How Do You Get Lawyers To Blog?

Reddit user KatissimusDorsi wrote to the /r/SEO subreddit asking for advice about how to get lawyers at one of his client’s firms to blog about their expertise.

Here’s what he (although it could be a ‘she!’) said:

We have a long-standing client who recently started paying for us to do monthly SEO maintenance on their site. They’re a law firm in a fairly specific niche. The website has the basics – profiles of all the attorneys, history of the firm, services they provide, contact info, a small resources section.

It’s common to hear lawyers complain about being bugged by their boss to update their website. From the perspective of the lawyers at the firm, it’s an added hassle that they’re not being paid any extra for. Most lawyers have little interest in writing for the public, and find it an arduous task.

The request for help closed like this:

I’ve mentioned repeatedly that doing just even a tad bit of social media / blogging would be helpful, but that’s not really something they want to do – which I understand considering they’re overworked attorneys.

We can’t really write the content for them as they are a super-specialized industry. The best we can do is write a small news announcement when they participate in an event (2-3 times per year) or win an award (1-2 times per year) and get some external links from that.

I feel like I should be able to do something more for them, but their few competitors in the area are beating them handily in rankings due to their active blogs / social media presence.

I’m fairly new to SEO, so I want to make sure I’m not missing something else I could be doing. Any advice?

This is a common problem not just with lawyers, but with most companies. The knowledge that’s compelling to potential customers is locked up within the heads of the employees. And those employees are rarely also talented writers. A task that takes a professional an hour would take them four hours.

Here’s the way that I resolve this dilemma:

Ghostwrite for the lawyers.

The lawyers who work for the firm will tend to really resent any commands from the boss to blog for the firm. What you should do is bill them time to interview the lawyers about the relevant topics for the niche, write based on the interviews in the voice of the lawyers who work for the firm, and then have it all vetted by the client before you post it.

You can also use the material from a single ~hour long interview for multiple posts. Pick topics that their clients usually need help with that are relevant to the keyword research you’ve already done. Ask them what terms that clients use when talking about the given legal specialty. Feed those terms into keyword research, and build content around that.

So that is where law firms tend to go wrong — they nag their employees to blog and they tend to think they have better things to do (which they usually do). To do this well you will have to learn a lot about their given niche, which you will probably do naturally by working with them.

This interview method is the most time efficient way to generate unique, relevant material for a corporate blog. Ghostwriting also makes it appear more authentic to readers than if you try to write a post in a disembodied corporate voice. If the interview subject isn’t comfortable appearing as the writer, treat them as if they’re a notable person being interviewed in depth by a journalist.

An Answer To “PPC or SEO?”

On the /r/PPC subreddit (where I’ve picked up more than a few clients — hi there!), someone asked about whether to invest in PPC or SEO. This was the answer:

These kinds of questions are just confusing for new advertisers.

The answer is that it depends on your goals, budget, and market. If you have infinite budget and funding, then the answer is “do both and invest lots into both.” Almost everyone doesn’t, so you have to come up with a plan that matches the circumstances of the company.

Additionally, depending on the market and the skill level of the practitioners, the time frame for payoff can be very different. Although the typical statement is that SEO is a long term investment, it can often deliver payoff quickly. It depends entirely on the market.

I would say, like Perry Marshall and others do, to start with a pared down PPC campaign, get data on customer behavior, use that data to inform which keywords you go after in SEO/general marketing, and proceed from there. It’s easier to get data faster with PPC, so it helps to start with that before going full throttle into SEO.

Other people on the subreddit (which is almost entirely made up of professional PPCers) tended to agree. Thinking that you can advertise a business only using PPC is usually going to not work, outside a few oddball markets.

Developing a durable competitive edge requires using  more than one marketing channel. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to make a fast sale.

Speaking of Perry Marshall, I’m going to steal the 10 step order he gives for building out marketing for most websites from his excellent 80/20 Sales and Marketing.

Here it is (from page 82):

  1. Google AdWords
  2. SEO
  3. Other PPCs like Bing and display advertising
  4. Email promotions
  5. Social media*
  6. Affiliates
  7. Direct Mail
  8. Banner ads and ad networks
  9. Press releases
  10. Print advertising, TV, and radio

The * is just to indicate that social media doesn’t really work very well, or is hard to manage profitably, for a lot of product categories.

The reason why the channels are in this order really has to do with the level of control that you can exercise over them. AdWords provides you with more granular control over what search terms that your ads appear on. It also gives you live data that you can use to find out which words you can craft an offer for that results in them pulling out their credit cards.

Print, TV, and radio are all both expensive and powerful. Although the aggregate spending on print has plummeted (less so in magazines, because they’re targeted to niche markets), it’s still a heavy hitter. But it can be a risky one to jump into without all the foundations in place.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in SEO

I typically don’t listen to many podcasts (reading is so much faster), but I made an exception for this interview between Kurt Elster from Ethercycle and Kai Davis, an ecommmerce consultant located in Eugene, Oregon.

Here’s the interview. There’s also a full text transcript.

If you’re like me and would rather read, here’s Kai’s click-baity-titled article on a similar topic.

There’s good and bad news about the state of SEO today. Kai writes:

What’s different about SEO now as compared to Search Engine Optimization two years ago is the need to focus on strategies that help you attract high-quality links by improving your visitors’ experience.

When it comes to getting more traffic, you need links from high-quality, relevant websites. And the best way to attract high-quality, relevant links is be aiming to make yourself more relevant and helpful to searchers.

Unfortunately, the conversation often focuses on ‘link building’, when it should focus on ‘how to delight visitors’ or ‘how to build a better business.’

When you get started improving the quality and relevance of your website, you’ll attract more links. If you’re creating educational, relevant content on your site — articles, resources, how-to guides, courses, tutorials, case studies, etc — that add value to your visitors’ lives, you’ll see more links, more traffic, and more sales.

But! It can take much, much longer to see results now than it used to. Depending on how optimized your site is and how invested in SEO your competitors are, it can take months to see your site slowly, incrementally creep up in the rankings.

I’d say that it depends on the market and what the goals are. In any competitive market, what Kai’s saying here is true.

The mentality that’s needed now is really more of a sales-marketing-and-public-relations mindset as it relates to actually getting links. From the perspective of buyers of SEO services, they’re caught between the ‘black-box’ type providers who charge nothing and provide no information about what they’re doing and the kind who can only honestly promise long-term results with a sustained effort.

Also, because every industry of any significant size has a big web publishing community now, it’s less important to bait links from large websites outside the niche and any proximate markets. While it can help in some situations, what’s really important is setting up workable business relationships (which happen to include some linking back and forth) in order to get much out of any investment into SEO.

One positive is that, because search is a mostly mature technology (at least on Google’s end), there’s a lot more comprehensible information about how it works.

The trouble with that is that, with greater information availability, and far more easy-to-use tools, it’s also far more competitive in a lot of markets.

The other key point Kai makes during the interview is about company size and staffing:

Kai: I know, right? I built my practice from the beginning to say, “I want to work with a very small number of clients but deliver the best results possible for them. That’s a different attack than a lot of SEO companies or a lot of consultants. They say, “Hey, we want to work with 50 or 100 different clients.” To do that, you might end up having to staff up or cut corners. I say, “I want to run an independent practice. I want to work with six exceptional clients at a time, and deliver to them the best results possible.”

It’s not hard to set up an agency that just hires anyone who walks in the door, spams and cold-calls the world, signs clients up for packages that range from $300/month to $2,000 a month, submits the client sites to a bunch of directories, pockets the earnings, and sends out robo-reports to the clients, who have trouble getting anyone actually knowledgeable on the phone.

It’s a more challenging task entirely to integrate search into a more comprehensive digital marketing effort. That’s really where SEO has been migrating as a category for the last few years or so — it’s still a specialty, but it’s much more connected to other categories within marketing than it was once seen to be.

While scale can confer certain advantages to larger agencies (it’s easier for them to automate), they tend to cut back on direct service and attention to the unique needs of a client. The generic approach rarely returns out-sized results.

Marketing is competitive. To win competitions, you need an advantage. Generic services can’t confer a significant advantage. That’s why it’s important to work with a company that can craft a unique plan for your company and your market.

How to Build a Brand from Nothing

When most people think about brands, they tend to think about the ones that have been built up over a period of decades, if not more than a century. They think about a logo that even children can identify in less than two seconds.

Nike, McDonalds, Tide, Apple, and Macy’s are all examples of American brands with a lot of general awareness. Awareness alone does not make a business successful, but it helps a whole lot. Most people know what Sears is, but it hasn’t kept the company from severe cut-backs. When Apple was in the doldrums, the general awareness of what Apple was did not help it recover all that much.

Better products, starting with the iMac, and then moving onto the iPod, helped to resurrect the company.

Radio Shack’s brand awareness is not helping it sell more electronics supplies. Why not? Because the online stores are providing a better service, at a better price, more conveniently. Soon enough, unless something drastic changes, the brand will be as obscure as Magnavox is today.

The default problem of all new businesses, even those with great products, is that no one has any idea what the company is or what it stands for. The obscurity can be downright shocking. It can be demoralizing. It can be agonizing to look at a ‘share’ or ‘follower’ count sitting at ‘zero,’ especially if you have never had to deal with that before.

The way you can solve this problem is to:

  1. Find the people who can benefit from your company.
  2. Convince them that they’ll benefit.
  3. Sell them the product or give it away if you have to.
  4. Follow up and ask them if they would be willing to tell their friends about it.
  5. Do it again.

One error that sometimes happens is to think that advertising alone can substitute for sales acumen when the company is going from a cold start. The brand is the conceptual description of the company’s reputation. When the company has no reputation, there is nothing real to build off of. You start the core of the company’s reputation by spending a lot of time with your customers, talking to them, gathering their opinions, making them as happy as you can possibly make them, and then turning that into a process that you can apply with the next customer.

Before you even start thinking about a clever tagline for your full-page magazine ad, you have to get those basics right.

This is not a question of budget. Plenty of companies with multi-billion dollar funding mess this up and waste all their money on media buying.

The core of any good brand is happy customers who will validate everything that you say about your company.

If you have to start with family and friends, start with them. If you have to start with random people sitting in a bar, start with those people. Build out from there.

Why Clients Overlook Direct Response Advertising

When most people think about advertising, they think about TV commercials.

They’re the most obvious type of ad. They have the highest production values. The ads are often entertaining (even if they don’t improve sales). And they’re the easiest format to talk about with other people.

Direct response ads, on the other hand, tend to be made fun of. They’re the goofy infomercials on TV, the ads that show up next to your search results, or remnant ads that make crazy claims about magic berries or collectable coins.

They’re also written into things that are part of the fabric of everyday life that you might not even think about, but are critical for many blue chip brands. Coupons, special promotions, unique phone numbers, catalogs, loyalty programs, newsletters, and other methods are used to get customers together in a more measurable way.

The dichotomy between ‘brand’ and ‘direct response’ advertising is generally over-stated. The go-to man that most experienced advertising people choose is David Ogilvy to explain how to bridge the gap:

“We Sell Or Else”

Creativity is one of the most-abused words in advertising.

What clients need to know is that the end of advertising is not to be creative. It’s not to make funny ads. It’s to make sales. Every other proxy metric is not relevant relative to sales. Brand awareness doesn’t matter if you’ve made everyone both know about your brand and hate it.

When creativity is employed in advertising, it only makes sense if it leads to more cash for your business.

The difference between direct marketing and general marketing is that direct marketing has a direct connection to the selling process. It’s always possible to directly attribute sales to that particular ad, which makes it possible to do more accurate testing.

The direct response ad acts like an automatic salesperson. It either closes the deal or it doesn’t. If a direct response ad doesn’t out-earn its costs, it gets fired in the same way that you’d fire an under-performing sales rep.

Part of what Ogilvy argued for was to treat even general ads as if they were direct response ads. You can often tell the difference between a well-made ad and a bad one by whether or not the ad actually asks the viewer to do something at the end of it.

The one and only thing that makes advertising different from other kinds of media is that it’s designed to drive action. Any jerk can make up funny slogans that don’t actually get someone to do something. What you’re paying for is to measurably change the behavior of your target customers. Not to feel like a clever client for commissioning a piece of media. The media is just a means to the end of making more sales.

In industry jargon, this is the ‘call to action.’ If there is no call to action, the only way to measure the impact of the ad itself is to conduct awareness surveys and other metrics which are imperfect in terms of being able to establish impact on sales.

Big Corporations Aren’t Advertising Like You Think They Do

Marketers often cite Proctor & Gamble as the gold standard for product development and product marketing. What you don’t see when P&G wins awards for creative TV commercials is that it’s all connected into a more sophisticated back-end with an enormous direct response element. They test their TV commercials against internet components, print coupons, and store sales. Their ad agencies are not just coming up with big, creative ideas — those ideas are being held accountable using a mesh of direct response methods that collect a ton of data.

The boring coupons are there to back up and test different product lines, calibrate pricing, test packaging, and gather demographic information to help other aspects of their marketing.

Where small businesses tend to go wrong in emulating the creative ideas that they see on TV and hear on the radio is in going for the big idea without that back-end of data collection to support it.

What this usually results in is thousands or tens of thousands of dollars spent on design, logos, and other methods without any sort of accountability built into the system. On the other hand, there are some advertisers that ‘get it,’ using call tracking, coupons, and other methods to hold their general advertising accountable to their bottom lines.

Establish Direct Response Campaigns First

So, the trouble is not necessarily that small businesses tend to try to emulate the big guys and fail: it’s that they misunderstand what the big companies are really doing with their budgets.

It’s also not entirely accurate for direct response partisans to slag on Super Bowl commercials for being expensive and difficult to measure. It’s an enormous waste of money if it’s not backed by the before-mentioned mesh of direct response efforts that can help the company measure the impact of its other spending.

By establishing direct response campaigns first, you can discover what kind of language, imagery, and selling points resonates with your customers. One of the first questions I ask all my clients is what kind of language that they use to close sales, and what language customers use when discussing the product. When you have established direct response ads that make sales, you can transplant those words and images to general advertising, and those general ads (like TV, radio, display, and print) will be more likely to improve your bottom line.

Are Social Media Cynics Correct?

The Ad Contrarian thinks that most of the hype around social media is false.

Is he right?

To recap his arguments:

  • Most people are not interested in having conversations about brands.
  • Those conversations are not meaningful drivers of sales.
  • Spending money on big social media initiatives is likely to backfire.

I broadly agree with his thesis here:

You can see this most clearly on Facebook. Facebook calls itself a social medium, but its advertising model is good old-fashioned paid advertising plastered all over the page. Compare the number of paid ads you see on your Facebook page with the number of “conversations about brands.”

YouTube calls itself a social medium but it sticks pre-roll (mostly recycled TV spots) everywhere it can.

The reason is clear: marketers are finding that they can get more value out of these websites by treating them as avenues for advertising, not conversations.

People have cared more about commerce privacy than many people have anticipated. People don’t want to have all their purchases shared. They also would rather talk about their friends than about brands, especially when those brands are day-to-day consumer products with established brand awareness like Pepsi and Budweiser.

Facebook’s dramatic curtailment of Pages, essentially turning it into an ad product, is an admission that users are not biting with respect to the great-social-media-revolution.

While you might be able to bribe people into liking pages or commenting on things, what tends to perform better is traditional advertising translated to a digital format.

Just because your magazine-style ad is on Instagram does not make it especially ‘social’ or different from a magazine ad, even if it has a calculated lo-fi look to it. Just because people are using a social media website’s ‘comment’ function on your ad does not make it terribly different from a real life verbal comment, although the former might be able to travel a little farther than the latter.

The sales pitch that you could ‘reach customers for free’ on social media increasingly rings hollow, as every platform curtails unpaid access to their services for businesses, and demands a cut through new paid advertising channels.

Social Media is Still Media

Where I think this can be misleading is in discounting what I call intent-based social media. ‘Intent’ is the key word in search marketing, and it’s really a key word in social marketing as well. You just have to ask yourself if the group of people that you’re marketing to have expressed an interest in your product category.

If the answer is ‘yes,’ then you should target them. If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know,’ then you should avoid going after them unless you’re a major brand advertiser.

There are dedicated communities all around the internet that just discuss products. Going to these communities which have advertised their interest to evaluate products still works.

There are legitimate enthusiasts who do actually want to talk about your brand extensively. It’s just that your product can’t be a commodity, because commodity products are boring — there just isn’t much to discuss about them. Complicated products with high price points for their category are fun for people to talk about. Simple, cheap products are boring, and bad topics for discussion.

While these communities of enthusiasts are enabled by technology, they’re not caused by technology. Niche magazines and newsletters have existed for a long time. It’s now easier to find these groups than ever.

Amazon.com is built around user reviews of products, which includes verified purchaser badges to discourage fake reviews.

What these groups do is less to drive sales of your brand directly, but to act as evaluators for your marketing. If there is any discrepancy between what you promise and what you deliver, enthusiasts will tell their friends about the disconnect. They’re gatekeepers, in the same way that professional reviewers were (and still are in some markets) gatekeepers. If your marketing and advertising matches with the product, they will let you pass through to the larger market. If there’s a mismatch, they will run interference on you and drive up your costs, perhaps higher than the product is able to bear.

If they like your product, the customer will drive down your sales costs. If enough people don’t like it, they will drive them up.

This is the same as it’s always been, but technology makes it easier to survey and read customer opinion without going through the additional hassle of hiring specialized researchers.

A Contrarian Take On Print Advertising

Newscorp CEO Robert Thomson provoked some scoffs among the technology elite today by proclaiming that print advertising will begin to command higher premiums again, amidst skepticism about digital advertising.

The article buttresses this point by taking some pot shots at Buzzfeed for low content quality, and pointing out that the assessment has been shared by WPP, which also expressed optimism about print.

The chatter about this on the web is essentially taking Thomson out of context. He was also speaking about the value of premium digital properties to advertisers, of which the Wall Street Journal in particular owns one of the most successful properties on the web.

It should be pointed out that not all print advertising is quality advertising. Free newspapers tend to have terrible ads put down on low quality paper. They have to be low quality, because the only ads that can succeed in a free paper have some kind of direct response component to them, and the majority of local advertisers don’t know how to get the most out of direct response advertising. Because it’s free, advertisers can’t get accurate circulation numbers from free publications.

A similar dynamic is at play with free websites.

The key difference is really about premium content as compared to free content. When the content is paid, advertisers know the circulation numbers accurately, they know the demographics of the subscriber base accurately, and they don’t have to rely on sophisticated audience modeling to figure out who sees their ads.

This is another reason why cable TV still commands high ad rates: those subscriber numbers are accurate, and for better or worse, the viewers trust the stations on which the ads appear to provide a consistent level of content quality.

The web is still a young medium. Hypertext, the language of the web, was developed to make the lives of academics easier: it was not created to be a media platform. Google itself was built on the basic idea behind the web, which is that the link is a metaphor for the academic citation, and that a broadly-cited article by prestigious authors and publications is probably more relevant to researchers.

This is partly why people are moving towards consuming more news using apps, rather than through websites directly. The web was built to make citations simpler. It was not built to create a magical media consumption experience. Although the web’s being used for many more things than it was ever planned to, its essential structure was not built with the needs of advertisers in mind.

Newscorp and companies like it know much more about the business of premium media  than almost anyone else.

Arguments about print versus digital and TV/radio versus digital tend to be more tribal than based on the fundamentals of what the publications are, how they reach people, and how it impacts the functioning of the advertising.

Advertisers have to think harder about analyzing different mediums and different technologies to reach customers. The real conflict should not be about print versus digital, but premium versus free, and applications versus the web.

In general, ads against applications tend to be more reliable than ads placed on the open web. The most successful digital advertising platforms are ads against web applications. Google Search is a web app. Youtube is an app. Facebook is an app.

The advertising with the most mixed track record is web display advertising placed on web sites that charge nothing to users. Enormous amounts of energy has gone into trying to get digital display advertising more worthwhile, and there have been some successes — but the overall attitude among publishers has been one of disappointment.

A lot of work still needs to be done to justify higher ad rates for online display ads. Newscorp and WPP are just recognizing that fact.

The Mistake That Hurts Most PPC Ad Accounts

Trying to do too much too soon prevents progress from happening

Default settings lead new advertisers astray

The default settings on Google Adwords do new advertisers no favors. It’s easy to make the mistake of setting all the keywords to broad match and to optimize for clicks, because that’s the way that it’s set up to encourage new advertisers to do.

If you’re an enormous company, you can afford to waste tens of thousands of dollars a month or more just figuring out how searchers are looking for your related terms and how they interact with your sites. For most people, who work for small to medium businesses with less than $20 million per year in revenue, that kind of poorly targeted spending isn’t sustainable.

The result of using a lot of broad match keywords is that, without preparation, you waste your budget on an enormous number of irrelevant search terms that are unlikely to convert at a low budget level.

Google at a fundamental business level cares much more for the needs of advertisers that spend millions of dollars a month or more. Those major brands can afford to spend inefficiently, because they often have such broad offerings that the incremental lifetime value of an additional customer is enough to justify wasteful spending.

For most people, or just major brands that want to get a real advantage over the competition, it’s necessary to be more aggressive in controlling the risk on the account.

You have to look beyond what the keyword planner tells you to bid on

What’s easy in Adwords is to use the Keyword Planner pointed to a product or service page, take the keywords that it suggests at face value, and then to put them together into ad groups that make intuitive sense.

While this can work for certain products and certain terms, in most cases, especially when the budget is tight, it’s not likely to generate results without a lot of spending and tweaking over time.

Keeping it simple to start increases your chances of keeping it profitable

Complex accounts have more points of potential failure

When budget is constrained, the account has to be positioned less aggressively at the beginning. The budget should be concentrated onto keywords that are already converting or are likely to convert due to close match between what customers are looking for and what your business is offering.

Using more qualifying language in the copy, such as price information, or using intrinsically qualified formats like Shopping ads, can help you reduce the risk on new campaigns.

Get the higher margin offerings selling first

Additionally, it’s critical to make smart choices about what you start advertising for when you have a lot of products or services available at your website. It’s easier to advertise high margin products with direct response advertising like search ads — the reason for this is that it’s much more challenging to go through the keyword discovery process to completion when you’re selling a mixture of high and low margin products. You have more margin to give up before you start making a loss on each sale from a new customer.

Customers have no idea what your margins are, and they may very well wind up preferring your highest margin items due to factors that aren’t related to the price. The point is that you have more margin to work with when you’re building the account to start with, and it’s easier to get to success. Once it’s selling, it’s a simpler process to optimize from there than it is to try to optimize ads for products that aren’t selling at all.

How to build out from early success

Start with exact match, then broaden from the keywords that convert

The goal of search advertising, for most companies, is going to be to make sales rather than to just grow traffic to your site. Because of the way that keyword match types work, it’s going to be easier for you to broaden the account at the points where it’s already converting. In that way, you can re-invest profits into figuring out other exact match and phrase match keywords that you can separate into high-performance ad groups and even campaigns of their own with separate budgets.

This differs from the typical method, which the majority of search advertisers use, in starting with a lot of broad match keywords, occasionally stumbling into something that converts, at far greater expense than a more cautious, measured, data-driven methodology.

Capture the visitor as a customer to decrease the cost of each new sale

If you think about the businesses that you’re loyal to, in most cases, you probably had to make at least one purchase before you saw the relative higher value of that merchant as compared to its competitors. People may not even realize what unique value you offer until they buy multiple items or services from your company.

Encouraging repeat engagement through social media, newsletter subscriptions, and loyalty programs will help you get more from the rest of your advertising efforts. By making sure that your company is doing this at the same time as its other advertising efforts, you can get more from the traffic that you attract, and keep a longer sales funnel running.

Risks and Returns In ‘Pure Play’ Digital Marketing Strategies

Marketing strategies that rest on a single channel of customer acquisition have become much less popular over the last couple years. There are various reasons for this: the internet is becoming more of a settled business environment, there’s more competition on every conceivable channel, and service providers like Google and Facebook have taken to charging more money to businesses who are trying to reach customers using their services.

Whereas in 2010 or 2011, a company like Zynga was able to use viral recommendations to fuel rapid growth at a low cost, changes to platform rules across all services have made it so such strategies are no longer feasible for companies operating at any scale without a carefully considered strategy and well-executed tactics.

Anyone who relied on a pure play strategy over the last several years can tell you how they’ve had a major impact to their business from an update to the Facebook Newsfeed algorithm of a Google Search update like Panda or Penguin.

If you’re relying on a sole source for incoming traffic, here are some points for your consideration:

Knowing the risks

  • You’ll see an immediate drop-off in organic traffic or a spike in your cost per acquisition without warning. It can be as quick as one day to another.
  • You can have your company or a website that you own penalized by the service, with limited recourse available.
  • The service provider that you’re working with may not be capable of adapting to changes in the sole service you were using to generate traffic.
  • Your websites may need to be restructured significantly to handle changes that you can’t control.
  • All your revenue can be shut off without warning, leading to cash flow issues.

Understanding the potential returns

  • Using one service to drive traffic makes for a simpler overall marketing strategy.
  • It can be cheaper to manage up-front.
  • It requires less learning to remain current on.
  • It’s easier to find and hire experts in a sole marketing channel than it is to find generalists with high expertise in all the channels that they use.
  • It’s cheaper to optimize traffic coming in from a single source.
  • Requires less investment in alternate landing pages and customer on-boarding sequences.

Making better decisions about your marketing mix

In general, pure play strategies have more potential returns in the short run. They can also generate superior long-term results if and only if you speculate correctly about future policy changes in the marketing channel that you’re using.

For long term management of your marketing risks, it’s better to rely on a mixture of traffic sources appropriate to your campaign goals. Unless you have reliable moles working in all the major online platforms (which is a good idea), you have to hedge your bets. Comparing customer acquisition costs on different channels by running frequent tests will also help you to increase the effectiveness of your spending.

The larger the company, and the more significant the spending, the broader the mix that generally needs to be used.

New Keyword Research Guide Live at iSpionage

Today, my article on how to find highly profitable keywords to advertise against went live on iSpionage under the editorial direction of Joe Putnam.

It’s given me an opportunity to put into words a keyword selection strategy that I’ve gathered from both personal experience managing accounts and reading some of the best books and guides that I’ve been able to hunt down on both paid search and SEO.

Joe was very helpful in putting together the topic and has shown a strong interest in building up the search advertising community. I look forward to writing more frequently for the company to help them raise the bar of quality overall commentary about the industry.