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email marketing

Using Effective E-Mail Advertising to Avoid the “Pay-Per-Click Paradox”

By on August 6

by Michael Leggs

Nowadays, pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) advertising on major search engines is seen as a standard part of many companies’ media mixes. What many savvy marketers have come to realize lately is that a professionally crafted, stand-alone ad delivered to a solid, highly responsive opt-in e-mail list of subscribers can cost less and deliver a better ROI (return on investment) than running a PPC campaign on one of the major search engines.

A Basic Overview of PPC Advertising

Very simply explained, an advertiser bids on keywords or phrases that are commonly used by people who use the search engines to vie for the top positions in search results. When the search engine’s user type in these phrases, the advertiser’s text ad is delivered in the results, based on the amount of their bid. As an advertiser, it is most desirable to have your ad as one of the top three search results to ensure that it is clicked by interested users, which will hopefully result in a sale, registration, or sign-up on your website or specially designed landing page. 

A Comparison of PPC and E-Mail Advertising

Here’s a hypothetical example: If you wanted to advertise on a pay-per-click basis for the search term “home business opportunity,” you would pay approximately $4.61 per click to have your tiny text ad placed at the #1 spot.  If 15,000 people clicked on your ad, you would pay $69,150 dollars to the search engine company. The exorbitant cost of maintaining this top position would place you in what I like to call the “Pay-Per-Click Paradox.” This is a dilemma in which you want people to click on your ad to visit your landing page, but you don’t want them to click because it will skyrocket your PPC expenditures, effectively overshadowing any hope you would have to make a net profit from resulting sales—unless you are selling ultra-big-ticket products or services.

This may not be an issue with a large corporation with deep pockets, but for small businesses, it can be an ROI killer. An additional disadvantage of the PPC ad is the text character limit.  You would be limited to a 25-character headline and a 70-character description.

In contrast, if we were to consider this hypothetical example in the context of an e-mail marketing campaign, we would have a possible advantage because some e-mail advertising companies that manage highly responsive, opt-in lists will give you some type of click-through guarantee anywhere from 1.5% TO 3% because they are that confident about the quality of their lists. If you were to send out an e-mail campaign to 500,000 subscribers to a “home business opportunity” subscriber list for $70– $150 backed by a 3% click-through guarantee (i.e. 15,000 click-throughs), your cost per click could be as low as .0046 cents per click—ONE MILLIONTH of the cost per click of the PPC advertising on a search engine.

The additional advantage is that you would have the ability to deliver, directly to the opt-in subscribers’ inboxes, a full-color HTML ad (a mini web page, if you will) that would be displayed prominently in a stand-alone e-mail with several opportunities for you to insert a call to action.  Plus, if your ad is compelling enough, it will forego deletion, and be available for the subscriber to review at his or her leisure. This provides the opportunity for latent conversions, which is non-existent in the context of PPC advertising on a search engine.

Final Thoughts

If you are a small- or medium-sized business with a smaller, limited marketing budget, it would be wise to investigate stand-alone, e-mail advertising as an alternative to costly PPC campaigns on search engines. Do your research, and find the right company that can help you grow your in-house list from your campaigns, so you can market to them with future offers and promotions and grow your business.

Reputation Management: The Best Protection Against Negative Reviews Fueled by Groupthink

By on June 11

by Michael Leggs

What would you do if your business started receiving a flurry of bad reviews on the internet? What would be your game plan to address the snowball effect of negative comments on social media sites such as Yelp and FourSquare? You need to have a strategy in place before such events occur. A definite strategy ensures your ability to protect the reputation of your business that you built with hard work and dedication over the years.

Nowadays, businesses face many problems due to the anonymous nature of the online world. Anyone can share negative experiences—founded or unfounded—about businesses with very few restrictions. Granted, positive reviews are also part of the picture, but they do not spread as quickly as negative reviews. In the animal kingdom, if one hyena successfully injures and disables a wildebeest, others appear and join in on the attack the compromised prey with more gusto and wild abandon, energized by the initial actions of the first hyena, and will not stop until the prey is completely devoured. 

In the world of humans, this phenomenon is mirrored by sudden onslaughts of bad reviews of a business. This sociological phenomenon is called “Groupthink,” a term that was coined by sociologist Irving Janis in 1972. According to Janis, it occurs “when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (9).

So, even though the negativity may be unfounded, there is a pack mentality that occurs in which other negative reviewers add to threads of negative commentary, either to solidify their sense of belonging to a certain social group, or to win admittance to a social group. As Janis suggests, “reality testing” can decrease as a factor, which means that, at its worst, many of the negative reviews can have very little or no basis in the actual experiences or truth once the negative comments multiply.

This is where reputation management comes into the picture. It is in the best interest of your business to hire a reputation management firm that can provide the expertise to mitigate appearances of negative commentary on social media in an effective and timely manner. Without reputation management support in place, your business is at risk of losing business from the exponential nature of negative reviews in the social media space and the irreparable damage that can be done to your brand.

The best defense for businesses is a good offense: A professional firm that offers reputation monitoring and management, with the ability to mitigate negative reviews before they start a viral negative campaign on social media. Reputation management experts can, not only monitor, but also devise a strategy to handle negative comments in a manner that de-escalates the “groupthink” effect, while concurrently cultivating a campaign of positive reviews. 

In the world social media, the groupthink phenomenon can be used to grow threads of positive commentary because, fortunately, people also seek a sense of community with others based on what they do like. In short, even though you may feel that reputation management on social media is not as important as other aspects of your marketing strategy, it is definitely one that you should take seriously.

Works Cited:
Janis, Irving L. Victims of Groupthink. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1972. Print.