Paid Search

Paid Search is vital to any online marketing campaign.  By working with companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, you can engage potential customers at an unprecedented level.  This is the fastest growing advertising industry and supplant  traditional advertising in the coming years.  By knowing how to utilize paid search techniques including long-tail and hyperlocal optimization, I have helped companies of all sizes reach their marketing goals.

6 Advantages of Paid Search Advertising

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  1. Qualified Traffic – Paid Search is typically an automatic qualifier for visitors to your site.  With a well defined ad that is targeting proper keywords landing on a great landing page, you can almost guarantee that your traffic is qualified.  This will in turn drive higher conversions.
  2. Low Cost – Pay Per Click or PPC marketing has been very well documented as one of the lowest cost forms of advertising.  We have seen the barrier as low as $300.00 per month to start advertising online.
  3. Targeted Ads – This plays very well with number one.  You can target your advertising at a granular level.  You can set certain demographics, locations, dates, or even change your copy for a special occasion, holiday, or event.  These ads can be changed at anytime, to deliver any message.
  4. Flexibility –  PPC advertising is the epitome of flexibility.  From budget restrictions or increases, to custom messaging, or holiday vacations, online advertising allows small businesses the flexibility to avoid high costs while maintaining a good ROI.
  5. Message Control – Paid Search allows the advertiser unprecedented control over online messaging.  Using PPC you can control online reputation management and make adjustments to insure that potential customers see the best aspects of your business.
  6. Measurable ROI – Most importantly, Paid Search provides a measurable ROI.  In a few easy steps, you can quantify and measure your Paid Search campaigns through the buying funnel from inception to completion.  This granular data will allow you to understand exactly where your ad dollars are going and help you insure you’re meeting your bottom line.

I think the most important aspects of online marketing can be shown by Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian.


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Retargeting and Marketing Automation For Beginners

One of the more difficult aspects of digital marketing is explaining how a process works to a client who doesn’t understand, or doesn’t have time to understand how the technology that helps convert new business works.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
– Arthur C. Clarke

At the end of this post, I have included my Slideshare Conversion Optimization Flowchart For you to use as you see fit. It is a fantastic visualization on how the entire process works together.

Retargeting and Marketing Automation are two unique inbound techniques that can work great independent of one another, but when combined can lift a marketing campaign to new unparalleled levels.  The question is, how do we get these campaigns to sync up into a cohesive understandable system.

Retargeting Lists

Retargeting Marketing StrategyTo begin a successful campaign, we need to begin organizing our visitors into lists or buckets.  To keep things simple, we’re going to start with 4 lists.

  1. All Visitors
  2. Visitors we do know
  3. Visitors we don’t know
  4. Customers

This is the most basic way to differentiate between our visitor types.  Depending on your automation provider or technology involved, you can gain insight into the visitors and gain information about that visitor without requiring a form-fill, but to keep things simple we’re going to assume a visitor must provide their information through a form-fill or phone call.

Now, how do we differentiate between each list type? Tags (Or Cookies.. or pixels.. doesn’t matter)

All Visitors

The first thing I do is tag each visitor that comes to the website. This is allows us combine, remove, or edit sub lists to target the precise users that we’re trying convert.

I won’t go through how to do this at a technical level today.  Depending on your provider (Google, RadiumOne, Bing, etc) you will have slightly different methods to create those lists.  Personally, I use Google, and One Third Party provider to keep things simple.

Visitors we do know

When I began writing this, I started with visitors we don’t know, but logically it makes more sense to do it this way. We need to create an additional tag for customers we do know.  The goal of this tag is to identify any visitors that we have contact information about, that are not customers.  We then can place this tag at various points in our digital strategy to allow us to target these visitors with specialized messaging.  A few examples –

  • Thank You Pages (After form-fills)
  • Emails targeting leads from CRM (Not Customers)
    • Phone Call Entries
    • Previous Data
    • Data Collected via 3rd party provider
    • Social
    • Purchased Lists
    • etc.

This data allows us to target visitors we have information about.  If we have an email address, this is where we can begin the Marketing Automation process, which I will be talking about in greater detail in a little bit.

Visitors we don’t know

This is the easiest List we can make. Subtract Visitors we do know From All Visitors.  This gives us our third list.  Visitors we don’t know.

This list is our primary target for our retargeting campaigns.  We want to market to this list and convert these visitors into visitors we know.  This is where Retargeting will come into play.


Retargeting can serve two purposes.  For Google AdWords, we can use our lists to decrease or increase our bid % based on visitor activity.  For example, if you tag a visitor who visited a certain product page, you can now retarget that customer if they’re looking for that or similar products again through google.  You can increase your bid to increase the likelihood of that visitor seeing your ad and returning back to the website again.

Additionally, Retargeting allows us to offer display or text ads on tagged visitors as they traverse other websites.  For our purposes, we develop a profile of target customer and establish a list of websites that are frequently accessed by that profile.  We can then show tagged visitors relevant messaging on those websites creating new engagement opportunities to bring them back into the funnel.

We limit our retargeting for these visitors to ~ 3-5 impressions per day.  We’ve found that more engagements can be perceived as spam and in some cases can adversely affect campaigns.

Google has some great insights (they call it remarketing.)

 Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation is a great tool that we suggest using in conjunction with other digital strategy platforms.  This technology is  effective when we have enough information about our visitors or leads to target them automatically with predefined strategies.  You can tell through tags what products the user is interested, how frequently they come back, etc.  You can then use this and automation to send them communications to push them down the funnel, offer promotions to encourage a sale, and even screen pop your sales agents when that visitor returns to the website.  Some websites that do this extremely well are,, and

A great example of the whole process working together-Retargeting and Automation Funnel

  1. User visits website (Tag All Visitors)
  2. User Goes to Product Page (Retag Product Page)
  3. User Bounces to ESPN (eligible for retargeting)
  5. User Clicks Retargeted Ad
  6. User Comes back to website and fills out form (Tag Visitor We Know)
  8. Wait One Day Send Follow Up Email (Automation)
  9. No Response
  10. Wait One Week Send Email With Discount Offer (Automation)
  11. User Returns to website
  12. Screen Pop Sales Agent when user is on the website
  13. Sales Calls User
  14. User Signs Up – Becomes Customer


And here it is, a great flowchart for you to look through the process of Retargeting and Marketing Automation working together!

[slideshare id=28491765&doc=conversionoptimizationflowchart-malachithreadgill-131121084528-phpapp01]

Think Global, Market Local: How the Internet Attracts Customers from the Neighborhood

Announcement! We have our first guest post from fellow internet marketing ninja Shane Jones.  Thanks for taking the time to write this post for us.  It provides some great local marketing tips!

We often think of the Internet as a way to reach customers all over the world, but you don’t have to be a global company to reap the benefits.  In fact, online marketing can be a great way to reach customers right in your own neighborhood.

Everything is moving online, including your local newspaper, magazine, and radio station.  Since more and more of your customers are spending significant amounts of time online, you need to take your local marketing strategy there as well.  Here are a few ways to do it.

Get Listed

Your town may have listings on Citysearch and Craigslist, but it most definitely has listings on sites like Yellowpages and Yelp.  When you publish your site, get more traffic by registering it on all those sites.

Some web hosting services provide the tools and instructions for getting listed in local web searches.  Many of these sites will display your business name, address, website address, phone number, and even reviews from happy customers.  This helps local customers decide if your business can best meet their needs, but it’s also great if your business provides a service that people will need immediately when they search for it.  After all, how often is someone going to casually browse for a service like rodent control?

Advertise on Local Media

As mentioned above, your local newspapers, magazines, and radio stations are hosting their own websites.  Since you probably already advertise in their traditional formats, why not advertise online as well?

In fact, this is a good way to create an integrated strategy.  Buy your usual ad space, but throw in a few well-placed banner and display ads in the process.  This serves two purposes.

First, it creates a more cost-effective, accountable way to reach local customers.  Second, since traditional readers and listeners also go online, it doubles the chances that they’ll learn about—and reach out to—your business.

Create Locally Based Content

Blogs and other forms of content marketing have become very popular ways to promote your business and drive more traffic and sales.  But not many people create content that integrates their business expertise with their location.  Now is the time for you to start.

For instance, if you run a clothing store, you could talk about the same fashion trends that everyone else is talking about, or you could talk about the fashion trends you’re seeing as you walk around your town.  If you do this, you’ll see another benefit – because you’re focused on your local area, your search engine rankings will catch the attention of local people looking for your type of business, which is exactly what you want.

Find the Customers Next Door

The Internet spans the globe, but it’s a pretty good way to find customers in your own community as well.  Put your local marketing strategy online and find more customers right down the block from you.


Shane JonesAbout Shane Jones : I am an internet marketer, and blogging fanatic, who loves to write about business, the current economy, anything marketing, and SEO.  I also am an avid outdoors-man, who loves hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking.  You can also follow my opinions on soccer and sports at  Tweet me @shanejones15 about anything! I’d be happy to talk!

PPC Marketing vs Search Engine Optimization

I recently wrote a series of blogs for the company I work for.  I have changed it up a little but, but the general post follows –

Pay Per Click Marketing, unlike Search Engine Optimization, is a paid approach to search engine advertising.Companies pay the major search engines for placement in the sponsored links sections typically on the top and right hand side of the search engine results pages (SERPs.)The placement of a company’s sponsored ad depends on a Quality Score derived by the search engines based on the quality of content on the company website, the context of the ad, and the amount a company is willing to pay per position. For the most part, the business model works well for the search engines, advertisers, and potential customers.Unfortunately, there are a couple of glaring issues with search engine marketing.

The first issue with PPC is that there is a 95 character limit on ads for paid search.It is nearly impossible to offer product differentiation from company to company when confined to 95 characters.This makes ad copywriting a very creative and difficult task, as you need to find a way to provide relevant information as well as your value prop in a very confined space.To add a little perspective, twitter, which some view as restrictive, allows a tweet to be up to 140 characters.

The second issue with PPC is the persistent rise in cost per lead acquisition. Many companies are competing for the same piece of the proverbial pie and offer very similar products.This competition especially in paid search is continually driving the cost per click higher on the top industry keywords.Over the past year, we have seen as much as a 50% increase in cost per click for higher converting keywords.This directly increases the cost per acquisition across the industry and as each company tries to spend more to outbid the opposition for better positioning, costs continue to increase.Unfortunately, there is no short term solution for this cyclical increase in online advertising.Unless each of the company’s marketing managers and directors get together and put a cap on online spending (hint, hint), advertising spend will continue to increase until the cost per lead and cost per click reach equilibrium and the model implodes.

Obviously, Google loves this type of competition.If the statistics are correct and Google receives 90% of their revenue from Paid Search advertising, then it is absolutely no surprise why they have a market cap of nearly 150 billion and growing.I see no end in sight as long as this type of advertising continues to be beneficial to both Google and the advertisers who are using their AdWords platform.

Even though Google is the alpha dog and has a commanding lead in search traffic across the board, we have seen success in utilizing Bing and yahoo for paid search advertising.Both secondary search engines have a substantially lower cost per click and still drive a considerable amount of traffic to our website.

Although there are major issues with PPC, this advertising platform isn’t all bad.The company I manage PPC for sees quality leads come through our paid search campaigns on a daily basis.You, too, should work to gain market share with online advertising, and try out various PPC techniques to increase your quality score and gain competitive advantage.

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising

Advertising for your business can be a difficult process.  Google, Yahoo, and MSN all offer their own respective options for Search Engine based advertising.  Personally, I prefer using Adwords as it is the most comprehensive, popular, and even yahoo is starting to roll it out on their website. 

Pay-Per-Click advertising is pretty straight forward.  A company designates a certain area of the webpage for advertising.  From there, a company trying to advertise will setup campaigns with one of the big 3 search engines.  The Search Engine will then determine what ads are relevant based on the content of a website and show the closest relevant ads.  For every ad that is clicked,  the company must pay a predetermined amount. 

In Adwords, a company can setup the maximum budget for a day or for a month.  From there, Google’s system will actually determine the amount of times the ad will show and can even spread it out throughout the predetermined time.  This software is very robust and offers many different options.  The enduser can see which keywords have the best conversion percentage and even chose keywords to avoid. 

There are also other methods that include Nextag, Revsense, and others.