Find the slides from this webinar below:
In this webinar we discussed 5 myths about Google pay-per-click advertising keeping your agency from writing more business.
We’re joined by special guest Click Danks, co-founder and Director of Marketing for ThinkSEM.
Clint prides himself on ThinkSEM’s reputation for transparency — giving clients access to all the data generated on their behalf. This is not a standard practice among online marketing providers, but he decided we would make it a standard practice at ThinkSEM.
It’s Clint’s transparency and willingness to share secrets and best practices of Google pay-per-click ads that made him the natural choice to visit this month’s Agency Nation webinar.
Here are a few of the myths we’re going to debunk…
- Prospects who click Google Ads are price shoppers.
- Google Ads are too expensive to make money.
- If we rank high organically we don’t need paid search.
- The more your spend on Google Ads the higher you rank.
- All Google Ads traffic should be sent to my homepage.
The major theme of this webinar is “Reduce Advertising Waste.“
As Clint explains, expensive cost-per-acquisition rates are often due to a lack of expertise and optimization of ad targeting.
When your business spends money on advertising, you need to know what the return on your investment is. This is the all important ROI we spend so much time thinking about.
Pay-per-click provides the answers you need to measure results and make decisions.
Ryan: Hello, everyone, and welcome to our very first Agency Nation webinar, new series here. We did one about four months ago around local SEO, and we had a great audience. We had about 60 people in that audience. It looks like we’re going to have that same audience or even more by the turnout already. But we’re going to start doing these webinars on a monthly basis. And I’m very happy to have today’s guest with us, Clint Danks from ThinkSEM.
Clint is actually the founder of ThinkSEM. And his company handles the Google pay-per-click ads, the PPC ads that we run at trustedchoice.com. Clint and his team handle those. So from all the conversations that we’ve had with him, I know that there are a lot of agents who have tried pay-per-click ads, who have thought about Google ads, and I know that there are a lot of myths surrounding them. So I asked Clint to come on and lay the bag of snakes out straight for us. What are the things that we shouldn’t think about? What works? What doesn’t? And just for everyone listening, this is going to be a very basic. We’re going to have to touch all the basics today. And in a few months, we’re going to have Clint back and go into some more detailed 2.1 strategies.
But just a few housekeeping tips before we get to Clint, if you have questions, you will see a chatbox along with this video. And at any time, type questions into the chatbox and I’ll make sure that either in that moment or at the end, we get to those questions. So by participating live, you’ll get to have your questions answered live by Clint.
And then, we’re also going to have a replay of this video, and I’ll be sending out the slides. So a few of the slides have quite a few bullets on them. And the reason being is that Clint wanted to provide max value to you guys. So don’t feel like you need to quickly be scribbling down every bullet point while you’re watching. We’re going to make sure that both the video replay and the actual slide deck itself are available to you after the replay. With that, I just want to say hello and welcome to Clint. How’s it going, man?
Clint: Doing very well. How are you, Ryan?
Ryan: Good. Well, I know we’re excited to talk about PPC, and I know that you’ve put together a little presentation for us. So what I’m going to do at this time is turn it over to you, make you the driver of this thing. And if we have questions, I may stop you and ask you. But otherwise, I’m looking forward to your presentation just as I’m sure the other 100 or so people that have decided to join us today are. So let’s get to it.
Clint: All right. Thanks a lot, Ryan. Here we go. All right. Today, as Ryan mentioned, we’re going to talk about the basics of pay-per-click marketing. More specifically, the steps that you would need to take as an insurance agency to make pay-per-click effective for you. So with that said, let’s get started, and we’ll walk through.
Essentially, it’s going to be four components today. We’re going to talk about pay-per-click, an introduction to the platforms. We’re going to talk about landing pages; what are they and what they’re not. We’re also going to talk about… We’re actually going to be debunking some myths about pay-per-click. I’m sure there are plenty of them out there. Lastly, we’ll answer some questions and we’ll go from there and get prepped for the next webinar.
So all right. Just real quick, some housekeeping stuff about ThinkSEM. Founded 2007, we’re primarily a pay-per-click, landing page, and web design company. As Ryan mentioned, we’re a preferred vendor of trustedchoice.com, a Google partner, Bing ads accredited. A little bit about me, real quick. Twelve years of experience. Personally, I’ve managed over $20 million in client ad spend. And as I mentioned, we’re going to be talking about two core things today, and then we’ll debunk some myths later and answer any questions you may have.
But primarily today, we’re going to talk about what pay-per-click is, some of the features and benefits, the platforms themselves. We’ll talk about some landing pages. I’ll show you some examples. And then how you can track those in order to make pay-per-click and landing pages the most effective digital marketing media available to you.
Ryan: Hey Clint, can you hit “play” on the presentation so that it scrolls with you? Right now, we’re still seeing the screen with the slides on the side.
Clint: I’m sorry. Where exactly is that?
Ryan: It’s coming through. It looks like your very first slide before you hit “play.” So on the actual presentation on your screen, it still just says Agency Nation and ThinkSEM, the two logos.
Ryan: If it’s not working for you, I can pull it up on my end and run it there. And then you can just tell me when you want me to flip the presentation.
Clint: All right. That’s odd. I’m not quite sure why you weren’t trailing with me there. Try it one more time. Sorry about that.
Ryan: I apologize to everyone for the technical snafu here. That’s okay.
Clint: Try it one more time. How’s that, Ryan? Is it still the first slide?
Ryan: Yeah. For some reason, it is not picking that up. Okay. So what I’m going to do is go over to my screen. I’m going to share this and hit “play.” Okay. And now, if you can see my screen, we’re on the screen that looks like you. And now, the table of contents for our presentation. So you just tell me, can you see this? And tell me when to flip.
Clint: I can’t actually see it.
Ryan: Can you see my screen now?
Ryan: Okay. And then, what about now?
Clint: Yeah, it went dark. All right. There we go. I think we’re good. I love technology.
Ryan: Yeah. I definitely have done this before, I promise. Okay, how about right now?
Ryan: Okay. There we go. We’re back in business. So just tell me when to flip.
Clint: All right. As I mentioned, we were talking about the two core buckets, pay-per-click and landing pages. Go ahead, Ryan.
Clint: Now, for those of that don’t know, pay-per-click actually has an identity crisis. It goes by a lot of different names. Call it PPC for pay-per-click. There’s also cost-per-click. SEM as some of you may know, or page search. Excuse me. Go ahead.
Now, sponsored search, if you’re not familiar with that term, sponsored search is the method of you actually going to a search engine whether it be Bing, Yahoo, or Google, and typing in a query. In the example we have here, which is a little smashed together in this format, which is unfortunate, you go to Google, type in your query. And when the results come back, you’re going to see a little ad, yellow ad reference to the left or on top of the actual page search listings. Go ahead, Ryan.
Now, the previous example was Google AdWords. This is actually Bing Ads. They’re very similar in nature. Bing’s search engine will serve them above the organic listings, and also to the right. In this example that you see, the paid ads are sitting above the natural listings. Go ahead, Ryan.
There are other ways to make pay-per-click work for you. There’s what’s called banner ads. A lot of you, I’m sure you’ve seen them. You’ve probably developed banner blindness since the inception of these, but they are an effective way to brand your insurance agency. And here’s an example of a couple different paid ads on forbes.com. Go ahead, Ryan.
And to piggyback off of the display ads, there’s what’s called remarketing. You’ve all been remarketed to whether you’ve known it or not. It’s the situation where you’ll go to a website, whether you’re shopping or looking for a service. You go visit the website. You either don’t convert or don’t finish your purchase. And then over the course of the next two weeks to a month, you’ll start to surf the web and you’ll start seeing banner ads from that exact website you were shopping on. So they tend to follow you around. It’s an effective way to stay in front of people. Well, I think, in the insurance space, this can be effective, but I will look at a more branding tool than an actual lead generator.
Ryan: So you’re saying things like banner ads and remarketing can be effective tools in maybe getting your logo or your message in front of someone. But as a device for actually generating inbound leads, maybe not the most effective.
Clint: Right. It doesn’t mean that they can’t actually generate leads. But historically, what we’ve seen, promoting events is a great opportunity where there’s an actual deadline. Open houses, I know that doesn’t really pertain to the insurance industry but that’s one way to effectively use them. But another example of maybe with remarketing is if you have your personal lines of insurance and commercial and what you can do is remarket to just people that are interested in personal lines of insurance. And that way, you can create banner ads or text ads that can speak just to that audience, the personal lines audience. And the same can be said for the commercial side. So you can really get granular with how you approach this.
Ryan: Yeah. And maybe a use for insurance agencies, if they’re having a get-together with their clients or clients and prospects, you could run them in a local area and try to maybe drive them to an event that you’re having, like a prospecting event or something.
Clint: Exactly. Exactly.
Ryan: Cool. Okay.
Clint: All right. Some of the features and benefits of pay-per-click marketing. There are some obvious ones, and we’re going to touch on those today. Go ahead to the next slide, Ryan. Geo-targeting. The beauty of PPC is that you can zero in on a specific geographic area. There are many different ways to do that. Country, state, county, DMA, city, zip code, or just plot a point and then set a radius around. In an insurance agency’s case, more than likely, you’re going to want to go with radius targeting. You set your address. And then whether it’s 20 miles or however many miles your target audience is within, you can set that up. Obviously, the benefits of really tight geographic targeting is you eliminate marketing waste within the account. Next.
Day-parting. Now, day-parting, it’s a very highly effective tool. What day-parting actually means is set days of the week, hours of that day. You can actually be specific as to when your ads are going to run. This is more than likely going to have more of an impact on the commercial side of things. If you’re catering to the construction business on the liabilities side, you’re going to want to more than likely have your ads run during business hours. Maybe 7:00 to 5:30 or 6 p.m. whenever that business is open, that’s when they’re going to be searching for your service. So it’s an effective way to concentrate all your marketing dollars into the time of day that’s going to be more effective for you. Next.
Ryan: I’m getting used to your pauses, so I’m starting to move forward.
Clint: All right. Now device targeting. In the past, it used to be a lot more effective. We used to have the ability to isolate smartphones and isolate tablets and isolate desktops. But recently, Google has decided that a desktop/laptop is the same as a tablet, and it’s caused a lot of problems in our industry. With that said, we can still isolate desktops. We can isolate smartphones from each other. The reason why you want to do that is people search differently on smartphones.
So you can really mix up your messaging, maybe route them to a different page with different messaging. Or the easiest way of all is to bypass the landing page environment that you’re going to send them to and just force them to click-to-call within the ad. That way, they can call you directly from the ad and not have to go to a landing page. So those are some of the benefits of device targeting specifically with smartphones.
Ryan: And for those of you who maybe aren’t aware of click-to-call, what Clint is talking about is on most smartphones today, if a phone number is visible, if your smartphone picks up that on-screen is a phone number, instead of actually having to dial the number, all they have to do is touch the phone number with their finger or their stylus, and your phone automatically calls.
So this is actually something that trustedchoice.com is doing. With a couple of the different ad networks that we drive traffic into our site, the mobile experience is definitely different from the desktop experience. And if you really want to leverage what Clint is talking about here, considering a different experience for the two devices is definitely something that’s important.
Clint: Yeah, and there’s actually one other huge benefit. I’m going to actually have you go back a slide, Ryan.
Clint: By splitting up your targeting by device type, over time, you’re going to come to find out that maybe smartphones aren’t converting. And when I say convert, from click-to-lead or click-to-phone call, maybe it’s not converting at a level that is appropriate for you to continue using it. So by splitting them out, you can assign each of those device types their own budget. You have far more control that way and you can eliminate a lot of that marketing dollar waste that we talked about earlier.
All right. Probably the biggest benefit with pay-per-click, specifically when you compare to SEO which is Search Engine Optimization, you control which keywords you want to show up for and you control the actual ad copy that represents those keywords. One of the actual things that gets overlooked a lot is the relevance between. And when I say relevance, I mean a tight relevance from a grouping of keywords. In this example, which is a little small so I’m not sure if you can see it. But this is actually an auto insurance quote with small sample sets of keywords, and then there are three ads that support those keywords.
Now, you want to make sure that when you do your keyword research and you start to organize them in these tight groups, for lack of a better term, there’s a synergy between the keywords, then to the ad copy. Then the next step would be to the landing pages themselves.
All right. Another nice feature, more so on the Facebook and LinkedIn side, which we’ll talk about here in a few minutes. But we talked about Google AdWords and Bing Ads being more keyword-targeted. The other two platforms, LinkedIn and Facebook, they’re more demographic-driven. And what I mean by that is you don’t have to do keyword research that represents your insurance agency. You can actually define who your audience is going to be and who’s going to see the ads that you’re creating.
So in this example, age, gender, job title is a big one specifically with the commercial side, and then household income and interest. So you can gear ad copy to those specific audiences, and it’s a great way to test. Just as a side note, as a company, we prefer the keyword-targeted method. I think we can get a much better return, but demographic targeting is a great testing platform. I highly recommend it.
Ryan: I think this is probably something that a lot of people don’t realize, how detailed you can actually get with some of this demographic data. And I think if you’re a commercial lines agent or agency and you’re listening to this and you’re saying, “This is all great. I get home and auto, but commercial accounts don’t search on the web,” if you could drill into and make sure that your ad was only showing to people who have a job title of vice president or above, so now you know the executives who may actually be making the decisions. Or even if it’s a more targeted job title in a manufacturing niche or something like that, now, like Clint has said multiple times, you can really cut a large piece of the wasted dollars out because you’ve really drilled into the exact people.
And if you’re not getting as high a volume because you’re dialed in, well then, that’s completely okay, because you know you’re getting your message in front of just the people that you really want it to be in front of.
Clint: Right. And we’re actually going to go into this in a little bit more detail, but it’s interesting. Not only job title, but the actual industry themselves, I don’t think we mentioned that on here. But on the commercial side, if you wanted to target just construction companies, you have the ability to do that, and then create ads that speak just to that particular client base or potential client base.
Ryan: Yeah. Excellent. Okay.
Clint: Actually, as we’re going through a few of these benefits and features, I think the common question is how this help your agency. And the best way to do that is to compare it with SEO. Because whether you’re actively using search engine optimization within your website as a marketing tool, or even if you’re paying an outside vendor to help with that, well if you’re not, you’re also getting some benefit by just having a website and driving traffic through those natural channels. But you lose a lot of control that way. You can only take the optimization efforts so far.
With PPC, I guess let me back up. SEO, it’s very slow. It’s like moving a battleship. Sometimes, it can actually take years. With newer insurance agencies, you’re in a very competitive industry. And the expectation shouldn’t be with your website that you’re going to show up, number one, for “Insurance agent in Ann Arbor, Michigan.” It’s just unrealistic for you to show up. And like I said, sometimes it can take actually years before you can get traction on the organic side. And conversely, PPC, you have complete control over that. As soon as your account is built out, you’re live and effectively driving traffic to your website almost instantly.
Another benefit too in how it really helps your insurance agency is that, and that’s something we touched on earlier, is the focused keywords that we target, the focused ad copy. Just taking back control over the search engine is really, by far and away, the largest benefit to this. So go ahead.
All right. Now, when we’re speaking about insurance agencies and how this helps you, I think everybody’s in agreement that the bottom line here is generating new business for the agency itself. There are a lot of different strategies to go about doing this. Do you want to choose the highest profit insurance line you have? Maybe it’s the lowest volume but it might provide that high profit that you’re looking for. Or you can look at volume. Auto insurance is an example. Lower profit margins, but there’s a never ending line of people looking for auto insurance. So that might be a strategy that’s best for your company. Or maybe just branding. Maybe you’re a new agency, you’re trying to force your way into your market, and maybe banner ads are a good place to start.
All right. I mentioned brand awareness. Now here’s an example. It might be a little small, but this is an example of a banner ad on a third-party website. It’s not in the search engine. This has nothing to do with going to Google and typing in a query. This is a banner you might see while you’re surfing the web. And in this case, it’s an actual renter’s insurance agency that they’re using banners to supplement their sponsored search efforts. So they’re taking a two-pronged approach. And in this case, like I mentioned, it’s the brand awareness piece of it. They’re getting their banners in front of people, and there’s also a call-to-action within the banner. There’s “Get a Free Quote” in orange, and that will lead them to a landing page that they can fill out a form and/or complete the quote for renter’s insurance.
Ryan: That’s a very good national renters insurance agency, by the way.
Clint: All right. So we’re going to introduce the PPC platforms themselves. We talked about this a little bit in passing, but Google AdWords is, by far and away, the largest pay-per-click platform. It actually has 67% of the market share, and that’s a keyword-driven platform. You can go ahead and flip this, Ryan. Sixty-seven percent of the market share, in comparison to Bing Ads, that’s 28% of the market share. So Google, it’s a necessary evil. They’re taking over the world. But again, it’s a keyword-driven platform. And within the platform itself, we talked about sponsored search and we also talked about the display network and banner ads. All right.
Bing Ads is a little different in the fact that it actually serves two larger search engines, Yahoo and Bing. So it’s in the Bind Ads platform itself. It’s almost a complete replica of Google AdWords. I think they tried to fight it for a lot of years and tried to be different. But within the last two years, they threw their hands up and decided that they’re just going to mimic what Google AdWords is doing. But again, 28% of the market share, keyword-driven platform.
And couple of things to note about Bing Ads, and I think it gets overlooked a lot as a viable platform, but there’s less competition because the majority of people are fighting over the actual traffic within Google AdWords. But the traffic is cheaper. And a lot of studies have proven that Bing Ads or the Bing platform, Bing search engine and Yahoo search engine, actually has a more affluent audience. A little bit older, a little bit more money, so they’re probably more apt to convert than the audience that uses Google AdWords.
Ryan: That’s interesting. I had no idea about that.
Clint: Yeah. I will say this though going back to that. It’s going to vary by industry. But in most cases, you’ll see Bing Ads have a little bit higher conversion rate. All right, some of the pros and cons. There are some serious typos here, by the way. The pros and cons of AdWords and Bing Ads, we talked about it earlier. You can get really laser-focused with your keywords that you’re using specific to the type of goals that you have from a business standpoint, like we talked about earlier, whether it’s going for the highest profit insurance line or the most volume.
So either way, having laser-focused keywords is going to be your best bet, and that’s a huge pro. And I mentioned earlier, taking back control over the search engines is probably the biggest benefit by using Bing Ads and Google AdWords.
Some of the cons. These are minor. But larger accounts, next thing you know, you have thousands of keywords and hundreds of ads that you’re trying to manage. So when you’re dealing with keywords, you just need to make sure you pick your battles. Pick what’s most important to you and don’t try to get every single keyword that you can that you think is related to your insurance agency, because it can blow up the account awfully quick and make it nearly impossible to manage effectively.
Ryan: And when you say not managed correctly, can become expensive, what I take from that is, and I know this from firsthand experience, it’s that if you don’t really know what you’re doing with AdWords and Bing Ads, you can make a lot of mistakes that can make the tools incredibly ineffective.
Clint: Right. I’d love to go deeper into that topic because that alone could be a webinar. But there are a lot of default settings out of the box when you use these platforms. Out of the box, it’s not built to be efficient. And if you’re going to manage it yourself or even rely on Google and their account team to manage it for you, the actual percentage of marketing waste is going to be very, very high. And that’s what I mean by, “It can get really expensive if not managed correctly,” because your cost per lead is going to get a little bloated. And you might come to find out that maybe because it’s not being managed effectively, you’re not meeting your target cost per lead numbers. And you’re going to give up and you’re going to think that it’s actually not a very good means from a marketing standpoint.
Ryan: Yeah. I think that this is the kind of theme that I’m taking from this presentation that really has me excited. It’s the whole idea of reducing marketing waste. There are ways of using these tools. And in some ways, I’m just kind of thinking through the process how much time and effort SEO takes and social media marketing. In some ways, when you think of actual wasted… If you think time has a value, and money obviously has a value, and you put those together, in many ways, a well-managed paid ad campaign may actually have the least waste inside it.
Clint: Yeah, absolutely. And a lot of companies don’t have the time or the patience to wait on SEO. So again, to your point, if done correctly, it can be extremely effective speaking in terms of pay-per-click.
Ryan: So I know we’re going to get onto social next. I want to quickly just jump off this and see if we have any questions. Well, we’ve got a lot here, so this is good. Let’s see here. Some of them are just that the technology isn’t working properly, but let’s see. Okay. So Clint, how do you feel about the options for bidding, specifically manual bidding versus auto-bidding options? And this comes from Carmen.
Clint: That’s a great question. It’s a really good question, actually. Now, we prefer to manually bid. Usually, what dictates that is the actual keyword volume within the account itself. If you have thousands of keywords, doing manual bidding might be a little bit overwhelming. Some of the auto type bidding that she’s referring to is you can maximize the amount of clicks within my given budget.
So if you’re looking for traffic volume, you can set some automation built around traffic volume. In our case, for insurance agencies, there’s a setting that you can set that Google will actually manage based off of conversions. So they’re going to try to maximize the amount of conversions. In this case, it would be leads, form leads, based on the current budget. The long answer is if you’re managing it yourself and you have quite a few keywords and you don’t have the time to effectively manage it manually, then I would go to more of a conversion based auto-bidding system. I guess, that’s my recommendation. But again, we as a company manually do it.
Ryan: Okay. I like that. One more question. This one comes from Rick, and Ricks says that he’s used AdWords for years until the effective insurance AdWords cost was up to around $200 per click. And his question is, how do we compete with those costs at the agency level when out of the average commission per sale, you might actually make much less revenue?
Clint: Yeah. The insurance space in general is very expensive, but you have complete control over how much you’re willing to spend per click. There is a line though that if you try to spend or drop your bids too low, that you’re just not going to compete and it might not be worth your time to continue on with pay-per-click. And that’s where maybe Bing Ads, a cheaper platform, comes into play. If you feel like you’re getting overwhelmed with the prices within Google AdWords, I would suggest moving over to Bing Ads and trying that to see if that’s a cheaper alternative for you.
But again, insurance is very expensive. And I think in the next portion of our slide decks, we’re going to talk more on landing pages and how they actually can combat a very expensive click. And if you can’t get around the expense of the click itself, then you’re going to have to send them to an environment that converts at a very high level. I think this is actually a pretty good segue, so I’ll try to answer that question a little bit more as we move forward here.
Ryan: Excellent. So let’s get back to our presentation. Okay, are we back in business?
Clint: Yeah. All right, so we’re just going to hit on a couple different platforms. And I apologize because the image, the technology problems we had earlier…
Ryan: Yeah. This is a PowerPoint presentation that I’m using in Keynote, so it’s actually my fault.
Clint: So it smashed everything together, so I apologize for that. But LinkedIn is one of the demographic platforms we talked about earlier. You set your audience parameters, your geographic area. And what’s different about LinkedIn, in this case, it’s more of a hybrid ad. You have a 50×50 pixel image and then you have your headline and your descriptions.
Now, LinkedIn is a B2B. And when I say that, it’s a business to business platform. So this is going to be ideal for commercial lines of insurance. This is where you’re going to be able to isolate the different industries that we talked about; job titles, things of that nature. So I highly recommend this platform on the commercial side.
And one thing to note, whether it’s LinkedIn or Facebook which we’ll talk about next, when you set your demographic profiles and you have an audience of let’s say 50,000 people you’re advertising to, if you don’t switch up your ad creative and your messaging, you’re going to have the same ad hitting the same people over and over and over again. So over time, your ads become less effective. So it’s really important to note that keeping things updated from a creative standpoint and messaging standpoint is going to improve performance within LinkedIn and Facebook.
Ryan: Yeah. I was going to say that has to be even more. With how visual Facebook is, that’s got to be even more important on the Facebook side.
Clint: Right. And so in this example, this is Facebook. I know its horses and not insurance, but we wanted to pull in the lens ad. There are actually two ads in this example. The camera lens that you see at the bottom is a remarketing ad. Facebook, it allows you to remarket to your audience if you need to. And then the top ad is one of your standard ads that you’ll see. But again, this is demographics. It’s more of a hybrid, which means photo and text. And the one really big thing to note here with Facebook, it’s a business to consumer platform or B2C. And promoting your personal lines of insurance, this is where I would more than likely do that within this platform itself, so auto insurance, home insurance, etc.
Pros and cons, I talked about it a little bit. The pros, it’s cheaper traffic. It’s much cheaper actually. Somebody had asked about trying to stay competitive with your bidding on Google AdWords. You’re probably going to be looking at somewhere in the $1 to $3 to $4 range with LinkedIn and Facebook. Where Google AdWords, you can actually get up into the hundreds; a little over $100. So again, much cheaper demographic control like we mentioned. Some of the cons.
I talked about the ad fatigue. That’s the actual reference to it. It’s when you have the same ad creative served in the same group over and over and over again, so performance is going to decline over time. So that’s, again, why it’s important to keep things mixed up and test different creatives and different messaging.
All right. Now, this is the second piece of our presentation here, and we’ll try to get through this as quickly as possible. But when you’re buying traffic in a really competitive industry like insurance and a very expensive industry like insurance, you’re going to want to route them to an environment that’s conducive to your business objective. And in this case, it’s lead generation.
We’re going to introduce landing pages. What a landing page is it’s an actual page. And go ahead, Ryan. You can flip this. The proper definition of a landing page is just any page that somebody lands on in the web. It’s a really loose definition. What we’re referring to is we refer to them internally here as campaign landing pages. It’s just a standalone page that the sole purpose is to convert the visitor into a lead in your case, in the insurance industry case.
So you’re going to want to streamline your messaging, eliminate distractions, and take away any friction that might interfere with somebody converting. And when I’m referring to friction, what that really means is making people take extra steps in order to convert. Make it as easy as possible. So let’s go ahead and flip this.
So here’s an example of a trustedchoice.com landing pages that we actually put together that went live yesterday.
Ryan: And this is an exclusive. This is like a release. Hopefully, none of you were targeted, but this is actually the first time that I think anyone inside the industry outside of our team has seen this.
Clint: Right. Yeah. So we’re going to go through a couple different examples here. In this case, it’s to get a quote. If you notice on here, if you were to compare this to a website, a website has navigation. A homepage of a website, for example, there’s so much going on because it acts like a traffic cop with the entire website as a whole. It’s directing traffic to different parts of your website and trying to provide as much information as it can where in this case, we’re eliminating all of that. We’re getting right down to the core messaging and what we want the visitor to do.
And in this case, it’s got a quote and funnel them to the quoting engine within trustedchoice.com. We’re setting some expectations here that the quoting only takes three to five minutes. By using it, we call them a conversion color. But in this case, we’re using the color orange to draw the eye to the area that we want them to go to. So go ahead and flip this.
Ryan: The other thing here… And sorry, before we move on, it’s like the people in the shading, they’re kind of looking at the box too. What is that called? They’re kind of looking the same way as where you want the visitor’s eye to go.
Clint: Right. The term escapes me at the moment, so I apologize. But that’s a great catch, Ryan. Any people that you’re using, you’re going to want to try to get them looking in the direction where the conversion event is occurring. The conversion event in this case is providing the zip code into the box to start the quoting process. So I guess to your point there, yeah, everything funnels into that, that conversion area.
Ryan: So on this one, the truck is pointed at the box, so the scene takes your eyes to the box.
Clint: Exactly. Now, this one is a little bit different than the previous one. Structurally, it looks the same. There’s the same Trusted Choice branding, but we’re trying to find an agent for commercial vehicle auto insurance, so there are slight changes here. But the same objective is at hand here, just to get people to enter the zip code and go right to an actual list of available agents in their area. All right.
Now, one of our clients, Gallant Insurance in Massachusetts, we’re doing some pay-per-click and landing pages for them. This one is a little different. Truth be told, it’s probably a little too busy, but this is more of a commercial landing page environment. We had to squeeze a lot of different things in here for a variety of reasons. So it’s not ideal but it’s still effective; very effective, actually. And we’re using yellow as the conversion color here to help draw the eye to what we’re trying to get accomplished. And that’s, pick up the phone and call, or to request a quote.
Ryan: Yeah, I think a good point to make here too is that I think a lot of agents are under the misconception that when you use something like this, it always is filling out a contact form. A clear goal can always be, pick up the phone. That is obviously, in many cases, probably a better conversion source.
Clint: Exactly. All right. Now, it’s really important that… And I think you’re all aware that mobile search, mobile devices, it actually has officially surpassed desktops. So it’s important to note that, for your mobile visitors, send them to an environment that is created specifically for them and their device. That’s what’s called responsive design. I didn’t include that in the deck here because I didn’t want to get too deep into things. But here’s an example of what those same landing pages look like on a smartphone. The landing page example on the right, there’s a yellow, “Request a quote” and there’s a phone number. We talked about click-to-call earlier. All you need to do is tap that phone number and your phone automatically dials to the insurance agency.
Ryan: That’s cool.
Clint: All right, next. I threw in a couple examples outside of the insurance space just to create some perspective here, but this is more or less a pole barn, farms, basically buildings. So this example is an equine building. We’re, again, very streamlined. Your messaging up top, and the obvious conversion points here are in blue. It’s the phone number and the form.
And one more example would be Red Wing Shoes. Again, phone number and form. We have our very prominent statement up top, and we’re just trying to create an environment that’s consistent from the keyword to the ad to the landing page.
Now, what’s not a landing page? I hope this insurance agency is not on the call today. I apologize for using you as an example. But if your website looks like this or you’re routing pay-per-click traffic to a page that is in the ballpark of this, you’re not going to be effective. It’s just the reality of it. It might be a waste to actually do pay-per-click. So again, this is not a landing page.
And as I mentioned, if you did see this, if you typed in a query into a search engine, found an ad that represented your query the best and you came to that environment, you would leave very, very fast. So again, it comes back to the amount of marketing waste. You want to be consistent throughout the visitor’s experience, and that experience is the query to the ad to the landing page, so it’s important just to not have any breakdowns within that chain.
Ryan: So what you’re saying is that, really, consistency through the whole process is incredibly important, because it makes the visitor, the potential client, feel like it’s very congruent. And that congruency maybe leads to trust and maybe some form of small relationship before they actually ever call you.
Clint: That’s exactly right. And because you’re consistent from one step to the other, it lends itself to a higher conversion rate. Well, actually, I’ll touch on it now. The question was, how do you compete with, by spending $80, $100, $120 a click on some of the really more competitive lines of insurance? The one way to combat the high click through rate is to send them to an environment that converts at a very high level. I know it varies depending on who does your landing pages. But if you can get a conversion rate somewhere in the 15% to 20% range, it’s really going to offset some of that high cost-per-click.
Just to put it in perspective, an actual website converts somewhere in the 3% to 6% range. So landing pages, if done correctly, can double, triple, even quadruple that. All right. I’m going to have you go back one more step, Ryan.
Clint: Now, this is actually a landing page, and I just wanted to show one more example. Somebody was using a landing page here but the execution was extremely poor. There are a lot of things fighting for your attention visually, and a lot of content jammed into a really small space. The fact that they’re using a landing page is great, but there needs to be… From an execution standpoint, you just need to lay everything out in a manner that makes sense. You don’t want to make people hunt and you don’t want to confuse them visually. So again, this is just a bad example from an execution standpoint. Just not very good.
Ryan: Yeah. And when you say that, it just means it’s confusing, right? There are all kinds of different colors and buttons and different places. I think one good point to make here is that the internet provides so much access and availability to people, that if they become confused at all, they immediately just click the “Back” button and try to find something that’s less confusing.
Clint: Yeah. I think the one word that really sums up a really good landing page is clarity.
Ryan: Yeah, I like that.
Clint: Having clarity, visually and from a messaging standpoint, is going to do wonders for you. So what’s the worst that could happen if you’re not using a really good landing page and you’re using maybe your homepage as an example? In some cases, maybe you’re not representing your brand effectively. That was the Rezin Insurance as an example. You send them to an environment that’s really not a good representation of who you are as a company. So that can be one side effect.
Or you might not have any calls-to-action or you might have too many. So all of that leads to a lack of leads. And again, I think the wasted marketing dollars has been the theme of this webinar. But when you start to see a high degree of marketing waste within the account, the attitude is going to be that maybe pay-per-click doesn’t work. And that’s the furthest thing from the truth. It’s just a matter of, again, that that chain from search query to ad to landing page just needs to be as good as possible.
All right. Now, why a landing page is not a website? I touched on it a little bit. But the website, you have general messaging. A lot of things fighting for your attention. A website has multiple goals. You might be trying to generate leads and provide information and pitching a video or a white paper. The amount of choices that are within a website, there are so many of them. Again, the landing page, from a clarity standpoint, you can keep people focused on one to two goals. And usually, those two goals are either filling out a form or picking up the phone and call. Minimal distractions, and then most importantly, the message match and the continuity from query to ad to landing page.
Some jargon that we use internally is attention ratio on a page. And I think that landing page example where it was green and it had some red and it had some yellow buttons all over the place, there are a lot of different things fighting for your attention on that page. So the Trusted Choice landing page that we showed you, we had the one orange button. That’s one focus, and it’s very easy to keep people focused on what you want them to do if you keep the attention ratio as low as possible.
Now, the most important thing with landing pages, yes, you have to spend money to get a landing page created. But if you can get two to three to four times the amount of leads versus your website, it’s well worth it and pays for itself almost instantaneously. And again, it will offset some of the high cost associated with some of the more competitive keywords that you’re purchasing.
Ryan: The other thing is too, Clint, it’s that this is probably all the marketing that we do as insurance agents. The reason that I like PPC so much is that it probably has the easiest ROI calculation of any of the forms of marketing. You know exactly how much you spend, how many people hit that page, how many people convert into business, and how much revenue you make on the back end. And you can literally tie that all the way through the process and say, “Am I willing to spend $100 to make $500?”
And then, that’s just a simple thing. At that point, you just fill the money machine up And if it keeps coming out on the other end, and if at any point, it starts to transition into where you’re not making a positive ROI, well then you just maybe make some tweaks or you dial it back a little bit. It is a very, very simple and straightforward ROI calculation on marketing spend.
Clint: Right. That’s exactly right. When we’re talking to prospective clients, we make sure that we drive that point home. It’s that pay-per-click is actually tractable down to the penny in terms of the return on the investment. Assuming that you have a landing page environment that’s separate from your website where you can keep that traffic isolated, you’re using a tracking phone number. And by doing all of that, the last bullet on this particular slide is that is that if you keep things isolated, you have that very tractable, down to the penny return.
But you can also start to use that isolated area as a testing environment. Maybe you’re going through a rebrand with your insurance agency and your tagline has changed or you want to test some messaging, that’s really a good place to do it, just to measure the audience feedback or the interaction from a lead standpoint. All right. There it is, tracking. We just talked about that down to the penny. And some of the things I just mentioned, the call tracking. Tracking, the leads coming through the form. And using Google Analytics as a platform to tie all that together from a tangible report standpoint, very important.
Where to go to effectively manage your PPC accounts? You have a lot of different choices, truth be told. You can use Google and their account managers. I don’t recommend it. We could maybe go into that in a little greater detail if you’d like. But if you’re going to choose an outside vendor that’s not Google, just make sure that they’re a Google partner, that they have case studies to show you. Put them through their paces. Don’t just assume that they know what they’re doing.
Ryan: And I’ll tell you, there are a lot of people who pitch this service, and it is incredibly important, I think, to work with a company. We obviously chose Think and Clint and his team, and we firmly believe in what they do. It doesn’t mean that anyone has to use them, we just believe in the work they do .But vet these people strongly. The people who do this work really make them show you case studies of what they’re doing. What I love is Clint has a tool. And Clint, maybe you can let everyone know the URL that actually you can go into, and gives you an idea of maybe how effective your PPC ad could be. It’s simple things like that that I think really add trust and show you that you’re going to get out of this activity more than you put in.
Clint: Right. That’s actually a great point. We do have a tool. It’s a longer URL, so I’m not going to attempt to do that right now. But you can go to ThinkSEM.com, and there’s a lead generation pay-per-click calculator that you can use. You have to input some information. It should provide a fairly accurate return on your ad spend.
Furthermore, just a real quick story. Ryan mentioned there was a… I showed a slide where there was a renters insurance company, and Ryan had mentioned that they’re really good. And we actually had a conversation with them about doing pay-per-click for nationwide renters insurance. And we went round and round and round trying to come up with scenarios to make sense, or to see if pay-per-click make sense for them. And it didn’t. And the only reason it didn’t is because, I’m sure all of you aware that renters insurance is just not a lot of profit off the top there. So we couldn’t find a scenario to where it was going to be profitable for them. So I told them that, “Pay-per-click is not for you.” And we used that tool that we were talking about to forecast that and to actually show them, “If you put this much in and based on how well you closed leads and what the average lifetime value is of those clients, it’s just not going to be a profitable solution for you.”
Ryan: Yeah. And again, that’s one of the reasons why I like Clint and his team. And the reason I said they’re great is because it’s actually my brother-in-law’s company, so I had first hand, third-party experience, where Clint probably could have sold my brother-in-law on using PPC and didn’t because it didn’t make sense financially. So I think that says something.
All right. So before we get to these five myths, we’re getting towards the end here. I want to quickly just see if anyone has any questions before we move on. Let’s see. Go through. People are sharing landing pages that they don’t like. One question Nancy asks is, “What is the best way to get started inside your agency if you don’t have an individual person to manage your SEO or PPC? What’s the one thing that you would recommend?
Clint: If you don’t have somebody on staff to handle that, definitely look for an outside vendor. I think that’s really it, just look for an outside vendor. I wish there was a better way to state that. But we talked about just a few minutes ago, if you’re going to look for an outside vendor, just make sure that they have case studies, and have worked in the insurance space so that they can prove to you that they’re worthy of your business.
Ryan: So I’m looking in the comments, and it looks like for some reason, the slides weren’t showing. And I apologize to everyone for that. The reason that I wasn’t checking the comments is because I couldn’t have the slideshow going and see the comments. We will be sending out the PowerPoint presentation so everyone will get that. I do apologize. And hopefully in the recording, the slides came through.
Clint: And worst case scenario, we can do this again.
Ryan: Yeah. I do apologize about the technical difficulties that we have. Let’s see. If there are any more questions. Basically, everyone just being frustrated that the slides weren’t showing. I hope that everyone got something out of this presentation. We’re right up at the number here, so I’m going to wrap. But we did talk about too. I think that the way that we broke this up, it actually worked really well in that we got to talk about what PPC is and how ads can benefit your business.
And then landing pages. What that does is perfectly set us up for… This fall, we’ll have the technology kinks worked out of the webinar. And this fall, we’re going to bring Clint back and we’re going to dive into… We did a lot of basic stuff here. We’re going to dive into some more 201 level stuff, some second level stuff and some strategies to actually be successful in using PPC or working with someone to use PPC can be very effective in growing your agency.
Clint, before we go, where can everyone learn more about you and your business, if they have questions about this stuff further? Or if they’re interested in potentially talking to you to handle your PPC for them, where can they find out more about you and your business?
Clint: Sure. You can go to thinksem.com or call us at 651-200-3831, and we’re more than happy to talk to you and take it from there. So I appreciate the time today.
Ryan: Yeah, no problem. Thanks, everyone. Again, I apologize for the technical snafus here, but I’ll make sure that everyone who showed up, everyone who registered has a copy of both the presentation and a copy of the video, and we’ll have that out very soon in the next couple days. And with that, we’re going to get out of here guys.