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Nov 18

Stop The High Management Fees

By Aaron | Blog

You hired an PPC ad agency. You were told you would get leads. You are disappointed, confused…you feel like you are wasting money.

Does this sound like you?

Please ‘Like’ this post if you would like a product that removes the high monthly management fees that agencies charge and provides full transparency with a proven step-by-step process in getting more leads for your business.

Jul 09

How To Improve Quality Score

By Aaron |

We used the AdWords Performance Grader to get some high-level insight into what this advertiser is doing so right. Using this report, we identified five key characteristics that are contributing to the super-high average Quality Score

#1: AMAZING CLICK-THROUGH RATES Theoretically there are a lot of factors that go into Google Quality Score. But the single most important factor is definitely normalized click-through rate (CTR). And this advertiser’s average CTR is off the charts:  Theoretically there are a lot of factors that go into Google Quality Score. But the single most important factor is definitely normalized clickthrough rate (CTR). That little yellow line represents the typical curve, with CTR plotted against average position. This account’s click-through rates are way, way higher than average — it’s got an average search CTR of 14.06% (2% is usually the benchmark for a decent PPC click-through rate). How did they get a 14% CTR in an average ad position of 2.88? Most of the outlier keywords with CTRs of 30%, 40%, 50% and even 70% are branded keywords, which generally have very high CTRs — but the rest of the keywords aren’t branded. In fact, it’s interesting to note that there are even 0% CTR keywords that have perfect Quality Scores of 10. This suggests that the high account average CTR is pulling up the Quality Scores for all keywords in the account. I see this in a lot of accounts, and it’s one reason why I always recommend slating at least 15% of your PPC budget toward branded keywords. But what about the rest of the keywords in this account?

#2: EXTENSIVE USE OF LONG-TAIL KEYWORDS Competitive keywords aren’t just hard to rank for in organic search; they’re tricky in PPC too, especially in cutthroat industries like insurance. So if you want high CTRs you need to be a little pickier about your keyword selection. As you can see, this advertiser is in the 87th percentile in terms of long-tail keyword usage: © 2013, WordStream Inc. All rights reserved. WordStream technologies are protected by pending US patents. Long-tail keywords are generally more effective because they: n Are more specific and better at pre-qualifying traffic n Align more with the end of the purchasing funnel, so they convert at a higher rate n Are less competitive and therefore cost less on a per-click basis This advertiser is using mostly long-tail keywords — over 80% of the keywords include three words or more, and just 1% are one-word terms. This is likely a big part of why the average CTR and Quality Score are so high.

#3: ONGOING AD TEXT OPTIMIZATION Along with choosing the right keywords, improving your CTR is all about ad optimization, using methods like A/B testing, dynamic keyword insertion and, more generally, ad copywriting techniques that clearly differentiate your offering from competitors. One way to make sure your ads are highly targeted is to write more of them. Small business AdWords accounts often have too few text ads. Adding more ads gives you more opportunities to prove to searchers that you’ve got exactly what they’re looking for. This advertiser has almost 100 active text ads, which is quite high for an account of this size. (The average, represented by the yellow bar, is more like 50.)

#4: LOTS OF DEDICATED ACCOUNT ACTIVITY If any single lever is a better predictor of AdWords success than Quality Score, it’s account activity. Most small business accounts fail for the simple reason that the PPC manager doesn’t do enough work. They claim they’re in there doing work every week: Adding more ads gives you more opportunities to prove to searchers that you’ve got exactly what they’re looking for. © 2013, WordStream Inc. All rights reserved. WordStream technologies are protected by pending US patents. But the data tells a different story. In my experience: n 1 in 5 AdWords account managers do nothing at all within a month. n Only 10% of advertisers consistently do optimization work every week over a 90-day period. This business is doing a much better job of regularly logging in and making improvements: You can tell by the 90-day history that this advertiser consistently works to optimize the account. This is the key to high Quality Scores and ongoing results. Looking at this account’s change history logs, we can see that the owner has done a lot in the past 30 days: n Written 10 new text ads n Added 164 keywords n Created 4 new ad groups This wasn’t just a one-time burst of activity — you can tell by the 90-day history that this advertiser consistently works to optimize the account. This is the key to high Quality Scores and ongoing results.

#5: PERFECT ADHERENCE TO BEST PRACTICES Topping everything else off, this business is following 100% of our top PPC best practices: These eight best practices (stuff like using ad extensions and modified broad match) are pretty easy checkboxes to tick off, but many SMB accounts ignore them. In fact, only half of small businesses have conversion tracking turned on! This business gets the thumbs up for all eight best practices. As a bonus, they’re also using plenty of negative keywords (important for cost reduction) and following landing page optimization best practices (landing pages can affect QS as well).

Jul 09

PPC Best Practices

By Aaron |

These are the best practices that PPC experts follow to create and run effective, profitable campaigns. 

​Print this off if you need and check them off as you work through your account.

  • Network Targeting - Are your campaigns settings customized for their specific network (Search vs Display)? Remember always separate. 
  • Geo Targeting - Are you campaigns focused on your most profitable markets?
  • Language Targeting - Are you making use of the language restrictions for better audience targeting?
  • Conversion Tracking - Are you keeping track of which keywords and ads drive profitable actions?
  • Multiple Text Ads Running - Are you running multiple ads in each ad group to ensure strong targeting?
  • Modified Broad Match Type - Are you making use of the match types that give you more control?
  • Negative Keywords - Are you using negative keywords and actively checking your search report for new negatives to reduce wasteful spending and irrelevant clicks?
  • Ad Extensions - Are you using Ad Extensions to provide additional links and improve CTR (click through rates)?
Jun 25

New or Old Account?

By Aaron |

Have You Used Google Adwords Before?

If you have never had your own Google Adwords account then you can skip this section.

However, for those that have had an account, even if its been years since you used it last, listen up!

​One of the most important metrics you will want to get to know is Google's Quality Score.  Its made up of many variables that we will cover in a later section.  

One of these variables is account history.  

If you had an account in the past or currently running an account its important to gauge your history to make a determination if you should continue with that account or start a new one.

***Please note, if you are ever in doubt or not sure always take the least riskiest bet and start a new account.***

​We want to gauge your average quality score which will provide us with an idea of the health of your account history.  Why is this important?

Account history is one of the many variables used in determining your Quality Score.  Quality Score has enormous influence over the cost and effectiveness of your paid search campaigns. Just as your credit score can affect whether or not you qualify for a loan and how high your interest rate is, Google Quality Score affects how your PPC ads perform and how much you pay for each click.​

Jun 20

Unique Selling Point

By Aaron |

What is a Unique Selling Point (or Proposition)?

To put it simply a USP is the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.  

Essentially how can you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage."

Theodore Levitt 
Harvard Buiness School Professor

Before you can begin to sell your product or service to anyone else, you have to sell yourself on it.

This is especially important when your product or service is similar to those around you. Very few businesses are one-of-a-kind. Just look around: How many plumbers, real estate agents, ac installers, divorce lawyers, chiropractors and electricians are truly unique?

The key to effective selling in this situation is what advertising and marketing professionals call a "unique selling proposition" (USP). Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of homogeneous competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.

Pinpointing your USP requires some hard soul-searching and creativity. One way to start is to analyze how other companies use their USPs to their advantage. This requires careful analysis of other companies' ads and marketing messages. If you analyze what they say they sell, not just their product or service characteristics, you can learn a great deal about how companies distinguish themselves from competitors.

For example, Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, always used to say he sold hope, not makeup. Some airlines sell friendly service, while others sell on-time service. Neiman Marcus sells luxury, while Wal-Mart sells bargains.

Each of these is an example of a company that has found a USP "peg" on which to hang its marketing strategy. A business can peg its USP on: 

  • Product characteristics
  • Price Structure
  • Placement strategy (location and distribution)
  • Promotional strategy

These are what marketers call the "four P's" of marketing. They are manipulated to give a business a market position that sets it apart from the competition.

Sometimes a company focuses on one particular "peg," which also drives the strategy in other areas. A classic example is Hanes L'Eggs hosiery. Back in an era when hosiery was sold primarily in department stores, Hanes opened a new distribution channel for hosiery sales. The idea: Since hosiery was a consumer staple, why not sell it where other staples were sold--in grocery stores?

That placement strategy then drove the company's selection of product packaging (a plastic egg) so the pantyhose did not seem incongruent in the supermarket. And because the product didn't have to be pressed and wrapped in tissue and boxes, it could be priced lower than other brands.

Here's how to uncover your USP and use it to power up your sales:

Put yourself in your customer's shoes.

Too often, entrepreneurs fall in love with their product or service and forget that it is the customer's needs, not their own, that they must satisfy.

Step back from your daily operations and carefully scrutinize what your customers really want.

Suppose you own a pizza parlor. Sure, customers come into your pizza place for food. But is food all they want? What could make them come back again and again and ignore your competition? The answer might be quality, convenience, reliability, friendliness, cleanliness, courtesy or customer service. Remember, price is never the only reason people buy. If your competition is beating you on pricing because they are larger, you have to find another sales feature that addresses the customer's needs and then build your sales and promotional efforts around that feature.

Know what motivates your customers' behavior and buying decisions.

Effective marketing requires you to be an amateur psychologist. You need to know what drives and motivates customers. Go beyond the traditional customer demographics, such as age, gender, race, income and geographic location, that most businesses collect to analyze their sales trends. For our pizza shop example, it is not enough to know that 75 percent of your customers are in the 18-to-25 age range. You need to look at their motives for buying pizza-taste, peer pressure, convenience and so on. Cosmetics and liquor companies are great examples of industries that know the value of psychologically oriented promotion. People buy these products based on their desires (for pretty women, luxury, glamour and so on), not on their needs.

Uncover the real reasons customers buy your product instead of a competitor's.

As your business grows, you'll be able to ask your best source of information: your customers. For example, the pizza entrepreneur could ask them why they like his pizza over others, plus ask them to rate the importance of the features he offers, such as taste, size, ingredients, atmosphere and service. You will be surprised how honest people are when you ask how you can improve your service. If your business is just starting out, you won't have a lot of customers to ask yet, so "shop" your competition instead. Many retailers routinely drop into their competitors' stores to see what and how they are selling. If you're really brave, try asking a few of the customers after they leave the premises what they like and dislike about the competitors' products and services.

Once you've gone through this three-step market intelligence process, you need to take the next--and hardest--step: clearing your mind of any preconceived ideas about your product or service and being brutally honest. What features of your business jump out at you as something that sets you apart? What can you promote that will make customers want to patronize your business? How can you position your business to highlight your USP? Don't get discouraged. Successful business ownership is not about having a unique product or service; it's about making your product stand out--even in a market filled with similar items.

Jun 20

Goals

By Aaron |

This section is real simple.

Now that you know your customer value it is easier to answer questions like:

  • What is the minimum number of new customers that you need each month to cover expenses?
  • How many new customers do you need to add each month to get to x profit?

Consider these questions and come up with a number of new customers you want each month.

You should know specifically what you're looking to achieve with any new marketing campaign.

  • Is it a specific number of leads per month?
  • Do you want phone calls, newsletter signups, or sales?
  • Is there a certain cost per conversion you want to achieve?  

Since you know your customer value that last question can be easily answered. To break even the cost per conversion would be your customer value amount. Anything less is profit.  The goal with any marketing plan is to acquire a customer for less money.

Jun 20

Budget

By Aaron |

You may be aware of the growing need to allocate some of your marketing budget for a Pay per Click (PPC) campaign, but with every industry and business being unique, do you know how much to allocate for your campaign?

This is what we are going to figure out right now.

​Now that you have your Customer Valuation number and have outlined your goals we can tackle the last factor in the equation...budget.

The 3 Factors​

There are three factors you should consider when coming up with your budget:

  • What is a new customer worth? (your customer valuation)
  • What are your goals? (how many new customers do you want per month?)
  • What can you afford to spend?

​Lets do an example:

Example

So lets say that a new customer is worth $500 to you and you would like to get 10 new customers each month.

Multiplying $500 by 10 gives us $5,000.

This means you could spend up to $5,000 each month to get 10 new customers before running at a loss. 

Obviously the point of your business is to take in more than you spend.  So anything you spend for those 10 new customers below $5,000 is profit.  The less you spend the more money in your pocket but this exercise is to get you to think of how much you have to spend before you break even and/or start losing money. You should always keep this number in mind when doing any marketing. 

Now you need to review your available capital.  If you can spend $5,000/month on advertising then you can start with that as your budget and adjust accordingly each month.

If the first month you can only afford to spend $2,000/mo on advertising then thats ok but now you should now adjust your minimum number of new customers from 10 to 4.

Jun 19

Customer Valuation

By Aaron |

Customer Value

​Customer Value is the single most important metric for understanding your customers and developing a marketing plan.

What's amazing is not a single online advertising agency that we have seen discusses this with their clients and its so IMPORTANT!

Customer Value helps you make important business decisions about sales, marketing, product development, and customer support. For example:

  • Marketing: How much should I spend to acquire a customer? 
  • Product: How can I offer products and services tailored for my best customers?
  • Customer Support: How much should I spend to service and retain a customer?
  • Sales: What types of customers should sales reps spend the most time on trying to acquire?

Of course these are all important but for our purposes we want to focus on Marketing and how much you have to spend to get a new customer.

The first step to finding this out is to figure out what a new customer is worth. ​​

Why is this particular number so important?

Mainly because it will give you an idea of how much profit your business can expect to receive from sales to a specific customer during that customer's lifetime.  Which in turn will help you decide how much you’re willing to spend to “buy” that customer for your business.​ 

Once you know how frequently a customer buys and how much he or she spends, you will better understand how to allocate your marketing dollars.

The simplest way to calculate the customer value is to divide the net profit by the number of customers.

EXAMPLE

For instance, if your business makes $110,000 in revenue and has $10,000 in total expenses, the net profit is $100,000. If that revenue was generated from 100 customers, the value of a customer is $1,000.

This means that at the very least a new customer to you would be worth $1,000!

We say "very least" because that doesn't include repeat sales and referrals for those business that have longer repeat business cycles like attorneys and real estate agents. ​

​So if you know that a new customer is worth $1,000 then you know that to break even you can spend up to $1,000 to acquire a new customer.

Plug your numbers into the following equation:

(Average Revenue) - (Average Expense) / (Average Number of Customers)

Now that you have your Customer Valuation lets move on to your Goals.