Pamela Lund is a well-known PPC marketing specialist, and an upcoming speaker at the SEJ Summit in Santa Monica on February 24th. The conference ticket cost for attendees is being covered by our partner, Searchmetrics, which delivers enterprise SEO and content marketing analysis, recommendations, forecasting and reporting for companies that want potential customers to find them faster.
Want to attend? We still have a few spots open – so if you are in the LA area and want to learn from Pamela (and other speakers like Neil Patel, Stephan Spencer, Morgan Brown, and more), sign up for an invite now. If you aren’t in the LA area, check out where else the SEJ Summit will be this year, including Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, London, and Dallas.
We are excited to welcome Pamela next week. and can’t wait to hear what she has to say. But for now, here is some insight from Pamela on PPC and paid social media:
1. Out of all the platforms you run PPC campaigns for clients (AdWords, FB, LinkedIn, Bing, etc), which do you find to have the largest ROI?
As with all things SEM, the answer is it depends.
For e-commerce, the best performing channels in my experience are AdWords and Bing search, including Shopping/Product Listing Ads campaigns. Buyer intent is higher when people are specifically searching your keywords and you can qualify them with the ad message. Shopping ads work particularly well for sellers who have the best prices in their market or unique products that stand out from the competition when users see product images. You can be successful with AdWords and Bing search based ads with almost any budget (within reason).
AdWords and Bing search based ads also work well for lead generation if you have a landing page optimized for converting this type of traffic. Frequently people are in research mode when searching, so you need to give them just enough information to convince them to contact you or offer them something in exchange, such as a relevant white paper, in exchange for submitting their contact information.
Display/banner advertising can work well for almost any business if proper targeting is employed in combination with good banners and a strong landing page. You may want to expect lower performance from display advertising in exchange for the branding you receive. View through conversions can indicate if display advertising is offering any lift in conversions.
Facebook ads and Twitter ads can be successful for e-commerce if you have a product or service that is inexpensive and interesting enough to be an impulse buy and you’re targeting the right audience. In many cases though, I use social network advertising for branding, for giveaways and contests, and for cheap traffic generation so we can tag users with remarketing pixels so we can reach them with ads when they are in a buying mindset. I also usually encourage clients to run a likes/followers ad campaign so we can increase the number of quality fans both for page engagement and branding as well as to improve the data available for building lookalike audiences for ad targeting.
LinkedIn Ads work well for B2B products and services, but usually when used as lead gen with the actual sale happening through an email drip or personal contact. The LinkedIn Ads platform offers fantastic targeting options if you know the job title of your decision maker or if you are trying to reach people who work in certain industries. Unfortunately, the minimum CPC is $2 so if you do not convert well or have a high CPA threshold, the leads may be too expensive. Volume is also a limiting factor for LinkedIn Ads.
For app installs, Twitter and Facebook ads perform well. If the app is free, the conversion rates can be phenomenal. You need to have some form of app analytics implemented to track the quality of the installs to optimize your targeting for the long-term, but if sheer volume of installs/user signups is the goal, such as with start-ups raising funding, social ads are a good approach.
2. What types of companies should focus more on paid social campaigns via paid search?
Companies trying to boost app installs, grow fan engagement, build remarketing audience size, or building buzz for an upcoming offering will most likely have better results from social advertising than from paid search. Anything with a social component will also work well if you are targeting users in the network you want them to use to share your content. For instance, if you are running a contest that people get an extra entry to if they share your content, they will be more likely to share it if it is as easy as possible. So, targeting people within Facebook with a request to share a Facebook post will be more successful than targeting people with an AdWords ad that links to your website with a request to share the page on a social network.
Companies that have a longer buying cycle or those that get repeat purchases from their users tend to see a significant boost in conversions if they incorporate social network advertising in their overall strategy because they keep the brand in the user’s consciousness. Even if the conversions don’t come from clicks on the social ads, the consistent reminders bring users back for future purchases. Just like television advertising doesn’t cause people to immediately get in the car and drive to the store to buy a product, it influences their buying decision next time they are shopping.
Any business that has a strong social presence can also be successful advertising on social networks. Without a strong social presence (active Facebook page or Twitter stream), the advertising may not be as effective as people tend to look for multiple cues before buying.
3. When I do PPC campaigns for clients, writing “perfect” ad copy can get tedious. Can you give us a few strategies for writing ad copy?
Good PPC managers are a wonderfully crazy bunch. We have to have a bit of a split personality in order to be successful at and enjoy our jobs. That being said, optimizing ad copy can be tedious, especially if you’ve been working on an account for a while and think you’ve tested everything that can be tested. However, there are always new things to try. Some of my favorite tips are:
- When writing ads for a new client, read their website to get comfortable with any language specific to their business, ask the client to describe their product to you in their own words, read their competitors’ ads and websites, and read forums or product reviews to see how consumers refer to the product. Use phrases that the consumers use, even if your client doesn’t use them. You’re not trying to get your client to click the ad, you’re trying to attract buyers.
- When writing new ads, don’t try to change every piece of the ad. You only need to change one line, and sometimes only one word, to have a significant impact on performance. If you change too many variables at once, you won’t know what caused the change in CTR or conversion rate and you’ll use up all your good ideas in one ad. Instead, try a new headline or change the context (use an exclamation instead of a question).
- Don’t try to be too clever with text ads. You have a split second to get people to pay attention and decide to click. Never underestimate the value of just telling people what to do, such as “Buy Now To Save 20%.”
- The formula of “ask a question and solve the problem” works well in most industries. If you ask the right question to the right audience and have the right solution, you will get a good CTR and conversion rate. If someone is searching for a roofer you might show them an ad that says “Need A New Roof? Mention This Ad For $250 Off.” Needing a new roof is their problem and giving them $250 off a new one is your solution.
4. What made you decide to specialize on PPC instead of trying to focus on multiple areas of marketing?
I love SEM because I get to do something different every day, even if I’m working on the same accounts for extended periods of time. There are so many facets to internet advertising from keyword research to writing ad copy to data analysis to audience identification that it never gets boring. I also love the instant gratification you get with advertising. I can put up a campaign and have data within minutes. Not that I ever obsessively refresh the Google Analytics real-time reports right after launching new campaigns. Nope, I never do that.
And if I’m being honest, I have absolutely no website design ability nor do I have the patience to chase search engine algorithms by doing SEO. My skills just fit perfectly with advertising management.
5. I’m always trying to create a dialogue about women in search marketing since we are usually the minority. What are three tactics you can give to new women search professionals trying to make a name for themselves in the search industry?
This is the hardest question in this interview by far because my first instinct is to say “Don’t think of yourself as a woman in the search industry.” I’ll quote my friend Rae Hoffman who has written on this issue and has somehow done a much better job of conveying how I feel about it than I can:
“Be yourselves, never see being a woman as a disadvantage, an advantage or above all, an excuse.”
That being said, here are a few tips for anyone of any gender in any industry, mostly geared towards freelancers:
- Network with people who do something other than what you do. You’re more likely to get referrals from people who aren’t your competition than people who are. Yes, I refer work to other SEM agencies and those agencies refer to me but the majority of my referrals come from SEOs, web designers, and happy clients. It’s important to know people who do the same thing you do so you can ask them questions when you have a problem, but if you’re trying to grow your profile, network with other people, too. Yes, that includes people who aren’t even in the search industry.
- Be trustworthy and be a resource for others. If you develop a reputation for being honest and trustworthy, people will be more likely to recommend you for jobs and will be more interested in what you have to say, leading to more speaking engagements, blogging opportunities, or other exposure.
- Don’t trash your competition to get ahead. This is a small industry and whatever you say will get back to whomever you say it about. Just don’t be that person. You’re better than that. If you aren’t, become better than that.
- Charge what you’re worth and stand behind your prices. If you aren’t confident about your rates, your clients won’t be either. If a client doesn’t think you’re worth what you’re charging, rather than reducing your rates to keep them, let them go so you will have time to work on a project that pays you what you’re worth. Now, if none of your clients think you’re worth what you’re charging, you may need to look at the value you’re providing.
- Don’t work with clients you don’t like or for businesses you morally disagree with. You will perform much better for clients you enjoy working for and will do a much better job of selling products you believe in.
Great insight, as always. Thank you so much, Pam!
To learn more from Pam and other experts, including Neil Patel and Morgan Brown, sign up today to request an invitation to the SEJ Summit in Santa Monica February 24th, hosted by Searchmetrics!
Images via SEJ and Shutterstock.