Journey Into Internet Marketing – Part 9 Tutorial

PPC Explored

Overview

Welcome to the ninth module in the ‘Journey Into Internet Marketing’ tutorial series. In this unit, you are going to be introduced to the basics of one of the most popular forms of online promotion, ‘Pay Per Click’ or ‘PPC’ advertising.

If you have not done so, it is recommended you read over Part 8 – SEO Explored first.

One essential of Internet marketing is that no matter what you sell or how you make money from your activities, you are dead in the water if interested prospects never see what you have to offer.

This makes your ability to ‘get your message out there’ critical as far as achieving long-term online marketing success is concerned.

One way of doing this is by using free marketing methods such as search engine optimization and article marketing.

The other option is to pay to advertise your offer. The most popular form of online advertising is PPC. You therefore need to know something about it.

1. An Introduction to Google AdWords

Google AdWords is the best-known and most popular PPC advertising program on the net. The popularity of this program is not surprising because every time you open a Google search results page, the advertising materials you see are placed there through the AdWords program:

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The Google search engine commands approximately 80% of global search engine usage. Consequently, by using AdWords, an advertiser ensures maximum ad exposure, hence the popularity of the program.

However, it is not only major global corporations and big business that can use AdWords to promote their products or services online.

You can open a free AdWords account to advertise any product you’re promoting, knowing that after you have funded your account, your ads can be live on the net within a matter of an hour or two.

The speed with which you can promote your business using a PPC advertising program like AdWords is one of the major advantages of using this method of promotion.

The other is the ability to keyword target your advertising activities extremely accurately. This should ensure that every visitor you pull to your site from your PPC adverts will be 100% laser targeted.

We will consider the mechanics of setting up an advertising campaign with AdWords a little later. Before then however, let’s look at how you find a profitable product to promote.

2. Finding A Profitable Product

If you are spending money on advertising, it follows that you will be out of pocket if you do not make any sales.

When you are using a free promotional method like article marketing (as an example), your ‘cost’ is measured in terms of time and effort. However, when it comes to paid advertising, it comes down to cold, hard cash.

If therefore you are going to use PPC advertising, you need to know that the product or service you are promoting is a profitable one before launching your first campaign.

To do this, you must establish where people are currently spending their money online. Commercial logic dictates that the big money is being spent in those markets where demand is greatest. Suppliers keep pumping products into these markets because people keep buying and they are making a profit.

Hence, if you establish where the most money is being spent or the demand is greatest, you will find products or services that are profitable.

As an example, if you are interested in promoting a digital information product from Clickbank, click on any category on the left of the ‘Marketplace’ page to start your search for a profitable product:

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By clicking the category link, the results are sorted with the best selling products at the top of the page by default:

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Now, don’t make the mistake of thinking that these are the best or most popular products. No-one knows how good a product is until they have bought it and therefore the product cannot become popular (or unpopular) until they have ‘opened the box’ after the purchase is made.

In reality, the results indicate that these are the best selling products in the category. In other words, these are the products with which other affiliates are enjoying the most success. This in turn tells you that these are extremely profitable products for the affiliates who are promoting them.

At the beginning of their online marketing career, most affiliate marketers find that promoting digital information products is the easiest and quickest way of starting to earn money.

This means that Clickbank is a primary research resource.

There are however plenty of sites that you can use to research general market sentiment about particular products and/or services that will help to build your knowledge of what is selling best.

For instance, open up the eBay Pulse page to see a snapshot of the most popular searches on the site in the last 24 hours:

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The homepage shows the overall top 10 most popular searches but if you call up the drop-down menu by clicking the link highlighted in the previous screenshot, you will see the top 10 from each individual category.

This provides a very clear insight into what is selling (i.e. making a profit) on the world’s largest auction site.

Being an auction site, eBay specializes in selling pre-used equipment. If you want to run a similar operation to research new product markets, you can do so with major shopping comparison sites like Shop.com or MySimon.com.

Using the latter as an example, you are presented with a list of the most popular products in several categories on the right-hand side of the home page immediately after it opens in your browser:

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You also have the ‘Daily Shopping Picks’ in the middle of the page, and if you click any category on the left-hand side, you will find that the most popular products are featured at the top of each category page.

The final profitability test is to see whether the AdWords results agree with what you have discovered so far.

The best selling Clickbank product in the screenshot earlier was ‘Banner ad blueprint’ which at the time of writing has been on the market for just a couple of weeks.

If you search Google using the exact product name and see that people are already advertising with the name as the keyword, it immediately tells you that there is money being made by promoting this product:

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Bingo! This is a profitable product alright…

As you have seen, there are many sites where you can research what is currently selling on the net. Nevertheless, no matter which site you’re using, the basic research objective is always the same. You are establishing where people are currently spending money on the net.

If people are spending millions of dollars every day on online products and services, it follows that there are hundreds of businesses supplying whatever they want to buy. They do so because they make a profit. Hence, if you establish where money is spent, you have found profitable products that you can promote.

Now that you have a profitable product, the next thing is to find profitable keywords around which you can build your advertising campaigns.

3. Finding Profitable Keywords

The secret of finding profitable keywords is to find terms that you can use in your advertising that demonstrate commercial intent. In other words, when you are promoting a product or service, the keywords that you use to advertise must appeal to people who are potential buyers rather than net surfers.

As a simple example, if someone uses a search term like ‘TV’, it tells you very little about their intent. For example, they could be searching for information about televisions or transvestites, you just don’t know.

Even if you assume that it is TV as in television, they might want to know how a TV works or whether there are reliable battery-powered TVs available. The fact is, there is no indication whatsoever that they are interested in buying a TV.

If however they search for ‘flat panel TV’, the specific nature of the search term indicates that there is more commercial intent involved.

If they were searching for ‘Sony LCD TV’, they have already decided on the brand and type of TV they want to buy. They are merely looking for additional confirmation that this is the correct decision.

Being able to assess the profit potential of individual keyword phrases is a skill that you will gradually acquire. However, until you do so, Microsoft has a great free tool which will do the job for you:

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Add the keyword and check the ‘Query’ radio button. Click ‘Go’ and Microsoft will tell you the commercial value of this search term:

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In this case, the probability that the search term has no commercial intent behind it is very high (at 82%). However, changing the search term changes the results completely:

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With ‘Sony LCD TV’, the probability that there is commercial (i.e. buying) intent behind the use of this particular term is 97%.

If you’re going to pay for advertising, you must do so using commercial keyword phrases. Now you know how to find them, let’s start to create an AdWords advertising campaign.

Writing A Good Ad

Although there are format variations, PPC advertising is overwhelmingly based on creating three line text adverts that are published on the search results pages and/or on individual websites.

When someone clicks on one of these adverts, AdWords redirects that ad viewer to your webpage and you pay for the click.

By using a commercial keyword term that is directly related to the product you are promoting, you ensure that anyone who clicks your advert is well down the road to making a buying decision about your product. Hence, this visitor is exactly the kind of prospect you want to bring to your site.

Writing an effective advert that does this has three elements:

  • It must feature your keyword term;
  • It must attract the attention of the page viewer and
  • It must convince them of the benefits of visiting your site.
  • This is how you do this using AdWords as our example.

    If you don’t already have an AdWords account, sign up for now and log in.

    Once you have done so, you are ready to start creating your first advertising campaign. On the first setup page, you have to select your geographical target market (the world is your market for digital products but you can localize this to cities and towns if necessary), your language and your daily budget:

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    To begin with, keep the daily budget low to control costs as I have done in this screenshot. Click ‘Save and continue’ to start creating your text ad on the next page.

    Continuing with the Sony LCD TV theme, this is how I would create my ad:

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    There are several features to note here.

    Firstly, I have included the main keyword phrase right at the beginning of the title and in the first description line.

    Furthermore, the advert makes it clear exactly why the viewer should visit my site – if they do so, they will discover the ‘shocking truth’ about this TV.

    Now, if a searcher is using such a commercial keyword term, you know that they have almost made the decision to buy this TV already. Of course they want to know what the ‘shocking truth’ is.

    Consequently, this advert would almost certainly ‘snare’ them.

    When they arrive on my webpage, the ‘shocking truth’ could of course be nothing more than my confirmation that this is a very good product.

    Alternatively, it might be something along lines of ‘The picture quality offered by this product is not the best on the market (i.e. the ‘shocking truth’!). However, the only TV that bettered it is the top of the range model from Panabishi which costs $2000 more. For the price, this is your best choice’.

    Note also that the second line of the advert ends with an ellipse (…). This implies that there is more to this story which again encourages viewer to click on it.

    Finally, the display address is the basic URL of my site whilst the destination URL is the exact page where my affiliate offer for this product is presented. You cannot use a completely different URL for display but you are allowed to shorten it in this way.

    That’s it, a quick and easy way of penning highly effective AdWords ads. This is not however quite the end of the story.

    4. Quality Score

    The price you pay per click on your advertisements is based on an auction system. In theory at least, the more you are willing to pay per click, the higher your advert will be pushed up the search results pages.

    You would probably consider this to be normal logic. After all, if you are prepared to pay more, you would logically expect to obtain a better position in return.

    With AdWords however, the picture is not this clear because of what is known as the Google Quality Score system.

    This refers to a system that Google use to assess the quality of the adverts you place with AdWords. If Google likes your ad and what it does, you will earn a good Quality Score, whereas if your ad is not to their liking, they will give you a low Quality Score.

    Your Quality Score is always extremely significant.

    For instance, if you have a bad score, you could be paying $1 per click with your advert in the number 8 slot of the first results page whereas the advert in the first slot may be only paying $0.50 per click because they have a far better Quality Score than you.

    This might happen if (as an example) the page on your site to which your ad redirects does not feature as much content as Google would like in comparison to their page, which does.

    Another major influencing factor is what’s known as the Click Through Rate or ‘CTR’ of an ad. The higher the ratio of clicks vs impressions, the more valuable Google will recognize your ad to be.

    If you’re going to advertise using AdWords, it is imperative that you study the Quality Score rules to ensure that everything about your ad satisfies them before you begin your first advertising campaign.

    You should also refer back to the rules from time to time because they do change on a regular basis too.

    5. Monitoring Conversions

    Once you have funded your account and your campaign is launched, it is absolutely imperative to keep an eye on how your campaign is performing.

    In particular, you need to have a very clear idea of how many conversions your campaign is producing, that is, how many people take advantage of your offer so that you earn money from it.

    The first statistical resource which you should be checking is within your AdWords account itself. By clicking the advertising campaign link that you want to analyze, you are presented with information about what is happening with every campaign you’re running:

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    What you have here is a record of how many times your ad has been shown (Impr. = Impressions) measured against how many clicks these ad impressions have generated.

    From this, Google will show your average cost per click.

    Next, whichever affiliate network site you are working with will also record how many people clicked on your affiliate link and how many sales this generated.

    The Google statistics show you how many people have been sent to your web page. After this, your affiliate network stats demonstrate how many people went from the page to which Google sent them to the sales page (via your unique link) and made a purchase.

    By combining the two sets of stats, you can track the whole ‘process’ from beginning to end to calculate just how profitable this particular advertising campaign is.

    This is obviously important because it doesn’t make sense to continue with an advertising campaign that is not making a profit. It is therefore essential to pick this up as soon as possible so that you can suspend or ‘can’ any campaign that is costing rather than making money.

    Conclusion

    ‘Pay per click’ advertising is a very efficient and quick way of driving targeted visitors to any product that you are promoting.

    However, care is necessary when setting up a new advertising campaign, especially if you have not done so before and particularly when advertising using Google AdWords (think ‘Quality Score’).

    Nevertheless, any time you need a quick ‘sales boost’, a cautiously constructed and funded AdWords advertising campaign is just about the quickest way of achieving your objectives.

    Caution should be advised however the first time you use Google Adwords. Give yourself a small budget to start with and test the results. If you’re not making the sales you’d expect, see where you’re going wrong (low click through rate, poor conversion ratio on sales page?), and then optimize your campaign. Only invest significant funds in Adwords once you have tested the campaign and it has proven itself to be profitable.

    Many an Internet marketer, both new and experienced alike, have lost fortunes because they have gone ahead and invested significant funds without first testing the efficacy of their campaign on a limited budget. Start small, and work your way up. Remember there are many other cheap and free Internet marketing methods, such as SEO, which don’t require the sort of financial investment that PPC does. PPC however is great for an “instant results” solution.

    It is now recommended you proceed on to Part 10 – Introduction To E-mail Marketing.