Pay Per Click for Marketing Research
Yesterday we met with an advertising company in Denver and discussed the role of pay per click in the context of an Advertiser’s broader marketing plans. The meeting began with a great presentation by Heather Lutze (if you haven’t seen her show, then you’re missing out). Following the presentation, several of us fielded questions. One related to the proper steps of commencing a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) effort and whether it pays to delay the process with pay per click (PPC). My reply was that PPC, if managed properly, by definition results in a measurable positive return on ad spending. Of course that’s great for any Advertiser. But many marketing managers overlook the other potential benefits of using pay per click advertising to methodically test keyword lists, website content, and website design, in advance of any on-page SEO design, or SEO link building efforts.
In this sense, advertising agencies and marketing managers should think of pay per click advertising as a form of self-funding marketing research.
Your Newest Emergency . . .
When did you last get a quote for a new website, or an SEO overhaul? For a company of any size, it’ll cost thousands of dollars and be projected to take about a year to complete. Once it’s done, you’ll be stuck with, or enjoy, the results for years. The point is, getting a new website, or paying a consultant to launch your site on search engines, is an important investment. Still, I’m always amazed at how little planning and research is typically invested in advance for site development and SEO structure. You don’t have time for testing? We say, you can’t afford not to take time for testing!
What’s up with the typical emergency fire drill which seems to be associated with every SEO or website development effort. Why is it that ad agencies and marketing managers fail to understand that rushing into fires unprepared has cost truckloads of marketing bright spots their jobs? Today’s little barn blaze becomes tomorrow’s thousand acre forest fire. So if you’re an ad agency or marketing manager looking to develop a new online presence, consider adding several months into the process for testing. We guarantee that in the process you’ll not only get smarter about Search Engine Marketing (SEM), but will also come to learn some important facts about your online target market, which can even be applied to an Advertiser’s brick and mortar business.
We propose in advance of any major site development or SEO effort to apply PPC for testing: 1) keywords lists; 2) website content; 3) alternative page design; and 4) conversion funnels.
Getting smarter about your pay per click marketing will make you smarter about your company’s overall market. Our system of Kaizen PPC management generates and tracks statistics, which provides a basis for continuously improving ROAS. So in addition to providing an attractive and potentially ever-improving return on ad spending, our methods also emphasize structuring accounts in a manner to efficiently generate usable data. If managed correctly then, pay per click advertising truly is self-funding marketing research.
Here are some examples of ways in which PPC can be used for market research:
- Find yourself debating whether a warranty / guarantee program will be beneficial? Don’t debate; run a ppc campaign advertising the concept. In a month, you’ll have your answer, along with statistics to back up your decision.
- Find yourself debating which website theme will convert best? Don’t debate; create two competing landing pages advertising each theme. Point your PPC ads to the competing landing pages. In a month, compare the bounce and conversion rates of both alternatives. You’ll have your answer, along with statistics to back up your decision.
- Find yourself debating colors used in a final screen shot? Don’t debate; create two competing landing pages using both color combinations. Run competing ads targeting both pages. In a month, compare the bounce and conversion rates. You’ll have your answer, along with statistics to back up your decision.
- Find yourself debating pricing and feature combinations? Don’t debate; offer competing prices on separate landing pages (with no index no follow tags). Run competing ad campaigns for the separate pricing / feature combinations for a couple months, compare the profitability of both after advertising costs, and you’ll have your answer, along with statistics to back up your decision.
Test Alternative Marketing Concepts
The point is, there is no need to debate marketing alternatives. Simply test alternatives. There is no more efficient means of doing so than with pay per click ads. PPC ads allow you as a marketing manager to declare with certainty which alternative will generate more profit for your company. No more betting your career on decisions made on a wing and a prayer. And since Pay Per Click campaigns, used for research, are self-funding, the opportunities for testing alternatives are limited only by your imagination.
Don’t rely on your shoot-from-the-hip web designers or SEO consultants for testing. Including Denver PPC in the process will give you another voice on which to depend, and is more likely to decrease your consultant fees than increase them. Denver PPC specializes in Pay per click advertising, and works with Advertising Agencies, Web design firms, and SEO firms. We create Kaizen PPC programs designed to generate positive ROAS and useful statistics to support all types of marketing efforts.