Should You Get Paid Commission Only?

Recently, one of the marketing greats, Seth Godin wrote a blog post called “Everyone gets paid on commission” in which he suggests that you should get paid for what your produce. In addition, with web 3.0’s ability to track damn near about everything all of us are working on commission. And for those that don’t produce…find the door.

Normally, I stand behind most of what Mr. Godin says and I admire the hell out of him. I love reading his fast hitting and concice writing. No kidding, I really dig this guy. However, not on his point; everyone gets paid on commission. Although it may be a step or two away from pretzle logic…most of us in the working world are treated as if we work on commission only. For those of us who have had to work commission only jobs they are brutal and can be very detrimental to a persons well being.

If it’s knocking on doors or pounding the phones, everyone deserves a fair days pay for a fair days work. Sure we can break into symantics on what type of work should reveive what type of compensation…but at the end of the day is it not our time which is the most valubale “thing” we have?

So, why should it be that we are all working on commission? Is our personal time and sacrafice of this time not worth a solid reliable paycheck? I believe it is thinking like this which has allowed millions of people to feel as if they have no real life of their own. It is get up, do the morning routine, go to work and come home for an hour or two and do it all again.

When people sacrafice so much already for a paycheck…is there really a need to bring it down yet another level Mr. G? No, it is not. Work hard, get paid hard…whatever you want to call it. We are all human and should be treated as such. Human. Commission really brings compensation down to a very uncomfortable level.

A person can work his\her fingers to the bone at a commission job and that does not make their work any less vaulable or productive than that of the individual standing nearby. Nope, maybe their conversion rate was off…I think we should all reconsider compensation packages and start with A.I.G. and work our way top down first.

Pay Per Click Works – Patience Is A Must

Does pay per click work for business?

Does pay per click work? The short answer is, yes. Does pay per click work overnight? No. Pay per click marketing takes time to generate information [data] in order to figure out what has been working and then make adjustments and optimizations in future application. I have experienced much frustration with clients who want to stop all paid search marketing within days or weeks of initial campaign launch because it is not producing as fast as they may have expected.

Pay per click marketing on Google, Yahoo, and MSN\Bing requires the search marketer to preform keyword building, ad copy building, account set up, tracking, bid management and more. Does it make sense to give such an undertaking only a few days or weeks to generated perfect results? No, it does not.

In fact, it is quite normal, for an adjustment period of a month to three months before key performance indicators (KPIs) begin to produce positive results [positve or negative]. There are a lot of variables to consider which impact pay per click results; strategy, location, demographics, competition, user behavior, click to conversion rates, impressions, ad variations, dynamic insertion to name a few. It is very possible it may take up to a month to find out that a new strategy is needed to combat thick competition. This could require a full blown reconfiguration of everything. Is this a painful choice? A little. Is it the end of the road? No, it shouldn’t be.

It is no wonder many search marketing firms and online marketing professionals require contract terms with minimum time frames. Pay per click marketing is not perfect but if you were to weigh, on a cost per lead or conversion rate, effectiveness of PPC versus traditional media PPC will win hands down. It is much easier to effectively track and adjust PPC daily, in a paid search user interface, than it is to change a national advertisement on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, billboard, or newspaper ad. In fact, I’m pretty sure you can’t change those media vehicles in minutes.

Unless you are tracking response rates with a unique phone number knowing the true conversion rates and cost for each conversion is nearly impossible. However, pay per click can be assessed down to each single response to your ad. It is the ‘click’ which indicates interest, curiosity, possible intent, and conversions. Real trackable people looking for your product or service.

Traditional media (tv, radio, print, billboards, and direct mail) is a direct interruption of an individuals time and concentration. When a person sees these advertisements you are interrupting their daily routine and demanding their attention. More than likely, your ad will be fast forwarded or ignored and the message [for the most part] is lost.

With pay per click marketing, the individuals clicking on your ad are interacting with your company by will. There is no force…there is no demand for attention. The business ad is positioned at the right time, at the right place, during a decision or buying cycle. I would say that it is more important than ever to let the data collect and revise paid search than to pull the plug.

Sure, it is another issue if your pay per click manager lets money bleed out on a daily basis. Then it is your online consultant who needs to get pulled not your ad dollars.  * More on this in another post. Keep your ad dollars in paid search and be patient. It takes time for ads and keywords to work. It takes time for your campaign manager to locate the correct combination to your target audience.

My recommendation: if your paid search is bleeding money, find a new campaign manager or search firm. If your pay per click marketing isn’t exactly what you want it to be a week, month, or two months from when it first started, be patient. Pay per click does not work for all businesses and it is not the perfect solution to your marketing needs but it works. The only way you will find that out is to give it a chance and breathe.

Hey Google, There Is A Fly In My Soup!

In a recent article by Kevin Lee, “When Did Google Become The Bad Guy” has inspired me to point out a few items which make me wonder if Google’s motto is still “Do no evil.” Sure just like any huge coporate organization, critics will abide and conspiracy theories will flow. However, there are some issues which make me really wonder how much good the biggest search engine in the United States can be.

Google’s Customer Service? Where in the hell is it?

I have had may oppportunites to work with various types of Google personal on the pay per click side of the house and on the affiliate side of the house. I can certainly attest that the Google Affiliate Team [at least the ones I have worked with] really go the extra mile to build relationships and help where they can. For that they get a big A +.

On the pay per click services…not so much. I have been in a few situations [especially when I started out in searchology] where any help from the Google teams would have done me and my clients a great service. It was made rather clear to me that; smaller budgets do not get any type of help from a live individual and budgets need to be upward of $5,000 in order to get noticed. Somewhere in my mind I had imagined Google was the grand waiter of the search service industry and I could lean on them if I had a fly in my soup or if I needed more help cracking the crab legs.

Google’s lack of service does not only lack on the paid search aspect but on the Google Analytics side as well. I have experienced many issuses with Google analytics tracking and conversion measurements. In addidion, the new one-click to conversion vs. many-click to conversion has not helped matters. I have attempted to reach out to the owners of this product with the black hole of voice mail and when I did reach someone my call was quickly dumped.

My short article here is not about Google bashing. I’m sure they get enough of that from much larger fish than Searchology . My point is simple…as American continues to rely on it’s skills as a service based economy, the importance of SERVICE [and excellence in execution] should be in the forefront of all business matters. Since when have large companies become exempt from building relationships with their users\clients as it pertains to service?

Do you need good pay per click service? You got it. Did I mention it comes with killer people and outstanding service AND it’s cheaper than Google?

Sure, Google has really cool tools and is one of the most innovative U.S. companies ever created but no service. I just don’t under stand that. I do know if you are paying tens of thousands or millions on paid search, affiliate marketing or banner advertising you can get top notch service from Google. Newsflash: Small business does not have thousands or millions to beg for attention or spend for online marketing. No, most small business are trying to take over the world one client\customer at a time.

I have driven many of my clients away from Google not because of the lack of cool tools or service [if you have the money] but because I can get better service and more for my clients money on another search engine. Yahoo. Yes, Yahoo. Many Internet marketing industry types bash the hell out of Yahoo and so does the press.

Truth be told, Yahoo (and you know who you are) have gone above and beyond for me and my clients on a consistant basis providing me with insight and more than one HAIL MARY pass to save the day. I am sure there will come a day that more and more small business owners will come to find out that Yahoo is typically 16% cheaper on a cost per click basis but moreover, they can help you when you need it.

In fact, they have been so good at service I am very concerned about the potential Microsoft\Yahoo deal. It has a way to go be I can only hope Yahoo will remain 1# [in my mind] for client service in the search marketing space. Google should take heed or it will find there really is a sleeping giant about to wake up.

Be A Good Marketing Butcher and Improve your PPC advertising

10 Steps to increase your ROI with PPC

William Gladstone said “a leader must be a good butcher…”and this is something that applies to a lot of things; one of which is your pay per click marketing and online media. You may feel compelled to dip into every new marketing idea that is presented to you by your staff or marketing agency. The problem arises whenyou have made these decisions and find that you have a massive amount of meat on your cutting board and no one is getting fed.

Too many times I have come onto a project only to find it bleeding money and not producing enough clicks, leads, sales, etc. By concentrating piece by piece on which online marketing methods work FIRST before trying to take on another channel you become a good apprentice butcher.

For example,a small business with 50 employees does not need to spend money on banner advertising, pay per click marketing, social media marketing, email marketing,mobile media and forms of traditional media in order to reach out to its prospective audience. Targeting the markets you seek the most do not require huge amounts of funds to make introductions, prospect, entice, or sell.

If it isyour first time into the arena of website marketing, take your time and take it one step at a time. Make sure you achieve success day by day and month by month. Once your independent consultant, internal marketer, or advertising agency has hit a few out of the park, make considerations for expanding online marketing.

You may be thinking that this paying attention to budgets on the front end of this should be pretty easy however, keywords and costs per click can run out off control pretty quick.  So, don’t spend more ad dollars until you seeresults. Well, I’m here to tell you, companies large and small do it all of the time. Coming onto a project where it takes a butcher to trim the fat may comet too late if money has been spilling out on the floor for months.

My recommendation for building out an online pay per click media plan is simple and for the small to medium businesses.

  1. Define your goals
  2. Define your keywords
  3. Define your DMA / target market
  4. Write compelling PPC ad copy
  5. Ensure you have all of the correct calls to action
  6. Use proper Ad Words and Google Analytics tracking
  7. Check quality scores and landing pages
  8. Focus on high converting low cost keywords
  9. Use the Google keyword tool for your research
  10. Focus on both short and long tail keywords
  11. [bonus] – Cut keywords that are under performing or costing too much

All the best and happy chopping.


The Real Cost of Advertising Online

A good friend of mine [he is also a independent internet marketing consultant] had a very interesting conversation this morning. Our talk was all about the real cost of website marketing and the big fees some Internet marketing firms charge for their services. Why do they charge so much and does that have a potential impact on the botique online firms and the independent marketing consultants? Moreover, what does that do to the businesses who become obligated to pay these hefty bills?

In the current turbulent economic climate, all sizes of businesses are going out of business in the thousands across the country. One would think that truth and justice would prevail in harsh times. Or some type of ethical honesty would arise from all sides of business to help one another through this harsh period. No, not in the online marketing industry or Capital Hill.

Much like the Truth In Lending Act ,  I believe too many companies are being charged way to much for online marketing services by Internet marketing firms. The idea that online marketing changed the way advertisers and marketers send their messages\brands to the masses has changed – this is now a fact and not a what-if scenario. The ability to market a company online should and did make the online channel very profitable and extremely cost effective for big and small businesses to play in. What these changes did not bring about is the legitimate and sane pricing for said services.

Sure, the argument can be made that there should be a balance or an array of prices for an array of services. Some companies may do a better job at pay per click advertising over another which specilaizes in search engine optimization. That is, in part, what makes for a capitalistic econemy and seperates one company from the next. I am all for that but I am not for sitting idle while companies continue to get royally taken for their budgets and bottom line.

What I’m driving at, put simply is this; exhorbant prices for services does not equal excellence. In many cases, there is no reason to charge $10,000 for search engine optimization per month. On the same token, small fees do not equal poor service or broken English represenitives. Our industry has not set standards for pricing models and this will be how the market will run for the foreseable future.

To illistrate my point,  online marketing company ‘Beauford Search’ [not a real search marketing company] charges the following pay per click management fees for AXT Dry Cleaning; $1,000 for campaign set-up, $100 for monthly reporting, and a !5% commission [mark up on the pay per click advertising budget. This is certainly service charge overkill.

Many Internet marketing firms are honest and offer excellent services for a fair price. All companies need to pay their staff, technology, commercial space, tools, and training all factor into what you are paying for in service fees.  As the Internet marketing industry continues to grow, so will the services offerings and the added service charges.

I wrote this post as a type of ‘buyer-be-ware’ to read the fine print when signing your next contract for pay per click, social media optimization, search engine optimization or any other online services. Not only should you read the fine print…you should do the math as well.