“I think you really ought to consider advertising on Google,” she said.
The year was 2003, business was really slow and I was about to plunk big dollars into a trade publication ad. I had never heard of paying to have someone come to my website.
But, on the advice of a peer, I took the leap of faith.
With great skepticism, I opened an AdWords account and started driving traffic to a landing page that taught people how to write white papers.
To my great shock, the first day four people registered. By the end of the first week, there were 40. Before I knew it, the year was up and 4000 people had registered, ALL coming from one little ad that I paid next to nothing for on Google.
I spent a whopping $127 per month for those thousands of leads.
I’m here to tell you, if you want to drive more traffic to your blog, add people to your lists or just test out some new ideas, consider search advertising.
Search advertising, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising or paid search, essentially involves paying for small ads that appear on a search engine. The ads only appear when folks type in keywords you are paying for. The beauty of these ads is that you only pay if someone clicks.
Andrew Goodman, widely considered the world’s leading authority on search advertising, explains, “Paid search is classic direct marketing in the sense that you narrow your market down to a very specific subset (in this case, those typing specific keywords into a search engine out of curiosity).”
Goodman also explains, “The beauty of PPC ads that appear near search results (i.e., on an engine like Google) is that they show up when someone may be in active research mode. If you intercept professionals early in their sales cycles, while they are still thinking about pertinent issues, you actually position yourself very well.”
Blogger’s Thoughts on Search Advertising
New media blogger Chris Garrett says, “Pay-per-click advertising gets almost immediate results, either for traffic or for just testing ideas. All it takes is some well-chosen words and a credit card. While a perfect campaign takes time, money and experimentation, PPC is the best way to get instant and highly targeted leads.”
Tom Chandler, owner of one of the top ten blogs for writers explains, “For a freelancer, pay-per-click advertising can be a flexible, effective, affordable marketing tool. I’ve used it several times over the years to quickly generate leads during slow periods, though I’ve discovered — as my blog-driven organic search results improved — that I don’t need it running all the time.”
Chandler adds, “In fact, your ability to switch your ad campaigns on and off is one of PPC’s handiest features. Another is the instant feedback; your ability to test different ads should warm the heart of any copywriter.”
Goodman echo’s Chandler’s testing statement, “You get rapid feedback about what people do in response to certain offers, for a very low cost, in a highly structured format. It’s the world’s cheapest market research.”
Google is King of the Hill
According to the New York Times, Google’s market share topped 65 percent at the end of 2007 and will continue to grow!
That means that 65 out of 100 Internet searches take place on Google.
If you want to begin a search advertising campaign, it makes sense to check out Google AdWords.
For literally pennies, your ads can show up on Google and on partner sites like Ask.com and AOL.
A small example: My daughter goes to a new private school in Southern California. We setup a quick Google campaign that was focused only on the San Diego metropolitan area. So far we have had more than 300,000 ad impressions in one month, more than 120 people have clicked on the ad and multiple families will be attending the schools info night this week. The total cost for all of the exposure: Less than $100!
Five Things You Must Know Before Going Nuts
When I first began search advertising I was clueless. However, I quickly found Andrew Goodman’s work and here’s what he taught me. Consider the following important points:
- Why are you advertising? Determine what your goals are before you start. Do you want to push an event, promote an ebook, add more signups to your list or gain exposure for your blog?
- Your landing page is critical. Think about where you want visitors to end up after clicking on an ad. The best performing ads drive people to very specific landing pages the deliver on the promise of the ad.
- Spend to Earn. Unlike social marketing techniques, search advertising will take bills from your wallet (and if done well, put more than that back in). Think about how much you are willing to part with. The good news is that you can set spending caps with Google, and you can easily determine the return on investment your advertising is bringing.
- Good headlines outperform. Take all the headline tips Brian keeps talking about and apply them to your ad campaigns. A well-written ad will outperform the more costly, poorly crafted ones. Your writing skills can pay off big time with paid search.
- Track your conversions. Google gives you a little piece of code that you can place on a page. For example, if you are aiming for newsletter signups, you can plant this code on the “Thanks for registering page.” This allows you to track how many visitors are actually taking the action you hoped would be achieved.
A Quick Video
Here is an excellent video from Andrew Goodman on the latest state of paid search. It’s worth a look.
Want to Learn More?
Andrew Goodman will be teaching a teleclass this week called Navigating the Search Advertising Frontier (How to Outsmart the Competition). Be sure to check it out.
I would love to hear from those of you who have found success with search advertising. How has it helped you grow your business?