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Using Google Pay-Per-Click Advertising

How Pay-Per-Click Advertising works.

Eric Siu

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What is PPC?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising boosts traffic to your website by enabling you to display ads in the sponsored results section of Google’s search results page – simply, you are buying listings in Google’s search results.

You pay for traffic using the PPC advertising programmes provided by Google Adwords. It’s a website marketing method that involves bidding a rate you want to pay for every click on your ad, and then paying that fee whenever a visitor clicks through from your ad to your website. Bid the most and you have a chance of ranking number one in the search results.

It’s different from the time-intensive and complex process of search engine optimisation (SEO), through which you can build traffic for free by achieving high rankings in the natural search results.

 Is PPC for you?

Businesses that achieve great results from this marketing channel share common traits:

  •  Customers have a high lifetime value so it’s worth spending money to acquire them.
  •  It has high margins on a single purchase, such as a car, computer equipment or appliances.
  •  It sells products that are hard to find, like hobby supplies or rare collectibles.
  •  The business sells a vast array of products. Think Amazon or Kalahari.
  •  It’s seasonal or event-based, such as florists or wedding planners.
  •  The business is local, for example plumbers operating in Sandton.

Pros & cons of PPC advertising 

Pros

  • Quick results: You can set up a PPC campaign within a few hours.
  • Ad positioning: PPC ads appear in the ’sponsored links‘ section of search results. The conversion rate of shoppers who turn to buyers is higher than SEO because those who click on sponsored ads are more serious shoppers.
  • Big selection of words: PPC allows you to use words that you wouldn’t usually include in your website, such as your competitor’s name, so your ad appears when someone searches for that business.
  • Region-specific targeting: You can focus on regions where you conduct business so that your ads only appear to people in that area.
  • Settings are easy to change: You can easily change the budget, keywords, ads and landing pages of your website online.

Cons

  • Paying for every click: You have to pay for every visitor who clicks your ad, regardless of whether they buy or not.
  • Stopping the campaign: When you end the campaign, your ads will disappear. Be prepared for traffic to your site to drop.

Hiring a professional

Before you hire someone to manage your PPC account, make sure you ask the right questions.Find out who will manage your account and what level of experience they have.

  • Have they helped other companies to achieve success?
  • Beyond clicks and traffic, can they help to generate sales of your products or services?
  • Will they track conversions so you can determine the success of your PPC ads?
  • Will they test your ads from time to time to minimise cost and increase traffic?
  • What proven methods do they have to eliminate guesswork and get your campaign running smoothly, quickly?
  • How do they justify their costs versus the promised yield?
  • What is the budget required and can you afford it?

Lesson 1: Kick-starting your PPC ad campaign

What keywords will you use to reach your market? Answering that question the right way can spell the difference between your Google ad campaign’s success and failure. Ultimately you’re out to hunt down the top one or two keywords that will bring you the most paying customers, and tweak your entire sales process around that. That’s what the most successful advertisers we know are doing now.

AdWords displays related sponsored listings along with unpaid listings that result from a Google search. One of its huge advantages is that it links you with people who are already sold on the concept that you are promoting. You don’t have to talk them into anything — they’re already on Google looking for what you’ve got. You just need to figure out the keywords they use to describe what you offer so that you can connect with them.

 To answer this question, you need to describe what you’re promoting as clearly as possible — and identify who wants to buy it, in other words, your ideal customer.

Here are four tips that can help you get started building your own Google ad campaign.

1. Define your perfect customer

We recommend that you stop right now, pull out a piece of paper and write down a one-sentence description of your ultimate money-in-hand-and-ready-to-buy paying customer.

Those are the people who already know something about the type of product (or information) you sell or the service you offer. These people probably don’t know about you, but they do know about your product.

Often they have an immediate problem and have decided to go online looking for a solution. They may have already made up their mind about how they want to solve the problem. Now they’re searching Google trying to locate the product that fits their solution and then buy it.

Your description may look like one of these:

  • My best prospect is someone who already believes in non-pharmaceutical and natural remedies for migraines and is searching for the best one to buy.
  • My best prospect is someone who has already made up his or her mind to buy pottery via the web.
  • My best prospect already knows that pay-per-click management services exist and is proactively searching to hire one.

 Keep your customer description in front of you as you go through the keyword search process.

2. Identify the keywords that potential customers are using to search for your products and services

Head to Google’s keyword tool and enter some phrases that you think reflect customers who are in that mind-set.

Let’s take the migraine example. A starter idea would be ‘natural migraine remedies,’ because that would seem to specify people who are looking for a ‘natural solution’, something for ‘migraines’ as opposed to more general issues, and ‘remedies’ as opposed to facts or data or information.

Based on that search, Google gives a decent-sized list of keywords. We can now go through the list keyword by keyword and compare each to our written customer description, choose the keywords we feel are a fit and ignore the ones that aren’t. You may end up with no more than one to two dozen keywords. That’s perfectly fine.

3. Determine the number of people searching on those keywords

For your one to two dozen keywords, you can go with what Google’s keyword tool has already told you. Or you can take each one and do a further keyword tool search on it and add in totals from other variations that you believe would fully match your written customer description. Consider search volume when choosing your top keyword or keywords.

4. Determine how much money advertisers are making off a keyword

You can judge this by how much the keyword costs. You’re looking for the keywords where the money is. The market has its own way of answering this. The maximum cost per click that people pay represents the upper limit of the money available in that market.

Head over to Google’s traffic estimator to find this out. You can collect as many relevant keywords as you want, and then make an educated comparison to find the best fit for your customer profile.

You’re off to a great start when you’ve got six to 12 tightly matched groups of keywords. Ultimately, you’re best off with one, single bull’s-eye keyword.

Lesson 2: The most common PPC mistakes to avoid

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be an effective way to drive traffic to your website quickly, but businesses too often make mistakes that undermine their campaigns.

Although PPC advertising may sound simple, plenty of novices have created campaigns that generate little click-through action because they target the wrong keywords or lack a compelling message. So, consider these suggestions for avoiding these mistakes that most new advertisers make:

1. Avoid ‘broad match’ keywords

One of the biggest mistakes is ignoring the difference between choosing specific keyword match types and setting all keywords as ‘broad match,’ which means that your ad will appear not just for your chosen keyword phrase, but also for any similar phrases or relevant variations your advertising programme deems appropriate. Although broad match placements can help increase your exposure, they can also attract irrelevant traffic that costs you money.

For example, a PPC ad with the broad match term ‘show ideas’ could be displayed for the search query ‘baby shower gift ideas.’ Even though the search query contains the broad match term, it isn’t a relevant match.

To avoid losing money on irrelevant clicks, focus on phrase or exact match keywords.

2. Separate search and content ad placements

Search network placement refers to PPC ads that appear in search query results, while content network placement means websites that display PPC ads as blocks within their pages.

Most new PPC marketers select both the search and content networks when they set up their first campaigns, and they usually use the same keywords, ad content and payment amount for each click.

But the specific queries and websites that trigger your content network placements can be significantly different than what yields results on the search network. Running the same ads on both networks, therefore, could cost you money in terms of irrelevant placements. Although customising takes more time and effort, it’s far more efficient to tailor your keywords, ad copy and keyword bids for each network.

3. Use negative keywords, too

PPC marketers often fail to use negative keywords, which allow you to specify where your ad should not appear. For example, in our ‘show ideas’ and ‘baby shower gift ideas’ example, the words ‘baby,’ ‘shower’ and ‘gift’ could be designated as negative keywords to help eliminate such irrelevant ad placements.

4. Efficiently target ad campaigns

Many advertisers aren’t precise enough in targeting their campaigns. To increase efficiency, take advantage of features in PPC accounts that allow you to specify who sees the ads.

Here are a few areas to consider in targeting your campaigns:

  •  Multiple countries. If you plan to advertise in several countries, set up an ad group for each. Otherwise, limit your ad to country-specific placements.
  • Micro-geographic focus. If you create an ad for a local business keyword — ‘Mexican restaurants in Pretoria,’ for example — use the micro-geographic targeting features in your advertiser account to select the specific suburbs in which your ad will appear based on your business’s delivery area.
  •  Time of day. If your ads generate the most conversions during a particular time of day, set them up to run only during those time periods.

5. Test ad copy

Writing effective ad copy can be difficult. Unless you test different versions of ads to see which perform best, you aren’t maximising the ROI of your campaign.

Most PPC platforms allow you to set up split tests that rotate different ads for each of your targeted keywords. To do the test effectively, adjust your setting so that ads will be served up randomly, rather than according to the platform’s formula of displaying the ad it determines will result in the most clicks.

 6. Track your return on investment

To effectively manage PPC campaigns and improve your ROI, you need to know exactly which clicks are resulting in sales. To generate this data for free, tie your PPC account to Google Analytics to track which ads led visitors to your page and which visits resulted in sales. Without this information, you can’t adjust your keyword bids or eliminate less effective ads and keywords. 

FOR MAXIMUM ROI, CORRECTLY MATCH PPC ADS TO LANDING PAGES

Say you’re running a PPC ad for the keyword ‘Nikon D90 digital camera’ — a product you sell on your website. You set up the ad to run whenever this keyword is searched for on your chosen engine, and you use a URL that redirects readers who click on your ad to your site’s home page.

Now, this user must painstakingly click through your website’s navigation to find this exact camera model — if he or she even bothers to stick around. In this case, you took an engaged, targeted visitor and forced him or her to work for the information you promised.

A better approach would have been a link to the camera’s product page, avoiding any frustration and bringing your visitors one step closer to completing their purchase.

Whenever possible, drive PPC visitors to targeted landing pages. If you don’t have a product-specific landing page to refer visitors to, create custom landing pages that provide the exact information the reader is looking for.

Eric Siu is COO of of Single Grain, a digital marketing agency based in San Francisco. He also co-runs Storemapper, a store locator widget for e-commerce stores and other businesses.

Online Marketing

6 Steps To A Digital Strategy That Guarantees Results

Create your Brand Hero (Who exactly are you talking to?)

Chanelle Segerius-Bruce

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Digital Strategy

Your Brand Hero is often a mixture of some of your favourite past clients and could even be a version of you 3 to 5 years ago. Go deep and think about what they love to do, how they spend their time, what they passionately stand for and believe in, where they shop, what sort of holidays they like to take and what values are important to them.

Don’t worry about appealing to everyone, the more niche you can be the better. For example: “I help women with their health” vs. “I help new moms regain their energy through tailored exercise and nutrition”. In the second example, it’s crystal clear exactly who the programme is for.

Do market research. Send out a survey (without actually calling it a survey!) and ask them questions specifically around what their struggles or frustrations are. Ask them to select five ways that you propose to help them and see what they want. You can offer them a prize or a free value-packed download in return for completing the form. Keep it less than two minutes as people are time-poor these days.

Go one step further and select 5 to 10 people from the survey who filled it out in depth and jump on a call with them. Record it via Zoom and have it transcribed using Rev.com – now, you can use the actual words your potential used to describe their struggles into your upcoming marketing posts, email newsletters or sales copy.

1. Tell Stories

To cut through the 1000’s of marketing messages, your Brand Hero sees all day long online, you’ll need to use stories to connect in a genuine and authentic way. As the online market becomes more sophisticated people don’t respond to boring sales copy anymore. Injecting a story is crucial to creating a community around your brand.

People need to feel like they belong and that they know you intimately, especially if you have a personal brand but this can work for any company. Think about Richard Branson as head of Virgin. He blogs and shares his life via social media. He seems like an all-around nice guy who we love to follow and you’re probably interested when he launches a new product or service.

Humans learn through stories and find them easier to remember than a bunch of facts being thrown at them. Think about making your content shareable. Is what you’re creating and putting out into the online world worth a share? Would you share it? Would you be moved to buy from your own message?

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek

Share your why. What’s the big why behind your brand and business? What’s driving you to do this? What’s important to you? What impact do you want to create in the world? Share that.

Related: How I Run An International Business From A Remote Beach Town In The Eastern Cape

2. Show behind the scenes, be real and human

A simple tactic to use for your digital strategy is to show behind the scenes of what it is you do. This can work across the board for many kinds of businesses and show the human side of your brand. Who’s doing the work? How’s your product being created? Where are your materials sourced from? Take people with you on a journey and let them see how it’s created.

If you’re a serviced-based business you can do the same. Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and Instagram lives would be perfect for this sort of thing. Once a week, create an hour by hour account of your day and give your audience a glimpse into your workday.

Be fascinating. Don’t spend all your time consuming content. Turn the tables and get into the mode of creating. Treat your business like a mini media company and always be thinking about what you can share.

Create before you consume!

3. Live video streaming

Live video streaming

Live video is by far the number one way to stand out from the crowd. Video will make up 82% of all internet traffic in 2021, according to forecasts released by Cisco. Get uncomfortable by doing the things not everyone’s willing to do. One of those is showing up and giving value on a platform like Facebook Live. Livestreams are great as you can interact with your audience, show your expertise and take Q&A directly from your potential customers.

From a practical point of view make sure you’re in flattering light (preferably natural light from a large window) or invest in some decent lights on a stand. Use a tripod. Get a Rode VideMic Me, a directional microphone for Apple iPhone and iPad so that your sound quality is good. Have your juicy topic ready and write out some bullet points on a whiteboard so you don’t lose track halfway through. Now 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 press that blue live button!

4. Grow your List with an opt-in freebie and give results ahead of time

It’s not enough to rely on social media platforms alone. With ever-changing algorithms and the fickle nature of human behaviour, putting your eggs in one basket could come back to bite you. You don’t own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Linkedin. Take Snapchat for example. When Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, and basically swiped the idea and format, Snapchat lost users in droves! Ensure that you build your email list as that’s a rather valuable asset for your business and if you decide to sell in future you’ll get a higher price if your database is substantial.

Create a valuable PDF, Video series or Mini-Course that people would be eager to hand their names and email addresses over to receive. Create a simple opt-in page or a pop-up on your website with the enticing freebie offer. Once people agree to hear from you, you can then follow up with a welcome sequence and email out your newsletter regularly from your chosen CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) such as Active Campaign, Drip or MailChimp.

Remember to share stories, behind the scenes and valuable content with your readers and don’t simply bombard them with sales offers.

5. Be consistent

Pick two social platforms to focus on in the beginning. Don’t feel as though you need to be on every single one. The most important thing to remember is consistency. Get really good at posting regular content on a consistent basis. Engage with your audience. Respond to direct messages and comments. Build a loyal audience before expanding out to other platforms.

You can use blog posts, like I do, as pieces of pillar content that can then be spread around social media and posted to many platforms. My readers know that every Monday I release a value-packed blog post that will help them move the needle forward in their business. This goes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Medium and gets emailed out to my list via MailChimp.

Related: Creating Power Digital Campaigns

6. Use launches to sell new offerings

Everything mentioned above falls under regular, organic content. When you have a new product, service or program to put out into the world you’ll need to map out a launch plan. This will involve going live more often, posting more often, creating branded graphics for social media and putting some budget behind paid traffic. You can do this by boosting your Facebook lives for example or sending paid traffic to your opt-in freebie that you’ve created so that you build your following faster and have eager buys to launch to.

To keep up to date with Chanelle’s tips visit http://segeriusbrucecoaching.com/blog/

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Online Marketing

The Seven Rules Of Social Media

Here are 8 tips from the proverbial digital playbook.

So Interactive

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Social media has become indispensable when it comes to marketing and PR. Smart, carefully thought out, and well implemented social media strategies have shown to increase exposure and engagement, improve search engine rankings, increase turnover, encourage brand loyalty, and improve lead generation. Converting social media followers into true fans is the key and will set you well on your way to creating long term customer advocates and “ideal” customers.

Here are 8 tips from the proverbial digital playbook. They lay out exactly what brands can do and the ground rules that they should follow to prevent social media faux pas:

1. Don’t Over Promote Your Brand

Your profile or page on any social media platform should clearly communicate your brand message and offering to your target audience. Your social media posts need to be more than overt marketing tactics. Offer your audience relevant, interesting, and engaging content. Overly sales orientated content is a sure way to lose followers. Conversational and on trend content is the way forward.

2. Think Before You Post

Always take the time to properly consider your content before posting it. Think it through and ask yourself if it is relevant to your target customer, if it uses the correct tone, and does it put your brand message across accurately. Consider the purpose of each social media platform and the content that is generally consumed on each of them.

Plan, evaluate your messaging, and use relevant hashtags.

Related: Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips

3. Always Fact Check & Cross Reference

Fact checking isn’t just for journalists and TV news. Always fact check your content, especially when trying to tie in news and current affairs into your messaging. A careless mistake in your content can be extremely damaging to your brand. Making time to fact check can save you at the end of the day.

4. Damage Control

It is important to react quickly and professionally, be careful not to respond with knee jerk reactions. Never delete a post, comment, or response. It is important to own your failures and mistakes. Address issues out in the open and hold yourself accountable if need be. How you respond will make all the difference at the end of the day. You need to be prepared to take immediate action, to act fast, and at any time.

Take the time to properly assess the situation and make a calculated decision that is in the best interest of your business and brand. Transparency is key and showing that you managed a situation flawlessly will only reflect positively on your business.

5. Post Regularly

Manage and maintain your social presence effectively while promoting your offering by posting regularly. This ensures that your brand is kept top of mind while increasing brand exposure. It is important to keep in mind that over posting is not in your best interest and will only hold your brand back from gaining traction in the online space.

Your online audience and social platforms including social media could very possibly view your content as spam and flag it as such, including on Facebook. One to three posts a day are best practice and a formula used by most brands the world over.

6. Invest In The Time To Do Solid Research

Researching your customer personas, target market, your niche in the market, and so forth, should be researched very early on in the making of your business. However, going forward research makes for amazing content that is tailored to your target audience. A few hours of solid research can go a very long way in the process of creating quality social media content. Posting social content for the sake of the act itself is simply not an effective strategy. Posting carefully curated content for your target audience will yield higher engagement and conversions.

Related: 4 Key Social Media Mistakes You Might Be Making – And How To Avoid Them

7. Never Ignore Enquiries & Comments

Social media allows for two-way communication and conversations between businesses and their potential customers. Social media goes beyond simply putting the content on your timelines and onto the news feeds of your audience, it includes engagement between brand and customer in the online space. It is important to acknowledge your followers and your fans, every single time. This encourages brand loyalty and gives the impression that you value your followers. Answering messages and responding to comments shows that your brand is present and listening to the needs of the customer. Personal engagement and a speedy response speaks volumes.

Your first step is to consider getting a respected social media specialist onboard. Johannesburg based So Interactive is a highly respected digital marketing agency with an excellent reputation in South Africa and across borders. So Interactive is a boutique studio offering clients quality digital solutions. Get in touch to get your next digital campaign off the ground. Talk to So Interactive, and together you can create a winning social media marketing campaign.

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Online Marketing

The Six Second Sweet Spot

Six-second video has been all the buzz since Google showcased the best of its six-second hackathon at Sundance in January 2017.

So Interactive

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video-marketing

In June last year, Fox announced it was on board with six-second bumper video ads. Google recently performed a study which established that nine out of ten bumper video ads drive ad recall while 61% increased brand awareness. Six seconds is proving to be the perfect time frame within which to tell your brand story.

The six-second video amplifies the beauty of storytelling in that it creates a much faster, more accessible and memorable way to communicate messages. The time constraint can be quite daunting and, at first, some would consider it a creative hinderance. However, a short sentence, a single word, a stand alone image, or a six second visual is often more than enough to catch and keep the attention of your audience as it pushes creatives to think differently and with more focus.

YouTube recently challenged creative agencies worldwide to retell fairytale classics by using only six-second video. The challenge was met overwhelming enthusiasm and creativity. From Bollywood classics to local folktales, every entry proved, for the first time, that short, powerful stories have much broader impact and memorability than their longer counterparts.

Related: The Launch Of Instagram TV

Six-second video is a snackable content trend that is paving the way forward for online content. Respectable industry leaders and key players in the field are predicting that six-second video ads will continue gaining traction at the end of 2018 and through into the coming year. Short form video has literally become the six-second sweet spot and will continue reshaping the way digital marketers address their audiences.

So Interactive, based in Johannesburg, are known for their work in video. If you are looking to create a six second brand message or a short series of six second videos that form a single brand story, then So Interactive is a fantastic fit and brilliant option. Go with the professionals, get a brilliant creative team on board, and get your six second video out to the world. Get in touch with So Interactive to discuss your next six second video marketing campaign.

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