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5 Steps for Using Paid Internet Advertising to Drive Conversions

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Paid advertising is a great way to guide more traffic to your site and increase business, but it can become expensive quickly — especially if you aren’t careful. How do you make sure you are getting the most out of your paid ads?

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a business owner in my community. They recently started an aggressive Google AdWords campaign that was working, sort of. They getting tons of new leads, but the leads were for services they didn’t offer! The problem was their campain was way too broad, and they were paying tons of cash for useless leads.

Don’t let that happen to you. Here are five simple things you can do to make sure you are getting the most for your paid ad dollars.

1. Understand (and Use) Long Tail Keywords

Longtail keywords are keywords that are several words long. Rather than targeting “plumber,” you might target “emergency plumber near me” or “plumber to unblock a drain.” These are critical because they are more likely to match the words searchers use and they also indicate the searcher is ready to hire or buy.

Ubersuggest is a great resource for discovering keywords in your industry.

When using Ubersuggest, remember that you aren’t necessarily looking for the highest-traffic keywords. You are looking for the words your customers use to look for you.

Be on the lookout for long-tail keywords that are longer, more specific keywords that make up the majority of search-driven traffic.

Here’s a simple system you can use:

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Step #1: Enter Your Head Keyword and Click “Search”

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest

Step #2: Click “Keyword Ideas” in the Left Sidebar

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest 2

Step #3: Analyze the Results

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest keyword ideas

In the example above, the term “social media marketing” is considered a “head” keyword, which means it is searched for very frequently. The much less popular term “social media marketing strategy” receives fewer searches, but indicates the searcher is looking for something more specfic.

You might go even further and try something like “the best social media marketing strategy.”

To find even more keywords, click the “Related” tab next to “Suggestions.”

For this particular keyword, doing so gives you nearly 16,000 more keywords, the majority of which are long-tail. For example, here’s what you see as you scroll down the results:

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest keyword ideas

Once you find a long-tail keyword that piques your interest, click on it for a better idea of your competitors, both for paid ads and organic search.

paid internet advertising tool ubersuggest kewyord overview

The big mistake that many first-time marketers make with SEO or pay-per-click advertising is choosing the wrong keywords.

When you purchase head keywords like “social media marketing,” you will spend significantly more money and reduce your ROI dramatically.

The key that you have to remember is you get a lot more bang for your buck by targeting a large number of lower-traffic terms than by targeting a small number of higher-traffic terms.

Finally, the best source of keywords can come from your own website. Consider using a survey tool like Qualaroo to find out what your customers are looking for or why they decided to do business with you (after checkout for example). The language they use can be very effective ad copy for internet advertisements.

2. Understand the Different Types of Paid Ads

There are a lot of places to buy ads and each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Before getting started, you should understand the major types of paid advertising as well as their pros and cons.

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paid internet advertising examples

Display Ads or Banner Ads

Banner ads immediately come to mind when we think about online advertising because they stand out. They are very common and come in a variety of sizes. These ads can be effective, but they tend to target customers who are not actively looking for something new.

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For example, a person may be reading a newspaper article and not be interested in a new social media course. Display ads can be successful, but they need to be used properly. Display ads can be purchased using a pay-per-click model or they simply can be displayed for a certain length of time.

different type of internet ads display ad example

Text ads are the type you usually see on the primary Google search page. These ads generally are less expensive than display ads and target customers that actually are looking for something specific. They can be very effective but depend heavily on good keyword research and A/B testing (a topic we will discuss later in this post).

Here are a few of the places you should try listing your ads, though there certainly are many others:

Google Ads

Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) are an obvious choice for many businesses. They offer display and text ads in association with highly targeted keywords. AdWords are a clear choice for any campaign.

Bonus Tip: Your Google Adwords ads will produce a better return on investment the longer you use Adwords. Google rewards long-term customers with better “quality scores”.

Bing or Yahoo

Bing and Yahoo both offer alternative ad platforms that work similarly to Google’s. They combine display and text ads with targeted search terms. Some brands find that, while these options bring less traffic, the overall ROI is a bit better.

Social Media Ads

Social media advertising has grown enormously in popularity over the last few years. These ads combine text and display elements and are targeted based on user preferences, demographics, and location. Depending on your business type, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok are valid options to consider.

BuySellAds or Direct Buy

BuySellAds.com is a great place to go to find additional display ad opportunities. These usually allow you to “rent” space on a site or a blog for a fixed cost. Additional opportunities like this can exist if you contact some of your favorite bloggers directly.

Can’t decide between Facebook or Google (two popular options)? Then check out this video for some guidance:

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Start by trying several of these options and use hard data to make final decisions about where you want to put your money. Rely on hard data, not guesses, to understand what platforms provide the best return.

3. Track Your Paid Ad Results

If you aren’t able to see how each of your ads is performing, then you shouldn’t be buying paid advertising at all. The beautiful thing about online advertising is that you get the opportunity to track everything. Google Analytics is an absolute must when it comes to online ad buying. This analytics package is free and easy to install.

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Once you have it set up, you should become very familiar with Google Analytics Custom Campaigns. These options allow you to create a customized URL for each ad that will help you see overall performance for all of your advertising. Using Google Analytics in this way will give you a single dashboard for comparing all of your advertising campaigns.

4. Create a Landing Page

It is important to send incoming visitors to a unique page (called a landing page) on your website, rather than your homepage. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there are three very good reasons for using this strategy:

  1. Landing pages allow you to customize your message for incoming visitors. This means that you can continue the message you started with your ads, which creates a more cohesive experience.
  2. Custom landing pages allow you to push visitors toward specific actions, such as downloading a free ebook. (Displaying traditional navigation may distract your visitors.)
  3. Landing pages make tracking your visits very easy. This is especially important.

When you combine this strategy with easy funnel-tracking tools, you quickly can gain a lot of information about how to reach and sell to your new visitors.

In some cases, you can create a single landing page for an entire ad campaign. In other cases, you may want to create a specific landing page for each keyword that you purchase.

landing page example paid internet advertising

This landing page helps us track who comes to the page and exactly how effective our ads are.

It is important to remember to block your custom landing pages from search engines. This can be done with a simple edit to your “robots.txt” file. This is an important step that will make your ad tracking more reliable. If you allow Google and Bing to send non-paid visitors to your page, you may get a false sense of how your page is performing.

Here are two more tips to create high-converting landing pages.

Create a Call to Action

Once you have a visitor on your landing page, how do you convert them into a lead or a customer? Every page you send them to should have a clear call to action. Think about this one carefully, because it’s the difference between a sale and wasted money.

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I like to decide what the “number one” desired outcome for each page is before I design a landing page. Simply ask yourself, “What do I want them to do the most?” Then create the page accordingly.

a good call to action example paid advertising guide

A good call to action will tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do.

Everything on your page should push your visitors toward the action you want them to take. Without considering this, you’re throwing money away.

Use A/B Testing

You may have launched your page, but you aren’t done yet. Small tweaks and adjustments can make a huge difference in your overall conversion rate. If you’ve followed the tips above, you should have the proper landing page and conversion tracking to make this task very easy.

A/B testing is being scientific about testing which methods work best. When you go about A/B testing, it is important that you make only a single, testable, change each time. For example, you could test the effectiveness of your page’s headline or button placement, but not both at the same time.

By testing a single change, you will be able to see conclusive results about what works best. A/B testing is an ongoing process, too, so don’t stop. Keep testing and modifying your page. You might be surprised at what it does to your overall conversion rate.

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5. Review Your Paid Ad Results Regularly

Whatever you do, don’t look at your results every day. This practice can lead to hasty changes based on incomplete data. It is best to wait so that your analytics have time to accumulate accurate trends and information. Then determine a set time period for reviewing your statistics and making changes. It might be monthly, it might be weekly. Checking monthly is a good plan for picking up broad shifts.

Consider setting up spreadsheets to track your statistics. It’s easier to pick up on trends and understand what you’re seeing when you dig into your analytics to pull out the numbers for your spreadsheet.

tracking metrics for paid internet advertising

Use simple spreadsheets to track your incoming ad traffic.

Be prepared to kill keywords that are under-performing. Remember, conversion rates are your most important statistics, not clicks. Clicks just waste money if they aren’t driving leads or sales.

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In paid advertising, the longer you run your ads, the better your rates and quality score will become. This will be true particularly if you rely heavily on good A/B testing and are constantly refining your ad buy.

5 Steps to Getting Started with Paid Ads

Time needed: 6 minutes.

Not sure how to get started with paid ads? Here’s five steps to make sure you don’t waste your investment.

  1. Understand (and Use) Long Tail Keywords

    Long tail keywords are less competitive and mimic the way people search.

  2.  Understand the Different Types of Paid Ads

    Each type of ad has different costs, audiences, and reaches. Understand the difference so you don’t waste ad spend!

  3. Track Your Paid Ad Results

    If you aren’t able to see how each of your ads is performing, then you shouldn’t be buying paid advertising at all. T

  4. Create a Landing Page

    Landing pages help drive conversions and make it easier to track. Don’t forget to add a CTA and use A/B testing.

  5. Review Your Paid Ad Results Regularly

    Check your results weekly or monthly to make sure your ads are driving results, not just clicks.

Conclusion

Paid ads are not a get-rich-quick scheme. Don’t expect to be finished in a week or two. Give your ads time and finesse your plan to get the best results. Cumulative trends and information will give you a clearer picture of which ads actually convert.

Start by setting a small budget, and increase it as you gain confidence. If you need help getting started, feel free to reach out to my team. We can help create an advertising plan that works for your business.

Are you considering adding paid ads to your online advertising strategy? What is holding you back?

See How My Agency Can Drive Massive Amounts of Traffic to Your Website

  • SEO – unlock massive amounts of SEO traffic. See real results.
  • Content Marketing – our team creates epic content that will get shared, get links, and attract traffic.
  • Paid Media – effective paid strategies with clear ROI.

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MARKETING

How To Breathe New Life Into Unpublished Content

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How To Breathe New Life Into Unpublished Content

Repurposing successful content is old news. You already know how to squeeze as much value out of it as you can.

But what about your content that never made the cut? These assets languish on your hard drive or in the cloud, never fulfilling their original purpose. They could be:

  • Blog articles made irrelevant by breaking news.
  • Press releases never picked up by the media.
  • Thought leadership articles created for trade magazines that ceased publishing before your content could be published.
  • Case studies tabled when your organization’s priorities changed.

All is not lost: Here’s how to breathe new life into that unpublished content.

Find the misfit content

You likely don’t remember every piece of content created that never saw the light of day. To rediscover these potential gems, search your brand’s server for content that never moved to the next folder in the publishing process. Look at your own hard drive (and ask team members to do the same) for completed drafts that were never finalized. Peruse your content management system (CMS) for unpublished content.

Once you find some of this misfit content, it’s time to unearth their hidden value.

Find some misfit unpublished #content and unearth its hidden value, says @Hey_Formichelli via @CMIContent @inmotionshosting. Click To Tweet

Revitalize rejected content

In my 25 years as a magazine writer, I racked up well over 500 rejections to my pitches. I saved each failed idea in a folder on my hard drive, and every so often, I would go through it to see if any of the ideas might be workable for a new publication.

In early 2020, an editor at a prominent women’s magazine asked me to pitch some ideas. I compiled a handful of rejected pitch ideas that I updated and revised. One of those ideas ended up in the December issue.

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You can do something similar. Send the once rejected column written by your CEO to another publication. Take that exclusive release sent to a reporter who never used it and turn it into a release for bloggers in your industry.

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Remember, just because a piece of content was wrong for one outlet doesn’t mean it’s wrong for all of them. Or sometimes, you just need to wait until the time is right. Look at your rejected work with a new eye, and ask: Is it this content’s time to shine?

Just because a piece of #content was wrong for one outlet doesn’t mean it’s wrong for all. Revitalize your rejected content, says @Hey_Formichelli via @CMIContent @inmotionhosting. Click To Tweet

If your revitalized content gets rejected again, publish it yourself on your blog, resource page, social media, etc.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Guest Blogging: A Step-by-Step Guide

Transform content dismissed because of unexpected events

When I ran a small content studio, we developed an incredible report about how to incorporate the principles of women’s magazine journalism into B2B content to “take it from ZZZ to OMG.”

Right after we released the report to the world, the pandemic struck. Suddenly, no one wanted to read about (or create) fun, entertaining content. Our new content needed to demonstrate we knew what was going on in the world – the gloomy “new normal.” It made sense. Brands that didn’t at least give a nod to the situation in their content looked out of touch and tactless.

But what about the amazing piece of content that seemed wrong to publish based on what was happening in the world?

Tweak the content asset: Sometimes, a simple tweak can turn your content from “They said WHAT now?” to “I need to read this now.”

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A month or so after the pandemic lockdown, we could have made the report work with a new design and lead, such as: “We could all use a distraction these days. Here’s how to bump up the fun in your B2B content to give your readers a welcome break from the negative.”

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Reframe the idea: Maybe the original content treatment still won’t work in the present, but it could be turned into on-trend content.

Say you’re a home furnishings brand. Just as the pandemic started, you were about to launch a content campaign on how to create a luxurious guest room for summer visitors. But now, that angle was irrelevant. Instead, you could have reframed the content into how to turn an unused guest room into a home office or classroom, and the campaign would be right on point.

Your original #content angle might not work in the present, but it could be turned into on-trend content, says @Hey_Formichelli via @CMIContent @inmotionhosting. Click To Tweet

Do something else: With my content studio’s women’s magazine lessons for B2B report shelved, we create new content in the form of an infographic – 30 Creative Alternatives to ‘Unprecedented.’ This amusing infographic showed an awareness of the situation. It also ended up getting even more attention than we expected from the original report.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Wait it out

If the content went unpublished because of current events, reassess it a few days, weeks, or months later to see if it’s now viable. We did that with our women’s magazine B2B content report. A few months after the pandemic began, people did get tired of gloomy marketing content, ads featuring somber piano music, and emails from brands about how we’re all in this together. We reposted and marketed the report in June, and it garnered a lot of engagement.


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Top Options for Hosting (and Optimizing!) Your Content

Your website hosting decisions can make a big impact on speed, performance, and manageability – and the experience that you deliver to your content consumers. Before you choose a hosting solution, watch this chat with Harry Jackson of InMotion Hosting, where he outlines the three main options and explains the pros and cons of each. Watch now!


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Pick the good from the bad content

In some cases, the unpublished piece of content is simply unsalvageable:

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  • The content is so out of date it’s not worth your time to update it.
  • The case study features a customer now out of business.
  • The video targets a persona your brand no longer serves.
  • The author is no longer in good standing in your industry.

However, even this content is not dead. You can mine it for bits and use them for another piece of content, social media, newsletter blurbs, testimonials, and so on. For example, grab out and reuse:

  • Quotes from subject matter experts
  • Helpful (and still valid) tips
  • Sidebars or short sections connected to unsalvageable long-form content, such as white papers, books, and guides
  • Resource lists

Pick over that content like a grandma using a roast chicken on day three. We’re in chicken salad territory here, folks. Don’t let any usable content go to waste.

Your unpublishable content is not so unpublishable

You’ve delved into your content and come up with some losers you could turn into winners. In many cases, you’ll find the content wasn’t really bad. It was just a case of the wrong place or wrong time.

Now that you have these strategies for reviving rejected, tabled, and otherwise unpublished content, add a quarterly reminder to your calendar to go digging for content gold. You’ll save time and money – and treat your audience to amazing content they otherwise would have missed.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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