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Whenever you're running ads, you want to make sure that you're driving the cost down constantly. It's always an iterative process and you're always just trying to optimize and get better over time.
Getting the Targeting Right First
The first thing I will say is when you're running ads you want to try different formats. For example, one format that you might want to start out with is Gmail advertising and this has more to do with targeting. So if I'm Coca Cola, for example, I want to target people who are opening emails from Pepsi, Monster or Red Bull because these people are consuming similar drinks.
The key thing is you want to make sure that you have the right targeting in place. When you're first starting out, you might be targeting competitors, you might be targeting publishers, you might be targeting trade shows. If you're running Facebook ads or Google ads, you can target lookalike audiences as well. It's all about getting the targeting right first.
When it comes to driving down costs with advertising, keep one thing in mind:Ads will always cost more over time. Why? Because advertising always becomes more competitive. Click To Tweet
If other people see that you're making money, don't you think that they're going to be jumping on the bandwagon as well? That's the reason why ads keep going up in price. They're always going to get more expensive. You fast forward 3-10 years from now, and Facebook ads may not be cost-effective anymore.
So what should you do? Well, you can optimize your ad campaigns, but you should also optimize your landing pages.
Optimizing Landing Pages to “Reduce” the Cost of Ads
Let’s say 100 people come to your landing page and one of them buys what you’re selling, and that’s profitable. Well, if you increase your conversion rate to 2/100, what happens? You now can spend more money to acquire customers due to the fact that your conversion rate just went up.
But how do you increase your landing page conversion rate from 1/100 to 2/100? Through A/B testing. We’ve talked about CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) in the past.
If you’re running a campaign, you're essentially bidding on a keyword. But if you don't include that keyword within your landing page—ideally within the heading—you're making a big mistake.
Let's say you're bidding on the keyword “online marketing.” You don't want your heading to just be “online marketing” obviously. It has to be catchy. So Google the keyword “online marketing,” look at the organic results, look to see what's at top. It's not always based on backlinks.
One big factor that Google considers is click-through rate. The organic listings that have the highest click-through rates tend to show up higher in the SERPs. Look for title tags that are really appealing, that you could potentially build off of. If you find somethings that's really simple, such as “Online Marketing Made Simple: A Step by Step Guide,” you could create a similar type of heading within your Google AdWords landing page that you're sending traffic to.
The other thing you need to do is make sure your copy flows, ideally in a cohesive story, and that you’re only pitching one product or service. Don't offer multiple options on a single landing page. When you give people too many options, it typically hurts conversions because it reads as too salesy. Sure, if you're an e-commerce site, showing a few more offers is great, but in general having one product offering per page does the best.
- 5 Important Landing Page Elements You Should Be A/B Testing
- How to Use Scarcity on Your Landing Page to Skyrocket Conversions
Stick to Single Keyword Ad Group Campaigns
Let's just say, for example, I'm Nike and I want to sell more Nike red shoes. That can be an ad group and I can have 10-20 different types of keywords for different types of red shoes. And, as Nike, I can afford that.
But running a single keyword ad group campaign may be the better move. So instead of the keyword “red shoes,” you might be targeting “Nike red Metcon shoes.” In this case, your ad's going to be a lot more relevant to people who are looking for that. Your click-through rates are going to be higher, your CPA is going to be lower, and overall you're just going to be more satisfied when you're running these types of ads.
But this doesn't apply for everyone. If you have millions of SKUs, this probably won't apply because it might not be practical. But if you're a smaller business, chances are a single keyword ad group will perform better for you and you'll drive costs even lower.
The point is that when people don't buy from your website, they have a reason. Sometimes they're just window shoppers. But in most cases, there's a reason. It could be “Hey, you don't offer free shipping when everyone else does.” Or it could be “I don't know if your product is that great; there are no user reviews on your site.”
There are always reasons for why people aren't buying. They're called “buyer objections.”
How to Identify Buyer Objections
Go into your Google Analytics and look at how long it takes the average person who is buying to go through the whole funnel. And then look at how long they stay on that landing page. From there you know that if someone's on there for 45 seconds, then chances are they're not going to end up buying.
Qualaroo can pop up time-based surveys, and you can ask questions like “What else would you like to see on this page? Are there any specific questions you would like us to answer for you?” Do these open-ended surveys. You don't want to have multiple choice answers because if people are forced to click an option, it won't necessarily tell you what objections they really have.
When you're reading these open-ended question responses, pay attention to the ones that appear with the highest frequency.
For example, if you have 50 responses and 30 people say “free shipping,” then you want to adjust your copy to handle this objection. You would then put “free shipping” on the landing page. Can't afford free shipping? No worries. Still put “free shipping” on your landing page, and just increase the price of the product you're selling. Then run an A/B test and track the results in the Google Ads UI or your own custom Google Ads reporting. Chances are “free shipping” will still help boost conversions.Remember, landing page optimization is all about answering buyers' objections. Click To Tweet
If you find out the 10 most common objections and answer them within your copy, you're much more likely to get a lead, a conversion, and a sale.
Discover Upcoming Ad Channels (Before They’re Big)
Gary Vaynerchuk has a really good quote that says he likes to “day trade attention.” Back in the day, he ran an e-commerce site called Wine Library and was able to get clicks for the keyword “wine” for about 5 cents a pop. Today you're probably paying a couple bucks to do the same thing.
When you're able to arbitrage like that, when nobody's really taking advantage of a channel, that's when you're going to make the most money. So, as a business owner or marketer, you want to find the areas where you can capitalize the most.
In some cases, with these juggernauts like Facebook and Google, you might think they’re already so saturated that the cost is just going to continue to go up. But let’s look at Facebook video ads as an example—you're still able to get views for a fraction of a penny. It's very cheap right now because video ads on Facebook still aren’t table stakes yet. It's harder to do a video, plus you also have to transcribe it and add captions.
It's hard to do this stuff, so people are kind of shying away from it. They're not sure if videos are working yet. That’s why the ads are still cheap. There’s little demand for them. You want to be the first mover in this type of situation because people with video are killing it right now. They're driving lead costs for very cheap, in some cases 25-50 cents. And the CPCs are extremely extremely low.
The point is, you want to look for these channels where you can “day trade attention.”
But that’s a Facebook strategy. What about for Google AdWords? Well, if you're a brick-and-mortar shop, you can advertise on Google Maps. That came out fairly recently as a new feature.
They're getting better about advertising on content, too, so if you have a lot of stuff that might serve well as a native ad, you're able to do that inside of content as well. Google is just getting better and better. Facebook's getting better and better. Instagram ads are improving as well. They're trying to make the experience better for you as an advertiser.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you're advertising in places where it's not too saturated yet and where your target audience is hanging out.
Learn More: How to Set Up Google AdWords Ads in Google Maps
Find Ad Channels that Require More Effort
Another thing that you should consider if you want to reduce your ad cost are look for channels that require more work, more effort.
For example, it's really simple to set up a Google text-based ad. It doesn't take much work and you can get it up within minutes, if not seconds, if you already have an ad account. That’s why everyone under the sun already runs those types of ads.
But creating a video pre-roll ad on YouTube requires more work.
If you're running an AdWords campaign, why not expand it into YouTube, which is owned by Google? Do you know how effective that campaign is?
Think of it this way: with most software and service companies, if the lifetime value of a customer is three years, a lot of companies will pay for up to six months or even a year of ads to acquire that customer. With YouTube ads, it's so much more effective. Not only are costs lower, but we’re able to recoup our money in 30 days when we get the quick signup.
In fact, with this type of fast 30-day conversion, sometimes we can actually start getting a profit from our sales before we even pay for the ad (the beauty of net-30, people!).
- 50 Ad Networks that Will Open Up New Channels of Growth
- A Step-by-Step Checklist For a Successful YouTube Ad Campaign
This post was adapted from Marketing School, a 10-minute daily podcast in which Neil Patel and Eric Siu teach you real-life marketing strategies and tactics from their own experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity.