"Making Web Promotion Easier..."

Issue: January 2005
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Web site Promotion & Internet Marketing Software 
In this issue of Dynamic Internet Marketing Newsletter »

Internet Marketing News Flash

Google AdWords Affiliate Policy Change

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.

Click Here to Read more about Affiliate Policy Change ...

Yahoo & MSN Closing the Google Gap

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.

Click Here to Read the Entire Article...

AOL Search Introduces New Search Features

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 AOL network.

Click Here to Read the Entire Article...


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 money is.

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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 information.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 & 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," said Keel.

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 need."

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 Dame pillows".

"Our competitors are often plain and flat lazy," said Feeny.

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.

Soft Landing

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

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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 for.

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 related products."

"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.

Smooth Navigation

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 strategies

  1. 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 order page.
  2. 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.
  3. Make sure your pages load quickly; the subliminal effect of a fast-loading site cannot be overestimated.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 and browser.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 their purchase.

"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 to navigate."

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.

Learn 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

How-To ... Tips, Tricks and Expert Guides

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:

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