Somehow you have heard of others growing their business by buying clicks on Google. Deep down you wonder if this could be the trick to give you the growth you want. However, you are stretched for time and drowning under a deluge of tasks. All of which means you are suffering from some serious Google advertising FOMO (fear of missing out).

Thankfully you have three minutes to read this short note and get a quick business-owner-focused primer on the key parts of Google Advertising and whether it could work for you.

First, some background on my experience with Google clicks. My company started buying Google advertising on behalf of its customers way back in September 2003. Thirteen years managing hundreds of different campaigns has helped us see what does and doesn’t work for this channel. So here are my top four reasons to either slay or nurture any FOMO feeling you may have.

1. You have a product or service that people search Google for.

If you sell a product or service in a category that no one knows about, it follows that few people will search for it on Google. Basic, I know, but easy to trip up on. Let’s say, for instance, that you develop new software that analyses a Xero account and reveals what’s required to double the profit of the business.

You start a Google campaign, bidding on the search terms “profit”, “improve profit” and the nebulous term “business software”. One search term you don’t bid on is “Xero Accounting Software Profit Improvement Add On” – because nobody is looking for that. So you’re stuck with your three choices. And you struggle to produce results because behind the search terms “profit”, “improve profit” and “business software” are dozens of different types of searchers all looking for very different things.

Compare this to someone who sells sisal carpet. People will go to Google looking for sisal carpet with the phrase – you guess it – “sisal carpet”. Their chances of success are better – but profits are still not guaranteed.

2. They followed the dollars they spent

Profitable clicks are those that convert. For your business, converting could look like someone arriving at your website and deciding to call your office, fill in your quote request, purchase an item from your shop or even book a meeting at your clinic. By doing any or all of these great things your click visitors become click prospects or, even better, click customers.

Unfortunately, buying clicks doesn’t automatically mean you will be able to track their ability to convert. Tracking may well require some setup in your website analytics account. Not a lot, but still some. And it’s important you do that so you know if spending your hard earned advertising budget with Google is working or not.

3. Money was invested in the juiciest of baits

I can assure you that Google will help you spend any budget you have in lots of different ways. So the smart advertisers go where the returns are the greatest.

There are two main places your Google dollars can go: the first is above and below the Google search results, and the second is on websites that support Google Advertising. Thinking about the different customer dynamics at play in each case will help you choose where to spend your money.

Consider that people generally go to Google to solve a problem. This week, for example, I’ve been looking for some new trail running lights to help me deal with the dark evenings. Last week it was to find a piece of equipment to help us improve our printing at the office. In both cases I went to Google and hunted down the solution.

During my quest I was taken to a range of websites that included Google Advertising in the form of banners around the text. I was hungry to get information, so I just screened the banners out – they had little effect.

It’s easier to sell to people who are searching to solve a problem. The bigger the better. Therefore, we always suggest you buy search clicks before buying clicks from banners. Think of Google search being the land of problem solving, whereas banners is the land of interruption.

Of course you can test this yourself by setting up a test to try both types of advertising and seeing which delivers the best results for you.

4. Control freaks have more fun

The thought of running a test like the one I just suggested could feel utterly repulsive for some. Dealing in that level of detail for such a small part of your business may not make sense. Unfortunately, detail is where success lives for Google advertisers. Like it or not, you, or someone in your business, or someone you pay needs to focused on it.

Avoiding detail can cost you when buying Google clicks. For instance, when you set up a new advertising account with Google, by default they’ll display your ads around the search results and also on websites. What’s more, the default search term settings when you build your campaign allows Google maximum interpretation in how they are displayed.

For instance, you may want to bid on “computer servicing”, intending to reach businesses who need a mobile service like yours that can come in, solve a problem, and leave. Google doesn’t have to worry about that. It’s free to show your ads when someone types in “service my computer at home” or “computer service training” – neither of which are relevant to your business.

As to whether you should experience FOMO at all, here are three questions to ask:

  1. Do you sell a product or service that no one knows about, meaning few will head to Google to find it?
  2.  Does your website lack analytics, meaning Google Advertising will cost you too much time or money?
  3.  Does the thought of getting stuck into the detail of Google – either by yourself or by those you pay – turn you off and make you think about other, more important priorities?

Answer “yes” to any one of these and you can rid yourself of FOMO for Google Advertising. Feel better?

For everyone else, contact us today and we will help you turn your Fear into Action – perhaps some AdWords group training could be a good start?

Youŕe a busy business owner and the idea of starting anything new makes you shudder. However, you’ve heard that others have transformed their website from a brochure into something special. So you’re committed – but where do you start?

This three-minute primer is for you – any anyone else struggling with online marketing FOMO plus a task list longer than their arm? It distills my 16 years of online marketing experience into techo free jargon to get you started.

First I need you to look at your website in a different way. Chuck out any thoughts of it being technical or colourful – from now on think of it as a sales person. Yep, shiny shoes, white socks and a charming smile. It’s tasked with selling your business and the solutions you provide – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The outcome of any online marketing tactic is to improve your sales person’s ability to sell.

This can be a challenge – impossible even – if you can’t measure who visits your website and what they do while there. That’s where Website Analytics – yours free from Google Analytics – fits in. Register for an account, install a piece of code onto every page of your website, and you’ll start to see how busy the site is and where your visitors arrive from.

A word of advice: go no further until you’ve properly set it up and configured it. Without a reliable way to measure your progress, you’ll get hopelessly lost trying to figure out where your time and money are best spent.

Now that you have measurement sorted, the next step is to find where your visitors come from. A few will arrive by typing your web address into their browser. Some may come via a link in your email newsletter. A few more could arrive from a recent Linkedin or Facebook post.

And then there’s Google. Your measurement tools will tell you the role it plays in sending you traffic. Don’t be surprised if it accounts for up to 50%.

Now most online marketing is about increasing website visitors, especially when it involves Google. And armies of jargon wielding people will tell you they can improve your visibility on Google.

However, improving visibility is NOT the whole story.

For instance, imagine you’ve employed a website salesperson who’s converted 1% of the visitors they saw. So last month your site made 50 sales after being visited by 5000 people. Your target, however, is 150 sales. At the current conversion rate, you therefore need to see 15,000 people, not 5000. That’s a LOT of extra traffic and, if you use Google AdWords, it’s going to cost you a LOT to buy it. That’s assuming the extra traffic is even there in the first place.

So improving visibility is likely to be a poor move. Here’s the smart one – improve your conversion rate from 1% to 3%.

And that brings us to a lesser known element of online marketing – conversion optimisation.

Conversion optimisation is like tuning your sales person’s script. It could involve writing additional web pages to suit different kinds of prospects. Or producing a range of videos to make it easier for prospects to see your service in action. Be aware this is not easy work – but it’s a lot more effective, and cheaper, than bumping up your ad spend with Google to get more traffic.

Conversion optimisation requires methodical testing to see if the changes you make actually make a difference. Once you are successful at increasing conversion rates to two or three times that of your competitors, you’ll have gained a massive commercial advantage – especially when you and they are competing equally for the same type of Google clicks.

Good online marketing has you sharing your time between these three spaces: traffic generation, conversion optimisation and website analytics. Get it right and your website should be the best salesperson you ever employed.

So how about getting rid of that FOMO feeling for ever? Try one of our affordable group training products for either Google Analytics or Google AdWords – or even both :).
* FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. LOL!

(As published in Marketing Online. Issue 4, March 2016)

We have all experienced our own Google Advertising “Content Shock. The scenario usually unfolds like this.

You are on the hunt for a person to help design a new brand for your business. You search Google using the phrase “brand design Auckland”. Immediately you start scanning down the results – starting at the organic results. The top two results catch you eye and open a new tab in your browser on each.

Unfortunately neither are right. Either they are too big or too small, so you start clicking away in the paid advertising space. First click done and you are taken to a page on graphic design – Content Shock – this has nothing to do with the problem you need to solve – so you bounce back to the search results page and click on another ad.

This time the ads lands you on page that shows you what you expected to see. It looks OK – not amazing – just OK – think Mild Content Shock. So you add it to the list of possible contenders. But keen for more choice you bounce back again to the search results and click on your last ad.

Now we are talking – the page you see is clearly the winner. They just “get it”. Through good use of images and text they answer nearly all the questions swirling around in your head. These are the one. So they get the phone call and the rest remain a short fleeting memory for you and say $6 each in wasted click costs for them.

Wouldn’t it be good if all your clicks translated into calls like the last example? You are not alone. Ensuring every costly click delivered its own phone call is the goal for all Google advertisers. So how do you avoid the “Content Shock“ mistakes of the first two?

Here are three strategies that I believe can help.

1. Research the real intent behind the search keyword you are bidding on.

For example, we work in the home services market. Think, cleaning, renovating, plumbing and electricians. A while back we had a company come to us wanting to launch a new service in Auckland as a trial before taking it to Australia.

They had built a website based on what they thought the market wanted to see. We were told to send all advertising to the home page. You guessed it – it failed miserably.

This was a new space for us so we were unsure of the intent of the prospect but the Content Shock our statistics revealed showed what was there was way off the mark. So we kicked off some market research to uncover the motivations and mindsets we were advertising too. A month later we had the data. it revealed the high amount of stress these buyers were facing and the core reasons they began their search journey in the first place.

Based on this information we redesigned the imagery of the landing page and rewrote the top 20% of the content. The ad copy was then tuned to match this new content and the campaign released using the exact same search keyword selection that had failed before.

All this work was well rewarded with conversion rates that were above industry standards as opposed to those well below they had experienced before. The success was so good we rolled the changes outside of Auckland and the core messages were used successfully during their Australian expansion. Research tells you what to say – next up we need to find the best way to say it.

2. Tune your content to be fast to consume and conversational in style.

Once your research is complete and you have created your first draft content you can put it through two very simple “human” tests before going live. The first involves paper and a willing helper.

Go ahead and print out the landing page (print multiple pages if itś a long one) and then take it and a colleague into a meeting room. Place the printing facedown on the table and ask the colleague to sit opposite you – approx a metre away.

Then brief them on who they are supposed to be and the problem they are searching to solve. Then pick up the first page and show it to at eye level for just 5 seconds. Place it facedown on the table and then have them tell you exactly what they saw and if on reading it they were interested in learning more.

Content that confuses or fails to capture attention in print form will struggle online. If your page passes the first test then you can test the persuasive nature of the copy. Simply read it out loud to your colleague and note the reaction you get. Slowly drooping eyelids and contained yawns are not a good sign.

Copy has been described by many as “selling in print”. So if you are struggling to come up the right words, just think back to what you said in the last conversation you had with prospect to guide you. Once all the changes have been made then you can place it into live and head to the final stage.

3. Harness the super analytical benefits of the web to tune your landing pages to success.

Hop into your Google Analytics account and you will be met with a mass of metrics and dimensions to keep even the most geeky of analytics geeks busy for weeks. Here are three to focus on that reveal the effectiveness of your work.

– Bounce rate – how many people viewed your landing page and didn’t go any further. You want this number to be as low as possible but zero is an unrealistic expectation. For your paid advertising I always shoot number that is no more than 15% above your site average bounce rate. So for a 30% site average your top level would be 45% which even so is hovering very close to one in two not looking any further.

– Page Value – bit of an advanced metric and it does require you to set up values behind your goals. BUT it lets you know place an exact value of worth for the page – think numbers like $5.89. So you change the top copy and the page value goes to $8.45 from $2.67 and you know that it really is time to celebrate.

– Content Interaction – not exactly a metric you will find in GA more an approach to track everything you can. So if your page includes a video – you need to know if it is played and if so for how long. And if the good meaty part of the sales message is a third of the way down the page then knowing that everyone scrolled this far would be of help.

So there you have it. Three strategies to apply to ensure your Google advertising doesn’t instill content shock on those who visit your site this way. Want to learn more about other areas of online marketing? Just visit our Free Stuff section at the Ark Advance website.

Back in February Google released a note explaining that come April 21 they would take the mobile friendliness of websites as a “ranking factor”. Then in March the Sunday Star Times  interviewed me on the subject. As you can imagine, I had definite opinions that I was happy to share!

Chris Price Sunday Star Times


So what does it all mean?


Based on emails from Google warning customers with non-mobile websites of the upcoming change, it definitely means something. But exactly what, nobody’s yet sure. We’ll be watching the keyword rank reports of our clients with keen interest to see what turns out.

For e-commerce clients in particular, buying a new mobile friendly website is a big ask. So our early advice is to take a wait-and-see approach by monitoring the amount of mobile traffic you receive and its growth curve.

If the initial percentage is low – lets say below 15% – and the growth curve is relatively flat, then your upgrade path could be a way off if – and this is the big IF – your search term rankings don’t tank in the meantime.

However, if your percentage is 35% plus, and the growth curve is steep, and your conversion rates begin to suffer for traffic hitting your non mobile website, then you might want to bite the bullet and make the upgrade.

More on this as it develops.

We’ve all read those articles on what to do to achieve unbounded success online. Well this time I thought I would go with the opposite view. What to do when it’s not going well. Maybe the order book is looking a bit light. Or you start the week with a calendar full of white space without a prospect appointment in sight.

This is the time for quick results and a solid return on any marketing investment. When prospects call us at this stage we know we have to apply proven tactics that work quickly to turn things around. All while delivering the greatest return on their money. No pressure, eh?

Here I outline five of the many tactics we apply, and why each has made the list. Note that the order in which you apply these tactics is important. If you skip one or apply a few out of sequence, our experience is that the overall result is doubtful.

So let’s get started.

Strategy #1 – Clean up your traffic8207554

In its current form and given its current content, your website will need a certain type of traffic to make it work – that is, convert visitors into leads.

Let me explain the “current form” part a bit more. We all know that in deciding which pages to rank over others one of Google’s key criteria is page content. (If you’re not convinced, reading their guide to “Search Engine Optimisation” will remove all doubt.)

This principle also applies to your website’s ability to convert visitors into leads. Content matters. A lot. Your content will hopefully convert a certain type of visitor – perhaps not all of them, but certainly those who like what you have written.

So the task remains to find this group, show it your content, and hope they convert. And because it’s always easier to fix one thing at a time we surmise that the
content will do its job, IF we can find the right audience.

Therefore we need to “clean up” your traffic to locate this group. I define “dirty traffic” as website visitors about whom you have no idea why they came visiting. The non-paid part of the Google search engine – commonly called organic traffic – could contain these people. Google’s no help here because it doesn’t reveal the keyword search terms these visitors used to arrive at your site – so you have no idea what they were looking for. What’s more, some struggling websites struggle to rank for the terms their prospects use.

So the only reliable way forward is to buy traffic using Google AdWords for the keywords you think your prospects will use.

That’s the easy bit. Making your money deliver a really clean group of visitors is a lot harder. Fortunately, you don’t need to test hundreds of keywords at the outset – you can just start with a few.

Then, once you have tapped into some “clean” traffic, you need to decide where to send them. Which brings me to Strategy 2.

Strategy #2 – Master your first impressionfirst-impression

So the prospect sees your ad, clicks, and is best sent where?

Anywhere but your Contact Us page. Last month we completed a website re
view for a new client and discovered that their web optimisation company had been sending all their paid advertising traffic to that page.

The client supplied a $10,000 minimum home furnishings service for the renovation market. Their website contained pages and pages of great pictures showcasing their work. But those pictures remained hidden from their paid traffic – and 85% promptly left without looking any further.

Strategy #3 – Cover all the content bases

Once you’re sending your search traffic to the right page, you need to ensure it includes the right content. Take our home furnishings client above. Their visitors clearly expect to see lovely pictures of homes that have benefitted from their service.

Don’t skimp here. Provide lots of content. Make the pictures great – poor photography hurts your brand.

Once you have included the “must have” content, add content that shows your point of difference. For instance, you may be a design agency that crafts solutions specifically for the professional services market. Or an architect who only works on build projects on Waiheke for over $5 million. Or a lawyer who works on divorce cases for professional males between 40 and 55 years old.

Our home furnishings client had a great reputation backed up by lots of testimonials. Also, their sales process was low pressure and delivered by experts. Finally, they were experts in producing custom solutions that their competitors found too hard.

Presenting this “differentiation” content can take your prospects of success to a new high. In fact, the only thing that could hold you back is not applying Strategy 4.

Strategy #4 – Ask for the “Goldilocks Commitment”goldilocks

The classic sales mistake is to either ask your visitor to to commit to too much too early, or fail to ask for an
y commit at all.

Let’s go back to home furnishings. Pointing visitors at the Contact Us page was definitely asking for too much commitment too early.

But when you looked through their gallery of photos, the opposite mistake was being made. There was no reference to their smart showroom or how to book an appointment with their sales team.

Presenting the right commitment choices to your audience at the right time is an art. It’s one we’ve been practising for over 10 years now, so we know what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes, it takes two or three visits to achieve a commitment from a web visitor. Therefore, you need to…

Strategy #5 – Play the long game

Thankfully, there are are an array of smart online marketing tools to help you recycle your clean traffic enough times to ensure it converts. Remarketing and email marketing are among them.

Remarketing is an easily set up Google product that lets you “follow” your non-converted website visitors as they browse the web, presenting targeted banner ads to them. You’ll need a range of banner sizes to display and someone to help you build your target audience. You can also choose the frequency at which your banner ads are seen, allowing you to hit the sweet spot between visibility and annoyance.

Email marketing is the stalwart of online marketing. It’s been going so long that many forget the reason for its longevity – it works. The main challenge is providing content that the customer deems worthy of giving you their email address. Every year the bar is raised higher.

So there you go – my five strategies to fix a failing service marketing solution. We have seen clients use these steps to transform a system that hasn’t delivered a lead in 10 months to one that delivers every month.
Call us for more information, or if you’d like help applying these steps to your business.

How much time does your website need to convert its next visitor into a sale? A minute? Two – perhaps three or even six? What are we dealing with here? Now how much time does your visitor have? And what happens if they have less time than you need to convert them?


I know – lots of questions for this early in the year. Nevertheless, I believe that most websites need to offer their visitors more time in order to make the essential visitor conversion. This is in part due to some fundamental errors made in online marketing that end up chewing through valuable visitor time.


This short article will guide you through making the best use of all the time you have. I’ll also share some ways to actually create more time – so giving your next visitor a greater chance of converting than ever before.


Sound good? OK – let’s get started.


So how much time do you actually have to make that conversion? Dig into your Google Analytics account and:


For instance if the average session is 1.5 minutes and those converting take 6.5 minutes then we have a sizable 5 minute gap to work with. Figuring out what they are doing or thinking for those extra five minutes it takes them to convert is the first job.Another-big-step-on-the-way-to-create-your-blog-and-monetize-it-in-one-time


Are you asking them to take too big a step to become a conversion?


For instance, the website may require them to fill in a detailed quotation request form which asks for a myriad of details, some of which they may have no idea of. Perhaps a simple contact form that just asks for their phone and email may be super easy for them and just enough info for you to start the process off.


Or perhaps your e-commerce website is gobbling up too much time for first time shoppers. It may not allow for guest-only purchasing. So they HAVE to go through the new user registration phase – including perhaps coming up with a dastardly complex password that only your system requires.


Aarrgghh – all too much and too hard and taking way too long to make purchasing that nice little Art Deco lamp from your site just a distant memory.


Your website copy could be a problem too. Maybe you take an age to get to the point, describing exactly what you do and why you are so much better than the rest in your market. Technology service companies can struggle here. Distilling all that clever stuff into a headline and top of page body copy is never going to be easy. But it could pay big dividends.


Video can be a lifesaver here. A well-written and well-produced 60 second video can get very complex theories across with total clarity. We added another 30 seconds to ours to get our Pay Per Click advertising and Search Engine Optimisation services across in a “hefty” 90 seconds. It works – results show that those who play the videos are far more likely to buy.


Misconfigured advertising can chew through valuable visitor time too. For instance let’s say you are using Pay Per Click advertising and your ad places the person looking for a new set
of dress shoes on the homepage of your shoe website. Time would have been saved if they’d gone straight to the dress shoe section of the site. Hopefully, they will navigate from the home page to the right page – but as they do they will chew their through valuable session time which could be spent picking the colour and style they want, falling in love with the
shoes, and ensuring they complete the purchase.


Which leads me nicely onto the concept that the visitor time you have to work with is relatively fixed.


We only expect to spend so much time to buy or make contact with your sales team. And the more we all get used to searching and shopping online, the more I believe this time will dwindle. Super-fast and slick websites like Amazon make owning an electronic book something you can do in seconds, not minutes. And closer to home, websites like MightyApe make the whole e-commerce experience super quick and easy.


So what can you do this year to keep up with players like these and slash the time it takes for a visitor to convert?


Firstly, see how large your gap is between the average session times and those that convert. Track this gap each month as you roll out some of the strategies below.





There you go. Your time may be fixed and possibly falling during the year – nevertheless apply some of the ideas I list here and you will make the most of the time you have.
Give us a call today or complete our speedy contact form if you would like to chat through how these strategies could be tailored to work with your business.




There you go. Your time may be fixed and possibly falling during the year – nevertheless apply some of the ideas I list here and you will make the most of the time you have.
Give us a call today or complete our speedy contact form if you would like to chat through how these strategies could be tailored to work with your business.

Last month I wrote that in order to improve your site’s conversion rate you need to avoid the illusion that there’s just one type of prospect visiting your website, and they are looking to fulfill just one set of needs. This illusion has many website owners create only one advertising message that pushes people to one landing page.

In reality, multiple groups want to solve a range of problems. Your best opportunity to serve them is via a range of marketing messages leading to a range of targeted landing pages.

This month I’m going to take a crack at another illusion of simplicity: the journey the customer takes to reach your front door.

Let’s say a hypothetical someone wants to buy a sofa for their living room. They start their hypothetical journey by walking into a furniture store near their home. They then meander about, sitting on everything on display (sofas, that is). A very helpful salesperson helps them choose a delightfully retro model in leather and chrome (and talks them into a faux leopard rug while he’s at it) and in a matter of minutes they walk out $2500 poorer but excited about the extra comfort and style coming their way when their sofa and rug arrive the following weekend.

Enough hypothesising – let’s do a reality check now. Would you buy a sofa this way? Probably not.In fact, few people would. To emphasise the point, here’s a picture from a 2011 Monash University study that shows the journey through different advertising channels that a purchase like this can typically entail.

Purchase Channels

At first, I was surprised by this model’s complexity. However, when I look back over some of my recent purchases I can see this “dance of channels” clearly.

For instance, a few weeks back I needed to find a place to stay in Melbourne for a couple of nights. It had to be within walking distance of the conference centre, clean and with good WiFi access. In this case, I didn’t use Google or Tripadvisor. Nope, I texted my mate Martin who visits Melbourne a lot and asked for his recommendation. In a few minutes I had a message with three options. I then visited the website of each. One I liked, and set up a live chat session to ask about the WiFi. They answered my question and the booking was done and dusted in 10 minutes. Channels used: SMS, web, chat, and then the sale.

Then there’s my little portable GPS thingy. I bought this a year ago to counteract my directionally challenged nature – ie, it’s easy for me to get lost :). So when I decided to take up trail running – well, you can see the problem, right? So I needed a relatively inexpensive way to find my way back to civilisation (ie, coffee) from places with no cellphone signal.

A quick internet search helped me gather a list of options. Then I walked into a shop to see how big these things actually were. Then I spent the next few weeks watching umpteen Youtube videos of Americans explaining the pros and cons of each option. Only then did I find the one for me, upon which I walked into PB Tech in Penrose and made the purchase. The person behind the counter had no idea what I was buying and didn’t really need to. I had used a price comparison website and knew the price was good.

So how do you think your customers find their way to your door?

Is it as simple as typing in a search term into Google, ending up on your site and making a purchase or requesting a quote? I would hazard a guess that it may not.

Here’s another slide from the Monash study that helps connect various channels with different stages of the purchase cycle. Knowing that mobile, for example, is commonly used about a month before purchase, how might that affect your thinking about the messaging you deliver through the mobile channel?

Connecting Channels

The more you understand the journey your customer takes, the more you can influence them along the way. To get started, this month why not ask a few customers about their journey? Then start to map the typical customer journey – or journeys – that you see emerging. Good luck – and do share with us what you discover along the way.

Last month we took the plunge and set Sky up at the office while the Price family were in residence. No television during our 14 week stay was too much to ask. So I rang the call centre, took up the no-contract offer, and next day we were up and running.

I never realised how much choice we had bought. We passed on Sport but added Rialto and Soho. This gave us what seemed like hundreds of channels to pass away the winter evenings. Add this to the My Sky box that we rented, and the entertainment opportunities seemed limitless.

And that was the problem.

We had gone from having just four channels of normal TV to now having a cluttered list of many.  The Sky magazine was supposed to help us pick out the gold. But have you seen the thing? It’s chocka with content that makes choosing even harder, not easier.

To get us going I navigated through a few channels and created a few “series link“ things to record. But I still think there’s more in there – I just need to find a way to find exactly what we want without it all becoming too hard.

Making the most of your online marketing can be like that. Just switch channels for keyword choices and you move from say a hundred options to thousands. How do you navigate through this?

Creating a Zappos momentzappos-logo

Thankfully there is a way. It’s called focusing or, as I prefer to call it, creating your own Zappos moment.

Let me tell you why.

This brilliant e-commerce site was bought by Amazon five years ago for over a billion dollars. And they achieved it by starting small – in this case selling shoes.

Only later did they expand into a wider apparel range. And when they expanded, they expanded at a feverish pace.

At the start they set out to answer a very simple question – would people buy shoes online? To do this they created a website that advertised a small range and advertised it on Google’s paid advertising network. When the first orders came in, they purchased the shoes from normal store shoe retailers, had them delivered to their factory, then forwarded them to the client.

Yes, they lost money on every order. But that wasn’t the point. They quickly learnt that people were fine with measuring their feet at home, matching it with the online sizing chart and purchasing shoes they’d never tried on from a store they have never been to.

If the strategy worked for Zappos it can work for you.

Let’s say, for example, that you sell mortgage advice in Auckland. This is a cluttered market, as you can see from the search results below.

Now there are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of keywords that you could use to market this service. Mortgage Advice, Finance Broker, Mortgage Services, and many more. But that doesn’t fit with the plan of focus. So let’s pick one – Mortgage Broker Auckland. The task is to now create an ad based on this term and get prospects clicking on it.

While this sounds simple, Google’s default bidding method will have your ad shown for a whole range of terms – for instance Mortgage Broker Advice Auckland, Mortgage Advice Brokers and even Mortgage Broker Courses Auckland. Which is great for Google – but for that last keyword option – not so good in this instance.

So we would use an option that has our ad show just for the term we want. Notice the lack of plural – we are bidding on one term and one term only. Then we would put two ads on perfect rotation (that is, 50% for each) and wait.

Is the ad clicked?

Write a boring ad, and no one will click. That’s a problem, so we write more, and more, until we tune our copy to suit the market and clicks appear.

Now we need to worry about how much action these clicks this generate? Do the clickers arrive, spend a few seconds on our page, then disappear? Or do they meander around the site for above average times then contact us for more information.

Turning clickers into leads is all about serving up the right content in the correct way. Rarely is it about writing better ad copy or choosing different keywords hoping they will convert.

This is the optimisation part – few websites are built with visitors in mind.

Most websites are “tuned” to traffic from a limited range of keywords, but rarely do they address the wide range of keywords people actually use. As a result, after spending $500 on Mortgage Broker Auckland and generating no leads, our business owner may conclude she has just blown $3500 on a website that does a rotten job of converting a highly popular and lucrative* search term.

Not so fast! Let’s tune the website so that those visitors do become leads (yes, it can be done!). Assuming the cost per conversion is palatable, this, my friends, is a Zappos moment. You have proved you can attract visitors with good ad copy, and turn those visitors into leads. The growth of your business is now linked to the growth of that keyword search term.

Let that last sentence sink in. The growth of your business is now linked to the growth of that search term.

Doesn’t that feel nice?

It should. And you can also begin to see the effort needed to get that one keyword working? Ad copy had to be written again and again.So did the web copy – in fact, it needed multiple iterations.  But the outcome made the effort well worthwhile.

Each month we help dozens of clients achieve victories like this. Contact us today if you would like to join them.

* How do you know a search term is lucrative? Let’s say the average cost-per-click is a relatively high $4.00. This amount is not set by Google but by those bidding on the search term. People don’t bid that amount for long unless they can convert it into a lead at a favourable cost. If you can’t, then your conversion rate is well below the industry standard.


Here’s just a couple of the goals a good website has to achieve to pay its way for the business that owns it; be found by those looking in Google and appeal to all that decide to visit -so much so that it transforms these anonymous visitors into either live lead prospects or purchasing consumers.

Pick a simple business selling one product or service and this can be manageable. Replace this with any normal business that has multiple offerings to alternative markets and things become much more of a challenge.

If I was asked to create a list of tactics that can make this work even harder than it should be then the lack of an quality content would be #1. Yep forget about fancy design, super smart traffic building tactics or even the most detailed of analytical tracking. If a website’s content misses the mark then all the rest doesn’t matter.

Creating content is possibly the most snooze inducing subject we can talk about here at Permission. So I would not be surprised if by now if most readers are not feeling their eyelids sink lower and their breathing slowing down. No doubt soon their fingers will be twitching over a mouse button ready to move on.

Look I know that producing content is hard and therefore is the least appealing part of managing a website. Fortunately the giants of online marketing -think Google – are ready and willing to reward you for all your efforts. And when Google dishes out rewards, why not take an unfair share of what’s on offer?

Google’s engineers realise the power that a content laden website can deliver to it searchers, so much so that now they are rewarding those that follow this strategy where it matters most – in their pocket. Now don’t get too excited, there are no actual cheques being dished out. It’s more that a “bonus benefit” is being applied to those who want it.

Here’s just a few ways in which this benefit is being applied.

Improving your natural search rankings within Google

Many moons ago you could divide the amount of work required to improve a websites performance within Google neatly using the 80/20 principle. Twenty percent of the work applied to a websites content and how it was displayed. The remaining 80% was all about ensuring other websites linked into the site in the correct way. Nowadays it would be fair to say that the same 80/20 principle applies – instead the proportions of work are neatly reversed.

So if you want to rank for the search term of say “Spaniel Training Guides” on your dog training site then you will need a page that includes great content on exactly this subject.

This sounds super easy for product based businesses; however service suppliers have a harder job. For instance let’s say you supply domestic cleaning services. How many different ways do you think prospects would describe this service? Here’s just a few from the extensive list – domestic cleaning, house cleaning, home cleaning, cleaner Auckland and even home cleaning Sandringham. So if this was your business then somehow you need to have a piece of logical and well written content for every search term that makes sense for the reader.

Buying your Google paid advertising at the best possible rates

quality_scorePaid advertising solution – Google AdWords -is also busy rewarding with cheaper clicks those who have the best keyword to content match. So if your paid advertising keywords included the term “Spaniel Training Guides” and your clicking prospect was taken through to the product page then all is good with Google and their advertising Quality Score metric.

It’s a great thing this Quality Score thingy exists. It ensures that the Google bidding system is about providing relevant ads and not big fat advertising budgets. Without it we would be left with those with the largest budgets achieving the highest placements.

Now unfortunately Google doesn’t share all the ingredients of an advertiser’s quality score ranking with us. However the following factors are known to influence it; how long the advertiser has been buying clicks; the % of times an ad is clicked compared to how often it is seen; and the relevant one for our discussion -the ad to keyword content match.

We have all clicked on low quality score ads. You click, arrive and in seconds realise in a few seconds that what is in front of you is not what you wanted. Back you go to Google to continuing your search. The click didn’t work for you and fortunately it wasn’t the experience Google wanted for you either as they subsequently mark down the quality score of the advertiser.

In both of these instances Google is rewarding you for doing the hard work of creating great content. First up it affects your natural search ranking – which should lead to more visitors and hopefully more leads. Secondly it helps reduce the cost of your paid advertising clicks by producing a high quality score.

There you have it, two great reasons to make this next month the month of more content. Give us a call if you are not sure what type of content to create.

Investing Time and Money

It would seem that fishing has now gone all hi-tech. The other day, while wandering along a stretch of Coromandel beach with my ageing and mad Spaniel, I noticed a couple on their quad bike carrying what look like to be a orange torpedo down to the water’s edge. Mello, my Spaniel, was as interested as I and did her best to get in the way as they bent down and fussed away to get the thing started.

Within a few minutes a power of froth was coming from the propeller. While he slowly guided it into the surf she walked back holding a line that joined it to their bike. In a few moments the orange flash was tunnelling out through the surf towing a fishing line of 25 baited hooks behind it. Minutes later all you could see was the golden flash of the light as it buzzed through the surf far, far off in the distance.

I sauntered up to learn more. Apparently the “thing” would cover 1Km in 10 minutes and only needed to be out there for 45 minutes at the right time of day. So all you needed to do was invest an hour each day (and the $2750 for the torpedo thingy”) and there was a good chance you would be hauling your fancy gear back with some additional weight of fresh fish. Great for those short on both time and something for tea.

Not such a good plan if you like to fish the way I do.

Needless to say, the fish are safe when I turn up on the beach. My surfcaster is ageing, the reel is even older and you can smell my tackle box before you see it. The ideal evening fishing for me involves lots of casting, lots of still, and very little chance of taking anything back home. A perfect way to spend 3 hours alone on the beach.

I don’t think I’m too dissimilar to others I see lined up next to me. For us it’s more about the time of peace and quiet with the occasional flurry of excitement thrown in occasionally. The appeal of pulling out 25 snapper in 45 minutes is mildly appealing, that is until I think through the logistics of gutting all that flesh and then finding something else to do instead of heading back too early.

The world of online marketing is a space filled with a mass of technology and services all claiming to do more things in less time, just like our friendly orange torpedo example. Very rarely does it all turn out exactly as sold. (Just as an aside while we were at the beach I spotted a notice in the local store posted by someone who was looking for help as their fishing torpedo had come off its line and hopefully was going to wash up on the beach rather than reach landfall in Argentina.)

This month our newsletter talks to the point of mixing up your online marketing tactics to make good use of those delivered in both a “slow” and “fast” way. The theory being that the best long term competitive advantage comes from applying tactics that take the most time to deliver.

The same can apply when influencing the speed at which people purchase online. A small proportion of your purchasers will dive into their wallets immediately on arriving on your site. Others will need time to ruminate about their decision. Most online marketers spend time influencing those that buy quickly when there’s a larger group who need time to make a decision.

Email marketing comes to mind as a key strategy to achieve success here. By now everyone should be familiar with its use, but rarely is its effectiveness measured in the right way. While most track who opened the message and what links were clicked within it, very few look back and see if by receiving these messages customers were more or less likely to buy again or for the first time. These are the real outcomes which the tactic needs to be measured against.

Paid advertising can be a star here too. Here you can set up campaigns to re-market to those that bought from your website before to entice them back as they trawl the Internet. Likewise, if they came but didn’t purchase then your re-marketing could convince them to come back and make that first purchase.

Direct mail, and dare I say telemarketing, are other strategies that can be deployed successfully here too. Just because you created the lead online doesn’t mean you have to always use the same channel to market to them in the same way. Mix up any of these tactics with to help you achieve the most influence where you can.

And that’s the true illusion here. Whilst technology can present the appeal of achieving more in less time, when it comes to making buying decisions the majority still need time to think things through. That will never change.

So this month think about those who have contacted you and are still thinking about the services or products you offer. What can you send to these who have expressed an interest but haven’t purchased yet? And how about those that have bought before but haven’t for a while? What can you do to entice them back?

Every month we hold a customer conference call that all of our customers are invited to join. At the beginning of these conference calls we have a section on what is new in the online marketing world that we believe is worthy of your attention. Below is a video of the introduction of January’s conference call. This month the focus was not so much on new information, but rather a focus on moving your website analytics forward in the year ahead. The first topic discussed is increasing conversions by designing and testing landing pages to optimise them, the second topic is 10 new years resolutions to focus on with your Google Anlaytics account.

You can find the latest website marketing update here.

The Apple iPhone 5 is coming to NZ and most website owners are missing out on the opportunity this represents as it adds to the rushing tide of Kiwi Smartphone use.

But first let’s just cast our mind back to when it all started.  It wasn’t all that long ago.  In fact the first iPhone advertising screened in the US on February 25, 2007 during the 79th Academy Awards.   Back then it was Nokia this and Erickson Sony that.  Phones were getting smaller and my Motorola Razr was black, sleek and fitted nicely into any pocket.  It was exactly what I needed in a phone.

Which was fine until the Apple advertising started and things phone related changed forever.  Now you didn’t have a phone in your pocket you had an internet connected screen.  And let’s not forget the camera that came with it too.  (Now I’m told that 90% of the photos taken in 2011 were from Smartphone’s.)

All this meant near commercial death to any phone manufacturers that were all about raised buttons, blurry cameras and postage stamp sized screens.   Samsung came along for the connected screen ride, as has HTC – names you probably would have never heard of five years ago in NZ.   Thankfully our local mobile networks have managed to keep pace and the cost and speed of mobile web access has broadly kept up to ensure the screen phone manufacturers promise was made good.

So what does that mean for your average website owner?

Firstly there’s probably a lot more people looking at your website, reading your email and clicking on your ads through the view of a mobile screen than ever before.  Thankfully the top analytics tracking tools – like Google Analytics – will tell you how many visit your website.   And great email tracking tools like Litmus will reveal those reading your email message “a la mobile phone” and Google let’s you target your AdWords advertising to attract just these types of visitors.

The tools are there to find and target this group but how many are using them properly?  From our experience very few.  (Possibly less than one in ten.)  For instance when was the last time you looked at your website via a Smartphone screen to see how it looks?  And how about running an AdWords campaign to just this mobile group and sending them through to a site set up for thumbs and not mice?

Which all means for the savvy website marketer there’s an opportunity to be had.  Now’s the time to be going after this growing group of mobile prospects while your competitors remain transfixed to their tethered friends.  Building a mobile version website isn’t as hard as you think.  For a start you need a lot less content and the call to actions can be a lot simpler to produce.  Don’t think intricate forms to complete – do think big buttons that fire up a “call now” action.  And let’s not forget videos too.  With the advent of super clear resolution screens they are a delight full screen on a phone.

Email marketing to a mobile audience is simpler too.  Here, like their mobile web browsing cousins, the focus is on providing simple vertical streams of content with easy to follow “thumb sized” click options.

So why not dive into your Google Analytics reports this week to see the percentage of visitors that arrive at your website via a mobile screen?  And for the next email sent – why not include a smart little piece of code to tell you who read your latest missive on their phone instead of their PC?

Then if the numbers stack up then why not kick off with a simple but effective mobile website marketing experience?

Video Update – What’s new AND worth your attention.  Each month we run a customer conference call on online marketing that has at it’s start an intro to what we think is new AND worth commenting on.  Below is the video of this part of the call we covered today for August.   You can access the research here on the best days to contact a lead.

Last Thursday I attended a Speed Networking function put on by the local chamber of commerce.  I was told to come armed with a stash of cards and a well polished 60 second summary of my business.  They were not wrong on both counts.

After a nerve subduing glass of wine we were set up in two circles of fifty all facing each other.  So the outer circle faced in and the inner faced out.  Allowing for about  20 cms between our knees we sat face to face and waited for instructions.

The rules were quite simple.  Once a whistle blew we had 60 seconds to give our introduction before another whistle announced it was the other person’s turn.  Then two sharp blows and the outer circle had to get up, move one place to the left and start it all over again.  I was in the outer group facing in and after going through one complete revolution I had never met so many people in such a short space of time.

At the end I finished up with a handful of cards, none of my own and a very good idea of how to effectively introduce Permission to people for the first time.  Looking back on the experience there’s a number of close similarities between effective Speed Networking and effective Online Marketing.

Firstly in both you only have a few moments to capture your prospects attention.  We had 60 seconds but I could see in the faces of the first few I spoke with that those first few sessions of mine were way off the mark.  Web optimisation, search engine marketing blah, blah, blah it was all just babble speak that only we really knew what we meant.   So I switched out some words, changed my emphasis to focus on the benefits of working with us and by the end heads were nodding and cards were being offered.

Sixty seconds could well be the average amount of time people spend on your website’s home page.  You may be surprised how short the average is.   (In Google Analytics look for the “Time on Site” and “Time on page” statistic to see what your values are.)    Which all goes to show why your home page content needs to gets to the point quickly and outline exactly what makes your business so different from the rest and why you should consider buying from it.

Getting the exact make up of this message right the first time is never an easy task.  And as I mentioned before, while working from person to person things did improve as I changed what I said.  Thankfully online marketing allows you to achieve the same type of continuous  improvement with the use of some clever software that allows you to  split test multiple versions of your website’s copy until your reports show you which one is performing the best.

Once correctly set up you can let 50% of your website visitors see the original home page while the remaining 50% see the one you want to test.   Then, once an adequate amount of data has been collected on each version, you can pick the winner and write another version to test this against.

Something I also learnt was that a message that includes specifics has greater chance of cutting through.  Being introduced to 50 businesses in 50 minutes allows anyone interested in marketing pick up on what made the good ones good and the rest just blend into a mass of sameness.

And as luck would have it this experience was helped by sitting in the inner circle (thankfully a few chairs apart) were two people representing same the mortgage loan business.   Both were vying for the same type of customer.

Each made the best use of their 60 seconds but the first told me specifics like the amount of account holders they had (I was impressed how large it was) and then the average amount of time and money they could save off a mortgage (a chunky saving).  Agent #2 covered none of this specific detail  and as a result their message sounded just like every other mortgage loan discussion – boring, boring, boring.

Others had a message that had some punch through the specifics of exactly who they worked with.   For instance I came across a guy called Grant who just services home  BBQ’s – that’s it.  He works in the Auckland region and goes from house to house ensuring the BBQ is set up, safe and ready to use.  He’s a very busy man.  In comparison there were at least four website developers in the inner circle and I managed to talk to them all.  None stood out.  They all offered the same type of service to a similar range of customers.

So there you have it.  The human version of Speed Networking was well worth the effort and I recommend it for anyone wanting to grow their business and further hone their marketing message.  Contact us today if you would like your website to experience their own version of speed networking and by doing so work that little bit harder for you this week than they did last.

Currently the Price Household is under siege on Wednesday and Thursday evening by a reality TV program.   This one has four couples pitched against each other as they all renovate one of four houses along the same street in Auckland’s North Shore.   Naturally being “reality TV” there’s a fair bit of drama along the way.

From the comfort of my lounge room It all looks like a lot of hard and stressful work.  And while my friends have moved walls, changed roof lines and even created large spaces where once there was grass.  For me slapping on some fresh paint is the start and end of my renovating experience.   Even so – renovating looks a fair bit easier than starting with a bare piece of landing and building from scratch.

Renovate or re-build– now which one would you prefer?  Yep – renovating seems a bit nice now doesn’t it?  Well fortunately the same applies to your website.

Nevertheless when most begin a project to improve their own website’s performance they are often convinced that a re-build is their only choice.  Well fortunately it isn’t – website renovation is alive and well.  You just need to find someone capable to do it for you.

But before you start on your quest here’s a few pointers on why website renovation makes so much sense.   

Let’s start with the good old standard Pareto 80/20 principle in which we are told that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results.  The classic 80/20 rule.  Well it’s alive and well in website marketing too.  Here we see it showing that 20% of your site’s content will positively affect 80% of the site’s lead generating performance.   So you don’t need to optimise all of your content – just the 20% that makes the most difference.

And of this 20% that needs work; about 80% will be contained within your text and copy.  Those niggling bits of content that work their socks off convincing your visitors to fill in the form or submit the page.  Usually they don’t take long to update within an existing design.   So unless your online brand imagery is completely wrong and therefore desperately needs updating you can leave the images and colours alone.  Just renovate the right words the right way and experience some positive change.

Then there’s the overarching requirement to do more for less when it comes to online marketing.   Renovating isn’t just so much more time efficient then rebuilding – it’s also a lot less risky.  I have seen a number of website development projects in my 12 years of experience.  Unfortunately it seem the minority that have been managed well and arrive well within budget and expected time frames.    Some are a few weeks late – others a bit longer and then there are those that end up with both parties facing off for a commercial punch up.

So there you go three reasons why website renovation is alive and well and possibly well worth considering for your next web optimisation project.   Permission has been in the web renovation space since we started in 2002.  We have taken on a whole range of websites across a multitude of content management systems.  So far nothing has fazed the team.

Why not contact us today if rebuilding seems like the only option available to achieve your web marketing goals.  You never know there could be an easier way ahead.