Internet Marketing News Flash
Google AdWords Affiliate
On January 13, 2005, Google implemented a new affiliate advertising
policy. Google will display only one ad per search query for
affiliates and parent companies that share the same URL. This
change further improves the user and advertiser experience.
Here to Read more about Affiliate Policy Change ...
Yahoo & MSN Closing the Google
New study finds that Yahoo, MSN Search and Ask Jeeves have
all made significant improvements over the past year and are
narrowing Google's mindshare advantage.
Here to Read the Entire Article...
AOL Search Introduces New Search
AOL announced the addition of new search features to its
site. The new AOL Search continues to be powered by core results
from the Google index while adding relevant content from the
Here to Read the Entire Article...
ABCs of ROI
You can track the history of online advertising by the alphabetical
soup and the buzzwords of the day.
Along with the first banners, in came fashionable-sounding
CPM and "eyeballs". For some weird reason, "eyeballs"
failed to produce sales, and the attention shifted to CTR.
Then Amazon.com introduced affiliates and CPA. A short while
later, Goto.com introduced CPC, or PPC, and the world of online
advertising has pretty much acquired its present shape. Not
much has changed until the very recent advent of good old
ROI in the vocabulary of every self-respecting e-marketer.
ROI means "return on investment". ROI is where the
With a little perseverance, almost no investment, lots of
time and a little luck, anybody can achieve higher ROI. There
are three major areas to pay attention to, all well within
means and abilities of any webmaster and online marketer:
keyword selection, listing title and description; landing
page content; and overall site navigation. Whether you buy
100 or 100,000 clicks per day, there are no excuses for not
making each click more effective and increasing the likelihood
of its conversion into a sale. Just borrow creatively from
the sidebar tips and examples in this article, and your ROI
will go up before you can say "ROI".
It All Starts With Your Listing
Your listing on a pay-per-click search engine is the first
thing your future customers see. It goes without saying that
you should submit your listings only under appropriate and
carefully selected keywords. You don't want anyone other than
qualified buyers to see --and click on -- your ads.
Tips on Improving your Listing Quality
- Use your listing titles and descriptions to further qualify
prospects - and distinguish your company from competitors.
What's your biggest selling point? What kind of customers
are you looking to attract? This information should be clearly
reflected in your ads.
- Make sure that your listing titles are concise, descriptive
and project the professional image. Multiple exclamation
marks don't tend to impress. Also, no need to put your company
name twice -- in the title and then again in the listing
body. It takes up the limited space you have with redundant
- A well-written ad could make a world of difference. Use
correct punctuation, follow capitalization rules...and of
course, spell check! No customer could trust a company that
can't keep typos out of one short ad!
- Eliminate all text that doesn't carry useful information.
Your ad may get only get a second or two of a visitor's
attention - don't waste it on extra words that don't help
get your message across.
- Link each of your listings to a landing page that will
act as a natural extension of the ad. Any product feature
or special offer mentioned in the listing should be immediately
visible on the landing page.
- Study Google Ad Words Listing Guidelines by heart and
stick to it: http://adwords.google.com/select/guidelines.html
"The goal of a PPC listing is not to attract visitors,
it's to attract buyers," said Bob Zakrzewski, president
and founder of FindGift.com.
Keyword selection is a multi-step process that requires
constant feedback and ongoing adjustments.
"Typically we develop an initial list of 200+ relevant
keywords for a client's site," said Jon Keel, the author
of popular "Instant Web Site Traffic" course instantwebsitetraffic.com
and principal of Cincinnati, OH-based Improved Results improved-results.com,
a performance marketing group whose star-studded list of clients
includes Valvoline, Heinz, Procter & Gamble and Johnson
Keel's strategy is to develop the conversion metrics for
each of the clients -- something you will have to do for yourself,
as each website's objective is unique. "The end result
isn't always a purchase," said Keel, "Many of our
clients are interested in generating leads for follow up in
their conventional offline sales process."
As a next step, after the conversion metrics have been established,
Improved Results submits the corresponding listings to Overture
for the initial test run. "Conversion data for each keyword
[provides us with] the basis for deletion of non-converting
keywords and additional focus on converting keywords,"
According to Keel, 100+ clickthroughs per day are a minimum
to determine overall conversion. Once the keyword list is
purged and refined, the listings are submitted to FindWhat,
Google, and other PPCSEs that were selected for a given campaign.
But what if the 200-keyword test run is cost-prohibitive
due to the brutal bidding war that is going on in most of
the competitive keyword areas, driving the prices way up?
In most instances, there is always room for creative keyword
selection that allows you to bypass the pay-per-click battlefield.
"More specific keywords have a double benefit,"
explained FindGift.com's Zakrzewski. "One, the bidding
prices are usually lower for more specific keywords as compared
to general keywords. Two, you should generate better conversion
rates since you are helping visitors fill a more specific
Brian Feeny, president of SportsFanFare.com, works with an
astonishing 48,000 keywords. "Our bread and butter are
obscure bidding terms on Overture", said Feeny. Out of
all the keywords SportsFanFare.com is working with, only about
1,000 are being bid on competitively. "With the rest
of them, we're able to keep excellent rankings with minimal
investment," explained Feeny.
For example, instead of trying to compete with two or three
most popular terms such as "Notre Dame" and "Notre
Dame merchandise", Feeny digs deep into the specific
products, such as "Notre Dame blankets" and "Notre
"Our competitors are often plain and flat lazy,"
Don't be a lazy competitor -- do your homework and make sure
you're taking full advantage of the keyword playing field.
If you implement only half of the suggestions from our "Tips
on improving your listing quality" sidebar, you will
be miles ahead of your competition. Above all, remember that
your PPC listing is the first point of contact with the customer,
and you only have a split second to make a positive and long
lasting first impression.
The second point of contact with your prospects occurs on
the page they land on after clicking on your carefully targeted,
highly informative and brilliantly written PPC listing. "The
landing page should be as close to the point of purchase as
appropriate for the bidded keyword," said FindGift.com's
Zakrzewski. "If you're a flower company, it is okay for
the term "flowers" to link to your home page. [Sic]
the term "roses" should link to a category page
that features your selection of roses. The term "dozen
red roses" should link to a page that focuses on items
specific to that term."
Making the most out of your Landing Page
- You could lose as many as half of your visitors for every
extra click it takes to reach your order form. Many successful
online advertisers have landing pages that are one single
click away from the point of purchase!
- This means that your landing pages should contain any
and all information a visitor might need to make a purchasing
decision: pricing, features, refund policies, service guarantees,tech
support hours, previous newsletter examples, and so on,
depending on what it is you're selling.
- Focus visitors' finite attention span on the task at
hand: sign up, bookmark, opt-in, contact your sales department
- interactions that will make them a customer or sales lead.
Less is more - remove all irrelevant information or links
that might distract them from what they came to your website
Think of a landing page as a mini-version of your site.
Your goal is to minimize the number of distractions and links
that point away from the purchase or opt-in. Therefore, all
of the information that customers might need in order to make
a purchase should be readily available without them having
to drift away from the landing page. This includes customer
support telephone number and email address, shipping information
and pricing, details of return policy and money-back guarantee,
as well as customer testimonials or 3rd party ratings, if
appropriate. It is up to you to find the fine balance between
"too much" and "not enough" information.
Also keep in mind that your prospects are likely to have
several browser windows containing the sites of your competitors
open at the same time. Study the sites of companies whose
listings surround yours, and make sure yours is the best in
every respect. If you don't do it, your customers will.
Excellent example of a good landing page is http://www.crazyforbargains.com/joeboxdolsig.html
"We have done a number of things to improve our conversion
rate on this page," said Melissa Murphy, owner of CrazyForBargains.com.
"We have a text link in the item description that directs
customers to our boxer shorts department, and we have text
links in the item description that direct customers to other
"When a customer adds dollar sign boxer shorts to their
shopping cart, they are shown three other products that are
set up as cross sells. This is quite effective in boosting
the amount of our average sale," added Murphy.
Volumes upon volumes have been written about good site design
and navigation. For an e-merchant whose livelihood depends
on online sales, this is not an idle aesthetic issue. Consistent,
professionally developed and thoroughly tested user interface
needs to have everything you need to make a sale and nothing
that you don't -- that's what the art and Zen of good information
architecture boils down to.
The winning E-Commerce site design and navigation
- Keep your site design as simple as possible. Make sure
the look and feel is consistent across every area of your
site in terms of fonts, color schemes and navigation links
-- especially pay attention to the transition to the secure
- Group navigation links so that there are no more than
5-6 main menu items. If visitors are overwhelmed with too
many choices, they might just leave.
- Make sure your pages load quickly; the subliminal effect
of a fast-loading site cannot be overestimated.
- Beware of dead-ends and leaks! Make sure that all of
your pages that are not directly related to orders or opt-ins
have the necessary elements that encourage visitors to buy
or sign up.
- Test your site on a dialup modem, on Netscape, on a Mac.
Your site must look attractive and be functional regardless
of the visitor's form of connectivity, operating system
- Provide as many ways as possible to get in touch with
you: phone number, "email sales" link, "instant
callback" link, live chat. Make sure your contact information
is accessible from every page, especially your order form.
- 12-stage order forms and sign-up processes are out! If
you must put customers through the multi-page order forms,
include a mini-navigation bar (i.e. "step 2 out of
4") - so people know how close they are to completing
"We list every section of our store on the left navigation
bar," said CrazyForBargains.com's Murphy. "When
we first opened our store we had main sections, such as 'men's
clothing' and 'women's clothing', and subsections for items
such as 'boxer shorts' and 'pajamas'." CrazyForBargains.com's
navigation was changed, and now all of the departments are
listed in the common navigation bar on the left of each page:
'men's boxer shorts', 'men's pajamas', 'women's sleepwear',
and so on. "We saw a dramatic increase in our conversion
rate from PPC listings when we made this change," explained
Murphy. "It just seems to make our site easier for customers
There is no end to little improvements that can be done to
increase click-to-sales conversion on any e-commerce site,
no matter how big or small. Improving ROI is a moving target
-- a process rather than the state. And, as with any other
complex process, you need to have the right set of metrics
developed to relentlessly track your progress and document
the impact of your changes.
The common set of metrics, according to FindGift.com's Zakrzewski,
includes orders per visitor, revenue per visitor, revenue
per marketing dollar spent, pages views per visitor, items
added to shopping cart per visitor, shopping cart abandonment
rates, repeat visit rates, and repeat purchase rates.
To summarize, the magic ROI formula is simple: right keywords
and smart ad copy, balanced landing page content, relentlessly
tested site navigation, adequate tracking tools and metrics...and,
of course, no life!
About the Author
Dmitri Eroshenko is the Director of Business Development at
Clicklab, a web self-service that provides comprehensive post-click
ROI analysis to online advertisers and merchants.
how to maintain your PPC campaigns so you will always
allocate your budget in the most cost-effective way.
Maximize your ROI and ensure your online advertising
success with Dynamic Bid Maximizer at http://www.keywordbidmaximizer.com
How-To ... Tips, Tricks and Expert
Q: How can I schedule bids update more frequently
in the Dynamic Bid Maximizer?
A: You can schedule your bids update by
using Auto-Bid mode. This feature allows you to perform your
bidding automatically on a regular basis. You can specify
how frequent you wish to perform the Autobid function and
Dynamic BidMaximizer will also send you a keyword report via
email automatically when the update is completed.
How to enable Auto-bid mode:
- Double click on your account name from the "Account"
list, and be sure that the "Enable Scheduler"
box is checked, and specify the duration you want to run
AutoBid. For example if you want to run bids update every
30 minutes you enter 0.5 in the text box.
- If you would like a report to be sent to you once the
keyword look up is completed, please check the "Send
keyword report by email when completed" box. (Note:
you also need to setup your SMTP mail server and e-mail
address under File/Configuration window.)
You can also assign a specific setting to each individual
keyword by selecting a particular keyword and then choose
"Set Keyword Property" under the "Keywords"
item from the main menu. In the section "Autobid"
tab you can provide the auto-bid setting details.
If you are an Overture version user, you can also specify
the day and time period you want to set your account offline
-- for example overnight. Be also aware that Overture only
allows you to update your bids in 30 minutes gap 24 times
a day, even if you update your bids within 15 minutes you
won't see any changes.
To get more information about Dynamic Bid Maximizer, please
visit our knowledgebase at: