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Love at first site is fickle

The tall poppy syndrome is a mental state that probably generates from jealousy. Whatever the syndrome name, the love affair with online performance-based advertising is already over for some.

If you’d shared a beer with me a few years ago at a BBQ I would have passionately rambled on about the benefits of running paid search campaigns on Google until the last man was standing, or lying down.

Today, I would rather talk about my golf handicap because my overzealous enthusiasm for paid search marketing has slowly eroded to a slightly cynical raised eyebrow.

“Today, I would rather talk about my golf handicap because my overzealous enthusiasm for paid search marketing has slowly eroded to a slightly cynical raised eyebrow”

It all comes back to basic economics and maths: supply and demand and cost per acquisition or return on investment. The entry of large numbers of new advertisers into search auctions has rapidly pumped up the prices of clicks in pay-per-click advertising in some industries. As expected, search advertisers in the USA have already over-indulged and cost per click prices are nothing short of spooky.

Take the insurance industry. I’d hate to be bidding for any type of insurance-related term, as the top one to three bid prices is so stratospheric (irrespective of the infamous quality score), and the cost of the premiums so competitive that the margins are quite tight. If you look at the insurance industry from the outside, you could be fooled into thinking it is a competitive market, with many different brands.

But when you consider that one or two larger companies own the majority of the brands, with a single marketing strategy across the brands, they can have a monopoly on the top five positions in Google. The small guys don’t have a chance.

Larger corporations are used to throwing away marketing money. They used to advertise on TV using advertising agencies.

So any sort of measurable return that paid search offers is better than what they had before.

To the real business person, marketing spend should generate a positive return on investment. So how can a small consumer get any visibility when the big brands are just buying out the space?

Start from the bottom up.

What if you eliminated all keywords that compete at the top level? You could spread the keywords wide and be very specific to your location or any type of niche that your product offers. Don’t get sucked into search volumes. Stay away from the big competitive terms that seem to have the largest share of voice. Instead, choose keywords that specifically relate to issues surrounding your business, and focus on value stemmed keywords.

Get clever and competitive with your ad copy. One benefit of being an SME is that you don’t have to go through the hoopla of sign-offs and approval. Be punchy, be witty and grab some attention from the big guys with the ties.

Have you tested the difference in rhyming ad copy versus alliteration-styled ad copy?

Not an easy task when you are working with 95 characters and Google’s strict rules on exclamations! But there is no point boring everyone to death with conformity.

Eliminate the waste. While your business is unique due to your involvement, so must your potential new customers feel that personality with all of your communication messages.

Measure, test, monitor, and cull, cull, cull. #

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