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
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
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.
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.