The Huge AdWords Opportunity Hiding in Plain Sight

Quick question…

When you hear the word “AdWords”, what do you think of?

If you’re like most people, it’s probably the ads that appear above and/or to the right of the organic search results on Google.

And, you’re absolutely right. That is AdWords.

BUT…there’s a whole nother side to AdWords most people don’t think about.

Now you’ve surely encountered these AdWords ads while surfin’ the web (they’re seen by 80{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of all Internet users). You just may not have recognized them as being part of AdWords.

This side of AdWords is a largely hidden opportunity flying under most business owners’ radar screens. And that’s a BIG mistake cuz the potential here, depending on your business, could dwarf the traffic and sales generated by a plain vanilla Google AdWords Search campaign.

So what is this opportunity?

It’s the Google Display Network (GDN).

The Display Network is made up of over 2 million websites that run Google ads on them. These could be huge sites like The New York Times and Oprah.com or they could be small sites like someone’s personal blog.

(These sites put Google ads on them to make money…if someone clicks on an ad on their site, Google gives them a cut of the action.)

And you, as an advertiser, can display ads on these websites to target your prospects in a myriad of mouth watering ways (we’ll get to those in a minute).

An Avalanche of Traffic

The GDN, done right, can trigger an avalanche of traffic to your site. And do it at a cost per click that’s often much cheaper than an AdWords Search campaign.

Now GDN traffic tends not to be as high a quality as Search largely because you’re dealing with a different mindset on the part of the searcher (more on that below). Even so, it’s very possible to get a ton of traffic at a very acceptable Cost Per Conversion.

Better Than Ever

While I’ve mainly focused on Search over the years, I have dabbled in the GDN. But recently, I’ve found myself spending a lot more time there.

See, Google’s been improving how things operate on the GDN (especially the targeting options) and it’s getting harder and harder to ignore. Now, I find there are few campaigns and niches where it’s not worth at least testing GDN traffic.

So I’ve been running more and more GDN campaigns, having good success for clients, and having a blast doing it! (Hey, it may not fit your definition of fun, but I geek out on this stuff!)

How Most People Screw Up the GDN

When you set up a new AdWords campaign, Google’s default is to have the campaign run on both the Search Network and the GDN. This is where many advertisers get in trouble.

You should NEVER have a campaign running both on Google Search and the GDN. They’re totally different beasts.

On Search, people are actively typing in keywords related to a need they have at that very instant. So when you’re ad appears, it’s positioned smack dab in front of a highly motivated audience.

On GDN, people are consuming content on a web page. They’re not actively searching for what you offer. So they’re in a very different mindset than a prospect on Search.

And this is why a GDN campaign needs to be set up quite differently than a Search campaign. It requires:

  • Different keywords (if you use keywords at all).
  • Different ads.
  • Different campaign organization.
  • Different bid strategy, etc.

But most people treat them the same. And that’s a big reason why so many fail with the Display Network.

They set up one campaign that runs on Search and GDN. The campaign (if it’s optimized at all) is optimized for Search. They blow through a ton of budget on GDN clicks that haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of converting.

And they think GDN (and often AdWords in general) is an expensive waste of time and money so they give up.

Let them…just means more opportunity for those of us who know what we’re doing! 🙂

Ahh, the Possibilities

A big part of the key to a successful GDN campaign is in how you target your prospects. Here’s just a taste of the possible ways you can target people on the Display Network and leverage this largely untapped opportunity…

Contextual Targeting

This is just a fancy GDN name for targeting people using keywords…but it’s VERY different than using keywords for Search. Basically you want to choose much broader keywords for GDN than for Search and group them into themes. Then Google will find web pages across the 2+ million sites in the GDN related to the themes of your keywords and your ads can show up on those pages.

Topic Targeting

No keywords here. With Topic targeting you select topics (Google has a list of hundreds to choose from) that your target market is likely interested in.

For example, if you’re selling a health product for women you could test topics ranging from “Vitamins and Supplements”, “Women’s Health”, “Weight Loss”, “Fitness”, and more. Google will find pages on the web related to these topics and potentially display your ads there.

Interest Targeting

This is similar to Topic targeting but it’s not based on the content of the website. It’s based on the individual searcher’s interests based on their browsing history.

Unless you’re a GDN pro I’d recommend you stay clear of this option because there’s big potential for trouble (ie. The Creepy Factor) here. For example, if you’re selling an Erectile Dysfunction cure, you probably don’t want your ads showing up when your prospects are on sites related to Kitchen Appliances, Asian Cuisine or Christmas!

Managed Placements

Managed placements let you target the specific websites and/or web pages you want your ads to appear on.

Remarketing

This is where you target people who have previously visited your website. These can be people who came to your site through AdWords Search ads, organic search listings, email lists, social media, etc.

Google puts a cookie on their computers and you can then show ads to them on the Display Network as they surf the web. It’s an amazingly powerful way to stay in front of people who showed at least some interest in your products/services.

YouTube

Yes, you can even run ads on YouTube – the world’s second largest search engine – through GDN. On YouTube, you can do demographic targeting, topic targeting, keyword targeting, remarketing and more.

Combinations

Where things can really get interesting is when you combine the different GDN targeting methods – like combining remarketing with topic targeting so you show ads to those who’ve been to your website already, but only when they’re on sites related to specific topics.

Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to GDN. But hopefully it gets your brain stirring on the potential that lies within this hidden corner of the AdWords world.

If you’d like to explore the specific possibilities for your business that may lurk in the Display Network, you can either sign up for a consulting session with me to develop a GDN strategy for your business or contact me about managing a GDN campaign for you.

The Important Thing You’re Fogetting to Sell On Your Website

I got a simple idea for you today that could easily double your conversion rates.

And it starts with what you’re selling (or not selling) on your website.

See, the copy on most websites is all about selling the company and its products/services.

Nothing wrong with that.

But often the call to action…the first step a prospect MUST take to get into your sales funnel is almost an afterthought. All it gets is a little form on the side of the page that says “Sign Up For Our Newsletter”… or some text at the top that says “Call for a Free Consultation”… or the link to your Contact page that has a form and nothing else.

So here’s the simple action you can take that could double the number of people taking that first step…

SELL that first step.

Here’s an example…

It’s pretty much expected that an attorney will offer a free consultation. So, the question becomes, if all your competitors are offering the same thing, WHY should a prospect sign up for your free consultation?

Yes, part of it is a good Unique Selling Proposition, establishing your credibility, and generally crafting a good sales message.

But even if you get that part right, many people are still gonna be reluctant to fill out your form and contact you to take advantage of that free consultation you offer.

Soooo…sell the consultation!

Describe how, if they contact you during business hours, they can expect a fast and friendly response from your personal secretary within 1 business hour to schedule the consultation.

Explain whether the consultation will take place in person or over the phone so they know exactly what they’re getting.

Most importantly, let them know what VALUE they can expect to get out of the consultation. A lot of people are gonna think that the free consultation is just a thinly designed sales pitch (and, in many cases, they’re probably justified in thinking this).

But if you let prospects know the specific issues you’ll address with them during the consultation, what information you’ll be able to provide them and how this will help them get closer to solving their problem, you’ll have a lot more people contacting you to take you up on the consult.

And this concept doesn’t just apply to free consultations. It applies to:

  • Newsletter sign ups
  • Getting a free estimate
  • Taking a Free Trial
  • Getting a Free Demo
  • Requesting a Quote
  • Or even just filling out the form on your Contact page.

In fact, I had a client recently who had a typical Contact page – just a form with no copy on it.

We added some copy above the form that mentioned their fast response time, friendly staff, the ability to talk to a live person if you called them (which is NOT the industry norm by the way), etc. Not much copy, but it SOLD filling out the contact form.

It’s been almost a month since those changes were made and they’ve already had TWICE as many people contacting them through filling out that form as did the previous month.

Yes, you want to sell whatever product or service you’re selling on your website. But, don’t forget to also sell the initial action(s) you want people to take so they get into your sales funnel.

Do that and maybe you’ll double your conversion rates too!

Turning 40 and Swimming With Sharks (Literally!)

sharkLast Friday I turned 40.

To celebrate, I jumped into a 6 million gallon aquarium teeming with 600 pound turtles, huge stingrays, and SHARKS…a few topping out around 10 feet long (and I’ve got a video at the end of this post to prove it!).

No, this wasn’t because of a mid-life crisis.

No, despite my family and I having spent the previous week staying with my mother-in-law, this wasn’t because I’d rather jump into a shark tank than spend another minute with her.

And, no, I’m not some crazy risk taking daredevil.

This was just something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I love sharks. Always have.

In fact I’ve been in the ocean before, both while scuba diving and snorkeling, and had the good fortune to see sharks up close in their natural environment.

Swimming with sharks doesn’t scare me because I know the risks involved and understand the chances of being attacked are VERY low.

But most people don’t get this.

When I mention how I spent my birthday, most people think I’m joking. They think it’s mid-life crisis time. Or they think I’m just plain crazy.

They think these things because most people suck at accurately assessing risk.

The reality is that the 90 minute drive from my mother-in-law’s to Epcot Center, where I did the dive, was MUCH riskier than being in that tank.

And listen…I did this dive at Epcot Center. Disney World for crying out loud!

So first of all, you know Disney sharks are REALLY well fed.

Second, the instant one of those sharks shows ANY sign of aggression, Mickey would fire its ass faster than you can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.

Yet, still, the thought of swimming with sharks scares the bejesus out of most people.

They have images from the movie “Jaws” firmly implanted in their heads. They think of sensationalized media reports about the handful of shark attacks that do take place each year.

They think about rows of razor sharp teeth and blood in the water.

And when they think these things, emotions take over. That makes sizing up the TRUE risks of a situation hard to do…whether in our personal lives or our business lives.

I often see businesses in peril because the business owners FAIL to see the true risks of the situation they’re in.

Here are 4 big risks I commonly see in business:

1. Not diversifying your sources of leads/revenue

I know of businesses a Google algorithm change away from going under.

I know of businesses that get 95{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of their leads from AdWords.

I worked for a business that got 80{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of its revenue from just one client.

Yet the owners of businesses in these types of situations often feel quite secure because money’s flowing into the bank. They just don’t understand the huge risk they’re taking…or would rather ignore it.

Diversifying your lead/revenue sources reduces your risk. It puts you in a position where if one source shuts down, gets too expensive, or stops working for whatever reason, it’s not the end of the world.

When the money’s flowing in, that’s great. But if it’s flowing in from just one source, don’t get lazy. That’s EXACTLY the time to find other sources of leads/revenue. Because when the spigot all the money’s flowing out of gets shut off, it’s too late.

That’s what happened to a company I worked for years ago. Things were going great until our main client unexpectedly switched to another vendor. I was unemployed 3 weeks later.

Don’t put your business in a risky situation like that…Diversify!

2. Relying on free traffic

One of my mentors once said:

“If your business relies on free traffic, you don’t have a real business.”

That may sound harsh, but there’s a lot of truth there.

A lot of people flock to the “free” sources of traffic like organic search traffic, social media, etc. And they may find some success.

But it’s a risky position to be in.

Why?

First, you’re at the mercy of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. They can change their algorithm. They can (and do) make you pay for full access your Fans. They can do whatever the heck they like without asking if it’ll affect your business or not.

Their platform. Their rules.

Second, it’s not a viable long term strategy. Sure, the early days of SEO were awesome. You could exact match domain and keyword stuff your way to the top of Page 1.

But then word got out, algorithms changed, the competition got fierce and the Google Gravy Train left the station. High rankings ain’t free anymore!

And sure, you could reach thousands of “fans” through social media, post some content, sprinkle in some offers and life was good. But then everyone jumped on the social media bandwagon. People are now following 100s or 1000s of people, companies and groups on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

GOOD LUCK getting noticed in the stream of crap cluttering up most people’s social media accounts these days!

(And have you noticed how many social media sites are addressing this? They now let you pay for that “privilege” of standing out from the crowd these days and reaching more of your followers!)

Lastly, free traffic makes you lazy. There’s something about having to pay for traffic from AdWords, direct mail, etc. that makes business owners sit up and take notice. They think more seriously about their sales funnel. They look at ways to bump conversion rates. They pay close attention to ROI.

Because they’re carefully counting the dollars in and dollars out, they’ve got their sales and marketing act together in a way business owners relying on free traffic don’t.

There’s something very freeing about knowing you can turn to AdWords, direct mail, even TV/print/radio ads, put a dollar in and get a dollar or more out.  It puts your business on much more solid (ie. less risky) footing.

Free may work for a while, but it’s not a viable long term strategy.

3. Not outsourcing/hiring

I see many business owners take the attitude “why pay someone else for things I can do myself?”

Well, sorry to break it to ya, but you’re just not good at EVERYTHING you need to do to run a company. Why spend time doing things you hate doing and/or aren’t that good at?

I don’t like spending my time reconciling bank statements and figuring out the inner workings of QuickBooks. I hate it. I’m not good at it. So I hired a bookkeeper.

Smart decision. It’s freed me up to do the things that I enjoy more and are income producing activities instead of time and money drains.

And that’s just one example.

Outsourcing other tasks so I can spend time on the things like high level strategy, writing, etc. that I excel at is one of the keys to the growth of my business over the last few years.

If you’re wasting time on tasks you don’t like and probably suck at, you’re leaving money on the table.

4. Not being a part of a Mastermind Group

Yes, this a very real risk to your business.

If you’re part of a high level Mastermind group, you know what I’m talking about.

If not, join (or start) one and find out what you’re missing.

The risk of not being in one is you get stale. You get stuck in the same patterns you’ve always been stuck in and don’t get the new ideas, the support and the guidance from successful peers that you need to break out and take your business to the next level.

The other risk is, without a Mastermind group, you don’t get the BIG kick in the ass many of us need to get over ourselves and start making significant improvements to ourselves and our businesses.

I wouldn’t be caught without one…the risk is too great.

Planning for 50!

I knew the risks I was getting into when I plunged into that shark tank and I’m here to tell the tale.

When you understand the real risks involved in anything you’re doing, you make smarter decisions. And those smarter decisions lead you to exciting experiences…whether swimming up close and personal with incredible animals or growing your business and enjoying all the success that brings to your life.

(Click the video to watch part of my dive)

I had so much fun on this dive, I’m already thinking about my 50th…diving off the coast of Mexico with Great White Sharks. (In a cage of course, because I’m not one to take big risks;)

Who’s with me?!

What other risks do you see business owners regularly ignoring? Please share them in the comment section below…

 

 

When Will SEO Become a Losing Proposition?

Got a really interesting question from an AdWords client of mine recently. This client is extremely online marketing savvy (he used to work for an SEO firm) so knows the Internet landscape better than most.

For the last few years, he’s been using a very large company to manage SEO for his business. Initially they had some good success. Post Penguin/Panda, however, has been a different story and the client is very frustrated and looking to make change.

In fact, he’s contemplating giving up SEO completely. Here’s his email…

“Frankly, one of the questions I’m going to ask you (and some of my other online marketing geeks) is when will SEO become a losing proposition for everyone (website owners, SEO companies, etc.)?  It seems that as Google (and everyone else) gets smarter and smarter, each algorithm change eliminates more and more variables once relied upon by SEO companies to game the system.

And if we do all our on-page correctly at some point should we just pull the plug on SEO, let the search engines do their thing and reinvest those dollars into PPC?”

Here’s my reply…

“My short answer is that I don’t have any idea when/if off-site SEO will become a losing proposition. I’ll leave that for others to debate.

What I do know is that, when done correctly, it still works now (though it takes much greater skill to pull off effectively than it did even just a year or two ago). Over the last 6 months I don’t think there’s been a month where our SEO clients haven’t had a net improvement in their rankings.

I’d love to expand what we’re doing together on the PPC side of things. I think there’s a great opportunity for remarketing, potentially Display Network campaigns and an expansion/change in direction in the keywords we’re focusing on in Search.

But SEO can still send a TON of highly targeted traffic to your site and I don’t think it can be ignored.

And, quite frankly, I don’t ever see on-site factors being all it takes to get good rankings. The search engines tried that experiment years ago and it didn’t work.

They simply have to use outside factors in some way to deliver relevant results. Whether those factors are backlinks, social media signals, authorship markup, what Matt Cutts has for breakfast on any given day, etc., who knows.

But whatever the mix of factors), off-site factors HAVE to play a major role in determining where a site ranks in the search engine results.

If there were ever to come a day when it looks like SEO truly doesn’t pay, we’d be the first to tell you (and, believe me, as a company that makes most of its money from PPC, I’d LOVE for that day to come because people would flock to PPC is greater numbers! 😉

But for now, I can’t in good conscious recommend ditching SEO. There’s too much potential business to be won in the organic results to ignore it.”

Now it’s your turn to weigh in…are the days of SEO numbered or is it still a winning proposition? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

The (100{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} True) Tale of the 26 Year Old Writer Who Toppled Royals, a Country and the Most Powerful Man in the World

Every now and then some content comes across my desk (actually, computer screen) that’s so powerful and so stirring and so damn good…that it’s just too good not to share.

That happened earlier this week. Here’s the headline…

How a 26-year-old Copywriter Humiliated the Most Powerful Man in the World…Took Down an Entire European County…and Brought the World’s Most Elite Royal Families to Their Knees

How could you not want to read that?

It’s the headline of a special report written by my friend Lewis Bassett. I met Lewis at a marketing seminar last year and we’ve been in a high level marketing mastermind group together since then.

Though his background is in IT, Lewis made the transition into the world of marketing and is wise well beyond his years. His focus (wisely, I believe) is on copywriting. He is a truly talented writer and his skills have recently risen to yet another level thanks, in part, to him being mentored by an A list copywriter.

His mentor recently gave Lewis an interesting assignment…write a sales letter selling the mentor on one of Lewis’ hobbies/interests.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Lewis chose:

Ancient Roman Literature

Yeah. You try to find a topic that would put more people to sleep than that!

But what resulted is one of the best pieces of copy I’ve read in a long time. Not only is it a compelling story that will get your emotions firing, but it contains timeless lessons that anyone who has to persuade others would do well to follow.

You can read this incredible tale here.

The True Bullseye of Marketing

Last month, in talking about overcoming your prospects’ Fear of the Unknown, we left off with this…

“In fact, if you do it right, it can alter the whole dynamic between you and your prospects…and essentially eliminate your competition.”

To better understand how this works, I’d like to share two images with you.

They come from Bill Prenatt, owner of Simply Successful and founder of Experts 4 Entrepreneurs (a group I’m proud to be a part of). Bill is a highly accomplished businessman with a background in sales and one of the true gentlemen you’ll ever meet.

Last year Bill and I were having a discussion at a local coffee shop and he shared this image of the “Sales Universe” with me (click to enlarge)…

bullseye

Basically you have different levels of prospects feeding into your business universe.

  • The Cold ones know that your business exists but not much more than that.
  • The Warm ones have heard of you and know a little about your business. Maybe they spent a little time researching your website or found you through some PR you got or a referral.
  • The Hot ones are the true prospects that know about your business, know what you do and believe that you have a solution that can help solve a problem they have or fulfill a desire they wish to fulfill.

As Bill and I talked about this image and the sales universe more, it became clear that something was missing. And out of that conversation a new version of the bullseye was born (click to enlarge)…

true bullseye

See, what was missing was the true bullseye of marketing…the absolute dead center of the target.

This is where prospects come to you as fans pre-sold on you and your company. This is where there’s no other option in their minds. This is where you have no competition.

How To Hit the Dead Center of the Bullseye

So how do you get there?

It’s by eliminating the Fear of the Unknown and getting people to TRULY know you and your company.

Now the key here is you don’t do this by just talking about what you do but rather WHY you do it. Let people see what makes you tick.

In the last newsletter, I talked about various ways you can overcome the Fear of the Unknown from creating videos to consistently writing newsletter/blog posts to media appearance to writing a book and more.

Yes, it’s about content marketing. But not just putting out the same old content as everyone else.

It’s putting out content that connects emotionally with your IDEAL prospects.

Since I’ve started blogging regularly, putting out a monthly newsletter, writing for the Crazy Egg blog and just generally putting myself out there more, the effects of this phenomenon have become clearer and clearer to me.

I was floored the first time I experienced the effects of this first hand.

A Sales Call Like No Other

I’d received an email from a prospect who wanted to talk to me about managing AdWords campaigns for them. We scheduled a Skype call and the conversation was much different from others I’d had with prospects.

It wasn’t really a sales call. There was no talk about IF we would work together. Instead this prospect just wanted to know HOW we could work together and WHEN we could get started.

And it all was made possible by one article I wrote about Google AdWords that this prospect discovered online. An article that connected with him on an EMOTIONAL level. After finding that article, he did a little more research on me and Words That Click, read more articles, watched some videos and came away convinced I was the partner he was looking for.

By the time we talked, all I had to do was work out the fees and logistics with him.

That was a totally different dynamic than I was used to.

Living In the Dead Center of the Bullseye

Magical things happen when you’re in that dead center of the bullseye.

  • You eliminate the competition.
  • Fees are not much of an issue.
  • And these clients have much more respect for you and the value you bring to the table.

And, by the way, it’s not just small businesses that can pull this off.

Look at what Apple has done. They have raving fans who line up for hours or more to get their hands on the latest release of the iWhatever. To them, it doesn’t matter what the competition is producing. They just want the Apple product.

Why?

Well, there are plenty of other electronics manufacturers out there. Some of which, arguably, may put out products as good as, if not better, than the ones Apple puts out.

(The fact that that last sentence will probably send some Apple fans into a tizzy gets to the real heart of why Apple’s been so successful.)

Apple’s created a strong emotional bond with their customers/fans. And they haven’t done this by focusing their messaging and content on WHAT they do.

They’ve done this by focusing more on the WHY they do what they do.

Check out an excerpt from a great TEDx talk from Simon Sinek that lays this all out simply and elegantly…

You conquer people’s Fear of the Unknown about you and your business when you put yourself out there. And when you do that right, you give them a glimpse behind the scenes of your world. You let them see the why you do what you do.

Now not everyone out there will respond…and that’s just fine. You don’t want everyone. You’re after your IDEAL propects.

As Simon Sinek puts it:

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have, the goal is to do business with the people who believe what you believe.”

So take a stand in the content you put out there…

…let you and your company’s personality come shining through…

…let your prospects get to truly KNOW you and what you stand for.

Cuz when you do this well, that’s when your ideal prospects will become magnetically attracted to you. That’s when you’ll have people coming to you as raving fans who are planted firmly in the dead center of that bullseye.

And that, my friends, is exactly where you want to be!

HUGE Changes to AdWords (This One’s My Favorite)

Last month Google announced new “Enhanced” AdWords campaigns. It’s being touted as the biggest change to AdWords in the last 5 years.

Now, I’ve been around AdWords long enough that when Google announces that something is “Enhanced” I’m, well, skeptical to say the least.

And, yes, there are some new “enhancements” that seem mostly geared to putting more money in Google’s coffers. However, we’ll leave those for another time.

Instead we’ll focus on the positive here because there are some changes which are truly big improvements. One, in particular, I’ve been waiting for for a very long time.

It has to do with what’s known as Sitelink extensions.

Sitelink extensions are additional links that can appear under you main AdWords ad (though only when your ad appears in one of the first 3 positions in the AdWords rankings).

Here’s an example of what one looks like in the wild.

dentist sitelinks

The links under the main ad lead to different pages of this dental office’s website.

The phone number leads to the Contact page, the ‘Meet the Dentists’ link leads to a page with background about each dentist…you get the idea.

Sitelinks are all about getting people to the page on your site that’s most relevant to what they’re looking for.

Sitelinks Are Great, But…

Up until now, however, Sitelinks have only been available at the Campaign level. That means if you have Sitelinks in an AdWords campaign, the Sitelinks could potentially show for every keyword and ad you have in the campaign.

There are plenty of situations where this is not a good thing.

Take the example of a decent sized attorney’s office that has attorneys practicing in a number of different specialties.

In a well organized AdWords campaign, you’d have Ad groups set up for each specialty…DUI, Bankruptcy, Divorce, etc.

In a campaign like this, it would be tough to use Sitelinks because the Sitelinks you might use for a Divorce attorney like

  • Custody Issues
  • Child Support
  • Alimony
  • Our Divorce Attorneys

would make no sense to someone searching for a DUI or Bankruptcy attorney.

In fact, if someone searching for a DUI or Bankruptcy attorney saw Sitelinks under the ad mentioning Child Support and Alimony, they’d be totally turned off by the ad!

To get around issues like this, there are accounts that we manage where we create separate campaigns JUST so we can use appropriate Sitelinks extensions.

Well, no more!

The Big Improvement

With Enhanced campaigns, you can now create Sitelinks at an ad group level. WOOHOO!

As you can see from the screenshot below, now when you go to the Sitelinks tab, you’re given the option to ‘Use campaign sitelinks extension’ or ‘Use ad group sitelinks extension’.

new sitelinks

 

Once you create a new Sitelink in a campaign or ad group, it’s stored in your AdWords account and it can be easily added to any Campaign and/or Ad group you create.

And It Gets Even Better…

The reporting for Sitelinks has been improved as well. Previously, the only data you could see is aggregate data that shows how many times people clicked on one of your ads that displayed Sitelinks along with it like this (click to enlarge)…

old reporting

But you had no clue which Sitelinks, if any, were actually getting clicked on.

Now, however, you can see data broken out by Sitelink. To do this, you have to go to the Segment button and choose the “This Extension vs. Other” link…

segment

When you do this, your data now gets segmented by each Sitelink extension like this…

reporting

The data in the “This extension” row shows the data for that specific Sitelink. The “Other” row shows clicks on any other part of the ad when that Sitelink was displayed (which could be the headline of the ad, the other Sitelink extensions or another extension that may have been displayed with the ad).

This is extremely helpful because, for the first time, you can tell which extensions are actually getting clicked on. Using this data, you can now test different extensions to see which ones perform best with your ads and further optimize your ads.

I’m very excited about this new feature and it should be a very useful one for AdWords advertisers who take full advantage of it.

So kudos to Google for making this great enhancement to AdWords. It helps make up for some of the less than helpful “enhancements” that are also part of the Enhanced AdWords campaigns. But more on those another time…

The Paralyzing Fear Your Prospects All Share

It’s so pervasive, most people never think about it.

We don’t think about how it affects our own actions. And, in business, we certainly don’t think about how it affects our prospects’ actions (or nonactions).

Yet it’s one of the key things your business must overcome to get customers to do business with you.

I’m talking about the Fear of the Unknown.

Here’s an example of how it affects our perceptions and decisions…

On Friday nights, to unwind from the week, my daughter and I like to cuddle up in front of the TV. And we usually end up watching Diner’s, Drive-Ins, and Dives on Food Network.

If you haven’t seen it, the show stars celebrity chef Guy Fieri driving his 1967 red Camaro convertible around the country visiting independent mom and pop type restaurants. At each stop, Guy watches the chef cook up a favorite dish or two, then he shoves it in his mouth and gives it a rating like…

  • “That’s money!”
  • “The bus has just pulled into Flavortown station.”
  • “This is Da Bomb!”

…usually as grease and/or sauce oozes down his bleached goatee.

During pretty much every episode I’m wishing we lived closer to the joints he visits so we could eat there. In fact, there was a pizza place he visited in San Antonio, with a brick oven imported from Italy and that made their mozzarella fresh on-site each day, that literally had me checking airfares!

Now, that pizza place aside, I probably pass by restaurants each day that are equally as impressive as the ones Guy Fieri visits on the show.

From the outside, however, I just don’t know anything about them.

On the show, I hear the stories about the chef learning to cook in her grandmother’s kitchen. I learn how they import specialty ingredients to give their dishes that extra special flavor. I see the pride they feel in making everything from scratch using only the freshest ingredients harvested from their local organic farm.

Maybe some of the restaurants I pass each day put the same care and thought into their food as the places on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Or maybe they just got served another health code violation and the chef’s in the back with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth with the ashes hanging precariously over the food.

I’ve got no idea.

And just looking at most restaurant’s websites usually doesn’t help much either. They all basically look the same…

Pretty pictures of food.  A menu. And some generic copy talking about how great their food is.

But it really doesn’t help me get to KNOW them.

So unless a restaurant is on a Food Network show, is featured in an article in a local paper or I get personal recommendations from people who’ve eaten there, I don’t know anything about the place and will likely stay away.

Why?

Because of the Fear of the Unknown.

It’s one of the main barriers that keep your prospects from doing business with you.

An article about Fear of the Unknown in Psychology Today puts it this way…

“We are quick to judge, fear and even hate the unknown. We may not admit it, but we are all plagued with xenophobic tendencies.”

These tendencies rear their heads in many ways on both a societal and personal level. But when it comes to small business, it basically means this…

When you’re an unknown entity, people have their guard WAY up. They’re afraid you’re gonna screw them over.

And they’re not judging you based on your merits, but on their own biases about and/or experiences with businesses like yours.

In order for them to do business with you, you have to overcome, at least to some degree, their Fear of the Unknown.

How To Overcome Your Prospects’ Fear of The Unknown

A few months ago I shared the 5 Essential Elements your website has to have to convert (a conversion being a specific action you want them to take such as downloading a free report, making a purchase, calling you, etc.).

One of the 5 Elements is Overwhelming Proof.

Overwhelming Proof is basically how you demonstrate your credibility. How do you back up the claims you make on your site so they’re believable and don’t come off as empty hype?

It’s really about overcoming the Fear of the Unknown. It’s getting people to know you and your company, seeing you as a credible option and, ultimately, someone they’d feel comfortable giving money to.

There’s no shortage of ways to do this. Here are some examples…

  • Feature videos of you on your website and/orYouTube going on a service call, having a sample consultation with a client, or giving people a “behind the scenes” peak at your operation. This is all about demonstrating your expertise and the care and pride you take in your work and helping your customers. (Think of it as starring in your own little reality show!).
  • Do a video interview of your programmer and have him describe some key challenges he had to overcome in building the software program you sell. This’ll be a great way to show people the detailed thought process and care behind your software.
  • Have someone interview you about your business, key problems your prospects face, how you got started, etc. Publish it on your website.
  • Write a book.
  • An autoresponder series.
  • Get featured in the local media and put the stories/videos on your site.
  • Get speaking engagements.
  • Blog on a regular basis.
  • Send out a monthly/weekly newsletter.

See the common thread here?

It’s all about getting people to KNOW you and your business. To see you as THE authority. As someone who cares. As someone they can trust.

And this is REALLY important…

These should not be superficial, boring pieces of content about technical issues related to what you do.

They need to contain some EMOTION. They need to demonstrate your expertise, care and credentials so that prospects start to feel a CONNECTION with you.

Doing this can make all the difference in the world to your prospects. Instead of being another unknown attorney, dentist, financial planner, plumber, florist, consultant…you become a KNOWN and respected authority figure.

That’s the position you want to be in. And that’s why it’s so important to get your prospects over their Fear of the Unknown.

The good news is it’s easier than ever to put yourself out there and get people to truly know you.

Things like…

  • Creating and editing videos
  • Self publishing a book
  • Starting a blog and/or newsletter

…are all pretty easy and inexpensive to do these days.

So take advantage of some, or all, of ‘em and let prospects get to know you!

Get the “Fieri Effect”

When a restaurant is featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives it often gets what’s known as the “Fieri Effect”. After an episode airs, the restaurants featured get slammed with people. Some literally driving hours just to sample the food featured on the show.

The good news is you don’t have to be on Food Network to get that effect. You can start using some of the content strategies outlined above to get prospects to know you better and seek you out.

Now I’m not saying you can’t get new customers without overcoming their Fear of the Unknown. (You can do this…especially in situations and markets where a prospect’s neck is bleeding so badly that they’ll buy from the first option they find.)

But most businesses would be a lot more successful by doing a better job overcoming their prospects’ Fear of the Unknown.

Because when you do, it dramatically changes prospects’ perceptions about you and your company. In fact, if you do it right, it can alter the whole dynamic between you and your prospects…and essentially eliminate your competition.

Next month, I’ll share exactly how.

Why It Pays to Be Negative In AdWords

I’ve been doing a lot of AdWords Optimization Reviews for clients recently to give them specific advice and coaching on how to improve their campaigns.

One of the clients asked me a really great question after looking over the report I sent him. The question was this…

Out of all the suggestions I made, what are the low hanging fruit? Which changes in his campaign would give him the biggest bang for his buck?

The answer to this question varies from campaign to campaign, but there’s usually one change that’s fairly easy to make and can have a big impact on performance.

It can give your clickthrough rates (and, hopefully Quality Scores along with it) a big bump. And it can save you big bucks you’re currently wasting on clicks that have little to no chance of leading to a sale.

What is this simple thing?

Adding negative keywords to your campaign.

A negative keyword is a way for you to tell Google what search terms you DON’T want your ads showing up for.

For example, let’s say you’re a dentist but you don’t work with kids. If you add “pediatric”, “children”, “kids”, etc. as negative keywords to your campaign, then your ads will not show up when people type search terms into Google like:

  • “pediatric dentist”
  • “dentist for kids”
  • “best dentist for children in st louis”

By eliminating traffic for irrelevant search terms, you’ll increase your CTRs and cut your costs.

(NOTE: This only applies if you’re using broad and/or phrase match keywords in your campaign. If you’re only using exact match keywords, you don’t have to worry about negative keywords.)

There are some nuances on HOW to use negative keywords that I’d like to share with you.

Strategically Using Match Types

Your negative keywords (as with your “regular keywords”) can have different match types.

We’ll look at negative EXACT match keywords first…

Let’s say you sell fishing poles and supplies. Good keywords for your campaign may include “fishing poles”, “fishing lures”, and “fishing tackle”.

However just the keyword “fishing” is way too broad for your purposes. Someone typing in that term could be looking for fishing tips, fishing charters, fishing videos to watch or a whole host of other possibilities. So you probably don’t want your ads showing up when someone types in plain old “fishing”.

So by adding “fishing” as a negative EXACT match keyword to your campaign, you’ll prevent your ads from appearing for the search term “fishing”. However, they’ll still show up for terms like “fishing rods”, “fishing lures” and “fishing tackle”.

Contrast that with a negative BROAD match keyword. Adding “fishing” as a negative BROAD match keyword to your campaign would prevent your ads from being displayed for any search query containing the word “fishing” in it. And, for our example, we don’t want that to happen.

Negative BROAD match keywords are best used for generic terms people may type in their search queries like “free”, “cheap”, “jobs”, etc. If “free” is a negative BROAD match keyword in your campaign, then your ads will NOT appear for search queries like “free fishing tackle”, “get a fishing pole for free” or “where can I find free fishing rods”.

Since your business is probably not giving these things away for free, you don’t want your ads appearing for terms like this. So, for words that you don’t want ads to be displayed for whenever they show up in a search query (no matter what other words they’re paired with), add them as negative BROAD match.

Campaign vs. Ad Group Negative Keywords

There are two places you can add a negative keyword in an AdWords account. You can add them at a Campaign level or at an Ad Group level.

If you add a keyword at the Campaign level, that negative keyword will apply to the entire campaign and all the ad groups in it. As with negative BROAD match keywords, good candidates for Campaign level negative keywords usually include terms like “free”, “cheap” and “jobs.”

However, making good use of Ad Group level keywords can also be very helpful. Keeping with our fishing example, let’s say we have 3 ad groups…one for fishing rods, one for fishing lures and one for fishing tackle boxes.

In the fishing lures ad group, we’ve got ads that specifically reference fishing lures. We certainly don’t want people searching for tackle boxes, rods, line, clothing or other fishing related items seeing those ads.

So in this case, we’d use Ad Group level negative keywords. We’d add negative keywords like “rods”, “poles”, “tackle boxes”, “clothing”, etc. to the fishing lures ad group to make sure people typing in search queries with those words in them don’t see our fishing lures ads.

Where to Find Good Candidates for Negative Keywords

So where can you find the negative keywords that you should add to your campaign?

Two main places:

  • Google AdWords Keyword Tool – Especially for a new campaign, this is the best place to go. Start by typing in keywords related to your business, product and/or service. As you’re looking at the list of keywords Google provides, pay attention for variations that aren’t relevant to your business. Note them down and add them to AdWords as negative keywords.
  • Search Query Report – This is the best place to find negative keywords after your campaign’s been running for a while. This report shows you the actual search terms people typed into Google before clicking on your ads. Mine this data once or month or so and look for search queries that your ads showed up for that aren’t relevant to your business. Then add those search queries as negative keywords.

Conclusion

Either not using (or misusing) negative keywords is one of the more common mistakes people make in AdWords. And it’s one of the easiest to fix.

So go negative to make a very positive difference in your campaign!

An Improved Google AdWords Express?

Google’s pitching their AdWords Express program to small business owners again. They’d been kinda quiet on that front for a while, but they recently made some enhancements to the program. And now they’re out trying to get business owners to sign up.

According to Local Search expert Mike Blumenthal, the new features include:

  • Business owners can now choose a radius (of up to 40 miles) where they want their ads displayed
  • They can now point their ad to a custom landing page (Google used to limit this to the home page)
  • More ad types including mobile ads and image ads

Those are some changes that seem to be in the right direction. BUT (you knew that was coming!), the fundamental issue with Google AdWords Express has not changed…

In exchange for ease of use, you give up A LOT of control over your AdWords campaign.

With “regular” AdWords, you can:

  • Get very precise in the geographic areas you target (you can do it by radius, city name, metro area and/or zip code)
  • Choose the keywords that you’re bidding on in the campaign
  • Control bid prices so you bid more for your most important keywords to ensure a better position in the rankings
  • Write multiple ads and split test them so you improve performance over time and learn what messages, offers, etc. get the best response
  • Decide whether your ads appear on Desktop/Laptops, Tablets and/or Smartphones

There’s another caution I have about the new options for AdWords Express. They’re offering image ads which only appear on Google’s Display Network (this is when your ads appear on websites that run Google ads like nytimes.com).

Display Network is a very different beast from Search Network. It requires a different bid strategy. It requires different keywords. It requires different ads.

And the traffic from Display is often much less targeted than traffic from Search.

If, as it sounds is the case, Google is now showing AdWords Express ads on the Display Network, that’s a big red flag.

Lastly, Google’s also promoting AdWords Express as a way to grow your business’ followers on Google+. Unless you have a proven system for converting followers into customers, this is a BAD idea.

I’ve used FB ad campaigns in the past to get Likes on a FB page. It’s really hard to justify the costs of clicks for a campaign like that.

So, while I’m glad that Google has added some features that give advertisers a little more control over their AdWords Express campaigns, if you’re gonna use AdWords, just use AdWords. Skip the Express.

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