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How to Write PPC Ads that Convert

It can be frustrating to create a paid ad campaign and receive a number of clicks, but not see many conversions on the site.  These conversions may be direct revenue, such as a purchase, or a micro-conversion where someone fills out a form or downloads a file. You may also feel good about your ad copy and see a lot of impressions, but unfortunately discover that very few people even click on the ad.  Below are some tips to consider when writing your ad to increase your chances of conversion.

Keep it simple

You may do a lot of things well.  If you are an IT company, you may sell software and hardware.  Maybe you also offer support for different product lines.  One ad should not attempt to highlight everything you do. If you want to promote the page on your site with desktop computers, write an ad that is only about desktop computers.  Keep it very simple so people are not distracted by multiple offers.

Have a valuable Call-To-Action (CTA)

Is your call-to-action ‘learn more’ or ‘buy now’?  Although the ability to learn more or buy is not a bad call-to-action, it does not set you apart from other advertisers. Is there an offer you can include, such as free shipping, overnight shipping, or a time-limited discount? Find something that sets you apart from other advertisers in your industry.

Include a countdown timer

With Google’s countdown customizers, you can speak directly to people’s fear of missing out on something. With a little bit of code, your ad will include a real-time countdown by the day, hour, and minute.  Two words of caution with a countdown.  If you continually run ads  with the same deal and just change the end date, customers will catch on to you quickly and will know it’s not a real deal.  Also, if you always run a deal, customers will know that discount prices are your standard operation and will then buy from you only when you offer a deal.  When countdowns can work well is if they are used occasionally, such as around holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.


Write for the customer… not you

You may think your products or services have great features which is, of course, important.  Customers will be curious about your features, but they are much more concerned with the benefit to them.  Always remember, you are not offering your products or services, you are selling the customer’s solution and ensure your ad language reflects that.  Include words such as “you” to make it clear that you are customer focused.

Include numbers

Numbers can really stand out in an ad. Is your price $99 or do you offer “free shipping for purchases over $50”? State that in an ad.  It can make your ad stand apart from the ones that have text only.

Include “free” only if it is

Have you clicked on an ad with a free offer and learned that it was a 3-day trial, or “free” with some type of initial payment? This is why you need to be very careful about using that word. It could simply attract people who have no intention of ever paying for what they’re seeking, such as software. But if you have a “free 14-day trial”, that’s more honest and clearer to the searcher.  When they click your ad, they know it’s not something that’s free forever.

Reinforce your offer in the Display URL

The Display URL does have to include your domain, but can include any text after that.  So, if your domain is, after the .com, you have room to reinforce your message.  It could be or  It gives you some extra space for your message, so don’t give away this free space in the Display URL by only including your top level domain.

You will never find a 100% conversion rate on your ads and there will always be searchers who visit your site and choose not to make a purchase.  However, with some of these suggestions above, you can at least increase the number of people who do convert after clicking.

How to Give Your Paid Search Ad Copy a Facelift



Sometimes, when I know it’s time to revisit ad copy, I used to cringe inside – a lot. Writing new and copy or refreshing ad copy is one of those optimization tasks that I will be honest – I do not do as diligently as I should  And it requires a certain state of mind and focus of concentration that some days I just don’t have. It requires creative thinking, to say the least.  How can I reword the same ad in a different way? How can I spin the call to action a little differently?

To write great PPC copy means keeping your ad copy fresh.  And ensuring it is consistent with your messaging and current promotions.

One thing that has helped me in writing ad copy is coming up with simple ways to get more creative.

So how to come up with new ideas for ad copy? Below are some ways to get some creative and different ideas:

1)      Commercials

Watching TV commercials can actually be a great way to get ideas.  And they are becoming more and more creative in getting your attention.  So the next time you are watching your favorite show or a game, pay closer attention to those sometimes annoying ads.


PPC Mistakes that Sink Beginners

*The original article can be found in ASPE’s ROI November/December 2014 Newsletter. Interested in more articles like this one? View the most current newsletter here.*

As a beginner in the world of pay per click (PPC) marketing, there are steps you must take to get up and running in a fast, efficient and effective manner. There are also things you have to avoid if you want to stay above water and continue to move in the right direction.

The good thing is just because you are a beginner now does not mean you will always be a beginner. As you spend more money on PPC, paying close attention to what is and is not working, you will gain knowledge and expertise. At some point, you will be well past the beginner stage and ready to dive into the most advanced tactics and strategies.

For those who are just getting started with PPC, there are some key mistakes that can sink your strategy before it ever has a chance to swim. Here are five mistakes that you should avoid:

Not tracking each and every detail. If you are going to spend time and money on PPC marketing, it goes without saying that you should know what is going on at all times. How are you going to stay the course if you are not tracking every detail, no matter how big or small?

Your goal is simple: track anything and everything associated with your PPC campaign. From the keywords to the cost to the conversion (and that is just the start), you need to keep a watchful eye on everything that is happening.

The more details you track the easier it is to make changes on the fly that will improve your chance of greater success the next time around.

Spending too much money during the learning phase. It is easy to believe that the more you spend on PPC the more traffic you will drive to your site. And it is also easy to believe that the more traffic you drive, the more money you will make.

Don’t get too far ahead of yourself by setting an astronomical budget during the early days and weeks of your PPC campaign. You have to experiment with a variety of strategies, learning more about what is and is not going to work.

Start with a small budget, track everything, and then ramp up when you are comfortable doing so. If you spend a lot upfront and get nothing in return, there is a good chance you will be scared away from PPC forever. You don’t want that to happen, do you?

Not realizing the key difference between click through rate (CTR) and conversions. Testing and tracking is a big part of your PPC campaign. As you do this, it is only natural to pay close attention to your CTR. This is the number of people who are clicking your ad and making their way to your website.

This is your goal, right? While a high CTR means you have created a successful ad, it does not necessarily mean you are going to be impressed with the conversation rate.

When you focus solely on the CTR you could falsely believe that your campaign is performing much better than what it is. Make sure you know how many of the people visiting your site are converting.

Traffic is good, but conversions are what really matter. Are you keeping track of both?

Getting stuck in your ways. This can happen for a number of reasons. If things are going well and your current ad is paying off in terms of CTR and conversions, you may feel compelled to stick with it for the long run. But how will you ever know if you can do better unless you try?

On the other side of things, you may not be getting the results you are after. However, you stick with an ad for one reason or another. There is a fine line between giving your campaign a chance to work and sticking it out for too long. The longer you hang around without achieving results, the more money you are throwing down the drain.

Forgetting about the power of geo-targeting. If you are using Google AdWords, for instance, the default setting is for the entire United States. If you don’t make a change, your ads are going to be targeted to people from one side of the country to the next (and everywhere in between). This may not be the end of the world if you have a product or service that is sold nationwide, but if you are a local company, such as a restaurant or service professional, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Use geo-targeting to your advantage, especially if you want to target a specific, local audience. This will improve your chance of people in the right location seeing your ad.

Tips to Remember

These five PPC mistakes sink beginners time and time again. If you avoid these, you know you will be in a better position moving forward.

Here are a few additional tips to implement:

  • Experiment with many traffic sources, regularly comparing the results to determine which one offers the best return on investment.
  • Test, test, and test some more. You may be surprised at which ad copy yields the best results.
  • Ad scheduling can save you a lot of time, while helping you avoid mistakes (such as forgetting to turn a campaign on at a particular time of the day). Here is some more information on this direct from Google.

With the right PPC campaign in place, you could find yourself driving high quality traffic to your site on a regular basis. If you master this strategy, you will always be confident in your ability to generate traffic that converts.

Running Paid Ads with Bing


Since Google is the search giant, most marketers look to the AdWords network for their paid campaigns.  It seems to be a given for large companies especially to run some type of ad with AdWords – whether it is search, display, or a combination of both.

Even though Google seems to own search, Bing should not be ignored when it comes to cost-per-click (CPC) campaigns.  There are a number of advantages to this network in addition to your Google audience.  The obvious case for Bing is to reach searchers who are not on Google.  Yes, it is true.  Some people do prefer the Bing network for searching so perhaps you should be there too so you do not miss out on this potential goldmine of new customers.  Before jumping in with a Bing campaign, here are some considerations when spending marketing dollars there.

Less costly CPCs

Compared to AdWords, CPCs are frequently lower for keywords on Bing.  With a lower CPC for valuable keywords, this is a way to make marketing dollars go further – especially in verticals where CPC is incredibly expensive.  If you cannot afford to bid on your preferred keyword in AdWords, check the keyword cost in Bing.  You may be able to earn a decent ranking for your phrase on Bing that is very difficult to do on AdWords.  Small businesses with a very limited ad budget especially need to explore CPCs on Bing.


Are your Blog Posts Generating Quality Leads?

*The original article can be found in ASPE’s ROI November/December Newsletter. Interested in more articles like this one? View the most current newsletter here.*

There are many reasons to create and maintain a corporate blog, one of the top being to generate quality leads on a regular basis. The more leads you receive from your blog the more inclined you will be to stick with your strategy well into the future.

Before we go any further, here is something you need to know:  Regardless of what you do, there is no way to guarantee that every blog post will generate at least one lead. When it comes down to it, there will be posts that surpass your expectations as well as those that fall flat.

In the event that your blog posts are not generating leads, it is time to take a strong look at your strategy. Which changes can you make to ensure more success down the road? You can only answer this question after reviewing your strategy, including what has and has not been yielding results.

In many cases, a few simple changes here and there are enough to take your blog from ordinary to extraordinary. Below are several of the best ideas to consider.

Get In-Depth with your Blog Posts

Are you stuck in the past, thinking that a couple hundred words will be enough to attract people to your blog?

Every post doesn’t have to be a novel. That being said, you don’t want to consistently come up short in terms of the depth of your posts.

Consider reviewing the last few months of your blog posts, taking a strong look at how many words each one consists of. What is the average?

Once you have this number, you can adjust your word count upwards as you move forward. After another month, calculate both your new word count average as well as the number of leads generated. Do you see a difference?

Tip: longer is not always better. Don’t write to hit a specific word count. Instead, write with quality and depth in mind.

Target the Right Audience

If you don’t know who you are targeting, writing any blog post, regardless of the topic, is going to be a challenge.

Are you attempting to connect with consumers? Are you looking to reach other businesses? You must know your target audience inside and out. This will allow you to alter your content in the appropriate manner in hopes of generating a better response.

If you are struggling to identify your audience, you can do a couple of things. First off, examine other blogs in your industry. This may be all you need in order to get a better idea of the direction you should take your blog. Additionally, don’t shy away from asking your readers for feedback. You can learn a lot about your blog’s audience by the comments your posts receive and the emails that arrive in your inbox.

Share Something Unique

Regardless of your industry, it is likely that there are many others blogging about the same topics. Are you going to rehash the same ideas time and time again? Or are you going to take a unique stance, giving your readers something to get excited about?

If your blog content does nothing more than mirror the rest of the industry, you should not expect to generate a large number of leads. Take a unique viewpoint on your topic, as this is the best way to generate interest and prove yourself.

The only way to guarantee that you are saying something unique is to interject your personality and opinions into each post. If nothing else, this is enough to differentiate your blog from the rest of the pack. Let your voice shine through.

Market your Blog

Wouldn’t it be nice if every blog post you wrote generated thousands upon thousands of page views without you doing any work? While this may be reality at some point in the future, most people find that they have to market their content.

You can do this in many ways. From sharing on social media to pushing newsletter readers back to your blog, get as creative as possible.

Tip: track your marketing strategy so you know what is and is not generating traffic. This will allow you to adjust your approach, making the best use of your time and resources.

Answer these Questions

Now that you are aware of some of the changes you can make to generate more leads from your blog, it is time to tweak your strategy. As you begin doing so, here are some of the questions you should address:

  • Which types of blog posts have generated the best response in the past?
  • Which types of blog posts are useful for reasons others than generating leads?
  • Have you implemented a simple way for people to contact you after reading your blog posts?
  • Are you charting every aspect of each blog post, from the content length to the marketing to the time and day of publication?
  • Are you willing to make changes, even if it means turning your blog strategy upside down as you search for the right answers?

It is safe to assume that you have many reasons for creating and maintaining a corporate blog. If you are going to put time into this part of your business, you might as well do your best to generate high quality leads as often as possible.

If this is something you have struggled with in the past, don’t be afraid to change your approach and try new things in the future.

By implementing some or all of the changes detailed above, your blog could turn into a lead generation machine. As a result, you could find yourself swimming in more business than you ever imagined possible.

10 PPC Mistakes Marketers Make

For more articles like this, sign up for the ASPE-ROI Newsletter

  1. Sending traffic to the home page instead of a specific landing page
  2.  Using the default broad match on every keyword after setting up a campaign
  3.  Not split testing ads to find out which one gets the most clicks
  4. Not separating text ads vs. image ads in the display network
  5. Not using conversion tracking on thank you pages
  6.  Not spending enough time developing the right negative keyword list
  7. Using too many or duplicate keywords in your Ad groups
  8. Not optimizing for Quality Score
  9. Not checking the search query report on a daily basis
  10. Ignoring the ad extensions feature completely

Maximize Your Budget with Google AdWords

For more Google AdWords instruction, tips and tools check out Google AdWords training from ASPE-ROI. This 3-day Mastering Google AdWords course will teach you the terminology, knowledge and strategy necessary to achieve results with Google AdWords. You’ll also prepare for and pass the Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam on the final day of class.

If your business still lacks a presence on Google Sponsored Ads, no need to fret, because we’re going to walk you through the basics on getting started with Google AdWords.  It’s quick, fairly painless, and fun (OK, it’s what you make of it).

First, what we’re trying to capture here is people searching for information. If their search is relevant to your business, you want to have a presence on Google when people are conducting these searches.  Your website can either appear naturally through SEO efforts, or you can “pay-to-play,” if you will, with your business appearing in the Sponsored Results.



Just like anything else when you sign up for something online, you need to provide them with some basic information.  In this case, you need to give Google an email address and your website.



Now let’s create your first campaign!


How to Write Great Copy Online

5 Copywriting Tips for Marketers

Most of your results online depend on how you communicate your value to your potential clients. You want your words to be as effective as possible. Users will not give you a second chance once they form a mental image of what you are and what you can offer them. This is a short guide to help you navigate the sea of copywriting and make sure your online copy converts and grows your business.

Master the basics of copywriting

Some people think it’s just “words.” They assume everything depends on the actual product or service you have, and copy doesn’t matter. This is just wrong. If you have not found the time to study copywriting, here are a few basic concepts for your consideration.
Know your audience: It is impossible to write effective copy if you don’t know the audience you want to reach. As famous copywriter David Ogilvy said, “Research should be the most time consuming task of a writer.” It’s essential that writers discover who their audi¬ence is. How do they describe the type of product or service you offer? How do they choose what to buy? What do and don’t they care about? And, most importantly, how does your product or ser¬vice benefit them?
Compelling headlines: How do you capture the attention of your audience? Your elevator pitch moment is your headline. Clarity wins over creativity: What do you offer? Why should I care? What’s in it for me? Keep it short. Keep it simple. Describe, don’t overthink. The goal is to keep people interested and have them read more. One word can make the difference, like the Movexa headline A/B test which improved sales by 89% when the added one word, “supplement,” in the headline.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP): You have heard you need to be unique in order to succeed in business. The USP is a way to explain it to your audience, and can be crafted answering three simple ques¬tions: What is it? Who is it for? How does it help?
Persuasive writing: Your copy will convert much better if you pay attention to the science of persuasion. Research in psychology shows there are certain patterns that will increase the chances of selling with your words, namely a focus on benefits, price dis-counts, limited time offers, money-back guarantees, testimonials and bonus products.

Clear benefits

One of the most common mistakes in copywriting is not being clear enough about the benefits of what we are selling. Some people, in fact, describe features rather than benefits. They talk about the dishwasher, the consulting service, a laptop without actually explaining how it will benefit people.
If you want your copy to be persuasive, you might want to think about these questions and translate your answers into actual copy:

How will this help people save money and time?
How will this make them feel?
What will this make them think?
What specific results will it produce?
Why will it over-deliver?
Why should people tell their friends about it?

Just to make things clear, if you are writing about a music device, you may consider features like GB of memory, USB connection and avail¬able colors. But the real benefits for this product may be comfortable listening, stylish look and ease of use.

The right copy length

Sometimes your copy is good, but it is not producing the results you expect. You think there must be something wrong in what you wrote, but that is not the case. You wrote compelling content, explained the benefits of your product and crafted an irresistible offer. What’s wrong?
Quite simply, it’s possible your copy doesn’t have the right length. Depending on the situation, users need different amounts of informa¬tion in order to make a decision. In order to decide what the right length is for your copy, there are certain elements you should take into account:
Your industry: a good starting point is assessing your competitors. What’s the standard for your industry/type of product? Take a look at your most successful competitor and get an idea. You should consider both the length of the landing page or sales letter itself and the ratio when combined with the amount of call to actions (CTAs). Infoproducts, for example, tend to perform well with a high copy to CTA ratio.

The commitment: how big is the commitment on the user’s end? Are you promoting a free web seminar or a $997 course? Are you asking for somebody’s name and email or much more information? The big¬ger the commitment, the longer your copy should be to address con¬cerns and explain benefits.
The length to call to action ratio: Are you familiar with the way most websites display download and order buttons? Not just once in the page, but several times, to make sure you get the chance to do the desired action at different stages. That’s fine, but one should not overdo it. Often there are too many CTAs, and removing some of them guarantees higher conversions.

Ask for feedback

Sometimes there’s not much we can do without input from others. Does your copy stand up to a review? Asking other people you trust might be much more effective than analyzing your own copy (expect to return the favor!) and will provide external insights from which you can benefit.
How should you do this? Asking only, “What do you think about it?” will not suffice. If you want to increase the chances of your copy converting, you should ask smart questions that are directly related to what copy needs to accomplish: keep the interest alive, explain and persuade.
Question #1: If you were a customer, would you read more?
Most people don’t realize the first trait of successful copy is that it makes you read, read, read. You don’t think you’re wasting your time as you feel the need to learn more about the subject. Start by asking a group of 5-10 people if they would actually read more after the first third of your copy.
Question #2: How would you change this?
General questions won’t cut it. “Do you like this headline?” “Yeah, pretty good”. Ask your people to suggest specific variations of your copy and why. This will teach invaluable lessons.
Question #3: What’s unbelievable, boring or confusing?
Copy Logic, a great handbook on copywriting, outlines a simple strat¬egy to reduce the risk of readers abandoning your copy once and for all. Just ask a few people to spot anything that sounds unbelievable, boring or confusing. In this way, you’ll be able to remove or fix the elements of your copy that are not producing the expected results, instantly increasing your conversions.

Technology can help

When it comes to testing your copy and refining it, technology can be really useful. Sometimes relying on what people think is not enough. You want real data that can immediately help you understand what’s going on so you can act accordingly.
Mouse tracking
A great tool for this purpose is a mouse tracking service like Crazy Egg or Mouseflow. How compelling is your copy? You’ll be able to find what percentage of users scroll down the page. Are people leaving the site at a certain point? There might be a reason.
A/B testing
Testing several versions of your copy along with other graphic ele¬ments on your page will give you a clear idea of what performs well and what doesn’t. Be creative and test different headlines to see what works best.
Is this overwhelming? If you want your copy to convert, you might need to step back and look at it with constructive criticism: What’s working? What’s not?
The good thing about copywriting in the digital age is that we have the chance to test it over and over. We cannot read people’s minds, but keeping in mind certain metrics will help us get better and better at writing for the audience.
Treat your copy as a product. The more time you spend with it, the faster it will improve and produce the results you expect and deserve.

Customer Loyalty: Determining Flight Risk

After two years of class in B-school, one thing you learn is how much Academia likes to use 2×2 models (or similar models). Most of the time, these models are more of a way to give a simple representation to help with retention of a complicated or abstract concept, but sometimes they are actually helpful.

One I was recently shown looks at the idea of Customer Loyalty. While customer loyalty is one of the most studied and discussed topics, in day-to-day business we often neglect it. Most agree that customer retention is critical to business survival (and prosperity), but then we turn around and spend more time and investment in generating new leads and potential customers. To a fault, we tend to lump the world into past customers and people have not purchased. We take our past customers for granted and expect their business to just continue. Look at the cable industry for one. Anyone who has ever had cable will tell you that the industry rewards new customers and does whatever they can to hold their current customers hostage. But yet, while we scream and yell about this tactic, we too neglect our current customers in favor of winning new business. We devote entire departments and budgets to new businesses, but do we do the same for our current customers?

With that said, my challenge to you (the reader) is to take another look at your current customers? Who are the truly loyal? Who are you holding hostage? Who is about to escape?

Flight Risk of Your Customers

This post is not intended to make you better at customer retention. The goal here is to get you to reevaluate how you look at your customers to determine who is really loyal and what relationship you need to cultivate.

Below is a two-by-two model that I think presents an interestingly simple way to look at why and how some customers are loyal. It uses Customer Behavior and Attitude to get a deeper understanding of their Loyalty.


Loyals (blue): These are the simplest to understand. These people are your evangelists. They are extremely loyal in both their behavior and their attitude. They act as referrers and offer testimonials. You goal is to push more and more people into this box, but the question to ask yourself is, ‘How many of your customers really fall into this box?

Non-Loyals (yellow): These people are not disloyal. All people are loyal. They just aren’t loyal to you, hence the name non-loyal. They do not buy from you, so their loyalty behavior is low. They do not speak highly of you or refer others because their loyalties lie in other places. Your goal here should be to understand why these people don’t choose you? ‘Do your products not align with their needs? Does your core competency not align with what they want? Or are you neglecting a part of the market?’

Spurious Loyals (green): These are your highest flight risk. They are loyal in their behavior (repeatedly buy), but their attitude towards you is  low. An extreme example of this is your cable provider. You renew your contract, but if there was a better option you could easily be lured away. Another example of this might be a fast food restaurant close to your office or home. ‘Do you go there as often as you do because you are loyal? Or do you go because of proximity/convenience?‘ The question to ask yourself is, ‘Is your customer doing business with you because they want to, or are they doing it begrudgingly?‘ The goal here is to understand why their attitude towards you is low because if a competitor identifies that first, you will quickly lose these customers that you probably currently count on. My guess is, you probably have a much larger percentage of your portfolio in this box then you think.

Latent Loyals (pink): These people have a very positive attitude towards you, but their behavior does not match. A prime example of this would be your luxury goods. There are people in this world who are extremely loyal to Porsche though they have never owned one. People believe in your product, but do they buy it? Price is not the only factor here though. They might believe your product is high-quality and great for others, but have a misalignment with their own particular needs. Understanding why these people have a positive attitude can help you better understand some of your issues with your other loyalty boxes, but the question you must ask yourself is, ‘Why are these people not buying? Do I really understand their needs?

So where do your customers lie?

What percentage of your past customers make up these different boxes?

What are you doing to understand their behavior?

What are you doing to understand their attitude?