Thursday, December 15, 2005

Writing Copy of Value to Your Visitor

Of all the things I've discovered on making a living from my online work, knowing that my visitors will only stop if I have something they want, has to be the biggest money maker - by far. Yes, ad placement and colors have their place, but content of value is the most important asset you can have.

Like you, I've Google'd and found many sites that offer content. Then, researching a little more, I've found many people already using the same text. Duplication of copy offers little to the visitor searching for new and valuable content. So, scratch that. And, if you're like me, you want to find a way to provide content without breaking the bank.

So, what do you do?

You write your own. Now, this takes some time, but I can simplify the homework by providing a step-by-step formula for writing your own copy. First, it is important that you know your audience.

That's sounds so easy, no? Know your audience. Okay - how? Much depends on your target audience - and what content you are aiming to provide. For instance, we know why many daytime television "soap operas" were named such because the primary audience is stay-at-home females between the ages of 25 and 36. These people were prime for agencies selling soap. Females are largely the ones who do the laundry or wash dishes. Advertisers knew their audience.

What's different here? Nothing.

Key in on who is visiting you - where they're finding you and how. Who are you writing for and who are you advertising for. Then ask yourself these questions:

  1. In the mind of the visitor, what is the problem facing them? Your whole site should be a resolution to that problem. You should strive to know their pain, problem and predicament.
  2. What is possible? This is what you expect the scenario will be to solve the visitor's problems.
  3. Why hasn't the solution been found? Maybe they're stuck - why?
  4. What is different now? Here, find what has changed in the visitor's life that would cause them to look to you for a solution.
  5. What should your visitor do? Tell the visitor what they need to do to come up with a solution.
Every time you write copy, these points should be covered. Just think of it; if you provide a solution, or direction, then you have provided value and your visitor will benefit.

Start by asking each question and writing down a few sentences on each. Often that's enough copy to create your page. However, you will find that it mainly provides a skeleton. The next step is to simply add more meat to the story. Add detail. Some copywriters create a page or pages for each step, with links to the next step. This provides a path through the site where the visitor will be presented with more pages, thus more ad impressions for you.

So, don't believe you can't do it yourself. You have the potential to write greatness. Don't rely on someone's work that may become extremely overused very quickly. Rise to the challenge; get out the notepad or keyboard and create your masterpiece.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tweaking AdWords

In my upcoming ebook, I cover in great detail journaling everything you do with your contextual ad programs. This is so important and a tip I've never seen covered. What is nice is that in the ebook, I share with you what is important to cover and what is not. Remember, wasted time is your enemy.

Yesterday, I added a whole new site with pages about the best family resorts in the Caribbean. I released the site and created my AdWord campaign, as I teach, and today my expense to gain ratio is not in my "sweet spot". Should I panic? No.

My test cycle is 7 days. Of course, if things are going off-scale, pare them down immediately. But, always allow at least 7 days to review your numbers. At the same time, keep meticulous notes.

Basically, you are looking at a few major parameters to journal. You can print out most of these, but, you'll need to journal what you did; what changes you made. Here are a few I cover in the ebook:
  • Capitalization of words in your AdWord ad
  • Keywords and bid price
  • Keywords added or removed
  • Contextual ad placement/color/style
  • New ads added/ads removed
The better you document what you do, the easier it will be to control your campaign. Graph your earnings per ad channel. Find out which channels are strong, which are weak.

But test you must.

What do you do when you find your campaign isn't working at all? If you have your documentation (journal), it will be easier to see where the break-down is. For instance, if you see you are spending more than a third of your income on AdWords, you need to check to see if the keywords you are using actually have to do with the context on your page.

My most famous mantra is create pages of value to the visitor. The whole object is to gain a relationship with the visitor - one of trust, that you have something of value to offer. The contextual ads are simply a bonus.

When you offer context of value, the monetization falls in place and people will read your content and go on to similar interests through the ads. So, many times when your campaign is failing - check the keywords, and make sure your content is what a visitor would be looking for if they entered that keyword.

And now, as promised, some keywords for you to work with. You can grab them here, and keep me updated with what you are doing and how it's going, either by commenting here, or writing me at naplesdave