Branding: Big Opportunity, Low Cost

5 Comments Written on July 19th, 2010 by
Categories: Business

When you run a PPC campaign, how do you decide whether to use Google Adwords, or Yahoo Search Marketing, Microsoft AdCenter or, erm….Findology?

How do you decide whether to push you campaign into content networks, such as Adsense, or Facebook?

The simple answer is you should be everywhere your customers reside, so long as the ROI is positive. The Balkanisation of the web is ongoing & won’t be complete until every single person becomes a demographic.

You have to be everywhere.

And people need to remember who you are.

Why Building Brand Is The New Rock N Roll

PPC is often geared around direct sales, so doesn’t take into account brand metrics. However, PPC offers brand building opportunities that are still fabulously cheap.

The world is changing fast. To build a brand, you used to need to spend a fortune on TV, radio and newspaper advertising. There was no other way. As Gary Vaynerchuk – owner of the Wine Library – says, the gatekeepers of those channels were a handful of 70 year old guys who run the world. But they’ll be retiring soon. Or dead.

These days, you can build a brand for next to nothing. You can publish on media channels, like YouTube, for nothing. Yet the reach of these channels is huge.

Everyone can now have a brand. A brand can exist in every micro-niche. Pick your niche, no matter how small, and become the biggest brand in that niche.

Why should you focus on brand?

Brand related searches are hugely lucrative. People use brand names as starting points for their searches. Once you own the brand name, you don’t need to do as much search marketing to get traffic. People will find you directly.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, is on record as saying brand would be used as a means to clean up the internet cesspool:

Brands, he said, are the way to rise above the cesspool, and of course he is right. The corollary is that advertising via Google and its brethren is an essential way to build and sustain a brand

So, when a visitor clicks through to your site, they should always take something away with them. That “thing” could be a brand association.

Evaluate your landing pages. Do they convey a brand image, and is it easy for people to relate that brand image to your keyword niche?

It doesn’t cost much to gain this benefit. It’s a simple positioning exercise – ask “what niche am I top in?”.

Next, create a brand that is consistent with that niche, and the service you offer. Pick a strong, memorable name. Buy the .com, .net and .org, or regional variants. Own the word. Get a graphic designer to create a logo and identity, and use it consistently across all your media advertising. Become that brand. Let it flow through everything you do.

For many small internet niches, that’s all you need to do to build a brand. So long as you get in front of your audience wherever they reside, they’ll have one more opportunity to remember your brand name. Once they start searching on your brand name, you win. This lowers your advertising cost over time. You can also prevent others from advertising against your brand name, especially in PPC. This make your position more defensible.

Compare this approach with focusing solely on direct sales. You’ve paid for the click, you may still lose the sale, and yet the visitor takes nothing away with them. Your site is just another anonymous site which they’ll quickly forget.

Even a break even PPC campaign can be a big winner if you include the value of data along with the latent impact of exposure, branding & links.

Brand is now something for everyone. The benefits are huge, and it can cost next to nothing to build.

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5 comments “Branding: Big Opportunity, Low Cost”

Can you name one (offline) brand built through PPC or infact without any ATL?

Worth nothing that the above trollish comment was posted anonymously πŸ™‚

But if one was to use online advertising to build an offline brand of course they should also create a viable and lasting online presence as well. There is no point in being obscure…doing that is the exact opposite of branding. πŸ˜‰

There are many online brands which became well known offline primarily through link buying (paid search ads & organic links). Today TripAdvisor might seem like a naturally developed community, but when it was started part of how they got the network effects built up was through advertising. Another similar example is … as “cheap flights” was a popular keyword BEFORE it became a brand. Building a brand on top of the keyword *and heavily advertising it* indeed worked to build a brand that has become well known online and offline.

And at the smaller scale there is a virtually limitless number of small companies which have created brand value online through viral ideas and advertising. Have you seen the 100 million Old Spice ads on Youtube? Sure some of it was advertised offline too…but the online impressions are costing them virtually nothing (especially when compared against the cost of offline advertisements).

Great point Aaron. Brands are important and incredibly available, especially when you’re trying to attract visitors to a new offering ;). By winking I mean bidding on other brand names for your similar product or service… or am I πŸ˜‰ ohhh shit another wink.

Although listening to Gary makes me want to shoot myself. I heard the same presentation years ago at a web conference in Miami when he was first starting to get big. The truth about this world is more complex than the Vanerchuck’s of this world would have us believe (and buy and listen to their crap).

The truth is he IS charismatic and, as he immediately states in the video was given a multi-million dollar company. Now, this isn’t to discredit his work in any way, but these are huge advantages for sure.

And advantages that many of us haven’t been born with. I do have to agree too many people do “shit they hate” and are unwilling to even hear about – let alone, act on – an alternative, but the world isn’t as simple as do what you love and the money will follow.

Brand value and usefullness come from making sure you give the user a rich experience. The Old Spice ads did that in spades online but the offline viral exposure from word-of-mouth exceeded the advertisers expectations I am sure.

Great post Zach

Agree on brands being killer arbitrage opportunities. Its not hard to make 5 figures in a few days if the stars are aligned on a good offer πŸ˜€ … though perhaps its a bit more challenging to keep up those margins as competition targets the same keywords. πŸ˜‰

“I heard the same presentation”

Yeah…I saw a few of the videos and it was always “because you are at ____ you are going to kill it” … and it could be diametrically opposed audiences: affiliates, web2, etc. … and he will tell the affiliates that they are brilliant because they can monetize (and speak hate toward web2 folks for being dumb and not being able to monetize) … then he goes to the next conference & the angle switches up slightly and he promotes the group he was just lambasting πŸ˜‰

“The world isn’t as simple as do what you love and the money will follow.”

Agree 100%. Unfortunately I believed in that garbage for many years, but my wife encouraged me to find greener grass.

Merely dipping my toes into other markets made me realize that sometimes markets get distorted and the person who makes the most money is not always the person who cares the most, knows the most, works the hardest, and helps the most people.

Sure that might be a direction that the web is headed (and it might be the direction a person with nothing needs to push to ensure they make up for all the competitive advantages established business interests have).

It might be a great motivational angle to help get you up and running with your first business, but after you have some capital saved up sometimes chasing opportunity is far more profitable than chasing passion.

I say that with the rare experience of being a person with a foot planted firmly in each pond. Spent 6 or 7 years in the first pond and have realized that in the last few years I could have done more swimming elsewhere πŸ˜‰

Having wrote that, a lot of what I do feels like it is without purpose. And so the lower yielding work still feels good because there is some sense of purpose & meaning to it.

And I also agree that starting off with millions of Dollars makes it quite easy to become even more successful because you already have all that cashflow, experience, data, knowledge, and market feedback. And the guy starting from scratch has to overcome all those as disadvantages. πŸ˜‰

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