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April 17, 2008

5 Steps to Pay Per Click Advertising That Works

5 Steps to Pay Per Click Advertising That Works

Compared with the ineffective crapshoot that is traditional advertising, there’s no better way to get targeted traffic than through pay-for-performance keyword advertising in search engines. If you’re not clear on what pay per click ads are, those are the sponsored links that show up when you perform a web search in Google, Yahoo and other search engines.

While more targeted than offline advertising or banner ads, it’s certainly possible to throw away a lot of cash with pay per click. The way to do that is to fail to think strategically about where you send people who click on your ads.

The goal of pay per click advertising is to get in front of searchers who are looking specifically for what you have to offer. This takes careful keyword research, strategic bidding, and compelling ad copy just to get the click.

The problem is, that’s where most people stop.

They make the mistake of sending that targeted traffic to the home page of their website or blog. Even worse, they make no attempt to establish a relationship with those that don’t buy, so as to boost conversion rates for every dollar spent.

So, if you’re selling products or services, it makes sense to make sales and build your fan club at the same time. Here’s how to boost your conversion rates from any pay per click campaign while also boosting your subscriber numbers.

  1. The first thing to do is build a ultra-specific page to send the search traffic to, called a landing page. Depending on the variety of key words you are bidding on, you may even build several landing pages that each narrowly address the specific needs of that searcher.
  2. When I say “searchers,” I mean searchers. Do not participate in contextual advertising programs on publisher sites. I think we’ve all seen enough AdSense spam to understand part of the reasoning here. But even on reputable sites, contextual advertising brings too many “curiosity clicks” that kill your return on investment. You want people who are actively looking for what you are offering. You can choose to opt-out of non-search traffic with both Google and Yahoo.
  3. The landing page does not sell your product or service. This is key. You instead offer a quality free resource –- a mini-course, ebook, teleseminar, or other type of tutorial that is directly related to what you are ultimately selling. By teaching people about the subject matter of your product or service, you are actually engaging in a highly effective form of selling, all while establishing a relationship.
  4. Whatever your free offer, it must be delivered by an email or RSS autoresponder that allows you to stay in contact with the prospect.
  5. You should explicitly inform your prospects that in addition to the free resource you are offering, they will also be receiving your email newsletter / blog updates. Make sure you make this part of your offer as enticing as possible. You’re delivering valuable, relevant content on a regular basis, right?

And there you have it. You’ll likely make some sales right away, but your real profits will come from the people who warm up to your offer thanks to the ongoing value you provide with your blog content.

This technique is by no means new. But it’s shocking how many people still don’t use it, as they waste good money sending targeted traffic to a home page that is not laser-focused, and also fail to offer true value to the searcher that results in a relationship.

You don’t propose marriage before you get a first date. And you likewise shouldn’t expect people to just automatically jump at the chance to give you money upon arriving at your home page.

Of course, each of the five steps above could use some elaboration, and I’ll be offering tips in the future that can help boost landing page conversions even for those who have been using this method for years. Also, the key word research and bidding process in Google AdWords (the largest pay per click program) is a topic in itself that requires mastery to be effective.

For help with that part of the process, check out Perry Marshall’s free 5 Days to Success With Goggle AdWords mini-course. I own Perry’s AdWords book and it is an invaluable resource. He’s the real deal when it comes to strategies that drive traffic from Google.

And that free mini-course sign-up page is an excellent example of a landing page that works. :)

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