drop-dead simple in concept and bewilderingly complex once you get into it — that’s why it’s always a good idea to hire a PPC management team to take care of the details for you — anything else is basically wasting money.

PPC is fast because the moment you get your campaign set up, the ads start appearing and people start clicking. However, you will pay at least a few cents for every visitor that comes to your website — so you’d better have the conversions and the profit-per-conversion up high enough that you can afford to do so.

A PPC Management Case Study

PPC management is the art of outsourcing your Google Adwords and other pay-per-click marketing campaigns to a company that makes understanding PPC their business. This is an aggregate case study, meaning it’s an average of several similar case studies for the purpose of conveying the point without naming any specific entities. Names are obviously fictional.

The Client: Alkohol Industries (AI) is a #2 rated online liquor store. It’s reached a plateau in it’s PPC campaign, and believed it had ‘maxed out’ the RoI of it’s PPC campaign. (In the world of pay-per-click marketing, this happens whenever adding a new keyword to your list would cause your cost-per-sale to increase more than your profit-per-sale increases.)

Strategy: The first thing to do here is analyze the client’s campaign history. Examining their advertisement, keyword list, click-through rates, cost-per-click, conversions, and total spend, it’s possible to find some areas where improvement can be made. a

With the learning portion complete, it’s time to optimize. As it turns out, AI appeared tightly optimized, but had a little room for growth. By adjusting bids for some of their common keywords upward or downward by a few pennies each, it was possible to open up some money in their budget for other keywords, slightly increasing sales without affecting their cost-per-sale.

More importantly, AI was operating exclusively through Google Adwords. By opening up PPC campaigns on other networks (largely Yahoo and MSN) we increased spend slightly, but dramatically improved total visits and total sales — and with them, profit-per-sale and thus total income.

Result: Alkohol Industries’ initial RoI on their PPC campaigns was 900%. By spreading to new PPC venues and perfecting the already-mostly-optimized Adwords, their RoI rose to a clean 1000% — returning $10 for every $1 of spend.

(We’d like to see the “organic SEO is always more profitable than pay-per-click” crowd explain that away.)

Does Your PPC Management Team Give You The Roi You Need?

PPC Management: either you have someone doing it for you, or you’re not really in the PPC game. You might be risking your money at the PPC roulette table, but unless you have a talented PPC management team, the house will always win.

PPC management teams do an extraordinary amount of work to make your pay-per-click campaigns work in your favor. They do keyword research — in and of itself a huge process involving comparing the clickrates, cost, and convertibility of hundreds or thousands of keywords — as well as constantly split-testing a variety of text ads for a variety of variables, monitoring the profitability of your existing ads, and updating the campaign as various terms and ads become more or less profitable. It’s a huge job.

The question isn’t whether or not to supplement your pay-per-click campaign with a killer PPC management team — it’s whether your PPC management team is getting you the RoI you deserve.

What does that mean?
PPC has become an extraordinarily competitive marketplace in the last few years. Major companies realized that they could easily afford to dominate a few hundred thousand of the most-searched keywords with what amounted to a drop in their advertising budget, and that’s pushed the fringes way further out into the fringes.

What that means for PPC management firms still stuck in the 2008 mindset is that it’s very easy to end up following the perfect keyword research techniques of yesteryear and end up paying too much for every click you get. Today’s PPC managers look up long-tail keywords by the thousands rather than prime-time keywords by the dozens, and they get just as much traffic at a tiny fraction of the pennies per visitor.

They’ll use every trick in the book, from geographically focusing their keywords in the same way an SEO company does for it’s local internet marketing campaigns to adjusting your daily budget on the fly to reduce clicks from a keyword or few that have suddenly become more expensive than they’re worth.

Obviously, the actual RoI of your PPC campaigns is going to vary widely depending on what you’re selling and how you’re selling it — but the one thing you can count on is that if your PPC campaign isn’t profitable enough, it’s probably the PPC management team that needs changing.

PPC Management: What If You Could Hire Warren Buffet For A Day?

Imagine for a minute that you had ten grand just sitting about, but a contract that said if you spend it, you must invest it in some form of long-term financial instrument. If you’re like most people, you have almost zero idea of how to do that. You’d probably put it in the safest vehicle you can find just to make sure you didn’t lose any of it.

Now imagine the same scenario, but you have Warren Buffet on your payroll for a day. He’s perfectly willing to share his massive pile of investment expertise with you. Do you think you’d be more willing to put your money in investments that were ‘higher risk’ knowing that one of the best investors in the world was there to guide your decisions?

Hell yes, you would.

Now imagine you have one grand sitting around, but a contract that said if you spend it, you have to invest it in pay-per-click advertising. If ever there was a piece of software more occult than the investment industry, pay-per-click advertising is it. It’s so easy to lose a grand doing pay-per-click that the Wall Street Journal referred to PPC as a “potential budget drainer”.

So who is the PPC equivalent of Warren Buffet? Well, no one really knows — but there are a lot of very talented firms out there who will happily sit in for him in this particular example. They’re organic SEO companies that specialize in a service called PPC management. PPC managers essentially add their own small fee to the cost of your PPC campaigns at the beginning of each month, and in exchange, they drive your campaigns, making all the right decisions to maximize your campaign’s profitability.

Managed PPC campaigns make money for their clients, period. Unmanaged campaigns might — but they also might be throwing your money down a hole. If you have the opportunity to have Warren Buffet sitting on your staff, why would you pass it up? Because he might charge you a few bucks? Get yourself a PPC management firm today and get your website kicking and screaming to life tonight.

Just Like Food: Organic SEO Is Better For Your Health

Have you ever talked to a nutritionist about the difference between organic food and non-organic food? They’ll tell you without hesitation that organic food has a lot of things going for it that non-organic doesn’t. It’s got more nutrients per bite, which means that you don’t have to eat as much for your body’s cravings to be satisfied.

Organic SEO is very much like organic food for your website. Websites don’t get hungry, of course, but all websites compete for space in the search engine results pages (SERPs) in the same way that living creatures compete for resources in the wild. The difference is that creatures evolve very slowly — but every organic backlink your website gains is like a new boost of energy it can use to climb up the SERPs and obtain alpha status.

You might be asking what the alternative is — if organic SEO is like homegrown tomatoes, what exactly is a McNugget in this increasingly tortured analogy? There are actually a few different answers.

Pay per click advertising is the equivalent of going out to a high-end restaurant to eat every day. You’ll probably see good results, and (especially if you get a good PPC management team) you’ll see them fast — but you’re paying an awful lot for that success.

Traditional advertising is like generic supermarket food. You’ll see good things…eventually. But it’s nothing special, and everyone is doing it. Email advertisement, banner ads, and similar tactics are everywhere — you’ll never get ahead using tactics like these.

Black Hat SEO is the worst of the worst. You know those companies that put stuff like hydroxypropylmethylcellulose and bisphenol-A in their food? That’s these guys. Their “nutrition” might sustain you for a few weeks apparent online dominance, but when it fails you, you’re out of business for good.

If you want your website to succeed, give it the tools it needs to go alpha. Get some organic SEO under your belt, one way or another, today.

Article Writing and Distribution is the Foundation of Long Term Success

When you get going with a Web-based business, there are two separate tacks that people take in order to establish their success. The first is to spend money on advertising, get people to come visit their sites, and hope that they make more than they spent on advertising. The second is to work, spend a lot of time building backlinks and raising their rankings through organic SEO, and hope that they rank high enough to start bringing in enough money to pay the bills.

Then, there’s article writing and distribution. It’s both at once, and it works wonders.

In general, you can pay someone to write the articles, to distribute the articles, or both — though frequently it won’t be the same person doing both parts. That’s because the kind of people who find it easy to string words together with flowing eloquence tend not to enjoy sitting there and mindlessly clicking “submit” over and over on dozens of different article directories, and vice versa.

Once you find the people who can tag-team the job appropriately, however, you’re golden. Here’s why: when you have a well-written article and you submit it correctly to an authoritative article directory, you get the total package. Your article will likely rank quickly for it’s chosen keyword (assuming you did your keyword research correctly, of course). Once it’s ranked, you’ll start getting organic traffic through it as people click from it to your homepage.

That’s targeted traffic, and it’s worth quite a bit. Moreover, every article provides you with a context-controlled backlink with the anchor text of your choice, generally from a quite reputable source. (If you’re submitting to Jackopff’s Article Bucket, you might want to reconsider and see what it takes to get onto EZineArticles.com or another major article directory.)

Repeat the process, coming up with quality topics, solid keywords, and reputable directories every time, and you’ll soon find yourself with a quite functional web-based business. It’s a lot of effort, and it takes both creativity and technical knowledge, but once you know the game, it’s very very worth your while.

The Power of Conversion: A Lesson in Targeted Email Marketing

Let’s do a little bit of basic math. Let’s say you’ve got a website, and for every 200 visitors that come to your site, you make a sale. (People spend a little time on your site, so you know they’re not just bouncing as soon as they land — there’s clearly something attractive about your copy that has them engaging, they just won’t buy.) You’ve got yourself a conversion rate of a meager 0.5%.

Let’s say you’re selling an ebook that doesn’t cost anything to produce, but you have to make at least $1200/month to pay your bills and whatnot. Every sale makes you $30. At this point, in order to make ends meet, you need 40 sales — or 8,000 visitors each month. Sound likely? Not unless you’ve got a lot of money and one hell of a PPC management team.

Solutions to the dilemma are obvious: get more visitors, or improve your conversion rate. Getting more visitors is going to get exponentially harder — but there’s an easy tool you can use to improve conversions; it’s called targeted Email marketing.

With targeted Email marketing, you collect Email addresses from the people who visit your site, and you send them Emails regarding the topic they visited about. For example, if your site sells a product designed to help them pick up men at a bar, you might send them Emails about common problems with bar patrons or how to drink without getting wasted.

At some point, you slip in a sales pitch for your product — and because they’ve had the chance to get to know you through your Emails, they’re a lot more likely to buy from you. The longer you wait to pitch them — and the higher-quality the material you send in the interim — the better it works.

The result, if done correctly, is a massive spike in conversions. Because after all, if you can convert a whopping 3% of your visitors through targeted Email marketing, you don’t need 8,000 visitors each month anymore — you only need 1,334. That’s an incredible decrease in the effort you need to put into marketing, all for just a little extra put into conversions.

Directory Submission: The Front Line of Backlink Building

When it comes time to get someone to do some basic website SEO work for you, there are a lot of different techniques that they could engage in order to get your website indexed and ranked quickly:

  • Article writing and distribution
  • Blog commenting
  • Directory submission
  • Forum posting
  • Video marketing
  • Social bookmarking
  • Custom blog creation
  • Web 2.0 properties
  • And those are just the most common…there are dozens more!

It’s important that SEO companies use a variety of these different kinds of methods. One thing that search engines hate is a monotonous link profile. In other words, if 80% of your links come from forum posts, the search engine isn’t going to give those links a lot of authority, because they’ll assume the same person is making all of those forum posts.

That said, there’s a pretty good logic behind doing at least one of those activities often and first: the directory submissions. The reasons are simple.

You Get Indexed
If you’re a brand-new site, you need Google to recognize your existence as a valid site before it will send you any traffic about any subject. Getting indexed can take weeks if you’re not smart about it — but when you submit your URL to a few dozen high-authority website directories, you virtually guarantee that you’ll be indexed within 24 hours.

You Get Authority
Website directories — at least, when they’re chosen well by your SEO people — have quite a bit of standing with the search engines. They tend to be old sites (that’s good), with pretty narrow categories, meaning your site is on a page with a bunch of closely related sites (that’s good), and the links are one-way rather than reciprocal (that’s good). All that goodness adds up to plenty of benefit for your website.

You Get Control
When you submit a link to most web directories, you get to control a few very important things. The first is the description of your site in the directory itself. That gives you control over the context your site is listed in. The second is the anchor text of your link — that lets you focus your site’s ranking impact on a particular search term.

With all of these benefits, a startup’s strategy should be obvious: start with the directory submission, move on to everything else. You’ll be glad you did.