Hey, it’s David Jaeger here from Global SEM Partners…. Charles asked me to write about my experience regarding Google Adwords and all things PPC – so if you want to know what I found still separates PPC rookies from rockstars in 2016, and make sure your core PPC strategy isn’t at fault… just go through my checklist below.
The truth is, rockstars make almost NONE of these mistakes, while rookies usually do all 6 without so much as a second thought.
1) You’ve Got Traffic Without Proper Tracking
You might feel like an ace because you’ve got traffic from multiple sources.
Google Adwords, SEO, local, social, content marketing…
All the hip sources the gurus speak of in buzzwords…
But what’s truly driving your profits?
If you aren’t tracking – at the umpteenth level – what’s driving sales… Traffic source, keyword, match type, landing page, device, network, and all those stats…
Then you can’t “10x your profits,” because you don’t have true insight into what’s working and what’s not.
But fear not!
I’ll walk you through how to track all of your performance metrics for every type of business.
When you’re selling a service or a product that involves processing the credit cards online, and you can see revenue in Google Analytics, it’s fairly easy to properly set up all the tracking you’ll need.
However, if you’re generating leads that will convert later and/or offline, tracking becomes a bit more complex…
If you try to track the ROI of your marketing spend when you’re just generating leads, you will need to have all of the marketing data passed back to your CRM.
Still, I have good news…
Some of the higher-end marketing automation/CRM solutions (like Infusionsoft, Ontraport, Hubspot, Marketo, Salesforce, etc.) have scripts that grab the “utm parameters” from the URL and add it as hidden fields in the lead form.
This makes tracking ROI on leads that will convert later much easier.
But if you’re using a lower-end CRM or marketing platform, then you’ll have to get some custom coding done.
(Universal Analytics makes it a bit more challenging, as they store all of the data server side, and not in the cookie.)
Those of you closing prospects on the phone can track too…
And I can tell you, I can’t recommend Call Tracking Metrics highly enough.
Their API, the support you get, and everything else is head and shoulders above the other products out there, and their pricing is the most affordable.
So, now you know some options when it comes to tracking sales (whether you convert leads to customers on the spot, later on, or on the phone)…
If this 1 rookie mistake plagues your business, pick one of and implement it immediately.
2) They Land On Your Home Page, Not On A Landing Page
This is honestly an elementary mistake…
Sadly, many advertisers in 2016 still send the traffic they buy to their home page.
The thing is, your conversion rate (percentage of people who will take your desired action) goes down dramatically when they hit a generic home page, with no personalized message or enticing call to action.
It has been proven many times before. No exceptions.
In fact, our experience at Global SEM Partners shows that landing pages tend to out-perform a website home page by as much as 2-5x.
If your competitor has dedicated landing pages with compelling copy set up, and you choose to send your traffic to your home page…
Then they can afford to pay 2-5x what you can for every single visitor.
And who do you think stands a better chance of winning that race?
They’ll show up in the crucial top positions on profitable keywords FAR more often than you, and they will often get 10x the market share…
And it’s not like they have to try too hard, either.
So, if you are doing any sort of paid traffic, but aren’t using dedicated, focused landing pages – you are missing out on huge opportunities.
While we’re here, let’s talk about some more advanced stuff too…
There’s a popular theory out there that you should remove the navigation and use a very “stripped down” landing page that leaves your prospects with only two options:
They either leave or do as they’re told without moving around.
Sounds reasonable, but there’s a big BUT…
In some of our folk-marketing guru circles, we’ve seen tests where including navigation creates more trust…
And trust (especially if you’re selling high ticket products) results in higher conversions.
That’s why in our landing page designs, we tend to use a “parallax design” with a sticky header that earns that extra trust, but also keeps the prospects within our single landing page.
It’s the best of both worlds, I’m telling you.
3) You’re Using The Same Old Landing Page For Every Lead Source|
So, you’re the hotshot…
You’ve got all of the technical tracking arenas down pat. You’re using a dedicated landing page…
However, if you’re using the same landing page for all of your traffic, you’re still leaving money at the table.
This is a big “no no!”
A user with back pain has very different problems then a person deciding between two different office chair brands.
Both might click on your ads and reach your landing page…
But they will need different messaging and offers to part with their cash.
Now, there are a few different stages in the buyer’s psychology that should give you an idea on how to design your different landing pages…
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but these prove a good starting point.
You see, elite marketers have created a number of different paradigms to explain how users move between different stages of purchasing.
- The most popular one is AIDA: Attention > Interest > Desire > Action
- Another popular one in the copywriting world is Eugene Schwartz’s Awareness Scale: Unaware > Problem Aware > Solution Aware > Product Aware > Most Aware
- Google also has a different model they call the Moment of Truth: Their model goes from second moment > first moment > zero moment of truth > ultimate moment of truth
- I’ve got a similar paradigm to help you write good copy on search engines vs. social or display sites. I call it the “tortoise vs. the hare“
Choose any of these models and adjust your landing pages accordingly.
The bottom line is that the more you match your consumers’ current pain points and needs…
The more you engage with them based on where they are in your sales cycle…
The higher your conversion rates will go.
4) You’re Not Building An Optimized Adwords/Bing Ads Account
Truth is, many people can succeed surprisingly well when they have an effective sales funnel, relevant copywriting, and a powerful brand…
But they will still be paying Google the “stupid tax” if they don’t get a real PPC expert managing their accounts.
No offense, but it’s real.
When we take over accounts, it’s typical that we can get as much as a 30% performance lift from accounts that come to us…
With just a couple of simple tweaks.
Since the PPC space is so dynamic, there are a lot of people who run around for years, touting their PPC expertise, but aren’t really on top of their game…
So you better watch out!
From networks to devices, match types to Bing/Adwords betas, and the new developments that come out monthly (at the slowest) – you need to be on top of your game…
Or get someone who is.
5) You’re Trying To Innovate Without Tracking The Other Innovators (Your Competition)
Don’t get me wrong, I love innovation.
But I’m also a firm believer that your innovation focus should be primarily on delivering value to your customer first – and on your advertising efforts second.
Because in advertising, you better start with what’s proven to work first – well before venturing out into new territory.
That’s why one of the most powerful tactics for getting a constant stream of new ideas (and avoiding expensive startup mistakes) is to look at how your competition is advertising.
In the pay per click world, you can see what keywords your competitors are advertising on, how much those keywords cost, and what ad copy is dominant.
Starting at $50/month (or so), you can even get advanced tools that allow you to see historical advertising data by keyword and ads.
Truth be told, starting with just Google’s keyword research tool and some basic Googling of your main keywords will get you pretty far.
You can get into doing this easily, and it will save you from many headaches.
In fact, in our Adwords training course, we have a module (module 2) dedicated to our scientific process to breaking down your competition’s PPC ads into 5 different value elements…
And then recreating the killer offer that will crush your competition.
Looking to expand into display advertising like the Google display network and other native ad networks?
If so, competitive analysis becomes FAR more valuable (and expensive). Knowing what type of offers and banners are running – on what sites and for how long – is extremely insightful.
Right now, the top tools for competitive analysis in the display space include:
Before going crazy, keep in mind that you’re looking at a $200-$300/month minimum for these tools.
But let me tell you, if you’re serious about display advertising, they’re well worth the cost.
Now you might be wondering…
“Will display advertising even work for me?”
…And I can’t answer that without closely looking at your business.
But I’ll tell you what I know for sure:
When trying display advertising for clients in our agency, we’ve had mixed results.
We have clients doing $2k/day on display, where it steadily outperforms search…
But we also have others who’ve spent thousands, and it just hasn’t worked out as well as search…
Typically, it fails when the advertiser doesn’t have a funnel dedicated to the “upper funnel” display category.
It really depends on how you do business!
Just be prepared to be more heavily content focused if you want to scale your business using display.
6) You’re Not Diversifying
Want an unnerving, but lifesaving prediction for 2016?
I’m 99% sure that advertisers who don’t diversify their traffic sources (and become “REAL” businesses) are going to struggle with maturing advertising markets like Google PPC.
You see, Google is doing a fabulous job of pitting mature advertisers against each other, and getting the CPCs to continuously go up.
But there’s a way to make this work in your favor…
We can’t recommend enough that you diversify your ad marketing channels, and make sure your business isn’t dependent on one channel alone…
To put it the opposite way, in Charlie’s inimitably clear style, “you never have a traffic problem, you have a conversion problem.”
In other words, your audience is all over the internet and the real world, but they are constantly getting bombarded by ads.
If you are struggling with getting leads or sales for your business, you don’t have a “traffic” problem. Prospects are everywhere.
You have a “conversion problem.”
…You don’t have a process for converting the targeted traffic you drive to your web assets into customers. Or if you do – it ain’t working.
Or, if you have some channels in your business that ARE doing well, we HIGHLY recommend that you spend this year strategically identifying where to expand.
Give other marketing channels a spin, you’ll be surprised how good it can be for your business.
Want to “future-proof” your business?
Want to make it an asset worth buying in the future? Continuously grow your income? Stop worrying about specific channels changing policies?
Here’s your one word solution:
Finally, Let’s Figure This Out: Are You A Rookie Or A Rockstar?
If you’ve read through the 6 tactics above, and have crossed each box off to yourself saying, “yeah, I’ve got these!” – congratulations, you are a PPC Rockstar!
However, if some of these tips strike home, and you’re feeling like there’s an opportunity…
Please, please, go talk to Charlie’s team and develop an effective digital marketing strategy.
You deserve to be a rockstar!
Global SEM Partners