Pay Per Click — Not just advertising

For many of you, I’ll be preaching to the choir. For the rest of you, let’s talk pay-per-click.

For several years now, we have been saying in meetings, seminars and on our Web site, that for all practical purposes, there are two ways to get your Web site found when people use a search engine. One you can influence, and one you can control. The former is through results in the organic or so-called free listings in search results of the major search sites. The latter is to use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.

Pay-per-click, or PPC, is simply what is says. You pay the search engine company when someone clicks on your ad, landing on the page of your choice on your Web site. Notice I said landing on the page of your choice. You control what your ad says, you control your ad placement (more-or-less), you control what your visitor sees when they land on your site, and you control what it costs.

Oh, and you can easily track the effectiveness of your advertising and marketing campaigns. Not many other types of advertising offer all of those elements.

PPC is also a way to jump-start a new or redesigned site. You can be proximately displayed for your most important search terms long before your pages are indexed and start to show in organic listings.

We recommend starting with a Google Adwords campaign and then a similar campaign using Yahoo! Sponsored Search. There are others (including Microsoft adCenter) that offer PPC. Because of audience reach, we believe it is a good idea to get your feet wet with Google Adwords first.

There is much that goes into a successful pay-per-click campaign, and we’ll discuss in more detail later. You do need to embrace the following. It is imperative that:

  • Your search terms (keywords) need to be researched and chosen carefully.
  • Your ads need to be well-written and include your keywords.
  • Your landing pages need to be well-written and include your keywords.

Of course, that just scratches the surface, but you get the idea. It is also imperative that you chose a firm with experience and expertise to manage your pay-per-click campaigns.

Pay-per-click, it’s not just advertising. It’s marketing.

What your email address says about you

Earlier this week, I had a discussion with one of our clients about using their domain email accounts when sending or replying to email. (Domain email is simply an email account using a name of your choice @your domain, e.g., johndoe@yourcompany.com or info@yourcompany.com.)

Although this client uses their domain mail on their web site, many of their employees use personal accounts when communicating with clients and prospects. I, unabashedly, encouraged him to persuade his people to see the error of their ways.

Obviously, they are not the only perpetrators of this costly practice. On sites of all types, small and large, you’ll see contact email such as billybob@yahoo.com, sally312@gmail.com or something similar. Those same addresses get used routinely in emails to clients, prospects, and co-workers. And, routinely, the sender looks unprofessional.

I could rant on with all the reasons not to use personal email accounts for business, but I’ll just offer you:

Three important reasons to use your domain email.

  1. Branding, branding, branding – every time a client or prospect
    receives an email from someone in your company, they will see your domain name (Hopefully it is your company name, abbreviation of your company name, or a product or service of yours.) in the “From:” line.
  2. Get your email delivered and opened. Spam is ubiquitous, and your prospects and clients may hesitate to open an email from a toocutesy@yahoo.com, allnumbers@hotmail.com, silly@gmail.com or inappropriate@someother.com address. Deliverablity can be critical when you are sending a proposal or answering a specific request. Users can easily, and will, white-list email from you@yourcompany.com.
  3. Look as professional as you are. You would be surprised at the number of people who spend thousands of dollars on web sites and nicely-done email campaigns, yet diminish their value by including an inappropriate email address.

Oh, did I mention branding, branding, branding?

How to avoid e-mail subject mistakes

Here are a few things to think about before clicking the send button. Some will help you avoid embarrassment, some will help get your e-mail delivered, some will help get it opened. In no particular order:

Don’t forget to include a subject. Even if spam filters don’t grab your message, your recipient may be afraid to open it.

Don’t use ALL UPPERCASE characters. Spam filters will most assuredly grab your message.

Why, what, and to whom

Why: Are you dispensing information, or are you expecting something in return from the recipient(s), such as action, or confirmation?

What: Clearly and succinctly state the subject.

To Whom: More than one recipient? Be careful with this. Always consider that some of the recipients will “Reply to All.”

Consider your readers: Will they save the message for reference? A well-written subejct will make it easy to file or filter by category.

WebWise Tip | Equally as important is your “from” or sender line – the field that indicates who sent the email. Synergy between your “from” and your well-written “Subject” can be greatly enhance the prospect of your e-mail getting opened quickly.

How about you? Any favorite “subject” do’s or don’ts?