December 2010 -
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Archive for December, 2010

20 Marketing Steps to a Sale

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in marketing

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

A wise person once said “Half of my marketing dollars are wasted; I just do not know which half.” This is actually an optimistic statement because depending on how you measure success the waste could be much higher.  In the direct response business a response rate of 2% is not uncommon and that translates to 98% waste. The challenge with finding the waste is that success and failure are not always clearly visible.

Think about the last time you had a first transaction with a company based on a single impression from that business. Depending on who you listen to each of us is exposed to thousands of advertisements each day so it is incredibly rare that we respond simply on one impression. While a direct response can happen in the vast majority of businesses it takes many impressions before a prospect makes a measureable transaction. Consider the following:

The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.
The second time he does not notice it.
The third time he is conscious of its existence.
The fourth time he faintly remembers having seen it before.
The fifth time he reads it.
The sixth time he turns his nose up at it.
The seventh time he reads it through and says “Oh brother”
The eighth time he says “here’s that confounded thing again”
The ninth time he wonders if it will amount to anything.
The tenth time he will ask his neighbor if he has tried it.
The eleventh time he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
The twelfth time he thinks it must be a good thing.
The thirteenth time he thinks it might be worth something.
The fourteenth time he remembers that he has wanted such a thing for a long time.
The fifteenth time he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time he thinks he will buy it… someday.
The seventeenth time he makes a memorandum of it.
The eighteenth time he swears at his poverty.
The nineteenth time he counts his money carefully.
The twentieth time he sees it, he buys the article or instructs his wife to do so.

The over use of the word he and the last item are probably good clues that this list has been around for a very long time. According to the best information I have this was published in— Hints to Intending Advertisers; By Tomas Smith, London – 1885. While this list is 125 years old you can see that people really have not changed much. When you ask the question where did you hear about us the answer will always be the 19th or 20th step but in reality many areas are never credited with the transaction. Since we are AdWords Experts we would like to point out that the keywords associated with each of these steps are probably different. So if you never advertise for the early stage keywords how are you going to get the majority of the audience to this final step?

I propose that this list is not far off in many situations and it explains why we get the results we get. Were any of these 20 contacts wasted? My position would be that each step was part of the process and it simply took 20 actions to complete a visible reaction. At any point in the purchase process you could have hundreds or even thousands of prospects at the various points and this process is not purely linear. An individual prospect could skip or repeat steps because these are people not machines. I would propose that you can reduce this list by doing a better job of communicating your value and telling your story clearly and with emotion, but your prospect is still going to evolve over time not just instantly transform.

Think of your personal experience today. Studies vary but most indicate that you will be exposed to thousands of advertisements before you close your eyes tonight. Out of those thousands you might respond to one or two. If you are like most people 90%+ of your purchases today will not be based on advertising but on some prior experience or relationship. You will buy your coffee at the same place, get gas for your car at the same station, and buy a sandwich at a place you have been before. We are creatures of habit so the fact that advertising fails at a very high percentage should not surprise us. The challenge is that as a business you must reach out to new people consistently because if you fail to develop new business you will ultimately fail.

At my core I am a systems person that loves impossible challenges and that is why I work in marketing and my goal is to fail less often.

What are AdWords?

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in adwords expert

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Believe it or not this is one of the most common questions we get. People hear about AdWords, but they are not really sure of what they are or why they should care. This is Google’s fault because they really are not great communicators. Their mission is to organize the world’s information but like the cobbler’s shoes they either struggle with or simply do not care to communicate the value of AdWords. You would think that Google would try harder since AdWords is their golden goose and Microsoft is now in the second position nipping at their heels in the search market. Here is my attempt at a simple description of AdWords:

Adwords is an auction priced self-service advertising system that delivers ad content relevant to the other page content.

Google’s primary goal is to provide advertising that enhances the search experience and, in Google’s eyes, this mission is much more important than your money.

Let’s take this statement apart piece by piece.

Auction Priced: One item that throws people new to the system is that unlike other advertising where the cost is set by the publisher, in AdWords the cost is set by the competitors seeking the same ad space. Because keywords often cross over different industries you will often be competing for ad space with businesses that are not your normal business competitors. Your bid is not what you pay. What you pay is one penny more than the competitor behind you. This is how changes by competitors drive your costs up.

Self-Service Advertising: Adwords is a computer system that requires on-going maintenance and there is no auto-pilot button. Your campaigns use a keyword and bidding model built and maintained by the advertiser. How well it works depends on how well engineered the models are.

Relevant Ad Content means that Google is looking to deliver the best ads associated with the actions of the searcher. They view the ads as an extension of the natural listings and they rank them in a very similar fashion. They want to deliver ads that are likely to be of interest to the searcher based on the keyword match or the content or actions of the searcher. They take this extremely seriously and will not display ads that are a severe mismatch no matter how much you are willing to spend on that position.

Advertising that enhances the search Experience: New advertisers often fail to believe how serious Google is about this.  Other Publishers will sell their soul to close the deal and collect your money; Google is not like these other publishers.  Google places the priority of producing the best quality SERP (Search Engine Results Page) well above your money. Given the option between improving the SERP or increasing immediate revenue they will pick the SERP quality every time. This surprises Advertisers. It really shouldn’t though because the secret to Google’s success is the quality of their SERP. This is a core corporate value and not a marketing slogan.

The heart and soul of AdWords is the keyword matching and its simple appearance is misleading at best. The process includes phases of eligibility and ranking. For eligibility there are four positive and three negative forms of keywords used to match to the searchers search query and multiple statuses that create a test for display eligibility.  After eligibility is established quality score and bid are used to determine the ad rank. Assuming the keyword met eligibility and ranked high enough to make it to the page the ad is displayed. This is, of course, a very high level view of this process and the devil is in the details. In the matching process it is important that you fail the eligibility for searches that do not apply to you. In a pay per click world impressions might seem to be free but if you follow the system you will find that you pay for those excess impressions later. They drive down your click through rate lowering the quality score and increasing your cost on future clicks.

Why should we pay you to run AdWords?

The other form of this questions “Why can’t I just run AdWords myself?” and the answer is you can just like you can prepare you own taxes. Businesses that are large enough to have a full time accounting staff still engage CPA firms that specializes in taxes because they know it a full time job just to keep up with the changes and the latest strategies. When it comes to rapid changes in policy and practice the IRS has absolutely nothing on Google. Changes at Google are non-stop and according to spokesman Matt Cutts they average more than one change per day and that is just what they admit to. At least the IRS has Congress to slow them down! After working with Google AdWords since 2003 I can tell you that you are always one click away from discovering some new function or feature that was not there yesterday. It is a rare day in our office when there is not a new discovery for the entire day. While I do not propose that AdWords is as complex as the US tax code, it is certainly not simple. At a basic level almost any business person can set up an AdWords account, put in some keywords, write a few ads, and get results from the system. The problem with this is that the campaign is not going to run at maximum effectiveness and it can leak money and opportunity at light-speed.

AdWords is where marketing, systems, language, and people collide in cyberspace and when played at a serious level it is complex and competitive. It is complex enough that Google has not one but four certification tests for its certified partners.  There are three major networks including Google Search, Search Partners, and Display and each of these networks is complex enough to write a book on. Its competitive enough that businesses spent $22.8 billion in 2009 and its on track to increase 22% for 2010 based on results through Q3 (reference: Add to this the analysis of how the traffic acts after it gets to your web site and it’s time to engage serious people for your team.