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January 10, 2002

Table of Contents


Quote of the Week

Staff Article - Saving Money Using Pay-Per-Click Search Engines

Tax Tip of the Week

Guest Article - Ad Copy . . . You Forgot Step 1!

Parting Comments

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Quote of the Week

Whatever you do or dream you can do— begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.

-Johann Goethe

Staff Article

Saving Money Using Pay-Per-Click Search Engines

by: SBC Staff

You may already be familiar with using pay-per-click (ppc) search engines. If you are not, you should seriously consider making them a part of your marketing strategies.


Many people believe that the whole idea of using ppc engines is to get the number one ranking for their relevant search terms. While a number one ranking is great to have, the real goal of bidding on search terms is to get targeted, qualified traffic to your site at a cost that makes it a profitable endeavor. It is possible to drive quality traffic to your site even if your budget demands you stick with minimum bids.

Start off by carefully evaluating the search terms that are relative to your site. As you'll see shortly, you don't have to develop an exhaustive list at this time. Just come up with the broad keywords that describe your products or services.

As you might imagine, the broad keywords you come up with will probably cost you a very high bid to get the top position. In fact, a bid that far exceeds the minimum might not even get you in the top 40 with some search terms.

Let's assume you sell ecommerce systems that include a storefront, merchant account and free hosting. Your target market is businesses that are seeking low cost ecommerce solutions. If you wanted to bid on the keyword "ecommerce" it would cost you $3.02 to get the top position on Overture. If you find there are 5,000 hits to this search term during the month, it would cost you $15,100 for the hits you would receive. It might be worth it, but that is more than many small businesses could afford or would be willing to spend. So what do you do?


Whether or not you ultimately want to place bids at Overture, they have two terrific tools that will make your life much easier. First, use their Search Suggestion Tool to evaluate alternative search phrases. For example, enter "ecommerce" in the tool as the search term and it will return a variety of similar search terms along with the number of searches performed for those terms during the last month. You will find this tool at:

Next, go to the advertiser login page on Overture and open their bid tool. This tool will show you the current bids for search terms you enter. So if you enter "ecommerce" you'll see the $3.02 bid for the number 1 position we mentioned earlier and the bid at each position thereafter. Try the alternative search phrases and you'll find that "ecommerce solutions" will cost you $.52 just to get into the top 40. Keep going and you'll find that you can get the number one position for "ecommerce system" for only $.10, the number one position for "cheap ecommerce" for the minimum bid of $.05, and top ten listings for "small business ecommerce," "ecommerce host," and "ecommerce provider" with the minimum bid.

Look at the visitors using these search terms during the prior month and you'll see that these terms generated 900 to 1,000 clicks. You can continue to evaluate alternative terms until you have top or high positions in dozens of categories that, together, will provide you with the hits you believe you need. If you want the 5,000 hits you would get using "ecommerce", you can get them at $.05 instead of $3.02 per click by using this methodology.


To this point we have talked about using tools provided by Overture. What if you don't want to bid on Overture? After all, the minimum bid has been raised to $.05 as opposed to $.01 on the others.

Overture is currently the largest PPC engine, and as such, should provide a good sampling of results that should apply on the other engines as well. But once you have determined which search phrases you want to bid on, there is one more tool that you can use. CompareYourClicks allows you to enter a search term and see the bids for the top six positions on nine different PPC engines.

For example, if you enter "ecommerce system" at CompareYourClicks at the time this article is being written, you will find that the top position can be had for a bid of $.10 on Overture, $.02 on FindWhat, and $.01 on Sprinks, Ah-Ha and GoClick. You've found yourself a bargain!


* Draft your listing for use in the search results very carefully. Let's say you sell your low cost ecommerce solution for $75.00 per month. If you were creating an ad for use on a classified site, your goal would be to get the reader to visit your site and then convince them that $75.00 is an excellent price for your service. On the PPC engines, you want to include the fact that your service costs $75.00 per month to prequalify the visitor before they click. Since you're paying for every click you want to make sure your visitors are interested at $75.00 before they click to your site.

* Don't ignore misspellings of popular search terms. Most people will carefully craft the search phrases they are bidding for. Most searchers will not. Misspellings occur and can usually be bought for a very low bid.

* Sign up for weekly email tips from CompareYourClicks to get their latest secrets and tricks for using PPC engines.

If you're not using PPC engines, get in the game today. You'll like the results you get.

Copyright © 2001, all rights reserved

Tax Tip of the Week

If you plan on applying for a bank loan in the coming months or years, you probably understand that the bank will want to see two or three years of tax returns. The problem you might run into is that it is very difficult to find a loan officer who understands tax returns. They don't seem to be able to grasp the fact that a profitable business may show losses for tax purposes due to perfectly legal tax breaks Congress has seen fit to allow. If you are a tax-savvy business person, this inability on their part might make it more difficult for your business to acquire a loan. Shop around before you apply. Actually quiz a few loan officers on how they evaluate and use tax return information in qualifying your business, and you, for the loan. If all else fails, you might find yourself having to consider foregoing tax benefits to make your tax returns look more profitable. If you can help it, don't let banks penalize you for being on the ball tax wise.

Guest Article

Ad Copy...You Forgot Step One!

By Terry Dean

Writing winning sales letters for the web really isn't as hard as it is made out to be. The reason most people have so much trouble writing web pages which sell to their customers is they have forgotten rule number one of copywriting...

Research is at least 75% of the process.

Most of the rules you have been taught about copywriting apply to the refinement of it or the "finishing" of it.

Yes, you must show the benefits the customers receive, not just the features of the product.

Yes, you need to read winning headlines from the past and model them for your projects.

Yes, you should always offer a risk free guarantee to your customers.

BUT...step one is to research your product, your competitors, and your customers. Then, you can apply all of the winning copywriting formulas for best results.

Good copywriters (on the web or off it) are not usually the most imaginative people you can find. They don't just instantly dream up winning headlines out of thin air.

They research their product, market, and competition until the majority of what needs to be written becomes obvious!

Most of the things we come to think of as great inspired talents or skills are really the result of hard work.

Thomas Edison said, "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."

Good copywriting is no exception.

Research is the key to copywriting success...and the success of your web site.

What are you going to be researching?

* Research Your Customers *

What do they want out of life? What are their hot buttons? What motivates them to buy?

Here are three ways to research your future customers:

1. Ask For Feedback

Visit discussion groups. Watch the posts taking place and study them. What kinds of concerns keep coming up about products? Ask them what needs or wants they would have in the perfect product.

Use to find discussions in your market.

2. Take a Survey

If you already have a web site, then take a survey of your visitors about their needs and wants.

Zoomerang allows you to do it for free:

3. Contact Customers

If you already sell products to the same group of customers, then simply ask your current customers. Email them or give them a call.

Ask them why they bought from you in the first place and how you could offer even more value to their purchase.

* Research Your Product *

Some of the best copywriters are the owners of their own businesses. They know their product like the back of their hand.

When hiring a good outside copywriter, they will need to know everything there is to know about your product or service to write effective copy.

In other words, you need to be an expert on the subject to write really effective copy about it.

Read about the product. Study it. Take notes on it.

When writing ads for a book, for example, you will often write a full bulleted list of benefits readers will get out of the book straight from the book pages themselves.

You will often say, "Learn how to lower your golf score by 10 strokes through five easy 27" Then, on and on with other benefits taken right of the pages of the book.

No matter what you are selling, you will build the list of benefits for the product out of the features already in the product.

* Research Your Competitors *

The Internet is the most competitive marketplace ever. Not only can you sell to a world marketplace, but you also have a world of competitors competing with you.

You have to study your competitors and see where their strong and weak points are. What is unique about your product from all of your competitors?

You will especially need to do this if you have large well funded competitors. Find out which areas of the market they may be ignoring or desires they're not fulfilling.

As a small business, you may find the best way to present your product will be to tighten your customer focus to a smaller niche. You don't need a million customers to earn a profit. You may only need a thousand.

How can you best fulfill the needs of those thousand people?

* Take A Break *

Doing the research was a lot of hard work.

The next step is almost as important. Take a break. That's right. Put down your laptop. Go for a walk. See a movie. Work on your hobby.

Your mind needs a break and it needs to "think" about the project in the background. You will be surprised at just how intelligent you appear to be when you fill your head with all of the research...and then forgot about it for awhile.

Inspiration just seems to come to you...

Terry Dean, a 5 year veteran of Internet marketing, will Take You By The Hand and Show You Exact Results of All the Internet Marketing Techniques he tests and Uses Every Single Month" Click here to Find Out More:

Parting Comments

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