Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

Almost every pay-per-click advertising campaign has room for optimization. Today, let’s focus on one simple way to save money with your Google AdWords campaigns: adding negative keywords. A negative keyword prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.

For instance, it’s incredibly important to list negative keywords for my clients who are professional speakers. Otherwise, our ads would display for searches such as “Sony speakers for sale,” or “Public speaking tips.”

How to Add Negative Keywords to Your Google AdWords Campaigns

First, you’ll need to identify which keywords result in undesirable clicks to your ads. Fortunately, Google has a tool for that. In the Keywords tab, look at the Search Terms sub-tab, shown below:

Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

Google describes this report as follows:

“Learn how customers are finding your ad. With the Search terms report, you can see the actual searches people entered on Google Search and other Search Network sites that triggered your ad and led to a click. Depending on your keyword match types, this list might include terms other than exact matches to your keywords.”

When I ran this report for a veterinary hospital, I found a few stray clicks from searches for things like “cat declawing” and “ear cropping” – services my client definitely doesn’t provide!  Also, several searches indicated clicks that might not results in optimal clients, such as “free vet clinic.” And there was a weird “def leppard” result. (Sometimes running this report can be really funny– except your advertising budget isn’t laughing.)

To add the negative keywords, click on the Negative Keywords sub tab, then click the big red +KEYWORDS button:

Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

All done! Enjoy your savings.

Suggested Negative Keywords to Get You Started

Different industries usually require different negative keywords, but here are a few general suggestions I use for most of my clients:

  • Cheap
  • Free
  • DIY
  • How to
  • Learn to
  • Profanity and explicit language

Add some negative keywords and watch your AdWords reports to track your results. You should save money and also receive more relevant clicks from potential customers.

The Case Against Bing Advertising

The Case Against Bing AdvertisingBing Ads serve the Bing, Yahoo! and MSN search networks. According to most statistics, these networks account for around 36% of web searches. Basic math indicates that to reach a third more potential customers, you should advertise on the network.

But “searches” don’t equal “individual searchers,” and evidence suggests Bing may have significantly fewer users than searches. I recently discovered that Bing doesn’t throttle search traffic from automated bots that scrape websites for mass amounts of information. Google does. Bing may be becoming popular with firms that deploy search bots. There’s no way to know how many searches are initiated by people and how many are initiated by bots.

Which means there’s no way to be certain if your advertising is being clicked on by a customer or a computer. Small business marketing budgets aren’t limitless, and you don’t want to risk wasting advertising dollars on robots.


Should You Advertise on Bing?

My answer to this question may seem frustratingly obvious: Advertise on Bing Ads if they work, and stop advertising on the network if it’s not working.

Identifying success metrics are critical to determine if Bing Ads are “working” for your small business (or if any other marketing campaign is working, for that matter). Without measurable results, you could be wasting a significant amount of money. Here are some examples of success metrics you can measure from your online advertising:

  • Number of visits from Bing Ads that directly result in sales
  • Length of time Bing Ads visitors spend on your website (indicates if a visit is automated or a real person)
  • Phone calls received from customers who located you with Bing Ads
  • Engagement with interactive elements of your website, like quizzes or polls

For instance, I tested eliminating Bing Ads with one of my clients, and our success metrics didn’t change. We simply spent less of our marketing budget. That’s merely one anecdote, but it serves to show that all small business marketing professionals should scrutinize Bing Ads’ effectiveness.

If you try out Bing Ads, let me know about your experience. Are there any major small business Bing Ads success stories out there?

What is the Google Display Network?

The Google Display Network is part of Google’s advertising universe. Businesses place text, image or video ads on websites that partner with Google. The Display Network can be an effective way to reach potential customers who are interested in your products or services but aren’t actively searching for them.

Here are three examples, two from the New York Times and one from a travel website:

Google Display Network Example

image ad example

image ad example

While Google’s Search ads appear in search results, Display Network ads appear on websites. Both kinds of advertising are pay-per-click, meaning businesses pay for the ad when someone clicks on it.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of advertising on Google’s Display Network.

Use Demographic Targeting with Display Network Ads

Demographic targeting is the key to success with Display Network ads. Google offers a variety of targeting options. Here’s a small sample:

sample demigraphic topics

Display Network ads require careful demographic targeting to ensure only people who could become your customers click on your ads. A campaign’s list of excluded demographic interests can be just as important as the topics that are included. For most businesses, I recommend their exclusions list include some of the following:

Sample demographic exclusions

Create Image and Video Ads to Get the Most Impact

Last month, I wrote “How to Extend Your Reach with Google Image and Video Ads.” While text ads are the go-to format for search advertising, image and video ads are much more suited for display advertising. With search advertising, customers are already searching for your product. With display advertising, you need to work harder to earn their attention. Display ads should be as attractive and interesting as advertisements you would run in a magazine.

Get More Ideas

Google has several case studies for how brands like Jordan, Yankee Candle and have used the Display Network, which you can check out here.

Have questions? Email me at

Extend Your Reach with Google Image and Video Ads

Most businesses know about Search Advertising with Google AdWords, and use the service fairly effectively to advertise to potential customers searching for products and services like theirs. Fewer take advantage of Google’s complementary Display Network, which promotes ads on websites whose readers match the demographics of your customers.

To see if your business is already advertising on the Display Network and to edit your target demographic settings, visit the Settings page for each campaign. You can see that Zoo in a Jungle Marketing’s campaign type is set to Search and Display Networks.

Google Display Network

Any text ads you’ve created will automatically be placed on the Display Network. To fully take advantage of advertising on the Display Network, businesses should create image and video ads as well.

Google Image Ads

To create Google image ads, use the display ad builder, which is accessed from your list of ads:

Creating a Google Image Ad

The ad builder allows you to create the text for your ads, upload images and choose colors.

Writing your Google Image Ad

It’s very important that your ad design is tweaked to fit all the different ad sizes offered by Google. Your average cost per click will be lower if your ads can display on any website in the Display Network. Most websites will only allow one or two of the ad sizes ti display on their pages.

Google Image Ads in all sizes

Google Video Ads

Google video ads can be displayed on Google’s partner websites or YouTube sponsored videos. Businesses can use any video you have already uploaded to YouTube (make sure you own the copyright to the videos). To create a Google video ad, choose the display ad builder:

Creating a Google Video Ad

Select Video in Media and Channels, then choose either TrueView In-display or TrueView in-search:

Choosing your video format

Next, you’ll have the opportunity to select a video from your YouTube Channel, write a description of the video, and your ad is complete:

Choose a video ad from your YouTube channel

I encourage businesses to experiment with the Display Network using image and video ads. You’ll extend your advertising reach, and clicks through the Display Network typically are less expensive than clicks from Search Advertising. Questions? Email me –



Marketing Podcast: The Future of Search Marketing

My article two weeks ago, “The Diversification of Search (and Your Marketing Budget),” seems to be coming true faster than I had anticipated. In this marketing podcast with Dave Weatherholt, I detail the recent news of Microsoft increasing user privacy in the new Internet Explorer 10– and how that will impact business’s search engine marketing campaigns, like Google AdWords.

Download or listen below:

The Future of Search Marketing

Marketing Podcast: The Future of Search Marketing (4.4 MB)

This segment first aired during “Getting Down to Business” on Alaska’s Fox News Talk 1020.

The Diversification of Search (and Your Marketing Budget)

In the near future, Google might not be such a hot-shot in the web marketing world.

That’s crazy!” you might think. Indeed, Google has been the major research resource for the vast majority of web users. And today, Google still accounts for 66.2% of all search-engine use, with Bing-powered search a distant 29.1%.

Diversify your search marketingIt seems that Google’s serious competition won’t come from Bing (at least, anytime soon). As a web marketing expert helping businesses reach their customers on the Internet, I see that competition coming from a very different field.

The big secret is that search is so much bigger than Google or Bing. Often, navigating a Google search can be frustrating as the user tries to grope after the right search phrase to get his intended result. For instance, consider a search for a professional speaker that only results in displaying high-end audio equipment.

This search inconvenience has given rise to many niche-search products built into commerce and social media sites. On, customers can search categories with pre-defined criteria that makes sense, like size and type of shoes. Yelp is organized by geography, so if a user is vacationing in Savannah, GA, he can get the local scoop on that city.

With so many shopping and social media options, web users are diversifying their search methods for more personalized results.

Here are some stats on a few special-interest sites that compete for search traffic:

  • 901 million users search Facebook to find their friends and favorite brands.
  • 161 million users conduct 4.2 “professionally-oriented” yearly searches on LinkedIn (such as recruiting or networking).
  • In a month, 89 million U.S. customers visit to buy or comparison-shop.
  • 71 million users search Yelp for information and reviews about local businesses.
  • 50 million visitors search TripAdvisor to plan vacations.
  • 10 million women search Pinterest to find the absolute perfect wedding hair or yummy appetizer recipe.

How Search Diversification Affects Your Marketing Plan

All of the above sites provide businesses opportunities to communicate with users and buy advertising. Marketing plans are beginning to reflect interest in these offerings, with businesses diversifying their web marketing budget to include a variety of advertising and communication efforts across different sites relevant to their own customers.

If your business happens to focus exclusively on Google AdWords for web advertising, it might be time to look into diversifying your web marketing. With the right social partner, you’ll likely reach more relevant customers, who are looking for a more personalized experience and are ready to engage with your brand.

5 Tips for Writing Great Marketing Copy

Although marketers aren’t typically viewed as writers, every aspect of great marketing requires talented writing and precise editing. If there are any doubters, just observe this example from Starbucks:

Not only is this poster confusing, it has a glaring typo. The main message– Get $1 off any pastry when you buy a beverage– is overshadowed by the “it’s.” I imagine Starbucks patrons are more discerning about grammar than most (which is why one of my friends posted this picture on Facebook).

Of course posters aren’t the only form of marketing writing. Here’s a sampling of the kinds of marketing writing most businesses need:

  • Advertising copy
  • Brochure copy
  • Sign copy
  • Website copy
  • Direct mail copy
  • Blog articles
  • Trade journal articles
  • Press releases
  • Facebook posts
  • Twitter updates
  • Product packaging
  • Radio ad scripts
  • TV ad scripts
  • Telephone scripts
  • YouTube video scripts
  • Proposals and contracts
  • Presentations
  • Speeches
  • User guides and manuals

Writing for marketing is usually termed, “copy,” which is such an uninspiring word. The Online Etymology Dictionary traces the term to its roots:

copy (n.) Look up copy at
early 14c., “written account or record,” from O.Fr. copie (13c.), from M.L. copia “reproduction, transcript,” from L. copia “plenty, means” (see copious). Sense extended 15c. to any specimen of writing (especially MS for a printer) and any reproduction or imitation. Related: Copyist.

The roots of “copy” are not very exciting. We may be stuck with a word that has connotations of automation and transcripting, but we don’t need to fulfill that history. Marketing copy should be fresh and vibrant, effectively communicating your brand. Following are a few tips for writing great marketing copy:

5 Tips for Writing Great Marketing Copy

1. Cut, cut and cut

Just because marketing copy is important doesn’t mean it should exist in abundance. There’s an inverse correlation between the quality of marketing copy and its length. There’s a simple reason for this equation– customers are confronted with thousands of messages each day and have short attention spans when it comes to your product. So cut out everything that isn’t essential.

2. Communicate one message at a time

Each marketing piece a marketer writes can only communicate one message well, no matter how many messages the marketer may try to cram into the space. A postcard, a landing page, a radio ad– all of these represent a brief opportunity to communicate one message. Try to tell your company’s whole story, and customers will be overwhelmed or bored.

3. Give copy room to breathe

“White space” is the term for the spacing and margins around your copy. Spacing your words nicely and keeping the graphics surrounding the them simple will allow your copy to stand out and increase the chances customers will read it.

4. Practice makes better

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Writing is never perfect, but eventually marketers reach deadlines. Never go with the first attempt at writing copy. Edit and revise until the final product is better than when you started.

5. Let someone else read it before you publish it

Don’t publish or print marketing copy before having someone else proofread it. Your familiarity with the text will cause your brain to skip over any typos, seeing what you intended to write instead of what was actually written. I imagine that’s what happened to the poor Starbucks copywriter in the poster example.

These five marketing copy tips certainly aren’t comprehensive, but they are rules that every writer keeps in mind during each assignment. Using them every day in your marketing efforts will lead to more effective (and more interesting) marketing copy.

Stop Wasting Your Marketing Money

Stop wasting your marketing money on mass-marketing and start using it to find real customers. For small businesses, mass-marketing campaigns like newspaper ads, magazine ads or billboards usually don’t work. That’s because, while you’re paying to reach thousands of people, only a few of those people might be interested in what you are selling.

If you’re small, think small

When you think about your success and plan for your business’s future, think big. But when you plan on how many people your marketing communications should reach, think small. You want to reach only the people who are interested in products or services like yours. Right now, in the Delta Sky magazine, there’s a full-page ad for a synthetic motor oil, whose creator, it is claimed, “Changed lubrication history .” Giggles aside, how many travelers are in need of a synthetic lubricant during their flight?

Don’t waste your money on marketing to people who don’t care. Here are some tips for how small businesses can “think small” about their marketing:

  • Online search advertising and Search Engine Optimization. People are actively searching for your products and services. Be there when they are looking and ready to buy.
  • Stay in touch with your current customers, to encourage them to buy more frequently and refer you. For example, a resort might send a birthday card to past guests with a complimentary service coupon for the guest’s next stay.
  • Ask current customers where and how they first learned about you. If you hear the same answer several times, increase those marketing efforts.
  • Instead of advertising in publications, get mentioned in them. Your customers probably do read newspapers and magazines, but they trust the stories more than the advertisements. Do something news-worthy, and many publications will be glad to cover it (especially if you offer to provide the copy!).
  • If you are a local business, like a restaurant, go out in your neighborhood and meet your customers. One idea is to host an event that showcases your product, offers free samples or includes a contest. It’s inexpensive but effective.

PPC Advertising Online

Pay-per-click advertising with Google, Bing and Facebook

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising online can be a very cost-effective addition to marketing plans – most of us know that. But the world of PPC advertising is expanding into new opportunities. Lately, many business owners have asked me about different kinds of PPC advertising, with questions like, “What about Facebook?” or “Is Bing worth it?” It seems time for me to publicly address some of these questions for my readers.

Google PPC

Google PPC advertising is the must-have for any online advertising strategy. Google enjoys 65.4% market share of internet searches. Being on the page when your customer is searching for your product is incredibly valuable. To learn more about the general benefits of PPC advertising, read my article “Building Your Website Traffic.”

Bing and Yahoo! PPC

Microsoft manages the search results and PPC advertising for both Bing and Yahoo! through its Microsoft AdCenter. In February, Bing had 13.6% market share for online search, and Yahoo! had 16.1%. Combined, the search engines represent 29.7% of all internet searches. It is worthwhile to advertise to 30% of your customer base, and the strategies used for Google PPC advertising will apply to Bing and Yahoo!.

In my experience, you will face less competition advertising with Bing and Yahoo!, for two reasons. 1. Fewer businesses think of devoting marketing resources to these search engines. 2.The Microsoft AdCenter is difficult to use, and its reporting is much less intuitive than Google’s.

Facebook PPC

Facebook is a relatively new player in the PPC advertising arena, and their approach is quite different from the search engines’ way of advertising. First of all, you don’t have to pay per click; you can pay per impression. Paying for impressions is more traditional marketing language, so I believe Facebook offers the option to make marketers more comfortable. PPC advertising is attractive because you only pay when someone shows interest in your ad – not just if it showed on the screen. Here are some other ways Facebook advertising is different:

  • Demographics instead of search. Facebook users aren’t searching for what they seek. Instead they list interests, post updates and engage in conversations. Facebook uses this demographic information to display ads they think might interest the user. Facebook allows advertisers quite a bit of granularity in choosing demographics like age, geographic location, sex and relationship status. Search engines simply don’t have all of this information.
  • Interests instead of keywords. With a search engine, finding perfect keywords is crucial to a successful PPC campaign. But with Facebook advertising, it’s all about likes and interests. As an advertiser, you identify the interests of the people you would like to reach, and Facebook makes suggestions, as shown in the picture below:
  • Facebook page instead of your website. You can send visitors to your Facebook page instead of your website.  I recommend creating and maintaining a page for your business if you are going to advertise on Facebook. Facebook users like to stay on the site, and you will receive more value from your ads if a visitor “likes” your page and receives your regular updates. It’s important to regularly update your business page, so people stay interested (but don’t update it too frequently, or people will “hide” you!). Many marketers might balk at sending visitors to their Facebook page instead of their website- don’t we want to increase our website stats? Website stats are important, but only because we hope to turn visitors into customers. The best way to turn Facebook users into customers is by engaging them on the site they visit every day.
  • Ads and pages have to be associated with a personal profile. You need to set up a profile in order to set up a business page in order to set up an ad directing people to that page. Don’t blame me for the complexity; blame Facebook.

Do you have more questions about PPC advertising online? Send me an email –

Marketing Upsides in an Economic Downturn

How small business marketing can benefit from this economy

Being naturally optimistic, I always try to turn bad situations into new opportunities. Our still-faltering economy may be dragging down business, but there are ways for small businesses to take advantage of the economic downturn. Here are a few:

  • Landlords may be willing to make deal and offer short-term leases. The Wall Street Journal reports that a new trend has started in retailing: the pop-up store. These stores operate with a short-term test lease to determine their feasibility. Creating low-risk leases enables more entrepreneurs the opportunity to start small-business retailing.
  • Start a business, and start making money. With many businesses unwilling to hire new employees in this uncertain economy, “accidental entrepreneurs” are being born. A USA Today story shows that 25% of workers laid off in the last six months are considering starting a business instead of finding a new job. Businesses still need work done, so they are increasingly turning to outside resources (that has certainly been my experience).
  • On the flip side of unemployment, if your business is looking to hire, you have great options right now. You need to maximize this opportunity. Make sure not to rush hiring decisions- conduct enough interviews to find the right person for the job who will fit with your culture.
  • If you have the cash to ramp up your advertising, you can buy more for your buck. For example, one of my clients is in an industry where pay per click (PPC) advertising has completely dried up. Now we can advertise with little competition and a much smaller budget. There may be fewer customers than before, but we are reaching almost all of them.
  • If this economy is leaving you with too much extra time, put it to good use. Take my small business marketing test to find your weak areas. When your business is booming, it’s hard to find time to plan for the future. If you work on your business strategy now, your business can come back stronger than it’s ever been.

Has your business developed any opportunities as a result of the recession? Please share!