Category Archives: Paid Search

LinkedIn Direct Ads – Test 2

Testing 1-2-3 – Again…

In November I began a test run of LinkedIn Direct Ads and wrote about it in this blog post. In the post I committed to posting an update. Here  it is…

The success of the campaign was not as desirable as I had hoped.  I was pleased with the number of impressions but the CTR was extremely low. On many levels I expected this because my audience size was very small (started with about 1000).  

If you read my blog you know that I believe in the Review and Revise philosophy.  You will not get the results you want unless you continually review campaign performance and make revisions to improve results.  I turned my LinkedIn campaign off for a month or so and recently turned it back on with the following significant changes.

  • Deactivated 2 out of 4 ad variations that did not get any results
  • Changed headline on one of the remaining ad variations
  • Created a new ad variation with a new headline and slightly revised copy
  • Increased my audience size from 1000 to 3300
  • Increased my bid (still deciding if I think leads from LinkedIn are worth the CPC rate)

I’ll post another update in a few weeks.  In the meantime, I will continue to review and revise the campaign to achieve optimal results. I would love to hear your experience with LinkedIn Direct Ads. Post your comments.

Looking for results…

~KK

Advertisements

5 Points for Paid Search Keyword Choice

As a small business owner running a paid search campaign on Google AdWords or AdSense, MS AdCenter or others it is critical to set up your accounts in the most strategic way possible.  A paid search campaign cannot be effective without ongoing reviews and revisions but you can set your campaigns up for success by doing your homework at the beginning.

Keyword/key phrase selection for paid search campaigns is a key element in driving qualified traffic to your web site.  Keep the following 5 points in mind when creating keyword lists for your paid search campaigns.

1) All traffic is not equal
Having 20,000 visits to your site means nothing if your bounce rate is high and your CTR is low. You are looking for qualified traffic – these are visitors get to your site and find relevant information relating to the search term that directed them to your site.

In order to get qualified traffic you must choose the right keywords/ key phrases.

2) Broader key phrases are not always best
They can be highly competitive and can drive unqualified traffic. Strike the right balance between specific and broader key terms. In some instances broad key terms are worth it but for most small business that will not be the case.

3) Brand names or product-related key terms are good
If you are looking to promote specific brand names that you sell then use those names in your keyword list. Note: make sure you are not infringing on TM for brands you carry.

4) Specific keywords/ phrases are great!
The more specific the key phrase the more qualified the traffic will be.  The more specific the keyword gets the less traffic it will generate but that can be a good thing.  Fewer clicks but higher quality will turn into leads/sales better than massive traffic

Example: If you sell widgets for the banking industry don’t use the term “widgets” – it is too broad. Use terms like “widgets for banking,” “banking widgets,” “custom banking widgets,” etc.

5) Review and Revise
Continually review your keyword performance to make sure you have the right keywords in place. Make revisions as necessary.  Managing paid search is part art and part science. Check out my previous post: Search Marketing – Review and Revise.

If you are unsure if a keyword is really benefitting you there are many ways to test this. You can find the information in Google AdWords, MS AdCenter or other paid search engines. 

Need help setting up a campaign?  Read this post and contact a marketing coach for help.  I’m available.

~KK


5-Part Series on Affiliate Marketing Programs

5-Part Series on Affiliate Marketing Programs

Before making a decision if an affiliate marketing program is right for your small business, read each post and then consult your marketing coach for more information.

Affiliate Marketing Program Basics

There is so much information to share – this series barely scratches the surface.  That’s why a good marketing coach is a key element for a small business without a marketing staff.

Coaching everyday…

-KK

Have experience with affiliate marketing programs? What’s missing from the posts above? Comments are welcome!


LinkedIn Direct Ads

Testing 1-2-3

I am a PPC veteran.  This and a buck fifty might get me a cup of coffee.  The online marketing and social media landscape changes so rapidly that you can be an expert in something in six months and a dinosaur in 10 seconds.

In an effort to promote my business as a marketing coach I am running a small test campaign LinkedIn Direct Ads geo-targeted to small business owners in my local area.  This pool is very small (about 1000 LinkedIn members). 

Clearly defining your goal before begin any marketing campaign is critical.  I have two:

  • Gain more readers for this blog
  • Find additional clients for my coaching and consulting business

Four ad variations, four headlines and two images are being tested in this campaign.  It has been up for about 24 hours and three of the four ad variations have about 250 impressions each- so far no clicks. I just added the fourth variation based on my results to date.  At some point I will review my campaign and revise where needed.  The method of review and revise for all types of marketing campaigns is a key element for success. 

As I mentioned my CTR (click through rate) is currently zero.  Here are some potential reasons why this is the case. Part of my review and revise methodology is to look at this list and determine what fits given all the factors involved.

Some possible reasons could be:

  • My ads are not compelling enough to illicit the desired response
  • My audience pool is too small
  • LinkedIn is not the right advertising venue for my services
  • The campaign has not had enough time for my audience to feel compelled to click through
  • A combination of any of these reasons
  • A multitude of other reasons

As a PPC veteran I am very aware that there are many reasons why a campaign might succeed or fail.  Sometimes it is about trial and error.  It helps when you have an experienced marketing professional who can coach you along the way.  If you are the coach you had better take your own advice.

I’ll keep you posted…

-KK


Affiliate Marketing Program Basics: Choosing an Affiliate Program Network (Post 4 of 5)

Pick One – the right one!

A key element to a successful affiliate program is selecting the right network. This can be a daunting task.  There are many options to choose from and some are better than others.  There are four top tier players in the affiliate marketing space.  However, the top networks are prohibitive for most small business owners.  Some of the smaller networks may be just the right fit for your small business.

 To implement an affiliate program you must already be selling your product or service online. Most programs require merchants/advertisers (that’s you) to meet a minimum monthly payout in commissions or a minimum monthly fee if the commissions threshold is not reached.

As a small business owner keep the following in mind when choosing an Affiliate Program Network:

  1. Initial investment in creative, start up fees, access fees, transactions fees, etc.
  2. Size of the network
    1. Bigger is not always better.  Depends on your goals – are you looking to reach mass market? Are you looking for a niche audience?
  3. Players in the network
    1. Who are other advertisers and publishers on the network?
  4. Support provided by the program provider
    1. Do they have both the option for you to manage the program or for them to manage it for you?
  5. Cost for services of the provider (everything from self-managed programs to complete management services)

Affiliate Networks worth considering

  1. Shareasale
  2. Pepperjam Network
  3. Panthera Network

Want to look beyond these three networks? Instead of recreating the wheel and compiling a list of affiliate networks I have provided links to a few robust lists.

Comprehensive Lists of Affiliate Networks

  1. Associateprogams.com
  2. Affiliateseeking.com
  3. The Top 10 List of the Best Affiliate Networks (selfseo.com)

As always, don’t get in over your head.  Consult with a marketing coach who has experience – even if it is only to ask a few questions. It will be time well spent.

-KK


Affiliate Marketing Program Basics: Affiliate Marketing Terms (Post 3 of 5)

Affiliate Marketing Terms

Part of educating yourself about any marketing medium is understanding the jargon.  It is easy to get caught up in alphabet soup.  It will be difficult to select the proper mediums for your marketing strategy if you do not have some level of understanding about the medium. Education is part of the puzzle. Listed below are several terms related to affiliate marketing.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but it will give you the basics. As always consult your marketing coach for more information.

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. Source: Wikipedia

Publisher
A publisher, also known as an affiliate or reseller, is an independent party that promotes products and services of an advertiser in exchange for a commission on leads or sales. A publisher displays an advertiser’s ads, text links, or product links on their Web site, in e-mail campaigns, or in search listings. The publisher is paid a commission by the respective advertiser when a visitor takes a specific action such as filling out a form, subscribing to a service (both lead examples) or making a purchase (a sale).

Advertiser
An advertiser, also known as a merchant or retailer, is a Web site or company that sells a product or service online, accepts payments and fulfills orders. Advertisers partner with publishers to help promote their products and services. Publishers place advertisers’ ads, text links, or product links on their Web sites or include them in e-mail campaigns and search listings in exchange for commissions on leads or sales.

Performance-based Marketing
Paying for actions taken by a consumer as they occur on the Internet, rather than paying up front for advertising space. Any type of revenue sharing program where a publisher receives a commission for generating a lead or sale for an advertiser.

Commission Payout
A commission payout is an amount of income received by a publisher for some quantifiable action such as selling an advertiser’s product and/or service on the publisher’s Web site.

Click-through (also called click)
A click-through refers to the action a consumer takes when they are referred from one Web site through a link or advertisement and is taken to another Web site. Click-through ratio is the percentage of clicks for the number of advertising impressions displayed.

CPA (cost per action)
CPA is a metric for online advertising where a rate is set for every action that is taken by a user.

CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
CPM is a metric for online advertising where a rate is set for every thousand impressions.

Impression
An impression is the viewing of an advertising banner, link, or product on the Internet.

Conversion Rate
The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. The action that determines conversion is determined by the advertiser and may be a sale on the advertiser’s Web site, a completed lead form, or another action.

-KK

Source: All terms unless specified were taken directly from Commission Junction one of the four large players in the Affiliate marketing space (more on CJ on Day 4).

Thursday Threads

Changes are… consistent

  1. This week Google announced Google Instant. Need to keep a close watch on this one to see how it affects my clients’ Adwords campaigns.
    1. How do you think Google Instant will affect paid search?
  2. It will be interesting to see how popular keywords increase in bid price.
    1. A WSJ article speculates that the most common terms(which are already expensive) will jump in price.
  3. A key element of a good marketing coach is to help their clients navigate major changes like Google Instant.
    1. Perhaps I will write something brilliant and get credited by AP as a blogger news source…
  4. The Associated Press (AP) begins crediting bloggers as news sources. It will be interesting to see how this affects the news cycle – if at all.
    1. I doubt I’ll get quoted by the AP tomorrow but it could… happen!
  5. I would guess that to be a cited source by AP one must be consistent in delivering news-worthy information
  6. Speaking of consistency… the use of the same or complementary colors across different marketing platforms can help tie your campaigns together
  7. The use of consistent wording can help do the same
  8. Using consistent (positive) wording is also a good practice with children and families. This is not big news but perhaps it should be…

-KK


Search Marketing – Review and Revise

After you have initially set up your search marketing (PPC) campaign, set the budget, created the ad groups and decided on a landing page, etc., one might think the hard work is over.  It is at this point your paid search campaigns can become costly. The shark can sneak up and bite you in the wallet.

Another key element in a successful search marketing campaign is the principle of “review and revise”. You must constantly monitor and review the performance of the campaign and make revisions/adjustments as necessary. You cannot just “set it and forget it”.

Two issues that frequently pop up with new search campaigns are listed below. Both issues can be addressed by reviewing the campaign performance if you know what to look to look for within the reporting tool.

1. I set up my campaign and I am not getting very much traffic

Issue #1 could be a result of poorly written ad copy.  If the copy does not create the excitement needed to compel a potential customer to click on the ad then potential visitors will not click through to your site. The key indicator to look for here is CTR (click through rate).  The lower the CTR, the fewer visitors your site is receiving.  Solution: rewrite your copy then… review and revise.

2. I set up my campaign and am getting a bunch of traffic but it is not traffic I want   

Issue #2 may indicate some keywords are too broad and therefore are bringing visitors not interested in that type of product. The key indicator to look for is bounce rate (In Google you will find this measurement in the Analytics tool).  The higher the bounce rate the lower amount of qualified traffic your site is receiving. Solution: delete broad keywords and create more specific keywords then…review and revise.

Search marketing (PPC campaigns) can be a key element of your marketing strategy if set up and managed properly.  A time investment on the front-end can you save you time and money later. If you are a rookie, don’t navigate the waters alone – get a little coaching (read previous post on PPC coaching).

Avoid the sharks – review and revise!

-KK


Search Marketing – Don’t Go in the Water Alone

A key element in the success of a search marketing campaign is the investment of time.  It takes time to set a campaign up properly.  This included researching and selecting the right keywords, setting the budget limitations correctly and writing ad copy to maximize your Click Through Rate (CTR).   Once your campaign is set up then you need to continually make the necessary campaign adjustments to receive the best return.

The typical small business executive does not always have the time to focus on learning the “to-dos” and “not to dos” of search marketing on their own.  Trial and error can be expensive and time consuming at the very least.  

Navigating the waters of paid search without experience is sort of like playing with sharks in the middle of the ocean while wearing a children’s flotation device.  It is not recommended. 

For the tech-savvy entrepreneur there are countless sources where you can read about how to successfully implement a search marketing campaign.  If you fall into this category I would suggest you at least get a little coaching from someone with experience to avoid costly mistakes. The investment of a few hours for an initial campaign set up or a campaign review could save you countless hours and many dollars.

For the small business executive who does not have experience or time or the inclination to figure it out on their own look for someone who has solid expertise (and who can provide references) to manage your campaign from start to finish.  Most marketing agencies will offer this service as well many independent contractors.

The Google Certification Program is an excellent credential for one to have.  There are many talented people without this credential but it does add extra peace of mind that the person truly understands search marketing.  I am in the process of getting mine so stay tuned for the announcement.

Happy Searching!

~KK


Marketing Alphabet Soup

In today’s marketing world there are so many acronyms. It is difficult to keep up – especially for those who have other things on their plate like running their business.

I have put together a quick reference guide on some of the more widely used marketing acronyms. This is not meant to be a complete list. Each one of these terms could be an informative blog post all on its own.  I plan to explore many of these in future posts.  Let me know which of these you would like to see more information – I will be happy to expand. 

Please add a comment if you have any questions or corrections.

Online Advertising / Paid Search
CPA – Cost Per Action
CPC – Cost Per Click
CPM – Cost Per Thousand
CPS – Cost Per Sale
PFI – Pay For Inclusion
PFP – Pay For Performance
PPC – Pay Per Click
PPL – Pay Per Lead
PPS – Pay Per Sale
RON – Run Of Network
ROS – Run Of Site


Web Analytics
CTR – Click Through Rate
UV – Unique Visitor
PV – Page View

Search Engine Marketing
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
SEP – Search Engine Positioning

General Acronyms
WOM –
Word of Mouth
ASP – Application Service Provider
B2B – Business to Business
B2C – Business to Consumer
IM – Instant Messaging

Side note: Our world seems to be suffering from “acronym overload”.  There seems to be an acronym for almost everything these days.  Before writing this post I went to Wikipedia to research how many acronyms are in existence.  There is no definitive number however I found two interesting sources that are supposed to have a comprehensive list of acronyms and what they mean. Both sources are human-edited: http://abbreviations.com (900,000 entries) and Acronym Finder (750,000 entries).

Enjoy the soup…

~KK

p.s. We will save social media for another day.


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