From the May 2015 issue of our newsletter, Let’s Grow. For a Free subscription, CLICK HERE.
Any direct marketer worth his or her salt knows that changing the smallest element — sometimes just a single word — can make an enormous difference in response.
That’s one thing that makes pay-per-click advertising (PPC) so much fun. You can split-test one ad against another and get results quickly. Then you can keep combining the strongest elements until you hone your message to perfection.
It’s important to always keep testing. Not only can seasonality influence results, but ads fatigue over time. New messages may capture new prospects.
After testing thousands of pay-per-click ads, we’ve learned a thing or two about what and how to test. For instance:
Test Benefits. Many PPC ads tend to be heavy on features. While that may work just fine, always try ads with benefits, too.
What’s the difference? An ad focused on features gives the details of what’s being sold. For example, 539 shade-loving perennials from $4.99 describes features.
By contrast, a benefit ad tells you why you’d want to buy something. For instance, Turn a problem area into paradise focuses on a benefit.
Paint Pictures. Try to incorporate active verbs in your ads, and you’ll find yourself painting word pictures. When you read Dew sparkles on the cupped edges of Lady’s Mantle or Delicate Bellwort flowers nod in the breeze, it’s easy to envision the pluses these perennials would bring to your garden.
Watch for Statistical Significance. Let your ads run until you get at least 50 clicks on each, if not 100. Anything less, and your test results won’t be statistically significant.
Rotate Evenly. To get the best test, change your settings to “rotate indefinitely.” Otherwise, both ads may only run for a few days before Google or Bing starts showing one of them exclusively, whether or not you have statistically valid results.
Look for Patterns. With only 95 characters to work with, it can sometimes be tricky to test one isolated element. Keep testing, and you’re likely to find patterns.
One of my biggest surprises was the discovery that for one client in particular (not all of them, mind you), using the words shop or buyconsistently depressed response. There’s good reason for the direct marketing mantra “You never know until you test.”
Give It a Try. If you have a lot of inventory of particular products, why not see what a PPC campaign can do to move them before the season is over? You might be amazed at how much you can learn while you’re at it.