Quick Market Testing and Key Marketing Measurements Using Pay-Per-Click Search

CMA Pay-Per-Clickby Eric Gagnon

Print direct mail is a powerful means for market-testing sales copy, promotions, pricing, and other critical aspects of your marketing program. Online pay-per-click (PPC) advertising programs, such as Google AdWords, can also be used as a powerful, effective, and very fast method for testing many aspects of your marketing program’s sales copy, benefits, headlines, pricing and other key product positioning features, for all other marketing programs, not just online advertising.

Online Pay-Per-Click Testing

Online text search pay-per-click (PPC) advertising programs, such as Google AdWords, are naturally suited to market testing. The main advantage of using PPC advertising is speed of result: You can test an infinite combination of keywords, text ads, headlines, and landing page promotions, and you can see the final result faster, and with more precise measurability, compared to any other form of market testing or advertising.

The big disadvantage to pay-per-click advertising is that, for many specialized B2B products, the volume isn’t there (yet) to generate the sales response to justify spending a lot of time running PPC ad programs. Also, PPC advertising is more suited for selling some types of products, such as IT hardware and software, than others, since computer-bound IT buyers may be far more likely to use Google and other search engines daily to find products of interest, compared to prospects in other fields.

It could be that a lot of the folks in your market aren’t sitting in front of their computers all day searching the Internet, like IT people. If this is true for your market, then you may not generate a high enough volume of traffic and sales response to make pay-per-click advertising a viable part of your marketing program.

So, your success in using online pay-per-click (PPC) advertising  to market and sell your company’s (or client’s) product depends entirely on whether or not there are enough Internet users in your market who are searching for products like yours to justify the effort. You won’t know this unless you get out there and start running AdWords tests to see whether or not pay-per-click advertising works for your company and this, once again, is why testing is important in your marketing program.

Using Pay-Per-Click for Quick Sales Copy Testing

CMA Pay-Per-Click AdHowever, even where the response volume may be low, I’m still very enthusiastic about using AdWords as a method for quickly testing the sales appeal of headlines, copy, and benefits for B2B products and services, and for using sales copy that tests well here in other, “offline” advertising programs in other marketing media, such as print advertising and direct mail.

Since there’s no reason why a headline that pulls well in an AdWords text ad can’t be just as compelling when used in a mailing piece, a printed display ad, or any other offline deliverable, keyword search advertising is an ideal tool for dialing in the best headlines and major sales benefits you can use in other types of marketing media. For this reason, you should strongly consider using Google AdWords programs as small test beds for trying out new sales copy ideas, headlines, pricing options, and promotions.

You can run very useful tests of sales copy, new positioning appeals, pricing, and promotions by linking keywords in your PPC program to a free information premium (your actionable offer), such as a report or white paper, accessible at individual landing pages that are set up to track the number of page accesses and downloads of the free information premium being offered.

While you may not receive a large sales response from PPC and other Net-based marketing programs for your company’s specialized business-to-business product, using PPC as a means to get fast feedback on tests of basic sales copy benefit appeals makes it an excellent testing feature. It’s also good to start using this new medium now, because there’s no doubt that online and Pay-Per-Click advertising will be playing a larger and more important role in your marketing program.

Eric Gagnon (eric@realmarkets.net), a director with the Business Marketing Institute, is author of The Marketing Manager’s Handbook and The CRM Field Marketing Handbook, and president of GAA ( http://www.realmarkets.net ), an interactive marketing, turnaround, and product development consulting firm. Article reprinted with permission of Business Marketing Institute, the original article can be found Here.