Sales & Support 1-888-220-7361

The Reciprocal Consulting Blog

You are Browsing the April 2014 Archive:

PPC is different than SEO because you are in more control of where your ads land. Where Search Engine Optimization is intelligently relying on keywords and algorithms, Pay Per Click advertising relies on intelligently paying for prime placement on a page.

This is an equally valuable tactic in marketing because it allows you to target specific audiences by location, interests, associations, and more. You are not only waiting for results to develop, you are being exposed as soon as your ads are live and able to adjust immediately as it’s called for when the market changes. This instant feedback is an important aspect of pay per click advertising.

Most reputable internet advertising firms will monitor referring links in order to eliminate fraudulent clicks. This is done to keep their clients from having to pay for clicks that are generated by competitors hoping to increase your expenses or site owners hoping to get paid a commission. Fraud may be inevitable, but professionals will work to avoid affecting their client’s investment by eliminating the source of the fraud.

PPC can be a defined budget item because even though you pay per click, you can set parameters in maximum spending per month. This is very attractive to those new to pay per click advertising. It’s also easy to track the various types of ads so you can see which are more effective and should be enhanced. Most businesses utilize both SEO and PPC; they are different tactics for marketing and are considered equally important.

For more information on the potential benefits of PPC, a good resource isĀ reciprocalconsulting.com/pay-per-click.php

As you get into managing your pay-per-click campaign, you’ll want to ensure that your landing page is optimized for search, draws the visitor in, and makes the sales pitch seamlessly with a strong closing statement – also known as a call to action.

Designing your landing page for PPC requires that you keep a focus on quality. Your quality score will determine where your ads are placed and whether or not your landing page receives respectable organic search rankings.

Here are 5 solid principles to keep in mind when designing your landing page:

  1. Attractive Page Design – Let’s start with design. Your page has to immediately be attractive to a user. If it isn’t, they’ll back out and go somewhere else. Make sure your images don’t obscure the text, make it easy to navigate or scroll through, and be sure you choose the right fonts and graphics.
  2. User Experience – Site visitors will not wait for pages to load. Make sure yours load fast. Also, include Buy Now buttons that are easy to use and functional. Every element of your page must be easy to use and encourage interactivity.
  3. Keep It Simple – Get rid of any unnecessary elements. Everything must point the user to the final sale. Include plenty of white space around the Buy Now button to make it visible.
  4. Grab Your Visitor’s Attention – Use big fonts and eye-catching colors for headlines, subheads, and calls to action. Make sure your Buy Now and Order buttons are clearly visible. Draw your site visitor’s eyes to those parts of the page you want them to focus on.
  5. Make It Social – Include social share icons on your pages to encourage visitors to share your page. And show your social proof badges as well. People respect marketers who can prove their social worth.

What is the difference between SEO and SEM? Does it matter?

It might not matter to some people, but there is a subtle difference. SEO stands for search engine optimization and usually refers to the process of writing web page content so that it stands a better chance of ranking in the search engines. If your web pages rank in the search engines, then that’s free traffic for your website. You don’t pay for that traffic.

Search engine marketing, or SEM, refers to any form of search engine marketing and that includes the aforementioned SEO. But it doesn’t stop with SEO.

Search engine marketing most often refers to organic search (SEO) and paid search (PPC). But it could also include other forms of search engine marketing including display advertising, paid placement services, link building, search query sponsorships, or other services depending on the search engine. But most Internet marketers use the term SEM to refer to SEO and PPC.

Typically, a search engine marketing campaign consists of a combination of SEO and paid search strategies. A search engine marketer may find himself managing a pay-per-click campaign simultaneously with a link building campaign. And that may include guest blogging, article marketing, and even some on-site content management.

Most of these terms overlap in some way, but it helps to understand what your search optimization team is saying when they communicate with you. I hope this helps clarify things a bit.

What will Internet marketing look like in 2032, twenty years from now? Care to take a guess?

If you look at the history of Internet marketing from the beginning of the World Wide Web until now, it’s very interesting how we have progressed to the point that we have.

  • 1990 – Birth of the World Wide Web including browsers and hypertext, online bulletin boards are very popular communication channels
  • 1993 – Excite, the world’s first search engine, was created
  • 1994 – AltaVista was created and later would become the world’s first major search engine; Yahoo! became the first powerhouse Web directory
  • 1995 – GeoCities launched, becomes the first successful online community; webrings begin to rise in popularity
  • 1997 – SixDegrees is the first official social network
  • 1998 – Google was born, the first search engine to analyze back links
  • 1999 – Overture became the first company to offer pay per click advertising; Blogger.com launches
  • 2000 – Google enters PPC market with Google AdWords
  • 2003 – Google AdSense program starts, increasing Google’s hold on the PPC market; LinkedIn and MySpace both launch
  • 2004 – Facebook is created
  • 2005 – YouTube launches; Google introduces personalized search
  • 2006 – MicroSoft LiveSearc started; Twitter launches
  • 2007 – Mobile marketing starts to pick up
  • 2008 – Facebook becomes most popular social network
  • 2009 – LiveSearch rebrands, becomes Bing; Google rolls out personalized search for logged out users
  • 2010 – Local search becomes more important
  • 2011 – Google+ launches, Google proclaims it is the future of the search engine’s search and social product

This is a very sketchy history of Internet marketing, but it can shed some light on the direction that online marketing is going. More personal, more local, more social, more mobile, and incorporating more video and visual results. So what will all of that look like in 2032?

Truthfully, it’s anybody’s guess, but if I had to hazard a guess I would say that all of these components of search will be more integrated and more sophisticated. Are you preparing your company to make the most of your opportunities in each of these online marketing channels?

Recent news shows that mobile PPC is on the rise. In fact, it’s up to 25% of all pay-per-click advertising.

The good news is that click rates are high. People viewing PPC ads on their smartphones and tablets are clicking on ads. Here’s the bad news: Conversion rates are lower for mobile phones.

OK, I’ll buy Cynthia Boris’s argument. Mobile phone users are on the run, so when they see an ad and click through and want to make a purchase, they just visit the store instead and make the purchase in store. PC users, on the other hand, make the purchase online. Makes a lot of sense.

But let’s think about the future. Smartphones are still new. What will mobile advertising be like in 10 years when everyone has a smartphone?

My guess is that mobile PPC will be as popular and as profitable as PPC has ever been. I also think that conversion rates will be higher. Why? It’s likely that the mobile phone will be most people’s primary telecommunications device. Land lines will be gone.

If that happens, more people will use their phones for web browsing and shopping. They’ll likely make more purchases through their phone as well – particularly books, music, and video purchases. The same with the tablet. However, unlike the PC, people will carry their tablet with them and use it for web browsing and shopping while sitting stationary at the bus station, in the library, in the coffee shop, or even while sitting in their weekly business meeting.

Mobile PPC is on the rise along with smartphone and tablet use. It’s the wave of the future. You might as well get in now while click prices are low.

You cannot manage a website without traffic. It is the lifeblood of any online business. So how do you drive traffic to your website? How do you ensure that your website is profitable when you are building your business?

Here are 5 incredible sources for website traffic no matter what kind of business you are running online:

  1. Search Engines – Search engines are still the No. 1 driver of traffic to most websites online today. That’s why we always recommend that you dedicate a portion of your online marketing budget to search engine optimization.
  2. Pay Per Click Advertising – PPC ads are immediate. You can start a campaign today and see business results today. Yes, you pay for the clicks. But if you do it right, it will be profitable. And the results are instant.
  3. Newsletter - An e-mail newsletter is one of the most profitable investments you can make. After more than 20 years, it’s still one of the most effective online marketing tools. You can take e-mail subscriptions right from your website and deliver your newsletter electronically more cost efficiently than any other kind of online marketing.
  4. Videos – Online video marketing is just as effective as TV advertising and much more cost effective.
  5. Social Media Marketing - The best thing about social media is it allows you to build relationships off site, then you can drive that traffic to your website for the close.

Use these five online marketing strategies together for incredible traffic generation results.

The key to a successful PPC campaign is in your landing page. That’s true whether you are talking about driving traffic to increase your e-mail subscriptions or to sell your downloads. Pay-per-click advertising is only successful if you can get traffic to your landing page and then convert that traffic with a good call to action.

The components to a successful PPC campaign are:

  • Your PPC ad headline
  • Your PPC ad text
  • Your landing page

All three of these components have to add up and when they do you’ll see your conversions increase.

Let’s start with your ad’s headline. It’s got to be an attention grabber. Optimize it with the correct keyword so that it appears on the correct search results page, then make sure it gets the attention of your prospect.

The ad text itself is what will get your prospect to click through to your landing.

But it’s the landing page itself that will close the sale, or get the subscription. It doesn’t have to be long. Sell the benefits, not the features. In other words, include your opt-in box in a prominent location on the page and tell your reader concisely why they should opt in to your newsletter or e-mail list.

When it comes to PPC advertising, sell the benefits and you’ll see your conversions increase.

Is there ever a time when you should stop your PPC campaign? Absolutely. But when is that time?

Obviously, you don’t want to stop something that is working. So if you have a PPC campaign that is bringing you an ROI, then that’s not a campaign you want to stop. But you do want to stop those campaigns that are not working.

How long should you let your pay per click campaigns go before you decide to stop them? You don’t want them to go on too long.

It depends on how much money you have invested, but if you aren’t experiencing enough click throughs or the click throughs you are getting aren’t converting, then that’s when you want to put your PPC ads on pause and redirect your advertising efforts.

CTR is an important metric. How many click throughs is enough? It’s different for every campaign, but if your click throughs don’t match your expectations, then it’s time to find out why. You can pause your campaign long enough to tweak your ads and see if that increases your CTR.

Conversion rate is another problem. If your PPC ads aren’t converting, it’s likely your landing pages. Have you tested them? If not, then you should pause your PPC campaign and engage in a little multivariate testing of your landing pages. Find out what works, then restart your pay per click campaigns when you have the kinks worked out.

PPC, like all other things (on the Web and off) has evolved. And it continues to evolve. Google has largely been responsible for that evolution, but Facebook has played its part too. And it’s likely to evolve even more, but who knows who will be most influential in how that happens in the future?

One way that PPC has evolved is in the tools that advertisers use to track their campaigns. Both Google and Bing, and Facebook now, have tools that allow you to track your own PPC campaigns. But you might benefit more by using a third-party tool that you pay for. Especially if you run a lot of PPC campaigns on more than one platform.

PPC has evolved in other ways too. For instance, pay per click has morphed into pay per action. Advertisers can pay for user activity in a number of ways. Here are some of the more popular pay-per-advertising models:

  • Pay per lead
  • Pay per impression
  • Pay per view (for videos)
  • Pay per call (for mobile and phone actions)

You can expect some of these to expand as technology improves. Currently, pay per impression is generally expressed in terms of 1,000 impressions. But what will it be ten years from now?

Pay per click advertising has become one of the most effective branding and marketing channels online. Don’t expect it to stay the same. It will change. And mostly for the better.

Advertising has always been about multiple points of action. On one hand, advertisers expect to earn a return on investment. But they also want to brand themselves in the marketplace. Sometimes you can do one or the other but not both.

The first step to using PPC advertising as a branding tool is to set your goals. Determine what your point of ROI is for each click price point. Can you achieve branding effects by limiting your ad spend to a maximum so that you can also realize an ROI? If not, then you have a choice to make.

Is branding more important or is that ROI more important?

The key to using PPC as a branding tool is to plant your company name or product brand in the top of your prospect’s mind. You want them to think of your company when they think of the benefits of using your service. To do that, you’ve got to establish your brand as a top brand through psychological condition. That may require throwing out your advertising budget and just focusing on being No. 1.

Large corporations have been making these decisions for years. Online, with PPC particularly, it’s a decision that even small companies can make.

Does it matter how much you spend on advertising? Does it matter how much you spend on pay per click advertising? I’d say it only matters if you are not achieving an ROI on your investment. Or, rather, it doesn’t matter if you are achieving a positive ROI.

It seems that Google is making hand over fist on the top 20 PPC ad keywords.

No wonder. Look at the top 5:

  • Insurance
  • Loans
  • Mortgage
  • Attorney
  • Credit

If you are in the banking, mortgage, credit, or legal business, then you have to pay top dollar for your PPC ads or risk big chances that you won’t get much traffic from your advertising. But the bottom line for any advertiser is, How much ROI do you realize based on your ad spend?

If you are a small insurance company, for instance, and you target your PPC advertising toward a specific niche within the industry or a geographic location, then you can cut your ad spend down based on a narrower market definition. You are also more likely to realize an ROI.

The key is to target your advertising to the specific niche you want to do business with. Narrow your market down as far as you can before you advertise. Long tail keywords are much more profitable for smaller budgets than general keyword phrases.

If you’re used to doing a lot of offline marketing, or traditional marketing, then you’ve likely noticed that it has become quite expensive in the last few years. Oil prices have driven up the cost of paper and everything else. The economy taking a downturn has caused many businesses to stop advertising altogether, or diminish their marketing budgets.

But there is hope. Online marketing is less expensive and, if done right, is much more effective. That’s why so many businesses have transferred their marketing and advertising budgets to online.

Here are 5 online marketing methods that are outpacing their offline counterparts:

  1. Pay Per Click – Pay per click advertising is the online equivalent to some forms of print advertising. The difference is you pay only when a desired result takes place. It can be less expensive and deliver a higher ROI.
  2. Social Networking – Offline, you go to business functions. You often have to buy dinner, pay for transportation costs, business cards, and other incidentals. Online, you just show up. And talk to people. Make friends and contacts. Sell them stuff. The time commitment is higher, but it’s a lot easier on the budget.
  3. Video Marketing – Liken it to TV advertising. Do you really want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on 30-second spots that disappear with the money? Instead, pay for one video and it stays live online forever.
  4. >Website Design – Call them online billboards. Just like outdoor advertising, you have a limited space – your prospect’s browser window. Unlike outdoor billboards, that space can be expanded. And you can build many websites for less than the cost of a handful of billboards.
  5. Search Engine Optimization – Sorry, but there is no offline equivalent to search engine optimization. Yet it’s still the most effective online marketing money can buy.

Try just one or incorporate them all into your marketing plans, but online marketing is where it’s at.

When businesses go online to learn how to participate in Internet marketing campaigns that work, there is usually a lot to think about, a lot of new information to take in for those business owners and managers. The problem is how to process it all.

What I always suggest is to take it a little bite at a time. You can’t learn everything in one day. You can’t become a master of every art in your lifetime. Don’t even try.

The key is to start with the basics. Study a little bit about web design before you do anything else. What are the best practices for web design for businesses of your size and in your industry? Study the competition to see what they are doing that you like and that you don’t like. Then analyze what is effective.

Remember, you are only studying the basics at first. At some point, you have to rely on the advice of experts because you are nowhere near that status yourself.

After you have learned the basics of web design, move on to another topic such as search engine optimization or pay per click advertising. Again, take the time to learn the basics before moving on to something else.

It takes time to truly learn how to successfully manage an Internet marketing camnpaign. It’s not going to happen overnight. With the proper guide, your business can achieve a little success and move on to greater success – one step at a time.

Internet marketers generally talk about Internet marketing channels as if there are hundreds, or at least dozens. In reality, there are three primary channels with multiple legs holding them up. Learn those three primary online marketing channels and you can more easily manage your entire Internet marketing strategy more effectively.

Here are the three primary Internet marketing channels:

  1. Search engine marketing
  2. Social media marketing
  3. Paid advertising

All Internet marketing falls into one of these categories, and some may easily slip into more than one category.

For instance, pay per click advertising fits into the paid advertising category, but it can also be considered search engine marketing.

Under the search engine marketing umbrella, you’ll find these marketing subchannels: Onsite SEO, link building, local search, PPC, web design and development, and variations on these tactics.

In social media marketing, you have social networking, social bookmarking, video marketing, podcasting, forum marketing, blog marketing, and other variations of these.

For the paid marketing channels, you’ll see pay-per-click advertising, display advertising, PTC (pay to click), CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and CPA (cost per action), and variations on these channels.

If you analyze the reach of each of these types of online marketing and what they are capable of on their own, then you can select the best channels and subchannels for marketing your business.

Predictions show that local search ad revenue will increase by as much as 10% per year through 2015. Furthermore, 30% of all searches performed by then will be local in nature. That spells it out loud, if you’re listening: Get on now to get ahead.

By “local search ad revenue,” let’s be clear what we’re talking about. It’s a clear reference to pay-per-click advertising. And that leads us to an obvious question: Whose revenue?

The search engines, of course, will be profiting from that growth. However, that doesn’t mean that others won’t profit as well. Local businesses that learn how to leverage online advertising – particularly PPC advertising – will also profit. They will profit from the traffic they receive from that advertising.

Are you ready to take that leap into local search advertising? You should be. Historic studies show that PPC advertising pays. Advertisers who use PPC to drive traffic to their websites and who learn to harness the power of the written word on their landing pages do rather well.

Here’s the big difference between the PPC advertising of the past and the PPC of the future: It’s going local. All that really means is that local businesses are going to enjoy a lot more of the benefits that global businesses have been enjoying for the past few years. Are you ready to get in on that?

In the 1980s, it was chic to buy a mailing list from a list broker who might promise that the list was targeted to a specific type of customer within a specific industry. You could call the list or use the list for direct mailing. Either way, you were spending money. And if you used the list and it brought you some business, then you were effectively buying targeted sales leads. You were buying customers.

Can you do the same thing online? Can you buy targeted sales leads or customers online? You sure can.

It’s called pay per click advertising. With PPC, it’s all about buying clicks. You bid on what a click is worth to you, write an ad that draws attention, point your link to a landing page, and snag the contact information from your prospect.

These types of leads are solid leads because they have responded to your calls to action. They responded to your ad. Then they responded to your landing page with a request for private information. If you use an autoresponder with a double opt-in process, then they’ve given you permission to contact them twice. They couldn’t spell it out for you any better.

So what do you do with those leads then? You market to them. Aggressively. Tell them what you have to offer and how much is costs. Sell them on the benefits. When you close a sale, it’s because you effectively bought a lead. A targeted lead.

An article at Marketing Pilgrim says that small business owners worry about obtaining new customers. In fact, they lay awake at night thinking about it.

Is that you? Do you lay awake at night worrying about where your next customer is coming from? Don’t. It could come from any number of sources – if you take action.

Prospecting for new clients takes time. And it is costly. More costly, in fact, than retaining the customers you already have. But if you don’t do it, what will happen? Many small businesses find out what happens when they are no longer providing a service after two to five years.

You can’t let worry freeze you. Running a small business is about taking action to attract new customers and keep the ones you have happy. Here are a few tactics that other small business owners have used to do just that:

  • >Built a website
  • Employed search engine optimization on their website
  • Drove traffic with pay per click advertising
  • Produced online videos
  • Engaged in e-mail marketing
  • Spent time on social media

All of these tactics are effective if employed correctly. They’re not the only tactics that work, but they do work. They are much more effective than worrying. So stop worrying and start taking action.

We’ve extolled the virtues of pay per click advertising over and over again. We’ve also praised the benefits of local search marketing. But what about local PPC? Is it all that?

Yes, it is. And a bag of potato chips too.

Our take on local and PPC marketing is that you should always drill down as far as you can in any channel you are trying to develop. If you are optimizing your website for search traffic and you are a business that caters to a local clientele, then you should be targeting your SEO efforts to local traffic. If you are using PPC, then you should be targeting your PPC efforts to local traffic as well.

This drill down is much more effective, believe it or not, than the alternative. Just think about it:

If you sell widgets and you write your PPC ads to appeal to people searching for widgets without a local geotargeting key phrase, then you’ll be paying for traffic that you may not want. But if you sell widgets in your local shop and you want to reach a strictly local business, then local PPC makes a heck of a lot of sense. Geotarget your ads and you’ll pay only for local clicks, not global.

Not only is local PPC effective, but it is often more effective.

I’m convinced, after years of being in this business, that an Internet marketing plan is something that every business would benefit from. In most cases, a company that has an established marketing budget can get more mileage from their marketing with less outlay if they transfer some of that budget into Internet marketing. But what does an Internet marketing plan consist of?

Of course, every business is different. Therefore, every Internet marketing plan will be different. The first step is to determine the needs of your market and approach those needs with an open mind.

Once we’ve established your priorities and the needs of your market, your Internet marketing plan could consist of any of the following special tactics:

  • Pay per click marketing – PPC is a pay-as-you-go marketing tactic. You buy clicks and send them to your important landing pages. It’s very effective and costs are determined by how much you are willing to pay per click.
  • Search engine optimization – SEO is the long-term tactic. We’ll help you rank your web pages in Google, Bing, and other search engines in order to attract the right customers.
  • Social Media Optimization – SMO is a different kind of Internet marketing. It’s about building relationships through connections off of your website.
  • >Custom Web Design – Your website should be a reflection of your business and your values.
  • Online Video Marketing – Online videos are the 21st century equivalent to 20th century TV advertising – only better.

When it comes to developing an Internet marketing plan, the strategies you use depend on your market, your business, and your goals. Talk to someone who has designed a custom Internet marketing plan more than a few times.

Google Analytics is now tracking page load time. This is significant for a number of reasons.

First, conversion rate. It is now widely believed that page load time affects conversion rates. After all, site visitors will not wait long for your page to load. You have about eight seconds to capture their attention. Anything beyond that and they’re off to some place else. This is true whether they arrive on your landing page from an organic search engine listing or a pay-per-click ad.

Secondly, page load speed affects your pay-per-click quality score. There is no doubt about it. If a competitor’s website loads faster than yours and you are both bidding on the same keywords, the slower loading landing page will likely rank lower in the ad placement resulting in fewer clicks.

Thirdly, you will likely lose organic search rankings too. The jury is still out on whether Google uses page load time to determine search engine rankings, but I’m betting that they do. If that is the case, then you will see fewer click-throughs in addition to a lower conversion rate.

What all this boils down to is less traffic to your sub-par pages, and fewer conversions on the traffic you do get.

If you haven’t paid attention to your page load times until now, you should start thinking about it right away. Track and measure those page load times and fix your deficiencies – before they fix you.