Google Adwords has been working for businesses big and small for over a decade now.
What was once a gamble or gold rush where you could buy traffic for cents has become a science.
Adwords has become one of the safest ways to generate revenue quickly, reliably and measurably. Best practices give reliable positive results above and beyond what any amateur can do in their spare time.
This post focuses on only the proven and tested methods to generate income.
There is no guesswork with this article. While there are some new methods that can be 5x cheaper than the proven methods here. They are still being tweaked and tested as many people see what works, what doesn’t and adapt rapidly to the changes that Google makes.
This post focuses only on what we know to work best. We focus on fundamentals. Because without fundamentals you cannot hope to succeed in the long run or replicate successes that have resulted from luck.
Guaranteed success with Adwords is not accidental. There are millions of businesses that reliably generate 100%+ return on investment with their Adwords campaign each month. According to Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian (2009), businesses on average generate $2 in revenue for every $1 spent on Adwords. You can see the methodology that observed a large sample size of advertisers here.
That’s on average though. 500-6000% ROI is reality for the best managed campaigns. A 100% ROI on your Adwords should be the MINIMUM result you expect from your campaign. Anything less is unacceptable guesswork.
Guesswork is extremely expensive. Selling people that do not want what you provide is not profitable. When you bid $5, $20 or even $100 for a click can quickly result in thousands of dollars being spent for zero return. Especially if you stick to your guns and push ahead with a poorly designed Adwords campaign.
Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are. They care nothing about your interests or your profit. They seek service for themselves. Ignoring this fact is a common mistake and a costly mistake in advertising. Ads say in effect, “Buy my brand. Give me the trade you give to others. Let me have the money.” That is not a popular appeal. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
The door to door salesperson doesn’t say ‘Buy My Brand! The best X for only $Y’ and then not speak until the prospect buys. The good salesperson makes sure there are no barriers to purchase and the deal is done before the presentation even begins. They let the prospect experience the benefits of the product for themselves and let them acknowledge the pains that the product or service would relieve for them.
My favourite example of this is the sales representative that sold shatter proof glass.
Here’s an awesome strategy developed by a salesman at Corning Glass on the year that Corning Glass came out with safety glass.
This salesman went throughout the country and before long, he became the top-selling salesman of safety glass for Corning Glass in North America. At the national sales convention, he was given a big prize and an award. And they said to him, “Please tell us your secret. How is it that you sold so much more than everyone else?”
He said it was simple.
“First of all, I got some pieces of safety glass cut into 6″ X 6” pieces as samples. Then, I got a ball-peen hammer. And then I walked in on the prospect and say, ‘Would you like to see a piece of glass that doesn’t shatter?’ When the prospect says, ‘I don’t believe it,’ I put the glass on the counter and I go whack it — watch him protect his eyes — and afterwards he’d say, ‘Holy smoke, that’s incredible!’
“Then I’d say, ‘How much of it would you like?’ And I’d pull out my order pad and start writing the order.”
Corning Glass was so impressed with this tactic that they equipped all of their salespeople with ball-peen hammers and sheets of glass, sent them out — and they all sold truckloads of glass.
Your presentation or ad copy isn’t about you or your brand. Especially with Adwords. People are actively looking and wanting to buy. So why are your campaigns designed to stop people from buying? And why don’t you know how your campaign is actually performing?
There are countless Adwords advertisers that do not know their numbers. Even many ‘professionally’ managed accounts do not track how much each lead costs or even if those leads are turning into profitable customers.
This often results in you paying 2-300x more than your competitors for a customer. Unfortunately this isn’t that uncommon. Especially if an account managers success is determined by traffic rather than profits. We’ve been asked a number of times where the traffic went on multi tens of thousand dollar campaigns that were purchasing useless traffic. Traffic that served no purpose other than to help the marketing director get their end of year bonus.
Seriously… Spending $20-40 per click on a keyword not related to your product or service is ludicrous. The sad part is that we’ll often turn off these money sucking campaigns and get in trouble because the owner of the business has no idea that this is being done. The middle manager who is paying us only wants traffic. Any traffic – even if it results in zero sales. They want a pretty graph that shows traffic going up and up so that they can show their boss that monthly targets for team bonuses are on track. Don’t be happy with just any traffic and know your numbers.
If you have read this far you are probably serious about your generating profits from your Adwords. You want reliable traffic that turns into profitable sales. The good news is that the Adwords code has been cracked by thousands before you, the bad news is that Adwords competition is intense. Major players are not scared to lose money to prevent competition from entering, the top two percent of advertisers get half the views and if you are not using best practices you will be paying up to 400% more than your competitors for a click that doesn’t even convert.
The sections to follow are the proven methods to improve your Adwords campaign that generate higher quality clicks, convert more sales and maximise your return on investment.
Local, National And Global Market Research
Adwords is not a new way to generate sales.
Adwords generates on average a 100% return for businesses. That means that there are people losing money and many more businesses making money with Adwords.
There are endless phases to psychology. Some people know them by instinct. Many of them are taught by experience. But we learn most of them from others. When we see one winning method we note it down for use when occasion offers. These things are very important. An identical offer made in a different way may bring multiplied returns. Somewhere in the mines of business experience we must find the best method somehow. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
There is an advertising campaign that exists right now that you can research and understand to create your own very profitable Adwords campaign. Collectively businesses over history have invested billions, if not trillions of dollars into finding what messaging works in print, radio, online, face to face, phone and more…
So why not take advantage of this invaluable market research?
The best campaigns do in depth research to find out at a minimum:
- Keywords to not advertise for,
- Keywords that lead to sales,
- How specific your offer needs to be,
- Meaningful guarantees/selling propositions,
- Ad copy variations that lead to clicks, and
- Landing pages that convert.
The best Adwords campaigns are built on painstaking research that delves deep into the emotions of purchasers. The best ads are not boring and enter right into the conversation the prospect is having when they search. More on this later.
Become An Intelligent Investor
A $25/day budget on a $30 per click term obviously doesn’t work.
While you do need to start with small campaigns to find what works and build up. Being a cheap investor and not trusting a system that works will result in failure. If your risk tolerance is not high enough to trust in a system that may require 1-3 months of tweaks, then do not even start with Adwords.
While most campaigns start to generate break even leads within 7 days, the 100% ROI often comes within 3 months. While the $5 return on $1 spent takes even more time, consistent investment and serious optimisation.
This is not guesswork. This comes after intensive research and optimisation. Once you know there are other businesses using Adwords to profitably generate leads online in a reliable fashion – you can create your own campaign with your own data.
Now we let the thousands decide what the millions will do. We make a small venture, and watch cost and result. When we learn what a thousand customers cost, we know almost exactly what a million will cost. When we learn what they buy, we know what a million will buy. We establish averages on a small scale, and those averages always hold. We know our cost, we know our sale, we know our profit and loss. We know how soon our cost comes back. Before we spread out, we prove our undertaking absolutely safe. So there are today no advertising disasters piloted by men who know. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
- What’s your cost per website visitor?
- What’s your cost per email enquiry?
- What’s your cost per phone enquiry?
- What’s your cost to acquire a customer?
- What’s your average revenue per sale?
- What your return on investment?
There’s no point in using the power of online advertising if you don’t have the data to back up your investment. Without the data you are throwing money in the bin because you don’t know if a change hurts or helps your campaign. You absolutely need to understand how to get your most profitable customers online. These are the customers that grow your business. They are easy to work with, refer you customers like them and are the most profitable.
Think like an investor – start small, collect data, find what works and scale up.
Max Your Quality Score
Don’t think of people in the mass. That gives you a blurred view. Think of a typical individual, man or woman, who is likely to want what you sell. Don’t try to be amusing. Money spending is a serious matter. Don’t boast, for all people resent it. Don’t try to show off. Do just what you think a good salesman should do with a half-sold person before him. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Quality score matters.
A good ad is shown a lot. A good ad is clicked a lot. A good ad converts a lot.
Combine all three and you have a golden goose or unicorn as Larry Kim puts it with a high quality score. You take care and cherish that golden goose as the long term investment that it is.
The difference between 2x, 3x or 6x average results from Adwords is in obsession. The ads that generate 85% of the impressions are the top 5% of ads. These are the ads that have had serious optimisation done to them.
When we see unicorn accounts in the AdWords Performance Grader, they share some common traits:
- Every keyword in their account has a high QS.
- They are effectively using negative keywords to reduce wasted spend.
- Their high impression share demonstrates that Google loves showing their ads.
- They have those super-high, impressive, double-digit CTRs that outperform the average by many times.
- They’re targeting highly specific long-tail keyword phrases.
- Their account activity is high – they continue to optimize and improve on an ongoing basis.
If you can home in on the ad and keyword combinations that have these above average CTRs, the rewards are huge – higher impression shares, greater ad positions, lower costs per click and conversion. —Larry Kim
Quality score (QS) = Click through rate, Ad text relevancy, Landing page quality
But realise that this is compared to your competition. You don’t need to be the best advertiser in the world. You do need to look damn good next to the competition though. If you got a competitor absolutely crushing it with Adwords – you’re going to look bad next to them and your costs, clicks and sales will be hurt as a result.
So just because you are showing up in the top Adwords spot doesn’t mean you are using Adwords correctly. With a 2% click through rate, you are getting crushed by the competition. Others are paying less, getting more clicks and converting more sales.
The top Adwords position should have a click through rate of at least 5%. But that’s average. Some of your competitors are getting over 5% click through rate without even being in the top Adwords position. While the best managed accounts out there that are getting over 15% and the absolute all-star managed campaigns in the top Adwords position have a click through rate of over 20%.
Over time the advertisers with the best ads show up in the best position, pay the least per click and show up the most.
Google doesn’t get paid if the ads don’t get clicked and they definitely don’t get paid if people start switching to other search engines because they show crappy search results.
So your terrible ad that is generating a profit for you now is something to worry about in the long run as competitors improve their ads, Google’s quality score gets more sophisticated, and you start to pay up to 400% more per click AND still have your ad show up significantly less.
Use More Negative Keywords
With click through rate being the primary factor of quality score, you definitely do not want to show up for irrelevant search terms.
Changing peoples habits is very expensive. A project which involves that must be seriously considered. To sell shaving soap to the peasants of Russia one would first need to change their beard wearing habits. The cost would be excessive. Yet countless advertisers try to do things almost as impossible. Just because questions are not ably considered, and results are traced but unknown. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Negative keywords help campaigns go from a $960,000 ad spend per year to $192,000 per year for more clicks, enquiries and sales.
You don’t want to be showing up for ‘lawyer jokes’, ‘plumbing apprenticeship’, and definitely not for ‘emergency locksmith’ if you don’t provide 24/7 lock out services.
Realise that there are other businesses that provide the services you don’t and they can bid serious dollars to get those clicks. So don’t show ads for services you don’t provide.
Adding negative keywords means you won’t show up for these irrelevant searches. Overtime you should be adding more and more and more negative keywords so you are not paying for clicks that do not result in sales.
Here’s a quick overview of negative keywords:
Add ad group negative keywords:
truck – no ads shown if ‘truck’ is used in the search.
“toy truck” – no ads shown when the phrase ‘toy truck’ is used.
[truck] – no ads shown when ‘truck’ is the sole search term.
You will never get all the negative keywords.
People are unpredictable.
Google has shared that 15% of all searches done each day have never been done before. That’s a lot of searches your ads can show up for. Searches that have never happened before and even more searches you never thought of.
To constantly add negative keywords and reduce your ad spend, improve your quality score and increase your conversions – go into your account and look at the search terms people have used to click on your ad.
If you have never done this, you will probably see a search term that has cost you at least a $1000 for ZERO return. Stop paying for pornographic, informational queries, questions, job enquiries, unrelated products/services and other non commercial intent searches.
You do not want to be paying for search terms like “celebrity excuses for drink driving”, “sydney criminal history”, “best hair styles for fine hair” and more…
People looking for some light entertainment, research for a school paper or some styling tips aren’t going to buy from you but out of habit, mistake or curiosity they will click on your ad. These clicks when not managed cost thousands of dollars every year.
So go into your account and look at what terms people have searched to click on your ad. This makes a huge impact on your campaign!
You get to choose what you show up for.
You shouldn’t be afraid to have a list of negative keywords bigger than the list of keywords you do show up for since they won’t turn into sales.
Optimise For Life
We mentioned that 15% of all searches done are unique. As of now, TODAY will have over 500 million searches that Google has never seen before.
Along with adding negative keywords to ensure you don’t show up for irrelevant search terms at least monthly.
You need to DELETE your underperforming ads. Ads that have a below average click through rate cost more – 25 to 400% more! Avoid question and informational searches for your ads. These have terrible click through rates and can ruin your campaign.
Remember that we are competing against other Adwords advertisers. You don’t need to be in your account daily tweaking your Adwords account as a small business owner.
According to Larry Kim, a typical small business Adwords account in 2013 looks like:
- 2 Campaigns
- 9 Ad Groups
- 18 Text Ads
- 212 Keywords
- 3 Landing Pages
This means as a small business owner you don’t need to put in that much work. A weekly tweak, a monthly landing page test and a few new ads every other month is enough to put you above a lot of the competition.
Finding an ad that improves your existing offer can literally double your business. As an example of optimisation, we look at the Wall Street Journal. This company used the same ad for 29 years. It brought in an estimated $2 billion but they always tried to beat it.
Nothing worked for 29 years. But in 2003 that changed. The copy was updated from two pages to four and some colour was added but the offer kept the same. The result was a 20% bump for the Wall Street Journal.
Even an ad that wasn’t beaten for 29 years can be optimised. Don’t let your campaign fall behind. Especially vital if your campaign wasn’t optimised to begin with.
A dealer may say, “Our prices have been reduced” without creating any marked impression. But when he says, “Our prices have been reduced 25 per cent” he gets the full value of his announcement. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Specific Long-Tail Keyword Phrases
There are clicks out there that cost $0.50 to $5 for you that will convert.
Your object in all advertising is to buy new customers at a price which pays a profit. You have no interest in garnering trade at any particular store. Learn what your consumers cost and what they buy. If they cost you one dollar each, figure that every wasted dollar costs you a possible customer. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
This is a strategy from Iain Dooley of Decal Marketing that let’s new businesses create profitable ad campaigns without bidding on the obvious super competitive keywords (e.g. sales training or app development) that everyone else is bidding on.
So it might be targeting people earlier in the buying process, even before they know they need or want your offer, this means you may need months or years of nurturing, or you may just stumble upon a mine that rewards you with a consistent small flow of gems ready to buy.
As there are over 3.5 billion searches each day on Google – there is a tonne of opportunities to find cheap keyword phrase clicks that convert into amazingly profitable sales for your business.
The problem is that these gems are hard to find, require a lot of manual work and still needs to be tested to ensure that they are in fact gems. The fact is that these gems usually require totally different ad copy (offers), specific landing pages, different information, a nurturing sequence and more – this makes it very difficult for your average person to put together a profitable campaign.
Have no idea what I’m talking about?
Over time, what people want and need changes.
Before people come to buy your product or services, there is usually a trigger. Before this trigger they might not even know they want or need your services in the future.
If you can reach these people, educate them and add value before your competition. You can cut your Adwords budget by 10 to 100x or more and get better informed, highly qualified and very happy purchasers. Sales that not only close really easily but actively refer you business because you are educating them on exactly why you are the best fit for them and their contacts like them.
Sales training ($15.54) > Business leads ($4.50)
With long-tail keywords related to ‘business leads’ – while not directly related to sales training. It is easy to understand that these people looking for business leads will want to be able to close them later on and may want sales training. So sales trainers are able to get leads from long-tail keywords related to ‘business leads’ for less than $45, and clicks for less than $2 as they capture them earlier in on their journey and rather than go for a sale, feed them great knowledge that helps them generate leads and close sales.
To do this we find long tail keywords that will give you traffic.
Delete all the irrelevant keywords that will never lead to sales, ones that are too expensive and ones that won’t generate enough traffic to test.
Create a campaign that you can test for the low cost keywords to generate leads.
Catering ($4.65) > Party ideas ($1.42)
While a caterer using this strategy of long-tail keyword searches related to ‘party ideas’ generates leads every few days for less than $1 per click for people that can be persuaded to have a caterer for their party.
App development ($26.05) > App wireframe ($5.57)
While the typical lead costs for app developers is in the $250 ball park. The leads that are earlier in the buying process come in at less than $50 per pop through long-tail keywords related to ‘app wireframe’. While less convert than the main app development campaign, the projects that develop are more valuable, more sophisticated and close smoothly because the app development company
Ad Extensions Give A Small Bump
Ad extensions by themselves are not game changers by any means. They do provide a small bump in click through rate though and make your ad stand out from the crowd.
Every type of extension that we offer is intended to benefit our users, which translates to a higher CTR for you. On average we have found that there is a 10-15% CTR uplift from implementing a new ad extension.
Call extensions, Location extensions, Review extensions, Sitelink extensions, Call-out extensions, and Ratings all boost the visibility of your ad.
Mobile ads especially benefit from ad extensions.
- Call extensions can typically increase clickthrough rate by 6-8%
- On average, ads with location extensions have a 10% boost in clickthrough rate
While mobile ads can seem more expensive, calls from mobile traffic are much more valuable to you. You want people to call you because they convert so much better than someone clicking on your ad, going to your site and then looking for whatever they are trying to access from you.
The click to ‘Call’ button on mobile ads work great by the way, just make sure you pick up the phone!
It’s not hard to stand out from the crowd and enter the conversation when the competition is doing such a poor job.
With certain situations – you literally need to close the sale as soon as possible. Locksmiths, lawyers, plumbers and tow trucks to name a few. So make it easy to call you.
Don’t Incriminate Yourself. Speak
directly with a lawyer. Call Us Now.
Emergency lockout service.
5-25 minute response time.
Oh and use a LOCAL number. This has been true for decades online now. The old school guys of direct print marketing proclaimed this before the internet existed and they were right.
Use a local number and ditch your 13/1300, 1800 or whatever other non local number you are using. Not local to your customers? Either buy a local number that forwards to your phone or if you’re in Australia – put up a mobile number.
On one line three methods were offered. The woman could write for a sample, or telephone, or call at a store. Seventy percent of the inquiries came by telephone. The use of the telephone is more common and convenient than the use of stamps. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Stand Out Emotional Ad Copy
Adwords isn’t great for generic ads.
Headline, display url, numbers and call to action are all important factors that help you stand out.
Being an average ad in Google is not fun. Generic ads get the scraps.
In Google, 2% of the advertisers get 50% of the traffic. —Perry Marshall
Family owned. 20 years in business. Commercial and residential. These boring ads don’t let you be a top advertiser.
If you want the 10, 20 or 30% click-through rates. Your ads need to speak directly to your prospects.
Ad copy that enters into a conversation with prospects when they search for what you provide is the difference between a 0-5% click-through rate and a 10%+ click-through rate.
People will not be bored in print. They may listen politely at a dinner table to boasts and personalities, life history, etc. but in print they choose their own companions, their own subjects. They want to be amused or benefited. They want economy, beauty, labor saving, good things to eat or wear. There may be products, which interest them more than anything else in the magazine, but they will never know it unless the headline or picture tells them. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
You need to understand that your ads cannot be the ignored pamphlet giver.
Your ads need to be the street performer. Know that if you don’t bring in a crowd, you won’t eat tonight. You have one chance in a city where everyone is busy and distracted.
Literally, thousands of people are walking past, but if you don’t get them to stop by grabbing their attention and get them to give you some of their hard-earned money – you starve. You are talking to people that don’t know you, don’t care about you, don’t have time for you and are doing everything in their power not to listen to you.
Truly understanding this is the difference between an extremely profitable campaign and a mediocre one.
Here are some examples to help you understand.
Stop Your Divorce
Even if your situation seems hope-
less and only you want to stop it.
Who is your husband with?
Is he sleeping with “her” right now?
Get revenge & a smile on your face.
Source: Ultimate Guide To Adwords
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Mountain Training School
Born. College. Job. Marry. Spouse.
Kid. Retire. Die. Want More?
So what does your ad say?
How can your ad capture attention and not be the pamphlet giver we ignore?
Well, start by asking these three questions.
- Who comes to you for help?
- When do they come to you?
- Why do they come to you?
The people that are ready to buy. The ones that click on an ad in the hope for a solution are the type of people you have helped before. But do you know them?
You need to be in the conversation that they are having inside their head.
Do you know that they have been ripped off by one of your dodgy ‘competitors’ recently?
Do you know that they don’t want to go through life bored sitting at a desk under fluorescent lights for the rest of their life?
Do you know they are sick and tired of being home between the hours of 10am and 2pm for a 5-minute repair job?
Entering this conversation and showing you understand them in an ad doubles the average click through rate instantly.
You aren’t selling marriage counselling, tax preparation or mountain climbing lessons.
You are selling the result and the benefit of what you provide. That means speaking to a husband that screwed up and getting them to actively change their ways to improve themselves. That means guiding buyers on how not to get ripped off by bait and switch offers in your industry so they can make an informed decision. That means giving guys in their 30’s a way to not end up like their dad who is miserable, bored and unhealthy.
You need to be more important than whatever other distraction they have in front of them. You need to capture their attention so well that they ignore a phone call, are late to pick up the kids and lose track of what they were doing.
What do they hate? What do they love? People don’t talk in bullet point facts. They speak emotionally. Match the content and emotional tone that they are having in their head. Match the intensity. Not over the top, not below the radar. People buy with emotions and justify with logic later.
Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers with deep dive research found that former addicts were saying ‘If you think you need rehab, you do’. So when she needed a headline for the client ‘If You Think You Need Rehab, You Do’ was the winning message that bumped conversions by 26%. Not a bad result when a 30 day stay brings in over $20,000. So an ad for Adwords might begin with something like:
Think You Need Rehab?
If you think you need rehab, you do
Verify health insurance.
The conversation isn’t complex. The question is ‘Do I need rehab?’ – it’s something people struggling with addiction are asking themselves. But without entering that conversation you’ll see average performing ads ‘Substance Abuse Retreat’, ‘Drug Rehab Centre’ or ‘Addiction Rehabilitation’.
In successful advertising great pains are taken to never change our tone. That which won so many is probably the best way to win others. Then people come to know us. We build on that acquaintance rather than introduce a stranger in guise. People do not know us by name alone, but by looks and mannerisms. Appearing different every time we meet never builds up confidence. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Test Even More Ads
Got hundreds of ads already? Test more ads.
Humans are extremely sensitive. A comma, dot, symbol or question mark can be the difference between a profitable and an unprofitable ad.
People may buy and not repeat. The article may last too long. It may appeal to a small percentage, so most of your advertising goes to waste. There are many surprises in advertising. A project you will laugh at may make a great success. A project you are sure of may fall down. All because tastes differ so. None of us know enough peoples desires to get an average viewpoint. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
You are just not testing enough ads.
Check out this example from Perry Marshall where simply changing the second and third line of an ad resulted in a dramatically different click through rate.
Popular Ethernet Terms
3 Page Guide – Free PDF Download
Complex Words – Simple Definitions
2 Clicks – CTR 0.1%
Popular Ethernet Terms
Complex Words – Simple Definitions
3 Page Guide – Free PDF Download
39 Clicks – CTR 3.6%
Look… That 3.6% click through rate is okay. But it’s not anything to brag about.
Tweaking that ad to get 5% click through rate would be incredible BUT only because you took an ad from garbage to average.
Starting with 0.1% and getting that 50x is a lot of work for hardly anything.
Testing more ads and starting with an amazing ad that you can 50x allows you to get those 10%, 15% and 20%+ click-through rates.
When you are that much better than your competitors, you get nearly ALL the leads!
This is where the ‘Local, National And Global’ research really comes into play. Instead of coming up with something from scratch. The best advertisers steal the essence of what makes a great ad campaign and make it their own. They find the uniqueness of leaders in other industries and apply it to their own.
An ad-writer, to have a chance at success, must gain full information on his subject. The library of an ad agency should have books on every line that calls for research. A painstaking advertising man will often read for weeks on some problem which comes up. Perhaps in many volumes he will find few facts to use. But some one fact may be the keystone of success. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Here are a few ads that have found the essence of why men are really signing up to a 6-week emotional roller coaster mountain climbing experience of a lifetime. Even though they’ve found the essence. Different messaging gives very different click through rates.
Mountain Training School
Mountaineering School 12.33%
Born. College. Job. Marry. Spouse.
Kid. Retire. Die. Want More?
Work Sucks? 8.67%
I unzip my tent.
What’s your commute?
Mountaineering School 9.48%
That weak snivelling voice in your
head begs you to quit. Climb on.
Landing Page Setup And Optimisation
People are not apt to read successive advertisements on any single line. No more than you read a news item twice, or a story. In one reading of an advertisement one decides for or against a proposition. And that operates against a second reading. So present to the reader, when once you get him, every important claim you have. The best advertisers do that. They learn their appealing claims by tests – by comparing results from various headlines. Gradually they accumulate a list of claims important enough to use. All those claims appear in every ad thereafter. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
While I’ve covered the actual Adwords ad copy, basic research and optimisation.
The landing page, the website your prospects lands on is serious business all by itself. Even if you had a 30% click through rate, with a zero percent conversion rate – you are out of business with no income coming in.
Here’s a real life example of the difference between a 2.5% conversion rate and a 10% conversion rate is game changing.
Low Converting Landing Page
Conversion Rate: 2.5%
Visitors needed to capture 1 lead: 40
Cost per Click: $25
Cost per Lead: $25 x 40 = $1,000 Per Lead
Conversion Optimised Landing Page
Conversion Rate: 10%
Visitors needed to capture 1 lead: 10
Cost per Click: $25
Cost per Lead: $25 x 10 = $250 Per Lead
Unfortunately, many businesses do not understand the power of a conversion optimised landing page.
In this example, we see leads cost $1,000 with a 2.5% conversion rate, while the optimised landing page captures a lead for just $250. Not bad when a project in this space is typically in the $50,000+ range.
But screw up your website or just send people to your homepage when it is unrelated to your ad and you’ll get similar, if not worse results than the company paying $1,000 per lead. Poor design, confusing copy or a site that doesn’t even load are all factors that kill your sales and are far too common.
The power of Adwords though is that you can easily test the website/offer to see what messaging converts to sales. If you cannot break even with Adwords or have zero competitors with successful campaigns – then you probably don’t have a business.
Here’s Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers rehabilitation centre’s page from the earlier section being optimised over time.
Not only has the copy been updated but also the design. While we see Joanna’s headline stay the number one option for messaging. The site’s design has become more modern, user-friendly and has added major social proof through two client journeys.
The latest landing page in this example is simple. The headline captures the majority of our attention and speaks directly to people struggling with addiction. This solves the major problem of confusion with most landing pages.
When someone clicks on your ad, they expect to land on a page directly related to what they searched for. That’s the beauty of Google search – Google often gives you the best results. BUT clicking on an ad that gives you a confusing page equals disaster when it comes to conversions with Google.
Since you have a lot of competition on Google search, any confusion results in people immediately leaving your site. You have other Adwords advertisers, the local search results (map) and of course the top one to three organic listings all immediately available to the searcher if they don’t like your site just by clicking the back button.
So when someone does a search, they want a related result. A result that answers a question or provides information, solves a problem or gives them guidance.
This is why Adwords is so great. People are actively searching for a result. A result that your product/service provides. While you generally don’t want to show your ads for questions or informational searches (this is where SEO is best) – people with searches directly related to purchasing are ready and primed to click on ads that lead to your landing page.
Once you have captured a prospects attention with your ad and headline. Your story is being listened to and you generally have ONE chance. In this one chance, you need to provide your full story. The best story you have to convince the prospect to purchase. A page that does this without distractions – solely focused on getting you leads is your landing page.
Up Your Ante (Your Mafia Offer)
Sometimes no matter what you do. You’ve maxed out with Adwords optimisation and cannot create a highly profitable campaign.
There are usually two reasons for this, you are selling rubbish or your communicated offer is crap.
Either way, you cannot successfully sell long term. You need to sell things people are worried about. The world doesn’t need more boring things.
An ad campaign you have spent hundreds of hours on to get less than a 5% click through rate means you have a boring offer.
You need an irresistible offer. A mafia offer that your best prospects cannot refuse.
When you have optimised to death and got everything you can from your current offer. It’s well past the time to create a new offer. You need something that will make an impact – something that will scare you and your competitors.
It doesn’t need to be complex and you probably already provide this offer without even realising.
There probably already is an offer commonly used in your industry. The difficulty comes in raising the stakes and effectively communicating your offer.
A mail order advertiser sold women’s clothing to people of the poorer classes. For years he used the slogan, “Lowest prices in America.” His rivals all copied that. Then he guaranteed to undersell any other dealer. His rivals did likewise. Soon those claims became common to every advertiser in his line, and they became commonplace. Then under able advice, he changed his statement to “Our net profit is 3 percent.” That was a definite statement and it proved very impressive. With their volume of business it was evident that their prices must be minimum. No one could be expected to do business on less than 3 percent. The next year their business made a sensational increase. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Here are some of the direct marketing offers you’ll see throughout different industries:
- Free Sample
- No Obligation
- Free with Sign-up
- Trial Offer
- % Discount
- Accompanying Offer
- Reports, White Papers, Audio, Video
- Results in Time Frame
- % to Charity
- Self Assessment Grading Tool
Over time, people demand more because it becomes industry standard to provide a lot of these exceptional offers.
While that list is great. To really understand this in action, here are some solid examples.
The ‘Your Car Fixed Right First Time OR We’ll Give You Your Money Back AND Fix it For FREE!’ is the best guarantee I’ve ever seen for a car mechanic to begin with.
Combined with ‘2 Year Unlimited Kilometre Warranty ‘, ‘If We Can’t Fix Your Car You Won’t Be Charged a Cent, No Matter How Long We Spend On It!’ and ‘Guaranteed No Parts Replaced Unnecessarily OR We’ll Refund 100% of Your Money AND You Keep the New Parts!’ and you have a business with little competition in regards to offers.
When the owners of the business had their own terrible experience purchasing a shed that didn’t even last a few days, they knew the frustrations of customers across Australia.
That’s why Cheap Sheds has 15, 20 or 30-year guarantees on most of their products.
Try not to judge the website too much. Especially when these guys generated the majority of their lifelong business through sending faxes.
How do you generate lifelong business though? With an unparalleled irresistible offer:
No down time, Our ‘No Fault’ Warranty, 600+ Models, Quick Quoting Times, Loyalty Program.
How do you double the amount of sales you get and half the refunds? You offer a 100% refund guarantee valid for the entire year BUT only after they’ve tested the product for 30 days.
How do you trust a custom made suits and shirts online? An irresistible guarantee of the perfect fitting suit risk-free.
How about putting money on the line and challenging your prospects?
We Challenge You To Find Another Auto Repair Facility In Rochester, NY That Will Guarantee Their Work Like We Will!
How do you compete with established businesses? Go above and beyond – 100-day comfort guarantee, free fast delivery and setup, and free mattress removal and recycling.
The cost? Close to nothing – the ‘bad’ mattresses are sold to places that don’t care if multiple people have slept on them and unhappy customers become delighted ones that refer even more business.
Do you want people that don’t love your product torturing themselves with it?
Something that pisses off a lot of flyers is one of the key differentiators for Southwest Airlines.
The damage free guarantee for shipping a car across the country.
Ship A Car Direct didn’t start with that killer guarantee and they won’t stop there once competitors start to copy them.
Here’s the evolution of Ship A Car Direct that the owner Michael Strickland went through to get them their highly profitable guarantee that they build their marketing/business around.
Ship A Car Direct started as the ‘Honest’ Auto Transport company. ‘Honesty’ is not exactly a quantifiable thing that people can use to trust you. What type of people tell you they are honest anyway?
The next evolution of Safe Direct Car Shipping was ‘No Up Front Deposit Required’ – something new to the industry that worked BUT was quickly copied by the competition.
The winner and their current marketing has now all focused on ‘Damage Free Guarantee or we pay you’ car shipping.
288.10% increase in clicks from 13.20% less impressions.
Average cost per click down by 22.30% to $2.16, while the cost per conversion dropped 62.70% to $9.58 with a 708.60% increase in conversions.
The cost of that guarantee that the competition is currently too scared to offer? About $100 a month according to Michael. In the first 15 months, they only had to pay out on their guarantee three times.
These stand out offers work.
The recommended guarantee from Perry Marshall to a marriage counsellor was to create a two-way street guarantee for clients.
Take new clients on under the condition that the couple and the marriage counsellor would be all accountable to each other.
‘We’re going to work with each other for the next 6 months and it’s going to cost you $5,000. We’re going to take half of that money now and put it in escrow. And if one of you aren’t happy with the results, then they get half the money back, if you are both unhappy then you get the entire sum back.
But this is only if the homework assignments are done. Mrs. Jones, if he isn’t treating you like a lady with respect, affection and adoration, then I’ll return half the money to you. Mr. Jones, if you are not being appreciated and you two are not making love, then I’ll return half the money to you. I’m going to expect you to do your part though and that’s how I work.
I’m not going to sit here and just do this hourly thing. You know if you like me already, so you can decide. But I’m not going to just have you come in four times and then disappear and have no idea where you went. We get together and we get results.’
A guarantee like this focuses on the result. All parties need to have the sole goal of a good relationship between the couple. You’re putting pressure on the couple to perform and commit themselves to actively working on their relationship. And if they are not committed – you don’t take them on as clients.
If you need help coming up with a strategy like this, I’d like to thank you for reading this guide and reward you with a strategy session. Out of the thousands of people that ‘read’ this article on our blog, social media, email or through a letter we send out. The majority of people will not read this paragraph. If you want a strategy session to develop your own mafia offer, please book a strategy session here [calendly.com/jamiecheng/strategy-session] but please include the secret code ‘Mafia Offer’ towards the end of the booking process.
Conversion Tracking And ROI
Each step along the process has the opportunity to double or triple your conversions.
You need to make sure that every step along the process to buy from you is effective.
That means the ad needs to get clicks, the landing page needs to capture leads/generate calls, the person on the phone needs to capture information or close the sale, the experience you provide to customers is what they expected and the after sales experience is exceptional.
Ultimately the key metric we want to know is the cost per customer acquisition and the profit that the customer generates.
Perhaps we try out our project in four or five towns. We may use a sample offer or a free package to get users started quickly. Then we wait and see if users buy those samples. If they do, will they continue? How much will they buy? How long does it take for the profit to return our cost of selling? A test like this may cost $3,000 to $5,000. It is not all lost, even when the product proves unpopular. Some sales are made. Nearly every test will in time bring back the entire cost. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
What took weeks and thousands of dollars can now be tested in days if not hours with online marketing. In Australia, 90% of all searches are done through Google. Over 90% – that makes Adwords the fastest and easiest way to test if you have a gold mine.
You need to understand your metrics though.
Just recently I made the mistake of telling a prospect to make two changes to lower their mobile Adwords campaign costs by at least 50%. The good news is that they took my advice and implemented what I told them and reduced their costs by 66%.
The problem was that they didn’t understand their metrics. They had no idea what their conversion rates were and for some reason were convinced that a lead and acquired customer should not cost different amounts. They could not be convinced their costs for mobile leads were down 66%.
With their existing mobile campaign based on our conversation they were getting a 20% conversion rate to sale. A lot better than I expected and not terrible for an emergency lockout service. The problem was that the website took 5-10 seconds to load minimum. The phone number was hidden at the bottom of the page and the site wasn’t mobile friendly. They were losing sales.
The changes I recommended was to use a Call Only ad so people didn’t have to visit his website and put the phone number prominently displayed top right so Google would approve the ad. The results – 80%+ phone call close rate, minus a few calls that he missed because he was busy. Because these people didn’t have to visit the site, the calls increased and he got more jobs.
Here’s my understanding of the situation:
Mobile Adwords Campaign
Conversion Rate: 20%
Clicks needed to capture 1 sale: 5
Cost per Click: $14.29
Cost per Sale: $14.29 x 5 = $71.45 Per Sale
Mobile Call Only Campaign
Conversion Rate: 60% (not 80% because of the missed calls)
Calls needed to capture 1 sale: 1.7
Cost per Click: $14.29
Cost per Sale: $14.29 x 1.7 = $24.29 Per Sale
So while the prospect had a 66% reduction in cost per sale from $71.45 to $24.29 and was happy with the increased calls. They thought they were paying more per lead – $24.29 per lead, instead of $14.29 per lead. With that understanding, I can understand why they were angry at me for my recommendation and weren’t exactly open to listening when they thought they were paying $121.45 per sale now.
A man was selling a five-dollar article. The replies from his ad cost him 85 cents. Another man submitted an ad which he thought better. The replies cost $14.20 each. Another man submitted an ad which for two years brought replies at an average of 41 cents each. Consider the difference on 250,000 replies per year. Think how valuable was the man who cut the cost in two. Think what it would have meant to continue that $14.20 ad without any key on returns. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Metrics can be confusing. But they are what make advertising a science. Best practices can only be proven through the numbers. What you think will work often fails, what you think will fail can succeed. That is why you test. You run experiments, measure the data and record the results.
That allows us to be investors. We can choose without question which ad copy brings in the most profitable customers. We can ditch the highest click through rate ads when we realise that they are bringing in low-quality leads. We can invest more heavily in the ads that are generating 500-6000% returns on investment.
For my metrics I use:
- Emails Sent #
- Replies Received #
- Consultations Booked #
- Sales Made #
For your online marketing efforts, you should be looking at these metrics.
- What’s your cost per website visitor?
- What’s your cost per email enquiry?
- What’s your cost per phone enquiry?
- What’s your cost to acquire a customer?
- What’s your average revenue per sale?
- What your return on investment?
We see countless ads running year after year which we know to be unprofitable. Men spending five dollars to do what one dollar might do. Men getting back 30 percent of their cost when they might get 150 percent. And the facts could be easily proved. We see wasted space, frivolity, clever conceits, entertainment. Costly pages filled with palaver which, if employed by a salesman, would reflect on his sanity. But those ads are always unkeyed. The money is spent blindly, merely to satisfy some advertising whim. Not new advertisers only. Many an old advertiser has little or no idea of his advertising results. The business is growing through many efforts combined, and advertising is given its share of the credit. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Final Words Of Advice
We who can meet the test welcome these changed conditions. Advertisers will multiply when they see that advertising can be safe and sure. Small expenditures made on a guess will grow to big ones on a certainty. Our line of business will be finer, cleaner, when the gamble is removed. And we shall be prouder of it when we are judged on merit. —Claude C Hopkins (1923)
Online advertising has definitely become a science and encouraged many businesses to adopt online marketing as a major part of their business growth efforts. Especially Adwords with all the tools that allow us to understand what the efforts of our marketing dollars are.
But there are still a tonne of Aussie businesses being ripped off by dodgy online marketers and agencies. Promises of ‘Guaranteed first page ranking in Google’, ‘First page of Google within 48 hours’, free trials, third party ‘Google reps’, under priced services are all obvious red flags for the majority of us.
If you don’t know your numbers, then you’re wasting your money on Google Adwords. Even worse, if your provider doesn’t have your numbers or refuses to give them to you. They either don’t know what they are doing or they are trying to hide pitiful efforts and so called results.
There is a tonne of information in this guide. Information that could easily double, triple or quadruple the effectiveness of your Adwords campaign. If you are unsure about what you are doing – do more research, test small and rely on the data. Don’t make mistakes at $100 per day on a national level. Start small and find your numbers.
Don’t want all the headaches of managing your Adwords account in house? $2000+/month budget for Adwords? Book a free consultation to discover how we can get you a 100-500%+ ROI out of your Adwords campaign.