Monthly Archives: March 2009

Some PPC Answers to How Many Conversions

There were a number of questions and comments on yesterday’s post “conversion testing – how many actions?” and I wish I could respond to all of them.  

Instead, I want to offer a practical alternative which plenty of people will take issue with, but I think it’s an important insight to put this all in perspective.

You see,  in the early phase of a campaign, I certainly don’t wait for 100 actions.  I rarely even wait for 30.   Instead, (and this is only possible because I’m always involved in researching the market above and beyond adwords), if I see an ad pulling ahead THAT MAKES SENSE IN THE CONTEXT OF MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE MARKET … I’ll just go for it after 10 or 12 clicks.  (There, I said it and lightening didn’t strike!)

This is INCREDIBLY RISKY from a purely statistical perspective, yet on a day to day basis I can get traffic flowing in a new market MUCH quicker than waiting for a 95% confidence level (e.g. 100 actions, or even 30).  Moreover, my understanding of the market moves forward fast.

Do I accidentally delete winners when I do this?  Yes, absolutely, positively, and definitely.  (So use at your own risk)

But the time and money spent on the experiment is downgraded and I can move at the speed of the market.   You see, the time and money you allocate to a test are ALSO a risk… leaving a test up too long has it’s costs too.

I start paying careful attention to statistical probabilities AFTER I’ve got something worth protecting (a “control worth beating”).   The more it’s worth, the more successful history the ad has, the more protective I am, and the higher level of statistical confidence (or greater number of actions) I’ll require.

So my personal interpretation of Google’s recommended 100 actions is that WHEN YOU’VE GOT A CONTROL WORTH PROTECTING, what we previously thought was enough actions really isn’t, given the “noise” on the internet.  (“Noise” = number of advertisers coming in and out of the market, changes in the economic news which are instantly available online, varying ad position and impression levels, changes in the organic rankings, public events, … even such things as internet worms and viruses which affect browsing behavior)

Bottom line?

When you’ve got something already making money, it might pay to wait longer than we’ve all traditionally thought.  How much longer?   Probably twice as long as you think.

But ultimately it depends upon how much you’re making, how much you already know about your market, and how big a bridge you’d jump off if you accidentally killed the winning ad 🙂

Conversion Testing – How Many Actions?

Sever years ago I was presenting at The System seminar, and just after my presentation Trevo Claiborne from the Google Website Optimizer team spoke.  He casually mentioned they recommend ONE HUNDRED conversions/action PER OPTION you are testing.

This was (and still is) in direct contrast to the standard rules of thumb circling around the direct marketing world.  Most say 30, or 40 maximum for the losing version is plenty to declare
a winner.

Now, with my statistical background, rules of thumb have always bothered me in the first place.  I’d rather see the appropriate statistical test applied, but I DO understand the practical need to move at the speed of business and use heurisitics and shortcuts.

But I was incredibly surprised to hear Trevor say ONE HUNDRED in contrast to the 30 to 40 we’re all used to hearing.   So I asked whether this was based upon their observations across all their advertisers … I got a bit of a disclaimer, and then an answer I took for yes.

Here’s why this was a radical statement, and what it means for your marketingl.

First of all, Google knows.

I’m NOT doubting their observations.  I will take their word for it over my statistical training.

Google must SEE something we don’t.   And I’m guessing what that is … what it MUST be, is that there is MUCH MORE NOISE on the internet than there is in traditional direct marketing environments.

This explains why so many clients report confusion after having declared a winner … then later find their profits haven’t really risen correspondingly.

So we probably should all lean in the direction of longer lasting, more statistically robust tests … which translates to MORE actions before making a decision.

On the other hand, the vast majority of clients I’ve spoken with don’t have the necessary traffic to accomplish this in any reasonable time frame.

So what’s the solution?

FEWER AND MORE WELL CHOSEN TESTING OPTIONS WHICH YOU LET RUN ABOUT THREE TIMES AS LONG.   It really doesn’t make sense to “throw all sorts of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks” like you may hear at some seminars and/or in some courses.  Do your research first and foremost to determine what MIGHT be likely to improve your conversions.  This means surveying people as they’re exiting your page, installing live chats, monitoring competitive sites, reading repeatedly appearing sales copy in your market and identifying very strong candidates for conversion enhancement.

A plain old A-B test with well thought out inputs is probably more valuable than testing umpteen different options.

Of course, Multivariate Taguchi starts to look more attractive in this situation (a method of compressing dozens of tests into one), but you have to remember that the same rules apply … we need MORE actions than we’re used to considering before we get really robust and stable results.

Which means your inputs for Taguchi testing are even more important.  And you should probably validate the winner against your control for the 100 actions Google’s suggesting.

Bottom line?

Google says there’s LOTS AND LOTS of noise online, and you have to test carefully and watch the results for a long time to be sure of them.

Believe them, and design your tests wisely since they’re not as “disposable” as you might have previously thought.

G 🙂

PS – In case you don’t know it yet, I’m going to open my business coaching practice for ONE DAY ONLY for new clients on January 1st, 2016.  The reason?  So few clients ever leave me that I haven’t taken on a new client in almost three full years now… but I feel a responsibility to stay fresh in working with new clients because I TEACH others how to work with them in my business coaching certification.  However, I’m getting pretty old.  Not comb-your-hair-over-your-ginormous-bald-spot old, or even “I need help to go to the bathroom” old… but I’m 51 now, pretty darn busy, and finally thinking it might be nice not to work a zillion hours a week any more.  Which means I very well may NEVER take on new clients again, and this may be your LAST opportunity to work with me personally, if you so desire.  Here’s the link again.

PPS – If you’re not already in the Make Them Buy Club, why the hell not?  It’s only $9.95/mo and it could make a tremendous difference in your business and your life.  The bonuses alone are worth at least $200.  But seeing how we deconstruct a market and advise people to make over their websites is something every marketer can benefit from.  Plus now we publish short 15 to 20 minute video summaries after each site evaluation so you can benefit from the “Cliff Notes” and study the ones which most apply to you in detail later on.  Duh.

Musical Adwords Marketing

Learning direct response marketing with AdWords isn’t unlike learning to play the piano.

(Glenn’s nephew, Benjamin Richman – 6 years old, playing “Ballade”)

You may sense the power of pay per click marketing, … you may have a sense of learning something grand, … you may realize that if you’ll only stick with it and continue practicing there will come a point where profits come more effortlessly, … indeed, where successful marketing copy flies from your fingers like music flows from Tchaikovsky, Miles Davis, or Geddy Lee.

Why is it we don’t give ourselves the lattitude and respect these greats gave themselves in years of practice to perfect their crafts?

Why is it we don’t forgive ourselves our early mistakes, and expect it will take the same level of dedication which we’ve seen time and again are required across every other arena of life to achieve something truly excellent?

Could it be because it’s so profitable for marketing educators to tell us how easy it is?  To perpetuate the illusion you can extract value without giving value, that one can casually dip into the internet marketing pool and pull out an electronic fortune without ever talking to a customer?

Everything worthwhile takes practice.

Every journey worth taking has obstacles.

Every person worth knowing has struggled.

Every mountain worth climbing is an adventure frought with BOTH pain and excitement, sorrow and joy.

And every “next level” you strive for in your ppc marketing / internet marketing career … whether it’s your first dollar, your first million, or your first $10M will present the same.

Most of you know what I’ve been through to get where I am.  (Lost $2M in a giant blunder, recovered from near bankruptcy, a very serious car accident, Lyme Disease, and chronic migraines for almost a decade before emerging victorious, 100% healthy, and debt free)

What you don’t know is what I go through to get where I’m going (building a fast growing full service online agency with 15 employees at last count, constantly adjusting and correcting course, managing over 15,000 past customers and even more people on my prospect lists, continually putting out content, dealing with all the interpersonal conflicts, time management, constant changes on the internet,  technological challenges, joint ventures, conflicting financial interests, the continual necessity to take care of my own nutrition, sleep, and exercise, planning my marketing calendar, responding to unexpected opportunities, putting out fires, avoiding distraction, etc).

Why do I do it?  I mean, I could easily get a cozy little job as a professor in some college town, work a few years for tenure (I’m good at publishing academic stuff), and live a relatively stress free life.  I don’t have children, I don’t really spend much money to speak of on material things (have a modestly nice house and I drive a 3 year old Honda Oddysey which is totally dominated by my dogs and hiking clothes) … there aren’t any college bills to pay, and my wife loves generating her own income.

So I don’t HAVE TO do this.

But I love it.  THIS is the mountain I want to climb.  It’s MY mountain.

By and large I DO do exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it.  No one tells me what to talk about, who to serve, or where to be.   The money is good, but the life is better.

I’m completely in charge and surrounded by people I love.

Now, here’s something in your way which you probably don’t realize is in your way …

And his name is Sigmund Freud.

While Freud was definitely a man with something to say, entirely too much was made of the Oedipus conflict, and because he was influential in American and European culture, it distracted us from what’s really important in life, and made possible a kind of perverted notion which marketers profit off of called “the internet lifestyle”.

I’m not saying Freud was wrong …OK, there was this dude who wound up sleeping with his mother, killing his father, and he couldn’t live with himself.   Incestual strivings create problems  … I  get it.   (Before anyone accuses me of denial, let me just say my Mom is TOTALLY HOT ).

But there’s a MUCH BETTER STORY we can look to for a model of the good life … it’s the story of  ODYSSEUS … dude lived a life full of adventure, and in his old age he was surrounded by friends and loved ones who could gather round and share common stories of vitality and purpose.

That’s where I’m going.

I hope you’ll join me.

Because the naked truth is, every step of the way there will definitely be new skills to learn, new challenges to overcome, and new pains to struggle with.

I’ll be brave enough to forgive myself for the inevitable mistakes I’ll make, and I’ll have the fortitude to keep practicing every step of the way.

Will you?

(Glenn’s nephew, Benjamin Richman – 6 years old, playing “Light and Blue”)

The Naked Truth About Internet Marketing

SEO for PPC Teleconference MP3

Here’s the FREE SEO for PPC Teleconference MP3 for you.   The actual teleconference questions we received and answered are posted on the Rocket Clicks Blog.

If you’d like to learn more about Do It Yourself SEO the Rocket Clicks way, please click here.   If you’d like an SEO Success  Blueprint for your business, please click here.

PPC Emotional Marketing Secret

OK!  Here’s the answer to the emotional ppc marketing puzzle I posed in yesterday’s post “emotional marketing wife loses mind” …

In yesterday’s post I told you there was a less than obvious marketing lesson for PPC marketers, and I asked people to guess what it might be. (If you go read the questions and look at the picture, you’ll understand this post better)

The title of the post (and the subject line of the email I sent to drive traffic there) was “Emotional Marketing Wife Loses Mind”.   By the way because of that title I almost had to title TODAY’s POST “Emotional Marketing Wife Files For Divorce”:

Anyway, there were MANY MANY MANY good answers to the question posted on the blog.


You see, there are only really 4 emotions … Mad, Sad, Scared, and Glad. (Everything else is a “shade of grey” built on one or more of these … for example “Elation” is an extreme form of Glad, whereas “Disgusted” is a combination of Sad and Mad)

But the world, for the most part walks around feeling one of the first 3 … Mad, Sad, or Scared.

If you want them to take action, … starting with clicking on your PPC ad, but then also opting in, buying, clicking an email link, etc … you have to convince them you will MOVE THEM FROM Mad, Sad or Scared –> GLAD. (Note: there are 37 very special variations of “Glad” which represent the spectrum of emotional benefits that we’ve found to motivate purchase behavior)

Anytime your prospect does anything you want them to do … ANYTHING which moves them even an inch along the path from your PPC Ad Impression towards taking money out of their wallet and giving money to you, it’s because they believe this action will move them from Mad, Sad, or Scared –> Glad.

The very specific example was in the behavior you took in response to my email and post yesterday  (especially those of you came from the email and left comments).

Knowing that propects will take desired actions in response to a promised change in emotional state, I’m always alert for pictures, stories, events, and other happenings in my life which CHANGE MY OWN EMOTIONAL STATE FOR THE BETTER (move me from Mad/Sad/Scared –> Glad).

Then I ask myself … what’s the most important thing I want my market to do now?

Yesterday, when I got the picture from Sharon, I literally almost peed my pants.  I smiled from ear to ear.  I glowed inside with love for my wife … I was having a VERY hard day, and it really cheered me up.

I asked myself “What’s the most important thing I want my market to do now?”

Turns out I needed COMMENTS ON MY BLOG. (This blog is fairly new and I’m pushing the SEO rankings up slowly … it’s a new endeavor for me, and I’m learning that comments on the blog are particularly important.  By the way … was #1 for “Emotional Marketing Wife” yesterday … not that this is any big accomplishment!)

I came up with an email subject “headline” which encapsulated the picture the best I could … then built the path straight into the picture, and kept the train going to create the comments.

At last count, there were over 50+ comments on that single post.  I’ll bet it reaches 100 by the end of the weekend … which be DOUBLE what it was beforehand.

Now … the subject line could have just as well been a PPC ad … and many of you commenters demonstrated the ability to put the ad into Adwords format.   And your landing page could have used the picture.

The key is to LINK people into your desired action once you’ve got their emotional state changed.

And although it works in Adwords itself, it’s PARTICULARLY POWERFUL with an opt in email list because you already have a relationship with your subscribers.  Relationships = emotional power.

Here’s another example I’ve used in my Rabbit List (note: VERY OLD example web page formatting … but it still works like gangbusters).  It goes something like this:


Subject: my psychotic puppy dog

I can’t believe it.  My dog has finally gone absolutely insane and stolen the discount coupon
codes for my shopping cart, and now he’s just laughing at me like a deranged lunatic.  Here, have a look:

Now here’s the thing.  He’s not going to give them back to me unless I feed him steak all weekend, and even then, not until Monday.

But my torture is your gain.  I guess my Rabbit Secrets package is all yours now for X% off if you want to get it on this link before Monday morning.

Crazy dog … he’s really done it this time!


See what I mean?  People get the email while they’re sitting on their computers, all frustrated with work during the day, etc.  Then I genuinely make them smile, and they’re grateful for it … I’ve PROVEN TO THEM I CAN TAKE THEM FROM MAD/SAD/SCARED –> GLAD …


Let me make this perfectly clear.

Every purchase is an emotional purchase IF you understand that an emotional benefit is only the cognitive “word label” we give to the experience of moving from mad/sad/scared –> glad … AND this movement accompanies the anticipated satisfaction of ALL human needs.  (Every purchase is made to satisfy some human need … every last one)


Where might YOU use this strategy this week?  Let me know!

Emotional Marketing Wife Loses Mind

My wife has officially lost her mind.  She just sent me this picture the hygienist took with her phone while she’s in the dental chair (seriously … I just got the picture via email):

Sharon’s been kind of dental-phobic for years and she’s doing some pretty serious work this week.  Apparently she talked the dentist into letting her bring the dog in for comfort.  (I swear by this particular dentist by the way)

Now the thing is, there’s a VERY VERY STRONG EMOTIONAL MARKETING LESSON in this post for pay per click marketers.   But it’s not obvious.

Can you guess what it is?

Leave me your COMMENTS below … I’ll post the answer tomorrow!
(I’d also be interested in everyone’s best CAPTION for the picture)

Pay Per Click Testimonials (Favor)

Could this “Great Big Hairy Pay Per Click Marketer” ask a quick favor from his subscribers and readers?   If my newsletters, blog posts, free mp3s, videos, paid products, and/or paid services have been helpful to you, might you leave me a real live testimonial USING MY TESTIMONIAL HOTLINE NUMBER BELOW?

1-800-609-9006 x3591
(678-255-2174 x3591 for international callers)

Thanks, it would mean the world to me 🙂

Pay Per Click Market Research

What can pay per click market research do for you?

Ppc research can identify upside potential (and downside risk) so you can decide whether it’s worth going forward.  It can also capture consumer language (which you can echo back to improve sales conversions), and identify segments and sub segments and niches within your market who you can laser target to multiply your results.

But even more importantly, ppc market research TEST the responsiveness of the market BEFORE you develop a product, or spend a fortune in money and time:

  • Is there really a need in the market for your product or service?
  • Where are the market gaps?
  • What might it cost you per lead and per sale to enter the market?


When you run traffic directly from pay per click to a survey in preparation for developing a newsletter capture page:

  • You’ll often find that approximately twice as many people (on a percentage basis) will sign up for the newsletter as were willing to take the survey
  • Since you’re paying PER CLICK, you already know your COST PER SURVEY
  • You can then ESTIMATE YOUR COST PER LEAD by simply multiplying by two (note: legally, I can’t guarantee this cost for you, I can only report my experience)
  • On average, if I plan to sell something similar to what my competitors are selling on the front end, I find approximately 1 out of 10 newsletter subscribers will purchase
  • So I can multiply my cost per lead x 10 to get an ESTIMATED COST PER SALE (note: legally, I can’t guarantee this cost for you, I can only report my experience)
  • This model is especially powerful when you track survey response on a keyword by keyword basis because you wind up with a BUYING HEAT MAP of the whole vocabulary of your market
  • Determine if there is viable pathway into the market on a keyword by keyword basis
  • Pause or kill any keywords which look “red” and only roll into the market on the “in the black” estimates

There’s much more info on the free ppc research mp3 – how to use surveys to identify true point of difference benefits so you’ll stand out from the competition, etc

PPC Volume and Cost Estimation for New Markets

I get a lot of questions regarding updates to the Volume Estimation techniques in my method for comparing and choosing new markets.  Here’s a walk through of the EXACT and most up to date method I use for doing this!

For beginners, I recommend choosing markets where the calculation shown in the video is between 30,000 and 600,000.  PPC markets underneath this volume may not be worth the effort, and those above this volume may be too brutally competitive for a newbie to make their first dollar online!

Last, these pay per click search marketing techniques are ONLY intended for use in the How To Choose Your Market method, … I use other formulas and methods for other purposes.  (If you own another product of mine and are estimating volume for other reasons, please follow the formulas therein).