Thursday, July 30, 2009

Top 12 Tips To Writing Effective Google AdWords Ads

In this article I show you my top twelve tips for creating effective Google AdWords ads.

I've been testing the Google pay per click advertising system for a while, with much success. These tips will help you create ads that generate higher click through rates, and lower cost per click.

1. Target The Right Audience

Target the right audience by selecting the language and countries that you want to target. For example, I exclude all countries where English is not understood by a large percentage of the population.

2. Refine Your Keywords

Use square brackets "[...]" around your keyword/s.

For example:

[google adwords]

Your ad will only show when the search is for the exact keyword phrase you have included within the brackets.

The ad will not show for searches that include other keywords. In our example, this would be for searches such as "google search," or "google news."

3. Test Multiple Ads Simultaneously

Always test 2 (or more) ads simultaneously. This is what is known in the print industry as an A/B split test.

Find out which one produces the higher click through ratio. Then replace the weaker performing ad with a new one.

Continue this process in your never-ending quest to get the highest click through ratio possible.

4. Track The Return-On-Investment Of Each Ad

Google tracks the click through ratio of each ad. But it doesn't track the conversion ratio.

Use a special tracking link in each ad to track its conversion ratio. For example, you could attach each ad with an affiliate tracking system link. Make sure each ad produces a return-on-investment.

5. Include Targeted Keywords In Your Ad

Include the targeted keywords in the headline and the description of the ad. Google will highlight searched keywords in bold in the ad.

When people scan search results, they look for the keywords they have entered. Searched keywords highlighted in bold certainly help to catch the user's attention. For this reason, ads with searched keywords usually perform better than ones without.

6. Sell The Benefits

Spell out one or more major benefit in your ad. For example, make more money, stay younger looking, lose weight, get healthier, live happier, etc.

7. Include Attention Grabbing Words In Your Ad

Start your headline with an attention grabbing word. For example, "Free:, New:, Sale:, etc." Make sure you stay within Google's editorial guidelines.

8. Use Words That Provoke Emotion & Enthusiasm

Use power words or call-to-action phrases that provoke emotion, enthusiasm and a response.

Here are some examples of power words:

free, cheap, sale, special offer, time limited offer, tricks, you, tips, enhance, discover, fact, learn, at last, free shipping, etc.

Here are some examples of call-to-action phrases:

* Buy Today - Save 50%
* Download Free Trial Now
* Sale Ends Tomorrow

Make sure the phrase specific to your business, otherwise Google may reject the phrase.

9. Sell Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

What makes your product or service better, or different, from the competition? Spell them out in your ad.

For example, one of's first taglines was "Earth's Biggest Bookstore." That's a powerful USP!

10. Link To Relevant Landing Pages

If an ad is for a specific product or service, create a landing page for the ad. Include relevant and useful information to convert the customer. Generally, a well designed landing page will almost always convert more visitors than if you simply sent the visitor to the home page.

11. Remove Common Words

Remove common words, such as "a, an, in, on, it, of, etc." Remove every word that does not absolutely need to be in the ad. Make every word count.

12. Deter Freebie Hunters

Deter freebie hunters by including the price of the product or service at the end of the ad. This will improve your overall conversion ratio and lower your average customer acquisition cost.

This may reduce your click through ratio, but that's OK. After all, you're not trying to target every body, only potential customers. In most cases, freebie hunters will never become paying customers.


Remember that advertising is a never-ending series of tests. Always track your ads. Never stop testing different keywords and ads to improve your conversion ratio and lower your customer acquisition cost.

Advertising in the Google AdWords advertising system works. It may not necessarily produce as many visitors as Overture, but the click through cost is usually lower.

Affiliate Managers: Your Top Five Biggest Affiliate Program Mistakes

In this article I will show affiliate managers the mistakes they should avoid if they want to build a successful affiliate program.

I felt compelled to write this article after seeing the same mistakes made by most of the hundreds of affiliate programs I have joined since I started promoting them in 1997. I have made a nice living from affiliate programs over the years, so I know a thing or two about them. I would dearly love to make more money with affiliate programs, but affiliate managers don't make it easy for us affiliates. So hopefully this article will do a bit for the cause.

Here are my top five biggest affiliate program mistakes that I find today:

1. Competing With Your Affiliates.

This is by far the worst mistake made by companies that offer affiliate programs. I often see companies for products I am trying to promote compete with me in the search engine rankings and pay per click advertising programs.

Why companies invest money and resources in competing with their affiliates is beyond me. By competing with me, you're trying to put me out of business. Have marketing directors ever thought of it in that way? Because if you succeed, you will no longer have an affiliate network to speak of.

The money would be better spent on supporting your affiliate network by creating a better product, providing more referral statistics, higher commission payouts, faster support, and more, fresh promotional creatives.

So if you're an affiliate manager reading this article, tell your affiliate director at your next meeting to STOP competing with your affiliates, and support them instead!

2. Not Providing Your Affiliates With Useful, Real-Time Statistics.

All marketers rely on statistics to measure the effectiveness of any marketing campaign. Yet most affiliate programs only provide their affiliates with basic statistics such as number of visitors sent, number of sales, and commission earned. These statistics aren't much help to affiliates who want to measure the effectiveness of a particular pay per click campaign.

Affiliate managers - please consider providing these useful statistics so that I can market your products effectively:

  • Archive of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly statistics and by date range.
  • Commission earned, broken down by product or service, and how the customer was referred to the site.
  • Daily email update of all affiliate statistics.
  • Instant email notification of a new affiliate.
  • Instant email notification of a new free trial sign up.
  • Instant email notification of a new sale and all relevant statistics. I love getting new sales notification emails!
  • Number of free trial downloads or subscriptions.
  • Number of returns and all relevant statistics.
  • Affiliate links with trackable IDs, so that affiliates can tell exactly which site, or ad campaign is sending the referrals and sales.
  • Unique clicks - which refers to the unique number of visitors referred - in addition to raw clicks - which refers to the total number of click throughs.
  • A list of top performing affiliate statistics, so that affiliates can compare how they're doing and which areas they can improve on.
  • Include the most important statistics at the top of the email and subject line. There's nothing worse than having to scroll down to see what the referral purchased or how much commission I have made.

The following only apply if the affiliate program offers more than one level of commissions.

  • Commission earned as a result of referrals sent by 2nd-tier affiliates.
  • Commission earned, broken down by commission level.
  • Number of 2nd-tier affiliates referred.

I've been promoting products and services via affiliate programs since 1997 and I have yet to come across an affiliate program that provides anything close to these statistics.

3. Not Compensating Your Affiliates Fairly For Their Hard Work.

The #1 incentive for any affiliate is cold hard cash. Money sells! So tell your marketing director to fire the search engine optimization firm and advertising department, and redirect the resources to paying your affiliates a higher commission rate.

Another thing I hate is seeing my commissions go down the drain because someone I had referred signs up to the affiliate program and purchases the product via their affiliate link. It almost feels like I'm being robbed blind! I highly recommend affiliate managers deter this practice by making it harder for affiliates to pocket the commission from their own purchases, at least the initial one.

4. Not Providing Enough Fresh Promotional Creatives.

Most affiliate managers seem to give their promotional creatives little thought. All they offer is a handful of 468x60 banners, buttons and text links. What happens is that affiliates end up using the same ads on hundreds, even thousands of web sites.

Affiliate managers - what about these promotional creatives?

  • Articles and tips with embedded affiliate links
  • Classified ads
  • Customer testimonials
  • Direct email ads
  • Email signatures
  • Newsletter ads
  • pay per click ads
  • Pop-up/under ads
  • Product photographs
  • Product reviews
  • Product screenshots
  • Rich-media ads
  • Skyscrapers
  • Staff interviews

Listen up! Different ads perform better on different sites. And ads generally have a life span of a carton of milk. So offer your affiliates a greater variety of ads, more often.

5. Not Providing Fast, Quality Support For Your Affiliates.

This is the 21st century. Don't make your affiliates wait longer for an email reply than it takes to send a letter by snail-mail post.

Don't outsource your affiliate support work. If you have to, then at least train your support staff so that they understand the ins and outs of your products and affiliate program. I'm often dumbfounded by affiliate support staff who can't give me answers to simple questions.

Well there you have it - my five biggest complaints about affiliate programs today. I hope affiliate managers take note and take strides to better support their affiliates, because if you don't, affiliates will find other ways to make money on their site.

Affiliate marketers - if you agree with what I've said, send this article to your affiliate program managers!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Top 5 Professional SEO Tips to Ensure Web Browser Compatibility

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone uses the same Internet browser. Sure, there are a large number of Internet Explorer users, but there are also a lot of people who use Firefox, Chrome, Opera and others. That is why it is vitally important, to make sure that your website displays correctly, regardless of the browser it is shown on. If you don't, all of your website promotion efforts will be a waste of time.

The major web browsers and their market share as of December 2008, is as follows:

  • Internet Explorer - 68.15%*
  • Firefox - 21.34%*
  • Safari - 7.93%*
  • Chrome - 1.04%*
  • Opera - 0.71%*

* Source -

As you can see, if your website only displays correctly with Internet Explorer, you are missing out on a whopping 30% of visitors, that are unable to view your site correctly.

So, how do you ensure that your site is universally compatible with all of the web browsers out there? The answers can be summed up in five basic steps. They are explained in greater detail below.

1. Test Your Website

If you want to ensure that your website promotion efforts remain worthwhile, you need to test your site among the different web browsers. In the past this had to be done manually. But now, there are free services that can do this for you such as BrowserShots.

To use these free services, all you have to do is enter the URL of your website. You can also enter in other specs, such as screen size and color depth, but these fields are optional. The software will then return a set of screen shots, showing what your site looks like in each web browser.

2. Use Basic HTML

Basic HTML is essential to good website promotion as all web browsers can read HTML. Plus, it is a well developed and established programming language, that will enable even ten year old computers, to load HTML pages pretty quickly. Although websites that are designed using basic HTML may not be as elaborate as those created using more advanced languages, but at least they load and display properly.

3. Do Not Use Frames Foregoing on frames is one of the best kept secrets of website promotion. True, such a suggestion doesn't help with designing, but if you use frames too much, you risk having display problems if the site is shown on an older browser.

So, if your site needs different sections within the same page, use HTML tables instead. They are universal to most browsers plus, if you know what you are doing, they can actually be more attractive.

4. Do Not Include Fancy Fonts in Your Design

Your site should look good even if standard fonts are used. Therefore try and avoid using some of the more fancier font styles, as some web browsers may have difficulty recognising these. Again, this may not help with your site's design, but it will do wonders for your website promotion.

5. Limit Your Use of Images

When it comes to website promotion, content matters more than images. This is because when people are really hunting for information, they are not going to care whether or not a site looks pretty. Granted, there are exceptions to this rule, but as long as your site looks neat, uncluttered and professional, don't worry. Overloading a web page with images may slow down the loading time and can cause problems with the page displaying correctly in certain browsers.

Robert Smith has over 5 years experience in online marketing and search engine optimisation. He is the owner of Get On Fast, a specialist online marketing agency, based in Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.

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