Financial Advisors: The Basics of Pay Per Click Online Advertising

Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click (PPC) is one of the many ways of promoting your financial service or business. You only pay when a user/potential customer actually clicks on an ad to visit your website. You pick keywords or phrases such as “shopping” or “Green used car” and when the results come up your ad will be displayed. Google AdWords, and Microsoft Bing Ads are some of the largest PPC network operators. PPC is often used to refer to keyword advertising on search engines and social media website such as Facebook & Twitter. With PPC, search engines & social media platforms can give you instant traffic and allow you to test out new business models and ads in real time.

Getting Started with PPC Online Advertising

To get started, you will need to create a (campaign) simple text ad (or banner ad) that will catch your specific  customer or ideal client’s attention. Customer research (demographics) is crucial. The key to online advertising is to think creatively. You need to find specific keywords that are related to your service and/or business. You must word your ad in a way that it manages to attract only that reader who might be interested in your product and/or services. You are actually paying on a per click basis and hence you must only get those visitors who will buy and utilize your product or services. The best way to go about configuring the perfect wording is tweaking the ads that you have created. If your first ad is not working out, try re-wording or adding or deleting a sentence.

Once you start getting results, track your progress in Microsoft Excel or use the PPC tracking results manager that can easily export to CSV file. Most PPC Ad managers have visual front-ends and easy to track success rates. Use one column for keywords, and another for keyword clicks. Back to Excel…Create columns that will represent category phrases. Once you figure out your phrases, think about what local or geography you will sell your product or services. Once you input the data, take out any phrases that are too generic. Start using the keywords that are left in your PPC campaign and then grab the click through rates and conversion data and add the new columns and paste next to that particular keyword. This way you can get a organized visual of what keyword is working and what keyword is not working. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner for validating the keywords you’ve found by showing you search volume data and trends, cost per click, and competitive data.

  • Understand what makes you special and why people will want to choose your service or product.
  • Keep an eye on your competitors’ keywords, messaging, and deals/offers.
  • Cater ads to different buyer wants and needs.
  • Test price, information that reassures buyers (e.g., “official site,” “24/7 support”), and time sensitivity (e.g., “Offer ends soon”).

You can also choose where you would like to advertise (demographics) such as:

  • Geographical location
  • Age and gender
  • Income levels
  • Popular sites
  • Blogs
  • Your favorite websites
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day (morning, afternoon, or night)

Don’t have a website but still want to advertise online? No problem. Most PPC networks will allow you to create a “mini” website that your ad will point to. You can add graphics, images, color schemes, and videos to your mini website. Anyone without a website no has no excuse to advertise online. For “brick and mortar” stores, make sure your PPC campaign list the city you are advertising. When your ad is seen, you want to make sure the person surfing notices that your ad is specifically for the area you are advertising for which will increase the quality of your click throughs. Avoid sending the reader of your ad to the home page on the first click. If there’s nothing local about the landing page, the user may abandon the page and move on. Send the reader directly to the product page you are advertising.

What I like about buying keywords on a PPC search engine, Facebook, Twitter is that it provides a trackable medium. Before you start any marketing campaign, you will need to decide what the goal of your marketing medium. If you are just “branding”, then you should know up front to expect to lose money to gain mind share or reinforce your brand.

The advantages to advertising online enables site owners to receive new traffic, new client leads and more measurable ROI. Another advantage include small businesses to be able operate nationally & globally. If your plan is to target the U.S. or the world with your ads, you better have a big budget. Broad PPC campaigns can get very costly in a short amount of time. Instead, begin by targeting the local market you’re familiar with. Your geo-targeted “buyer-persona” ads will cost less, and they will be better aimed at your specific audience. Make sure you localize your keywords. Not only do you have a greater chance to appear in the top SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), but you have an opportunity to do so much faster than if you were targeting global customers.

Can You Increase Traffic Without SEO ?

Yes, but it takes a lot of creativity, ingenuity and content creation.

First off, create a constant flow of good, quality content. Update your website content everyday. Include links to outside sources and use high quality graphics (.png). New revolving content is CRUCIAL. Content is king. New content updated daily will catch the search engine’s attention. You must do one thing: provide a daily flow of content.

More traffic without SEO tips also include:

  • Search for an aggregator within your vertical and see if they will pick up your content. Contact the editor. Get a conversation going through email. If your selling something (retail), try and get a coupon aggregator to pick you up.
  • Make sure you have an RSS feed subscription. Make it easy for visitors to get your daily updates.
  • If your using a WordPress (publishing platform) site, download and install a SEO plugin at the WordPress Plugin Directory. Let the plugin do all the work. You don’t need to know a damn thing about SEO to install one of these plugins. This is easy and will help get you that low hanging traffic fruit. Good WordPress SEO plugins include: Meta SEO Pack, SEO Ultimate, SEO Tools, Platinum SEO Pack.
  • Get users to comment and engage in some sort of discussion on your site. This generates more content and more search engine juice. If your starting out and don’t have any users, create numerous dummy email accounts and post comments thru these accounts. Make sure you add/post a DIGG, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Tweet your website and every content post.
  • Pay for online ads (Google, Twitter, Facebook). This is good if your selling a product, but bad if your just promoting a content site that isn’t selling anything but click-through ads. SPAM tends to gravitate towards paid online ads promoting content while trying to get paid through google ads or banner advertisement clicks so be careful. Go with PPC (if your budget permits) if you have an actual product or service to sell.

Facebook’s No. 1 Ad Revenue

Facebook

Social Network’s $2.19 Billion Puts It at Top of the Digital Heap, Leaping Google, Yahoo. Google will make $1.15 billion in display ads for 2011, down 10% from an earlier estimate, while Yahoo is expected to bring in $1.62 billion from banner ads, down less than 2% from an earlier analysis. Source: eMarketer research.

Online Advertising: Are You Leaving Money On The Table With Your International Traffic?

It was reported in the Wall Street Journal, Internet companies from blogs to large Amazon.com types are now drawing more of their web traffic from overseas. I know from personal experience that this blog’s traffic is more than 50% international. I’ve seen this trend rising the last couple of years (research data).

What exactly does this mean for companies that charge advertising? It means that when a foreign overseas visitor clicks on your site and your running banner ads that get you a monetary % of click thru’s, you are leaving money on the table. How? For example: European visitors clicks on your landing page and you (or the ad network platform you use) serve them a Verizon ad special that is only available in the United States. Is that ad compelling to the visitor? Do you think this International visitor is interested in clicking thru the US centric ad? No way!

Thousands upon thousands of ad revenue is lost and sitting right there on the table. The problem is that if your running a global media company and your serving up U.S. ads, your potential revenue is in danger. Most of the US ad network platforms that websites run, only serve up U.S. ads. What can you do to solve this issue? If your ad network is “in house” …..make sure you serve your international clients  visitor a country specific ad. it’s real easy to identify these visitors thru international domains, first-party cookies, and IP addresses. If it’s a U.S. visitor, serve up a U.S. ad. If you outsource to an online ad network that doesn’t have these capabilities, try hiring an international advertising platform company. There are a lot of them that are London based. Need an ad network platform on the Pacific Rim or India where Internet usage is sky rocketing with the arrival of DSL? Try ad companies such as Komli Media (India). Selling internet ads to local international markets is a tough issue right now. Larger companies with resources have sales teams set up outside the U.S. Companies such as MySpace and Facebook (that now get over 50% of traffic from overseas) are trying to ramp up their sales teams internationally. The majority of Facebook’s growth is international. Of the 75 million uniques it added in the last year, just 13 million (17%) were in the U.S., where MySpace is still twice Facebook’s size. Internet usage overseas is anywhere from a few years behind to ground zero. As they gain access to telephone lines (DSL) and cable, this customer base will grow exponentially. You have to prepare to exploit your platform to serve these international visitors. Get to them now before your competitor does.