Test the Forest, then the Trees, then the Branches, then the Leaves..
One of the most important things of any Google AdWords campaign is to continually test and refine. The best practices for Google AdWords is to continually test and refine keywords, text ads, display ads, placements, ad extensions, target locations, and on and on.
When testing so many things, it is easy to test things that don’t matter (yet) before testing things that really matter – or will have a big impact more immediately.
Perry Marshall would always tell me that in each of those things you could test is an 80/20 grouping. There will be a few things that will have a big impact (the 20%), and the rest a minute impact on your results (the 80%.) BUT, he would also say:
“Before you test the little stuff, test the big stuff and work your way down. Test the Forest, then the Trees, then the Branches, then the Leaves..”
People often get hung up on testing the punctuation of an ad when they haven’t tested multiple variations of drastically different ads first.
The punctuation will have an effect, and has proven to produce big results in many cases, but how much bigger would the results be if you first identified an ad that is %30 more effective than the current ad?
The idea is to make sure you are in the right forest, with the right trees, before you climb the branches and begin polishing the leaves.
Tweaking the leaves of the wrong kind of tree in the wrong forest just uses a lot of time and money for nothing.
I find it interesting as I begin evaluating prospective clients how infatuated they are with a single metric in their lead generation – volume. Search volume, click volume, impressions, number of calls – whatever it is they watch it like a hawk and sadly make a lot of decisions based on it alone.
I think it comes from the common idea that marketing is a numbers game – so if you want more sales, you simply pump up the volume of impressions, clicks, calls, etc. and eventually a certain number of conversions will take place.
While that may be true to a certain extent, a few highly qualified, highly interested leads are way more valuable than thousands of unqualified leads that you have to wade through over and over until you find the one that may be in them.
Volume is one of those things that can be seductive. It makes you feel like there is something going on, that you are making progress, or that whoever is making your phone ring is doing a good job. It also gives you hope because if there is a high volume someone has to convert soon.
But the problem is, while it is an important metric, it is the wrong metric to measure to determine the success of any campaign. (more…)
Unlimited traffic? It sounds like a pipe dream or only a theoretical concept, but in fact it is not only an actual possibility – it will always happen in any online market when someone does a few simple things just a little better than their competition.
On the internet, things operate on 90/10 vs. 80/20
When it comes to traffic, 90% of advertisers a fighting over scraps – the traffic left over after the 10% takes their share. This is why most Google AdWords management companies measure their success by reducing the average cost per click and cost per conversion for their clients month after month.
When you’re on the 90% side of things, you have to worry endlessly about reducing cost per click, cost per conversion, and every way possible to take as much money out of the process as possible.
When you’re on the 10% side of things, your goal is to be able to afford to spend more than your competitors and put as much back into the process as possible.
I know this sounds bass-ackwards, and even blasphemous to a lot of ad management companies – but keep with me, and I’ll explain how it works – and why. (more…)
One of the greatest aspects of digital marketing in comparison to traditional marketing methods is the amount of reliable data we can collect in a short period of time.
Like no other marketing medium, we can track just about every aspect of every component of the ad and the people who respond to it.
This is great, but if we’re not careful this flood of data can cause us to draw incorrect conclusions to patterns and correlations we find in the data itself.
Here’s an example.
In 1924 a study conducted at Western Electric on employee productivity concluded that employees were more productive when they changed the lighting conditions. Years later it was realized that the employees were more productive not necessarily because of the new lighting conditions, but because they new they were being observed during the study.
Another example often cited in statistics classes show the trends on a graph of annual murder rates and ice cream sales. Both have identical seasonal curves on the graph – they correlate, but does this constitute a cause-effect relationship? Of course not. (more…)
The prediction that phone books would be gone forever has been around for a decade. Are they dead yet? I say yes. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t around or being published, it just means that they don’t actually DO anything related to their intended purpose.
Business hope that their advertisement will drive new business to their doors, but I’ve found that is rarely the case. Most small business owners have abandoned the phone books entirely – they have small budgets and have to be frugal. The businesses who remain are those who have deeper pockets and not a clue as to whether or not their advertisement is profitable.
When was the last time you opened a phone book? I’ll bet it has been years, unless you have an ad in one – then you would be one of the few cracking them open just to see what your ad looks like.
The funny thing is, there are still arguments that they still work. How can they? (more…)
Every idea is only as good as its execution. It doesn’t matter how great the idea – for an advertisement, a website, a sales letter, or ad campaign if its execution detracts from the intent or purpose of the idea itself.
For example, a poorly designed website communicates volumes to the visitor that the owner or designer never intended – or even thought of. The dated design, the confusing user experience, the encyclopedic copy keeps the visitors focus on the lamentable execution rather than the message or intent of the site itself.
An overly designed or decorated website or advertisement is often an attempt to mask the lack of content or creativity. Often designers will overuse fonts, colors, and other design elements to try and make their work look more professional, but in reality it only highlights an amateur design.
Effective ideas in design and in writing always come from taking away everything that doesn’t help or add to the communication or purpose of the work itself. The most effective ideas are those that are reduced to the simplest and most essential elements required to achieve its purpose.
A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This is something I learned from years of working in other people’s businesses. It’s so easy to take the default path in your marketing, your websites, your advertising. That’s why so many industries and markets do everything the same. They watch each other, they follow each other, they copy each other.
What results is a never ending cycle of sameness and usually a whole bunch of ventures and campaigns that don’t work.
The default path is the lazy path. It is the quick and easy – the gamble.
I’ve watched many competitors each doing the same thing (that didn’t work) because everyone else is doing it. And because each sees their competitors doing it, they persist – even if by their own calculations it is a failure and should be abandoned.
What they see is the appearance of success from the outside. What they didn’t see was the internal meetings after the fact where the boss says “never do that again!” (more…)
Digital Marketing, Search Visibility, Reputation Management