Data has long been the backbone of digital marketing. As an account director, you should be measuring performance in some way or another and proving your worth.
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After almost a year, the world is still trying to get used to onboarding virtually and making new hires feel well trained and welcomed, even from miles away.
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In the age of social media, internet users are shifting their attention to messengers. This provides a new horizon for ads targeting customers directly.
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90% of people discover new products and brands on YouTube. It’s the 2nd largest social network with over 2 billion users and 1 billion hours of daily viewing.
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When a Search Marketing Agency pitches a new client, they may provide them a complimentary audit, initial strategy overview, competitive analysis, etc… However, once the client signs on the dotted line and the work begins, more often than not, overt time the client slips into the dark with regard to the specifics. These specifics consist of the day-to-day “blocking and tackling” of PPC. (keyword matching, search queries, ctr%, quality score, competitive bidding, affiliate hijacking, etc…). When something goes wrong with an account (and is always does), the PPC Marketer/Agency needs to explain the cause and effect and it is that situation where the client needs to know what they hell they are talking about.
In this post, I will discuss some specific instances where it’s in the best interest of both parties to educate one another in order to not only grow the business, but to keep the relationship from turning sour.
Discuss What Metrics Matter Most
Regardless of how seasoned a client/prospect might be with regard to “PPC metric lingo”, it’s in the best interest of both parties to explain which metrics matter the most and why. Sometimes, Adwords metrics such as interactions, engagement rates, etc… are not exactly accurate on measuring success. Success is should identified by conversions. For example, take this scenario.
- Increased Impressions: In general, one might think this is a good thing but depending on the targeting and platform, absolutely NOT and here’s why.
- Search Networks: More impressions can reduce the CTR% which in turn lower Quality Score and hence, result in higher costs and worse AVG Position. This also results in additional “irrelevant” traffic that will drive up budgets and lower the overall Cost/Conversion.
- Display Networks: Depending on the bidding options, (especially CPM) an increase in impressions will only drive up costs. Need to make sure CPC is set to this option.
The Influence of Competitors:
When a company enters the world of PPC Marketing, they will encounter competitors not only bidding on similar keywords, but also their “sacred” brand terms and this can have a detrimental effect on the overall performance of the account. It’s important to keep a watchful eye on this and develop strategies to counteract this problem. Here are some strategies to protect the brand:
- Make sure the client files their trademark with Google to ensure no one else can use their trademarked term in text Ads.
- Send an email/letter to all Affiliates and Resellers that they are NOT permitted to bid on the trademarked name in any of their Text/Banner Ads.
- Contact competitors directly and ask them to stop bidding on their trademark terms. (if they do not oblige, getting legal assistance would be beneficial)
Attribution of other Online or Offline Advertising
Attribution can be a tricky thing to interpret, especially to a client, but it’s imperative to tell a story that makes sense. Understanding attribution varies depending on the life cycle of the client (history, offline advertising, social media presence, etc..). Typically, a new advertiser will have to rely on “non-brand” terms to drive the most relevant traffic to their product or service. Once history as been accumulated and more people get familiar with the brand, consumers will ultimately type in their brand name (Search Engine, Direct/Bookmark) to get to their site.
The client needs to understand that it will take time to grow their brand and that this is a revolving cycles. For example, “non-branded” terms are more costly and do not provide many conversions so we automatically want to pause the campaign. Bad Idea! Quite often, the “non-brand” terms are the first point of contact that introduce the brand. Yes, it costs more money, does not result in an immediate conversion, but over time it’s what generated the customer.
Importance of “After-the-Click”
Perfecting the fundamentals of Quality Score in a campaign is a good thing. Buuuut….. it’s only half the battle. The other half is persuading the customer to take an action and frankly that is the only thing that matters here. Even though the term “after-the-click” is simple in its meaning, execution is another story. It is this strategic obstacle that can be achieved, but requires constant and intelligent testing to ensure maximum effectiveness. Bottom line: The client needs to understand that in order to maximize their Ad dollars, they will need to the invest time and money into these strategies. The following Tactics would include:
- A/B Landing Page Testing
- Cart/Form Testing
- Audience Testing
- Promotion/Offer Testing
The Trust Factor:
It’s very easy for customers to trust the platform that they are advertising on. There is this “fuzzy / comfortable” feeling that if Google recommends it, then it must be a good strategy. However, I would strongly recommend that any of the Google’s Opportunities (even though sometimes justified) need to be viewed as a just a suggestion, not an immediate decision. Remember, Google is a lucrative business because they want advertisers to spend more money with them. Increasing traffic and spend may sound good on paper, but they do not come with any guarantees in terms of conversions. When appropriate, clients need to understand the difference.
There is a “fine-line” that needs to be met where Agencies need to maintain control the PPC Accounts, while allowing the client to continue to interact and take part in the overall strategy. One way to overcome any potential issues is to educate them on all of the intricacies that may occur throughout the client-agency relationship. Once the client has developed a good rapport with the agency, it becomes easier to properly manage their performance expectations.
Over the years, I have seen so many horror stories when it comes to PPC Management. Whether it’s advertisers flying blind with their ad budgets or the common event of not knowing that their ads are being shown with irrelevant terms, there should always 100% transparency between the agency and the client. Furthermore, there needs to be more HONESTY on behalf of the PPC Agency. In this post, I will talk about a few areas of the Agency/Client Relationship that should be based on being honest with the client.
Educate the Advertiser:
Let’s face it, the PPC agency knows more about PPC Marketing than the client. However, that does not mean the client needs to be taken advantage of because they do not know how everything works. The person handling the client’s account needs to “in many ways” educate the client as to what is working, not working and where there are opportunities.
Everyone makes mistakes, right? Well, PPC Agencies should not try and hide them just because they can get away with it. Agencies should be forthcoming with admitting mistakes that were made and how efficiently and effectively they were fixed. It’s better to be honest with the client, than having them find out later that you lied to them. Ever heard of a Referral or a Testimonial?
Honest and Factual Reporting:
Over the years, I have seen so many poor examples of PPC Reporting where clients receive an excel spreadsheet of just Clicks, Impressions, CTR%, CPCs, etc… and not a single keyword or text ad or even a sentence on the performance of the account. In today’s world that is unacceptable. Moreover, I have also seen examples of trend charts being manipulated to disguise the true performance of a specific metric. Agencies have a responsibility to provide not only excellent service, but also honest and factual reporting.
PPC Marketing is not for everyone and for those who are spending money have this perception that the more they spend the better the results. That is completely FALSE. If an client/advertiser was given any sort of Guarantee from an agency, they should “run for the hills”. Guarantees in PPC Marketing are very dangerous for both parties because they create false expectations. An agency must be honest and upfront with the client when it comes to setting expectations both on performance and future success. The agency must have a clear understanding of the client’s:
- Cost per Conversions/Acquisition
- Targeted Audience
- Messaging Tactics
- Daily and Monthly Budgets
Honesty is always the best policy in PPC. Agencies have a responsibility to not only provide excellent service, but also be honest and forthcoming with the client. I have heard countless stories of poor PPC Management, including the topics I mentioned in this post. Some may say that is good for the industry because it creates more “turnover” and more opportunities for other agencies. However, for this PPC Geek, I believe in Happy Clients.
It’s only human nature to try things that other people are doing because it feels like a good idea and/or the right thing to do. In many instances, the outcome is either neutral or positive. However, in today’s online marketing world, just because someone is doing it, doesn’t make the outcome “good”. In contrast, it could actually backfire (both financially and reputation-wise). Let me explain.
When Facebook rolled out their advertising platform, everyone wanted to get in on the action. After a few years of “trial and error” trying to figure out the algorithm, it became clear that this was a potential money-making machine for advertisers. However, it didn’t take long for these same advertisers to see that their Ad dollars increasing while their Cost/Conversion skyrocket. It was this outcome, that started everyone to second-guess the benefit of this new PPC alternative to Google Adwords (now Google Ads)
Personally, many of my clients over the years wanted to try Facebook ads and frankly who wouldn’t? It was an amazing feeling where an advertiser could target pretty much anything they wanted. (Men 55+, Divorced, like Fine Scotch, NY Yankees and watches CNN). However, that honeymoon didn’t last very long. It was not based on strategy or setting inaccurate expectations, it was simply not cost effective and actually started to hurt their reputation. Clients would take a hit based simply on comments given by competitors and/or disgruntled people. It was this experience that quickly changed the minds of not only myself, but also the client. It was this combination of poor performance along with reputation issues that made them feel even more skeptical this new platform. However, over the years there’s been (1) one silver-lining and that is identifying which clients could benefit the most from this hyper-targeting platform.
In conclusion, as an Agency or Freelancer it is entirely OK to say to a client NO to Facebook Ads or at the very least say we should do a “test” to evaluate it’s potential. In candor, it all depends on the advertiser’s audience along with sensible strategies and agreed upon success metrics.
Writing native ad headlines requires more precision than regular PPC ads. There are some things you need to remember to make your native ad headlines standout.
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Are you getting tired of sifting through countless marketing articles trying to get some actual tangible advice to grow your Wealth Management company? Finding out that many of them fall short in terms of specific strategies by merely stating the obvious? Well, this article is different. I will cut through the gibberish and provide actual “hands-on” strategies that can help either a wealth management office or even financial consultants looking to grow their online presence.
#1 Basic Digital Marketing
Most of the public associates Google with SEO (Search Engine optimization) and even though they are somewhat correct, it’s much more than that. Even though PPC (Pay-Per-Click) has been a staple in digital marketing longer than algorithm-optimized SEO, they are both still a major factor in generating traffic and sales to websites. However, (SEM) Search Engine Marketing has evolved immensely, and industries such as Legal, Banking and Wealth Management communities need to adjust their strategies accordingly.
Honestly, there’s a reason why Google’s offices serve Gelato and Filet Mignon at lunch for their employees. It’s because they can charge outrageous amount of $ $ for specific keyword based on their alleged value. Let’s face it, Google Ads is not always cost-effective. For example, anything with the keyword “Wealth Manager, Estate Planning, ” is crazy expensive. The only way that this might be profitable is if you Cost/Conversion or “life-time value” metric that meets your requirements. To help explain, I will provide some “outside the box” strategies that can help ease the $ $ pain
Here’s an example of Google Ads Pricing (These are lower than in reality)
#2 Outside the Box Matters
When thinking about search marketing, the most important metrics to consider are (1) search volume and (2) estimated value of the content/keywords. However, when doing PPC Marketing keyword research, it’s not so easy. For example: Bidding on general legal keywords (IRA Rollover, Wealth Management) can result in the following dilemmas:
- Highly competitive
- Very Expensive
- Higher risk for click fraud
- Loss of Ad serving due to budget constraints
How do we remedy the problem?
Below are a few examples on how to classify keyword research in order to evaluate ROI and overall understanding of searching behaviors.
- Long-Tail Keywords: These are longer specific phrases to filter out general searches
- (wealth management services for veterans, retirement planning for military widows)
- Intent Classification: Grouping keyword terms that are segmented by an interaction potential
- High Intent: (wealth management office in Wayne, PA)
- Medium Intent: (Finance planner in PA)
- Low Intent: (Financial Consultant)
- Industry Specific Terms: These terms are highly specific in their service and can provide less competition and lower CPCs
- “HNWI Financial Planning”
- “REIT’s Consultants”
- “UITs Unit Investment Trusts”
#3 Stock Portfolio (No Pun Intended)
Yes, in the digital marketing world, the stock portfolio approach is a virtual must. We are “fishing where the fish are” in today’s world that is EVERYWHERE.
- Google Ads (search, display)
- Bing Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
- Twitter Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Ad Retargeting
- Organic Search
#4 Ever Heard of LinkedIn
Yes, LinkedIn can be used as a marketing tool not just for gloating about a job promotion and posting articles; it is also a powerful B2B and B2C advertising platform. In fact, LinkedIn Ads has impressive targeting abilities that include targeting specific industries and individuals based on job position levels.
#5 Team vs. Player
In some cases, many Wealth Management offices would rather NOT want to advertise specific employee and just focus on the generalization of their law services. However, in some instances, it can be a marketing “gold-mine” based on news and/or buzz online. If a firm is known for a specific service and is written up in a magazine where the representing attorney has received an award, then having that persons’ name in marketing efforts will most likely provide a higher intent to convert at a lower cost.
#6 Bridging the Channel Gap
This is sort of an “oldie but goodie” strategy. If a Firm is advertising outside of the online world, it is always a good idea to compliment the same branding and messaging online. For example, if a Firm’s slogan/tagline on TV is “ Were the Money Makers”, then there should be the following online:
- Google Ads campaign with keywords related to “Were the Money Makers”
- Creation of a content-heavy landing page (within the existing website) about “Were the Money Makers”
- Banner Ads that say “Were the Money Makers”
#7 Free, Free, Free
Once in a while, it is nice to generate website traffic and visibility for basically nothing. In this case, I am talking about Google Places and pushing content/blog posts through social media.
In the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), Google Places is a very lucrative position, especially on mobile devices within a specific geographic. In the Legal world, this is golden. It doesn’t cost anything, includes the ability to post photos, receive reviews/feedback, etc..
Pushing content via Social media: Now, it may cost money to hire a writer to develop content, but it does not cost anything to make it viral through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others.
#8 Little Secret from Comedians
You’re probably wondering where I am going with this. Well, it has been widely known that “Timing” is a crucial part of a successful comedy. Moreover, the same can be said for online marketing. For example, let’s suppose there is a big news story about a lawsuit regarding a case involving Estate Charitable Giving. Well, since “Estate Charitable Giving” is in the public eye, the shelf life will eventually dissipate by the next day or so. To leverage this, a Law Firm that provides Estate Charitable Giving could benefit by pushing their own content, provide opinions in social media, or even create a small PPC Marketing campaign around these terms.
#9 That Annoying Retargeting:
I’m sure everyone has experienced that annoying banner that follows you everywhere you go, but in the same breath, you want to do the same to others than visited your website. Well, there are more refined strategies to retargeting that can help filter out that annoyance. For example, here are some retargeting options:
- Target people who only visit specific pages or interactions to limit wasteful ad dollars
- Upload email lists of current and past leads/customer into Google Ads and Facebook Ads (called RSLA)
- You can create “Look-a-like” audiences in Facebook Ads were Facebook can identify similar audiences and target ads to them directly. (little scary but works)
#10 Ever Heard of Analytics?
Analytics is the key to everything. The biggest issue Law Firms face is not only trying to understand what the data means but also to make sure their website is being accurate tracked for every interaction point. For example:
- Phone Calls
- All Online Forms
- Online Chats
- Visits of a specific highly relevant page
Besides validating that the Analytics tracking code is correctly tracking information, advertisers also need to have a firm understanding of at least the following metrics:
- Where did they come from?
- What pages did they visit most?
- Where are my leads coming from?
- What is their GEO location?
- Which days of the week are better than others?
- Did that TV commercial increase traffic for a specific day?
The purpose of this article was to provide actual “tangible” strategies that have been used with legal clients in the past (and present). If you are a wealth management firm of in the financial planning industry and would like to connect with us, please feel free to reach out to me email@example.com
If there was (1) one piece of advice I would give Startups (especially Early Stage), it would be diversification… and a lot of it. startups typically have very limited advertising budgets so they have to account for every penny they spend. In this article, I will explain the reasons for this diversification as well as how best to execute them on a limited budget.
Set Realistic Expectations:
As one of the most “bastardized” words in agency world, it’s imperative to keep everyone’s hopes and dreams in check with regard to the online marketplace. Attending conferences, reading case studies and talking with other business owners is not only a great idea, it’s encouraged. however, it can also “set off” false expectations that could be devastating to the overall goals and objectives. I have advised clients (both past and present) to NEVER trust Google with their campaigns, keywords and budgets because they don’t care about growing your business, they just want your money. Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, your instincts are correct!
Separate of Brand vs. Non-Brand:
It’s simple math. It costs more money to reach consumers who DO NOT already know your brand. Over time, the brand takes “all of the credit” because that is how everyone searches for you. But, here’s the catch. Getting to that phase in consumer behavior can be difficult to achieve, especially on the wallet. Here are a couple strategies that can not only help the wallet, but also the align the expectations.
- Leverage Google Display, Mobile and YouTube Video networks
- Low cost ($ 0.10 – $ 1.00 CPC/CPV).
- More continuous visibility.
- Expectations are set to branding only.
- Utilize micro-targeting of Social media for specific audience testing
- Target specific audience segments within a short period of time.
- High volume allows for multi-variate ad testing.
- Conversion tracking pixels allow for full analytics reporting.
This may sound like a “no-brainer” to some of you, but startups tend to forget that measuring success is more than just placing an order or a form submission. Often, little things like email signups, chat sessions and phone calls eventually lead to “real” conversions later on in the buying cycle. It’s important for everyone involved to consider these little conversions in the overall big picture. In some instances, these interactions act as a barometer when something is wrong or unclear and can help improve usability within the website experience.
Startups are faced with tough decisions when it comes to advertising due to their limited Ad budgets. They also cannot afford to, “bet the farm” on something that they heard at a conference or read in a case study. In 2016, consumers are everywhere (Google Search, Facebook Ads. YouTube. Twitter Ads, etc…) and startups need to leverage all of the platforms to maximize their exposure. They also need to understand that certain ad platforms serve different purposes as well as perform better than others.
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