Fewer Words Matter

The hardest part of any marketing task is communicating your message in just a few words.

I have been telling friends for years that a marketing degree should start with “Marketing 101: How to Describe It in 100 Words.” It would be a weekly course and every week the student would have to describe the same item, but in fewer and fewer words. The final would be a Google Adwords Ad…here is it’s format:
25 Characters
35 Characters
25 Characters

That’s less than 100 Characters, including spaces. And in that 100 characters you have to grab a person’s attention, differentiate yourself and entice them to click on your Ad among all others.

Most firms we begin helping have a tough time saying what they do in a paragraph.

One of the SEM mentors I follow posted this video, which I think sums all this up in two spoken sentences and one written one.

Can you describe your company in seven words or less? Give it a shot, you may be surprised at the results!

Google Adwords Big Change Coming?

Upcoming Adword Format Bad for SMBsWhile catching up on the latest SEO articles, a disturbing post showed up today. It appears that Google is testing the effects of showing how many clicks an Ad or Advertiser has previously gotten.

While we promote Google Adwords to many of our small business clients, there are various aspects that are real disadvantages to them. The overall complexity and several default settings are definitely an issue for SMB and independents without some type of Search Engine Marking (SEM) resource.

Well, Google is trying an Adwords experiment that may indeed be another major problem for small businesses. There are apparently two types of displays being tested, one that just says “Clicks”. The other one says “clicks from this advertiser”. In this image, notice the difference between the two almost identical Ads for the same basic product/brand:Google Adwords Click Display Experiment

Showing “Clicks for this Advertiser” in the Ad will create a very unfair advantage for large brands, big Ad budgets and National Ad agencies.

Notice that the top Ad has 156,000 previous clicks and the one below it has 59,000,000. Which would you click?

We’ve been very successful pitching SMB Ads against major brands with deep pockets. We rely on niche targets, whether time spots, longer tail keywords, more refined and selective demographics or sites. If successful, our Ad typically shows higher than the wider casting net of the big check books.

Think of it another way. A big budget allows for less granular keyword bids, less related Ad text to keywords they are bidding on and finally, paying a bit higher due to a lower quality score. If we are able to place our SMB Ad alongside the more generic text from one of their Ads, we stand a better chance of getting the click due to our more relevant copy and keywords.

Unless that other Ad has 59,000,000 clicks displayed and we only have 156,000.

The real shame? All 156,000 of our visitors could have bought a product, while 200,000 of those other clickers could have bounced away from that site’s competing product immediately without buying anything. If that Advertiser’s 58,800,000 of those clicks are for Ads that send them to another page, not that related to our client’s product, then they won’t even be penalized much. And the users that might have clicked and bought, will instead gravitate towards the Ad with more clicks due to the Lemming Effect.

This also means longer running Ads and Advertisers could have better click through rate (CTR) advantage.

Study shows Small Businesses with Revenue Growth due to Increased Online Marketing

There’s not doubt that many businesses have substantially cut costs in Sales, Marketing & Advertising. However, according to the “Small Business Marketing Health Check” report from Hurwitz & Associates, small businesses that are doing well have increased their expenditures in marketing, especially online.

The study showed small businesses with increased revenues shifted marketing initiatives toward cheaper digital media and away from traditional channels. The three key online marketing methods used by these small businesses were use of social networking, email newsletter campaigns and ‘search’ (which really means “Pay Per Click”, such as Google’s Adwords platform).

“The survey clearly reveals that the use of low-cost Web-based marketing tools is playing a strategic role in helping businesses succeed,” said Laurie McCabe, partner, Hurwitz & Associates

Thanks to eMarketer’s blog for originally posting details of this report. There are graphs showing various breakdowns of small business revenue, marketing spend and projected spend at this blog.

Buy ‘Buy’ to Convert More Adwords Clicks into Sales

Remember, the purpose for buying traffic to your site using any Pay Per Click (PPC) system such as Google Adwords is to generate more sales…often called “Conversions”. Just spending money to have more eyeballs reading your pages without buying anything is likely not going to help your bottom line. You want to bring traffic to your site that converts into a sale.

You need to set up conversion goals within your site and monitor the direct relationship between increased traffic and increased sales. Often it is useful with companies that don’t sell directly on the web to engage in a few test campaigns. These test campaigns should be targeted to a unique landing page and utilize a unique phone number, email address or other contact method that can show a direct cause and effect between additional site traffic AND additional sales. By conducting a few of these tests, you can determine what type of traffic behavior can be considered a conversion…and even place a dollar amount to define various ‘better value’ conversions.

One ‘short cut’ method that can also help you bring more traffic that is likely converting into higher sales is to create a copy of one of your better optimized, higher CTR, campaigns and merely add the word “buy” to all your keywords. Obviously, if a searcher is placing the word “buy” on their search, they are likely very close to purchasing. Of course, the tradeoff is that there will likely be significantly less traffic using this additional word in searches. Here is a case where a lower CTR will still probably be a better revenue generator, and an overall  cheaper set of keywords, than the one you selected.  You may want to give this method a try if you don’t have the ability or time to do a true conversion campaign test. As always…monitor results.