Marketers, we need to have a talk. For the past few years, the cost per click of Google Adwords, and now Facebook’s newsfeed ads and promoted posts, have been climbing. It makes sense that as platforms have become more and more known to marketers and the public in general, more people have tried to take advantage of them, and they’re become more competitive. For some markets, certain keywords and audience targeting may still be viable on these networks, but many small businesses and entrepreneurs will find themselves boxed out of these networks by costs of per click sometimes into the double digit dollars. Ouch.
Instead, here are a few networks that are off the beaten path but can offer a great ROI for those willing to take the time to explore them.
Bing: Bing has been laughed off as a search engine in lieu of Google’s massive marketshare when it comes to search traffic. That said, their ad product can actually offer a decent volume of traffic at a fraction of the cost. This is partly because they’ve partnered up with other smaller search engines (like Yahoo), and ads run through the Bing ad manager will also show up on those networks. In general, you can secure the same keywords for less by using Bing if Adwords is pricing you out. Plus, their support is excellent, especially when compared with the sped of Google’s, and livechat means you can always get clarity on ad performance, no matter where you are in the world or what time it is.
Reddit: Reddit is an odd duck. Many people have been scared off from using this platform because they’ve offended a deeply defensive community. Reddit avoids promotion as much as possible, and people catch on quick when it becomes apparent that someone is posting their specialty forum or ‘subreddit’ with the express intention of promoting their brand or hawking a product. That said, reddit gives marketers the ability to pay for a link to remain at the top of a subreddit for as much time as you’re willing to pay for – and lucky for marketers that value is grossly underestimated right now, meaning you can get impressions and clicks dirt cheap. We’re talking advertisements that get 15,000 impressions for $10. If you’re writing effective ads that get even a few clicks, you’re already getting a lower cost per click than just about any platform available for mainstream marketing.
Other honorable mentions include things like Stumbleupon, where promoted content can go viral for no additional cost, and retargeting using the Bing display ad network. These are far from your only choices, but they’re a good starting point to get the wheels turning about how you might be able to leverage networks outside of the ones that grace headlines every other day. Of course, the same principles apply when keeping careful track of your ROI and split testing your ad creative to make sure you’re getting the best return possible.
Do you have a landing page that is under-performing or not converting at all? If so, consider the fact that many landing pages out there follow three extremely flawed approaches for content creation. If your landing page falls into one of these three categories, it’s likely that any promotions, ads or other monetary boosters you try will fail as well, sinking more of your hard-earned money into a failing endeavor. Similarly, it’s unlikely that changing the design or aesthetics of your landing page will help.
1. Guessing at What Your Lead Wants to Read. This is how many landing pages are done: simply trying out random messages that might or might not have worked on other landing pages, to see the results. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time and ultimately, costs you a lot of money in sales. Sure, guessing right the first time can be extremely easy and lucrative, but what are the odds you’ll guess right? Do you really know what you consumer wants to read, or are you too close to the sales aspect of the product to listen to the true consumer needs? Remember, guesswork is costly and most of the time, flat out wrong. If this is how you created your landing page, it’s time to reevaluate your under-performing copy.
2. Looking to the Competition. Okay, so every online marketer looks at what their competition does in order to keep their finger on pulse of the industry, but some of us use the competition as our basis for research. Figuring that the competition has done their marketing homework, we “borrow” from their landing pages and rewrite copy in the same vein as their copy. We figure, “They must know what they’re doing, so I’ll just do the same, we have the same demographic, after all.” But what if they are just guessing? Or what if they are dead wrong? You just anchored yourself to your competition’s success and furthermore, there’s now nothing to truly differentiate your two landing pages. Why should customers go to you instead?
3. Cliché Ad Copy. Finally, many marketers will turn to tired, old, boring and used cliché messages that they think sound good, they don’t. These messages don’t scream, “Buy me now!” They scream, “Help! I was written by a lazy marketer who might also be extremely corny!” Your message and copy need to mean something. If you aren’t the best-selling product, don’t call yourself that. Empty copy leaves prospects guessing. Be specific in the problems your product solves, it’ll be that much more impressive.
Now that you know the wrong way to approach writing copy for your landing page, what’s the best way? A little technique called Voice of Customer, or VOC. VOC is a marketing technique that relies on knowing your customer demographic in order to create viable copy that speaks directly to them in a language they prefer. VOC writing relies heavily on your understanding of your prospect’s problems and pain points, in other words, what do they need solved and what problems do they have with the solution you’re presenting.
When you know this, you can market the product or service in a manner that speaks directly to the lead, thereby eliminating friction. When you know their wants and needs, you can prioritize them accordingly, deconstructing each bit of friction with every line of copy on your landing page. This brings greater satisfaction to the lead as they read down the landing page and ultimately, all but guarantees the sale.
Most marketers are serious do-it-yourselfers. They’re learning constantly about all kinds of different facets of marketing and trying to put what they learn into practice all with just one pair of hands. Most internet marketing guides will tell you to begin outsourcing and managing as early as possible, to help grow your business at the fastest rate possible, but this kind of management role isn’t always feasible if you aren’t entering into your entrepreneurship journey with some startup capital.
Oftentimes, you’ll have to make something work all on your own, and copywriting is no different. There’s a reason that there’s an entire industry dedicated to having someone else write your web copy, sales letters, email series, and more – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do a bang-up job yourself with a little bit of know-how. Today, we’re going to go over the “foot in the door” copywriting technique; it’s a classic copywriting move that can help you to increase responsiveness by easing into your propositions (purchases, sign ups, referrals, or whatever constitutes a successful conversion for your business).
The foot in the door principle is based upon the fact that people are naturally resistant to taking large steps out of the blue. This is, for example, why telephone salespeople have to work through such a large volume of number registries to keep sales at an acceptable level. That said, this resistance tends to lessen when the ‘ask’ becomes less and less of a hassle or monetary obligation for someone. Obviously, you would be more likely to try a new type of shampoo if it cost $5 per bottle than if it were $15.
Those studying (anecdotally) copywriting psychology posited that perhaps these smaller actions could be used to build trust, and thus, over time, increase the chances that someone would agree to a larger ask. As luck would have it, for you, they were right.
The first time I learned of the technique, it was written something like this: If someone came to your door and asked you to put a large political yard sign out endorsing a certain candidate, you would likely be resistant (even if it came from a party you identified with). But let’s say, instead, campaigners ask you to take just an “I support [candidate name]!” button. You’ll never wear it, but the ask is small and you agree; there doesn’t seem to be any harm in doing so. Let’s say that a week or two later, the same people come by and this time they are asking about the yard sign. You may have said no before, but you already agreed with them once, and the button spurred you into doing a bit of research on the candidate, and now maybe you’re more open to a public endorsement. Without a doubt, the second strategy will end up with more lawn signs in more yards.
No matter what your business is, you can use this same technique. In your own business, think of how you can get someone to agree to something small before you ask them for something big. In sales letters, you’ll notice that copywriters often pose questions with seemingly obvious answers.
“Do you want to cure your acne this week?”
“Do you agree that acne creates an unattractive, juvenile appearance?”
The purpose of these questions is to bait readers into mentally agreeing and nodding along; if they’ve already agreed with you on one thing, they’re more likely to agree with you on the next thing as well. In your own businesses, think about how you can use this technique to ‘soften’ any ask you have – you might just be surprised at how dramatically conversion rates change when correctly implementing it.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is first and foremost about making your website easy to find. By following a number of fairly standard steps you can ensure that your site has a prominent place in the search engines when prospective customers carry out a search for the things that you’re selling. The important distinction here is that your site needs to be reaching people who are searching not only for your business, but also those who are searching for the products or services you are selling.
If your business sells French Provincial Style Furniture it is important that the search engines recognise what your business is about, not just your business name. SEO helps to pinpoint key word phrases that your customers use to search with. This ensures that your website is correctly indexed and ranked to reflect its relevance to the phrase being targeted. A good outcome from SEO is that your site will rank highly when a potential customer runs a search using a targeted phrase (e.g. ‘French provincial style furniture’).
SEO helps to clarify what your site is about, so that when a search engine comes to index your site, it does so correctly. Through good SEO practices, you’ll find that your site moves up through the pages; ranking more highly for appropriate phrases. Your site then becomes easier for prospective customers to find.Some of the simplest steps can make a big difference to how your site ranks; which, in turn can have a big impact on the amount of traffic reaching your site.
Boosting your search engine ranking for the most appropriate phrases will also ensure that the traffic you receive is largely from qualified visitors to your site. When your webpage ranks highly for appropriate, targeted phrases you’ll be able to not only increase the numbers ofprospects on your site, you’ll be confident that those who do reach your site will be genuinely interested. Having a large number of visitors is somewhat pointless if they land on your site and then leave less than 10 seconds later. Relevance is a big part of SEO and it ensures that your web traffic consists of a greater number of visitors with a genuine enthusiasm and interest in your products and services.