Why Do E-mail Marketing?

By Mark Brownlow, Mar 2011 (first published: Nov 2006)

People unfamiliar with email marketing often wonder what all the fuss is about. Didn’t spam kill email as a marketing vehicle? And if spam didn’t kill it, what about blogs, Twitter and all the other clever ways we can communicate online? Isn’t email outmoded?

Those wondering about the benefits of email marketing in today’s ever-changing online and marketing environment will find the answers below.
Continue reading Why do E-Mail Marketing?


Yes, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is more complicated than other types of Internet advertising, but that only applies if you are new to it. There’s a science to it that can easily turn off new online business owners and non-techie webtrepreneurs, yet it is highly effective when done right.

In fact, it can get downright exciting! It’s like you’re cracking the code of how people think and predicting what they’ll do.

The key to doing PPC successfully is by studying and working with keywords and key phrases. Keywords are the words typed in a search engine box. For example, if you want to find a review on a mobile phone, type in the brand as the keyword. Lately, long-tailed keywords or key phrases have become more effective because it turns the search or query more specific. Instead of typing in the brand of the mobile phone, you would type, “features of XYZ brand.”

Last year, online advertising grew by 15%, and part of the reason for the growth spurt was the 21% increase in PPC in 2012. In short, advertisers were enjoying excellent results from their PPC efforts in 2012. That led to more companies deciding to jump on the bandwagon and cash in on the action, so to speak!

This was an incredible reversal from the 2011 performance of PPC that only had a 6% rate over organic searches. In simpler terms, as advertising became more creative and accepted online, users were shifting and beginning to do their shopping online. It all came together with the increased security protocol and efficient online payments options.

With amplified advertising came the pressure to bid higher since the competition became stiffer. To counteract the increase in advertising costs, advertisers were forced to be very picky with their keywords. Even if it meant bidding higher for a better keyword, it was the preferred action because the results were more favorable.

Choosing Keywords

PPC always starts with a keyword. Advertisers need to bid on keywords but it isn’t just about the bid quote but other factors such as relevance to the user. The best way to get the results you want from a PPC campaign is to take into account the following:

  • Research the selection of keywords – The keywords have to make sense to your business.
  • Prioritize and group your selection – Be organized. You cannot bid high on every keyword you want to use. Keep your selection tight but do not forget to prioritize.
  • Use negative keywords – This is an option offered by PPC services so you can filter the people who can see your ads. It will save you from having to pay for ads from people who will never buy from you even if they click on your ads out of curiosity. You see, clicking on ads is not your target; it’s finding the right market who will want to click and buy from you.

Finally, optimize your bids on proven keywords and don’t forget that your ad still has to do its job by appealing to your market by being creative, eye-catching, and compelling.

PPC TrendsThe ubiquitous nature of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising started with a healthy dose of skepticism. The new medium failed to impress many people after its introduction as an online advertising and marketing option in 1996.

As the years passed, acceptance and use became common, and today there are at least 4 top companies offering PPC services.

In 2013, the results from PPC were remarkable, to say the least. Online users tend to click on paid ads by as much as 64% compared to the 34% who choose to click on unpaid links. Most users click on paid ads not because they’re shopping around, but because the ads look appealing and interesting. People are used to PPC by now, and jump at the chance to click on an ad that catches their interest.

But what exactly is PPC?

PPC is one way to advertise your goods or services. You get to place an ad on a search engine results page (SERP), and when someone clicks on your ad, that’s when you pay your host. Of course, to get that valuable spot on a popular website. That’s not easy because you really need to be knowledgeable of the PPC service’s requirements to get the best results.

Still, it is worth all the work you put into creating a tempting and “clickable” ad. This is why there is the Ad Auction- a great solution for those who want top PPC results by getting in front of users on coveted websites.

The Ad Auction

The Ad Auction works something like this:

  • It starts with a query by a user.
  • There are bidders for ad space waiting to be featured. Bidders indicate how much they are willing to pay as well as a preferred keyword
  • Google decides which bidder gets to put his or her ad on the page. The decision is based on the bid and the ad’s quality score. Quality score is based on the relevance of your ad to the query and the person making the query.
  • Bidder pays Google when the ad is clicked on. The amount to be paid will be based on the ad rank of the person second to you in the bidding divided by your quality score plus .01

Every month, auctions generate billions of dollars for PPC services like Google as well as for the advertisers. And it is important to note that bidders can’t just try to outbid every other bidder just to get picked by default. PPC services don’t work that way at all. The PPC service needs to make sure there is a chance the ad will be clicked. For example, Google will never pick an ad on snowshoes for a user querying about flip flops and who lives on a tropical island even if the advertiser for snowshoes is the top bidder.

Quickly, Does PPC Work For Everyone?

PPC works and this is obvious by the annual increase in companies getting involved in the PPC market. Spending has increased in 2014 after 83% of company executives and business owners decided they love the idea of advertising through PPC.

However, getting involved with PPC is not going to work if you just jump in cold. You have to consider at least 4 factors: Cost, Attribution, Relevance, and Creep Factor.

  • Cost refers to being ready to bid the highest since bid amount is a factor that will be considered. This could turn out to be expensive unless you know how to prioritize your bids.
  • Almost 58% of companies tend to use last click attribution, which isn’t effective because it means you have no time, inclination or budget for PPC – and you’re wasting a huge opportunity!
  • Relevance starts with choosing the right keyword to bid on so you get to go on pages that will generate clicks for your business.
  • Creep factor, i.e., don’t stalk people who click on your ads. It’s a big no-no as is using the data visitors provide you to bug them about your product. There has to be a limit to the number of times you use the cookies to track your visitors.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing and advertising is a lot like being in New York City, the world best shopping location according to CNN. There are hundreds of shops to buy from and choosing a few will depend on how aggressive the stores market their wares. In the Internet, the competition isn’t just for goods and services; it’s for attention, fame, information, and personal success.

Organic versus PPC

People who have something to say or sell online can choose not to use PPC. They can rely entirely on organic or free searches, which are based on a search engine’s logarithms on most relevant results based on your query. You can always tell the difference between PPC and organic by its design and format.

In a nutshell, the PPC ads tend to overshadow the organic results. Organic results are useful to people needing information, but PPC is more effective in the sense that it offers information, options, and a break from usual monotony of browsing through pages of text and content. It can get people the exact result they want because the advertiser already knows what the person is likely looking for.

A Few Tips on Using PPC Effectively

PPC is one piece to your marketing puzzle. You can’t rely on it entirely but neither should you dismiss it right off the bat. At one point, if you want to be successful online, you will have to start spending on advertising and marketing. PPC offers a practical solution because you only pay when your ad is clicked on.

According to a recent study by the Wordstream blog, people looking for products or services tend to go more for the PPC ads than the organic results with a margin of 2:1 in the USA. This means over 64.5% of people online who are shopping (or window shopping) will click on paid ads. This is because paid ads get prominent positions on search page results. This “in your face” approach used to draw protests from online users because they said it tainted the Internet, but now with more people using the Internet to shop, PPC actually makes their shopping experience more convenient.

  • Don’t wait for the analytics to make changes. Work in real time and adapt as the need arises. For example, if a keyword isn’t bringing in the traffic, change it. If a product isn’t moving, focus on another of your products to attract the clicks.
  • If your competitors are doing PPC, you need to do PPC. Their ad strategy, if it is working, will push your organic efforts further down the ranks. In addition, the fact that they are at the top of a search page result because of their ads will make consumers think they are the better brand by default. It implies that their ads can be supported by the demand from the market
  • Use PPC with search engine optimization (SEO) because it practically covers all grounds, especially if you are working with limited funds
  • Finally, and probably most important of all, you need to gain the trust of online users by playing a clean, ethical advertising and marketing game. Don’t spam, be excessively vigilant about tracking or using the information you get from cookies to stalk people online, and follow the motto, “Truth in advertising”, so there are no unexpected backlashes from anyone that could ruin your reputation and business.