Keyword Research

How to Research Negative Keywords

13 Comments Written on May 3rd, 2011 by
Categories: Analytics, Google Adwords, Keyword Research, PPC Tools

“Negative” keywords are just as important as the ‘positive’ keywords you bid on.  Effective targeting of your Adwords campaigns requires that you put your ads in front of the right users, and keep them away from users who are unlikely to be interested in your product or service.  Many keywords have multiple meanings from niche to niche, others many apply to a particular area of your niche that your product may not want to target.

Poor broad-matching due to inadequate negatives can severely impact your keyword relevance quality scores as well as keyword-level quality scores are heavily measured based on ad click-through rates (CTR), and the more often your ad shows against irrelevant keywords, the lower your CTRs will be.

Different Kinds of Negative Keyword Structures

For search campaigns, negative keywords can be added either on a campaign-wide basis, or on an adgroup-only basis.

Here’s a good rule of thumb for which level of negative you should use:

If there’s no conceivable way that a keyword you’re adding as a negative would apply to ANY of the adgroups in your campaign, add it as a campaign-level negative.  If you only need to apply a particular negative keyword to one of your campaign’s adgroups enter it as an adgroup level negative.

Note: Negatives are not grouped into adgroups the same way positive keywords are. If you want to add a negative keyword to just one adgroup, you enter it like a standard keyword with a minus symbol (-) in front of it, and add it to the adgroup as if it was a positive keyword.

Locating Negative Keywords

Google has a pretty good idea of what keywords relate to each other.  Processing billions of queries per day, they can see patterns in what keywords are being used together, and what the searcher is looking for.

One easy way to leverage Google’s historical data on keyword combinations is by using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

For instance, if we’re advertising high-end custom car rims, we’ll want to add as negatives for products we don’t carry, or customers we don’t want (aka. people searching for “cheap”).  Additionally, we might be interested to see what additional terms Google says are commonly used in searches for our phrases (particularly when broad match goes bad).

You’re Not Going to Cover Every Negative With a Brand New Campaign

One of the most effective ways of isolating negative keywords can only happen after you’ve been running your campaign for a few weeks.  Google now provides much-improved reporting on users’ actual, exact search query.

Using the “See Search Terms” report when you’re on the adgroup’s Keyword tab can show you terms Google is incorrectly matching your keyword to.

Negative Match Types

Negative keywords can be entered with the same three match types as regular keywords: exact, phrase, and broad.

If there’s a chance that adding your keyword broad match negative (i.e. no quotes or square brackets) is going to limit your campaign’s ad impressions, you may want to get more specific in telling Google when you’re not OK with that negative.  With negatives, using the broad and phrase matching will prevent your ad from showing more than an exact match negative.

If the negative keyword is clearly off-topic, broad match is typically the best choice.

What’s your favourite method for digging up negatives?  Share them in the comments!

BREAKING: Keyword Research Shows You’re Probably Wrong

8 Comments Written on February 7th, 2011 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Keyword Research, Microsoft Adcenter

Note: This post is an abbreviated version of one of our PPCblog member’s training modules.  Not a member yet? Join Now and get instant access to reams of expert guidance and tips!

Get Ready for Some Humble Pie

Keyword research is as much about uncovering what you don’t know than reinforcing what you do.

Why is that?

Effective keyword research leads to really getting to know your prospects, which usually results in you completely throwing out your previous assumptions about what your customers want or think they want.

This can be a humbling experience as it can reveal holes in your PPC marketing strategy, both in your coverage of high-potential keywords and your landing pages.  Let’s dig into this a bit more deeply with a couple of examples…

Looking Beyond What “You” Would Do…

Many businesses approach Adwords with a pre-set list of keywords in mind, all of which are based on what they would look for if they were the customer.  The assumptions that come out of this approach can be incredibly limiting to the effectiveness and reach of an Adwords search campaign.

Why?  Because we typically jump to conclusions about whether a particular topic strain of keywords will be effective or not at bringing in paying customers.

Here’s some examples:

  • “Customers that are searching for a free product will never actually buy anything”
  • “My customers typically know my industry jargon”
  • “Customer with that particular type of problem won’t pay for a solution”
  • “My customers are well-spoken when searching online for my product”
  • “There’s nothing new in my industry that users would be looking for”

Let’s look at the first assumption: “Customers that are searching for a free product will never actually buy anything”.

Many advertisers shy away from bidding on keywords that include the term “free”, assuming the user will only accept a free solution, product, or advice.  This is typically not the case.  Searchers often start with a query or two including the word “free” even though they may be perfectly willing to accept an appropriate paid product or solution.

One of the biggest advantages of Adwords ads is their ability to redirect a searcher’s attention from organic, natural search results to an advertisement seamlessly.  This works well whether the user is searching for a competitor of yours or a free product.  Same difference.

Here’s an example:

The user may start out looking for a “free” software product, but may also very well end up clicking on and purchasing the IBM or Smartsheet products listed above the SERPs.

Actually, let’s be honest, the IBM ad sucks, so the Smartsheet ad deserves the click. The middle ad from Clarizen, highlights yet another strategy of using the word “free” but it’s a stretch given the fact that their actual landing page offer is a free trial only. One more thing to experiment with.

The big takeaway? Don’t be afraid to test out variants of your keywords that include the word “free”.

Industry Jargon & Buzzwords Are Your Friend

Next, reconsider the thinking that your customers somehow inherently know your industry’s buzzwords and jargon.  If you’re not in an ultra-specialized niche, it’s unlikely that they search for your product using the lingo you are most likely to use around the office.

Try to think past this assumption and envision the “dumbed-down” ways that your customers might be referring to your products or genre.  What would your mother call your niche or product? Stretch out and really think about how others who are not in your line of work would refer to your business, product or service.

The point here is that when you actually start digging into keyword possibilities using the tools out there right now- if you go beyond what you would personally look for- you’ll find amazing opportunities to reach customers who would have otherwise never found you.

Have you had any success testing your assumptions during keyword research? Share them in the comments!

Sometimes Broader Can Be Cheaper

6 Comments Written on January 5th, 2011 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Keyword Research

Are you completely stuck trying to get profitable on your most-desired keywords?

PPC advertisers, just like everyone else, can be susceptible to a ‘herd mentality’.  Herd mentality with PPC tends to show up when you see everyone and their dog piling on to a few select keywords that they’re convinced are the closest match and highest-converting terms.

While it may be true that those keywords are a good fit logically and contextually, they often long ago ceased to be the most profitable now that every sheep has started bidding on them.  Typically, the end result is the only party making money on the keyword is Google.

When ‘More Targeted’ Equals More Competition

But aren’t you supposed to focus on tight, closely-related keywords that show the buyer is ready to convert?

Not at any cost.  What you really need to focus on are the keywords that bring you the optimal blend of volume and ROI to actually make you money.

In many cases, those highly-specific keyword phrases just aren’t worth it, and sometimes, if you actually go ‘broader’, (not in match type, but keyword length) you can net out with higher volumes at substantially lower actual CPCs.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say I sell accessories for HTC cell phones.

In Canada, the starting cost to bid on “HTC charger” is .92 CPC, with 4 competitors already there.

Alternatively, if I simply bid on “htc”, (using the same ad text specifically for people looking for chargers) there is only 1 competitor and the starting CPC is only .59.

‘But won’t I get a crappy CTR if I bid on the broader term?’

Not necessarily.  First of all, CTR is only relevant as it relates to the other keywords in the same auction you’re appearing in.  So as long as my CTR is as high or higher than that other advertiser hocking HTC screen replacements, it shouldn’t dramatically affect my Keyword Relevance quality score, which is heavily CTR-weighted.

Additionally, my broader keyword will place me in a number of auctions I might not otherwise have found on my own, potentially uncovering some huge winners.  As actual search term performance data is gathered, I can branch out new, longer-phrase keywords that I see converting given what Google has phrase matched me against thus far.  If these have lower CPCs and less competition than the competitively-intense keywords I used to have to bid on, it’s a net win.

What About Irrelevant Clicks?

Of course, most people searching for the keyword “HTC” alone aren’t all going to be looking for a charger, so how do you mitigate cost overruns due to poor clicks?

In a word: negatives.  Adding as many negatives at the adgroup level as possible up front can dramatically decrease your chances of irrelevant clicks.  We have a fantastic training module for our PPCblog members that covers unorthodox but effective ways to dig up negatives before you roll out broader keywords, but one simple way is to use the Google Keyword Tool with your ‘broadish’ keyword and sort the results by highest global monthly searches down to see if there are any ‘land mines’ you should avoid right out of the gate.

As an added bonus, the fact that your ad is specific to chargers will tend to self-filter people not specifically looking for chargers. Alternatively, you could go a bit broader if your product catalogue supports it and target “HTC Accessories” in your ad text to catch people looking for other related items.

Does Google Like It?

‘Google would never allow my ad to stick for that broad of a query would they?’  Surprisingly yes.  Google will pretty much allow you to advertise on any contextually-relevant keywords that your CTR indicates users find meaningful.  The only way to know is to try it and see how you do. Often other advertisers have never tried going this broad on brand terms and the like, or they simply assumed it’s too untargeted to actually work.  You can exploit this competitive deficit if your controlled experiment is successful.

Does this work in every case? No.  Sometimes the broader term is actually more expensive to bid on than the more descriptive term, or your just can’t get an ad to ‘click’ with users well enough to sustain your ad placement on the broader term.  That said, it’s a great technique to try if you’re banging your head against the wall competitively and need to get unstuck.

Review: Google’s Beta Contextual Targeting Tool

Google’s new Contextual Targeting Tool (currently in beta, some accounts have it already, more will see it roll out shortly) is a fantastic way to build out quick and dirty display network campaigns.

Many advertisers build out their content campaigns using variations on the keywords used in their search campaigns, perhaps integrating a few other contextually-related keywords to round out the ‘theme’ of the adgroup, making it easier for Google to figure out where to put your ad, or simply start from scratch using Google’s keyword tool to throw together thematically-relevant keywords into new adgroups.

A Much Easier Approach For Creating Content Campaigns

Google’s new Contextual Targeting Tool however gives you an in-depth look at what types of terms Google thinks are semantically related to your core keywords and also shows you totally new branches of keywords that you might not have ever thought to look for on your own.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the tool allows you to see how Google thinks related terms should be grouped together to make successful content adgroups that they can ‘understand’ in order to place your ads on the right display network pages.

To use the tool, you select a geography and language, then pop in a few sample keywords that are most closely related to whatever it is that you’re selling on Adwords: (click images to enlarge)

The tool then returns a list of pre-made content adgroups and bid suggestions that you can add to your existing campaign, or use to create a new one:

By selecting any of the suggested adgroups, you can edit the keyword phrases Google comes up with: removing keywords that are too geo-specific, or not really relevant to the human eye, or add keywords of your own that you think would round out the adgroup even further.

For instance, in the below highlighted adgroup, you might choose to take out the references to specific states or just have one state mentioned per adgroup:

One of the most important features of this tool is that you can expand out any number of adgroups into an even deeper set of adgroups related to any of the initially-suggested groups.   (Mousing over any of the adgroups reveals an “Expand” button.)

For instance, if we ‘expand’ the initial “Cheap Car Insurance” adgroup, Google suggests a number of additional adgroups they think are deeper derivatives of “Cheap Car Insurance”:

They’ve come up with a number of great ways to expand on “cheap car insurance” including terms like “budget”, “cheap insurance forum”, “cheap auto insurance quotes” and more.  This is MUCH more easier than trying pluck these out of the standard Google keyword tool.

The Contextual Targeting Tool even shows you where, based on these new adgroups, your ads might show up, right down to the exact URL:

Seeing this in advance is equivalent to getting a sneak peek at your Campaign Placement Report before you put the campaign or adgrousp live.  What’s the value of this?  Well, first off you get to see what sites your ads could show on that are NOT appropriate, and should be added as campaign-wide negative site exclusions before these new adgroups are launched.  You may also notice some negative keywords creep in that could be added immediately as campaign-level negative keywords.

Given that we’re looking at car insurance-related adgroups you can likely spot a few sites here that don’t exactly match up to that theme:

So now we’ve got a list of nicely expanded adgroups, that can be exported directly from here into Adwords Editor where you can add text or image ads etc…

WARNING: This export to Adwords Editor feature is handy, but notice that the suggested bids from Google are also exported, and they might be a) higher than is really necessary and b) more than you’re able or willing to pay.  When you import these adgroups into Adwords Editor, be sure to go in and update the Max Content CPC you’re willing to pay so you don’t end up with a bigger than expected spend.

The Value for Search Campaigns, Quality Score & Ad Text

I’ve put together a completely new training module for our PPCblog community members that includes tips and examples on how to use this new Contextual Targeting Tool to expand search campaigns, pump up Keyword Relevance Quality Score, and tweak ad text for higher CTRs.

If you haven’t joined yet, what are you waiting for….?

Double Serve Google Ads Like a Boss

When I grow up I want to be a big brand.  You can double-serve Adwords ads to multiple domains and likely get away with techniques smaller advertisers would get insta-banned for:

Even if you eventually get caught double-serving ads, just blame it on your various agencies’ not properly communicating with each other in scheduling campaigns.

But hmmmm: they might just be onto something here if you’re a big-swinging brand: Double-dip your Adwords placements by directing traffic to your Facebook fan page as well.

There you can pitch whatever like and maybe even generate more direct sales than your generalized e-commerce ads:

The Facebook.com domain likely has a nice landing page quality rating, so no need to worry about using it as a bridge…

If you’re a small advertiser trying something like this, enjoy your “account disabled” email from Google.

Can You Really Artificially Pump Account Quality Score?

4 Comments Written on October 12th, 2010 by
Categories: Analytics, Google Adwords, Keyword Research

I’ve been debating about whether to post on this or not, as it’s pretty much giving attention to quackery, but what the heck:

There’s a persistent ‘grey technique’ that’s been mentioned offline a number of times that centers around the theory that you can artificially pump your account-level quality scores in Adwords by paying a ‘QS-tax’: bidding on and directing traffic straight through to the top Adwords advertisers that have the lowest possible (read .01c) minimum CPCs on their brand terms.

The idea works like this:

-You create a new search campaign in Adwords that has one or two keywords and one adgroup only.

-Next, bid on [expedia] or [expedia.com] in your only adgroup in that campaign. (Or any of the top Adwords spenders for that matter)

-Write an ad that exactly matches the one the already uses brand uses for it’s own search term, i.e:

expedia adwords ad text

-In the destination URL, put the site’s usual URL (In this case, www.expedia.ca) and send the traffic directly to the brand.

-Set your campaign’s daily budget to like $50/day and let it rip.

Why On Earth Would You Do This?

Why would I buy ads for Expedia and send that traffic to them for free?  The theory is that doing this can raise your entire account’s Quality Scores.

How?

Well, obviously Expedia.ca is going to get a 10/10 for the term [expedia].  And of course there’s different minimum bids for a 10/10, but in this case, you’re looking at a .01 minimum bid.  Pretty well as low a bid as you’ll ever see on Adwords.  Your CTR on the exact match brand term with the exact ad that the brand uses is likely to be in my testing about 45% +.  That nice CTR is about as good as you’ll find on Adwords as well.

Proponents of this technique suggest that the account Quality Score lift that you get from paying this $50 daily fee or “Quality Score Tax” makes it more than worthwhile.

Does It Work?

Simply put: No.  While it’s true that above-average CTR and keyword Quality Scores across ALL of your campaigns can lead to a better account-level Quality Score, artificially simulating this type of performance in your account via this technique isn’t going to move the account Quality Score needle.  It’s just not.

Unless you only have one other campaign in your account to influence upward with this approach, one campaign with one adgroup, keyword and ad isn’t going to have a significant enough impact to move your entire account up the account Quality Score ladder.

Additionally, account-level Quality Score is only ONE of a number of Quality Scores that are in effect in your account. For instance, it’s particularly important to consider that many metrics in the auction are connected to your domain itself, not just your account. Save your $50/day and spend that on keywords that actually make you money, not Expedia:)

If anyone can conclusively prove that this technique definitively moves the needle in terms of raising account-wide Quality Scores, ping me and I’ll post your proof.

Keyword Tasting: The Key to Successful Campaign Expansion

3 Comments Written on September 7th, 2010 by
Categories: Conversion, Google Adwords, Keyword Research

Domainers have long sampled domains by “tasting” them for traffic after they drop to see if they have any revenue potential before committing to a purchase. (EDIT:  My friend John Andrews pointed out that domain tasting has been over for a while, but I’m sticking with the analogy:) )

The same principle applies to PPC and can represent one of the fastest and most profitable ways to scale out your campaigns.

The “Keyword Tasting” technique is one of my favorites.  You grab a fairly broad type of keyword and toss it against the wall in a new adgroup to see:

a) is there any traffic there

and

b) can the keyword net ANY conversions.

We’re not worried about ROI at this point, we just want to see if there’s any juice there.

I typically let the tasting go on for a few days or enough time to capture enough data to get a look at the “actual search terms” in the Adwords Keywords tab.  For most of my campaigns this ends up being a few days and 300-500 clicks.

If a few conversions roll in the broad term, have a look at the specific search terms that netted the conversions and add them as an exact or phrase match to the adgroup (or add them to a net-new adgroup if you like).

If the broadish keyword doesn’t result in any conversions after a decent amount of data, cut it.  You’ve just saved yourself a ton of time going “deeper” on a keyword that most likely doesn’t have any conversion juice.

If the “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” approach results in some conversion potential and you can see via the “See Search Terms” button which keywords and match types grabbed those conversions, you’ve got some great new adgroups to expand with the foreknowledge that they can convert.

In a future post we’ll expand on the ‘wide then deep’ approach to keyword expansion.  In the meantime, why not try this out today with a new broad keyword and see if you can find any gems!

Add New Negative Keywords & Placements On the Fly

The integration of the Search Query Report directly into the Keywords tab of your Search campaigns makes it super-easy to see if your keywords or match types are picking up non-converting or irrelevant searches that should really be added as negatives at an adgroup level at least, or at a campaign level if they’re “way out there”.

It should be noted that the search queries (even in the new UI option) can take a couple of days to fully populate with results, so it’s best to look a decently-sized block of time to make sure the data is valid.

To access your search queries, go into an adgroup and select the Keywords tab and the “See Search Terms” button:

Next, if you see an irrelevant or poorly converting keyword you’d like to add as a negative on-the-fly, check the checkbox next to the keyword and hit the “Add as Negative Keyword” button:

This box then pops up allowing you to choose the match type of that negative keyword (it defaults to adding the keyword as an adgroup-level negative keyword) and you can vary your negative match type depending on how surgical you want to get in avoiding a particular keyword or phrase:

Compared to the old method of cutting and pasting from the Search Query Reports to your various adgroups, this is a MUCH easier and faster way to improve your campaign’s targeting.

Cutting Display Network Placements On-the-Fly

The same approach also works for adding negative site placements to your campaign with some small differences.

To exclude placements quickly (and with all the conversion data right at your fingertips), in your content network campaign, select an adgroup, then hit the “Networks” tab.

On the Networks tab, regardless of whether you’re using Automatic or Managed placements, you’ll see a full list of domains (or URLs) where your ads are showing and how they’re converting.

If you see a dud, hit the checkbox next to the junk placement and click the “Exclude Placements” button:


On the popup box, select whether you want to exclude the domain or URL placement for your entire campaign or only this adgroup.  Because you can often kill the golden goose in another adgroup by doing a campaign-level exclusion, it’s usually best to stick to the adgroup level and evaluate each of your adgroup’s exclusion placements on a group-by-group basis.

All in all, the consolidation in the new UI is speeding things up considerably, it just takes some getting used to:)

New KeywordEye™ Keyword Visualizer Shows Promise

3 Comments Written on July 26th, 2010 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Keyword Research, Marketing, PPC Tools

Keyword Eye LogoMatt from KeywordEye™ sent me a ping last week to have a look at a new, free keyword ‘visualization’ tool that he’s been working on for some time now and asked me to give it a look.

It’s a pretty neat concept: pulling from the Adwords API, KeywordEye™ pulls up associated keywords to your search and displays the results in a 2D or 3D ‘cloud’ format, with higher traffic keywords displayed as larger words in the cloud, and color-codes the keywords in the cloud green, yellow, or red depending on the amount of competition.

An even cooler part of this tool is the ability to view the visualized data by country, match type, and a few other variables.  As you hover over each of the keywords in the cloud you see the individual search volume (per month) for the local region selected.  Simply click on a keyword in the cloud to add it to the scratch pad on the right for export.

keyword eye screenshotClick to Enlarge

The data in the tool is no different than what Google provides via their internal Adwords Keyword Tool, but I found that the way the data is presented helps you to visualize the scope of keyword possibilities for new niches you’re looking into (particularly the 3D cloud view).

This unique way of viewing new keyword possibilities reminds me a bit of Google’s Wonderwheel, a great way of viewing things as Google does from a relational standpoint.

Give KeywordEye a spin here!

Leveraging New Keywords & Search Trends for Profit

5 Comments Written on July 8th, 2010 by
Categories: Affiliate Marketing, Keyword Research

Let’s look at a couple of useful tools for predicting fast-growing, lucrative PPC opportunities: Google Insights For Search, and Google Hot Trends.

Insights For Search

Google Insights For Search is a tool that shows you the approximate volume of searches over time. For example, here’s an Insight graph on the term “Halloween”.

As you can see, interest in Halloween is flat for most of the year, except in October, when searches suddenly spike as the celebration draws near. You can use past historical data to plan your PPC campaigns to coincide with the time when most searcher activity is focused on your niche. Whilst Halloween is an extreme example, these trends can be used in a number of ways.

One of the most lucrative ways to use Insight is to find quickly rising areas of interest. Like a bullish stockmarket graph that starts low and heads upward indicates a hot stock, the Insight graph for a hot keyword area is worth spotting early.

Look at the graph for the iphone4, or the ipad. If you can spot fast rising niches before others, by looking for sudden spikes of activity, you stand to benefit from low cost advertising and huge traffic, at least for a while.

How do you find such fast-rising graphs?

Take a look at the bottom right hand corner of the Insight result page. You’ll see a section marked “rising searches”. This section is great for spotting very fast rising trends and breakout terms relating to the keyword term you searched on. Plug these terms into your keyword tools and look for similar associations. Also research trend watching sites, consumer news sites, and newsfeeds for fresh ideas.

Another opportunity is to keep a note of news events relating to your keyword area. You can often spot these in the news headlines appended to the end of the graph.

For example, the term “double dip” – a term relating to a another potential fall in the stockmarket – is a breakout term at the moment. Terms closely related to “double dip” are also all in breakout. If you offered financial services - say stockmarket tutorials – you could advertise against such terms, and rake in the traffic. It’s unlikely you’d stumble across such terms using conventional keyword research tools.

You can also segment by country and region. If you spend a lot of time marketing in one country, you may not be aware that terminology can differ in other countries. This tool is very useful for adapting PPC campaigns to different markets.

Conversely, you can also look at declining searches. If you’re noticing declining performance in some of your campaigns, it might have nothing to do with you. The topic as a whole might show declining interest. The question then becomes: where is that interest moving to!

Google Hot Trends

Google Hot Trends is another tool to help you find rising trends, and compare one trend against another.

For example, say you promoted a celebrity site, and wanted to know which celebrities to focus your marketing around. Here’s a chart plotting the relative interest in Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Justin Bieber.

You can also look for fast trending websites. This is especially useful if you’re using the content network. By targeting fast growing sites, you gain further opportunity to put yourself in front of your audience. Again, this data might be hard to spot otherwise.

Hot Topics can be used as starting points for keyword research. Plug the Hot Topics lists into the Google Wonder Wheel to get some out-of-the-box results in terms of topic associations.

Hot Searches plots the latest hot search keywords. It’s a shame Google doesn’t offer more depth in the hot search categories. Given they only provide 20 for each day, you end up with a lot of US centric celebrity results.

Tying it All Together

Say you are not selling what is hot, how is any of this relevant to you?

Well, if your offer is broad enough (in terms of potential audience) then relevancy (and to some degree, endorsement) can be borrowed from popular people and trending topics in the news.

  • Get Acai – as recommended by Oprah.
  • Submit your information so we know where to mail your free iPad
  • Free Kanye West ringtones* of his not new song (*except not really, as your credit card will get hit for $19.99 every month until you notice)
  • etc.

A lot of affiliates operate wherever there is change in the market because the new market has not yet become efficient enough to drive them out of it. Of course you don’t have to promote the scammiest affiliate offers to make money, but you can still apply some of the same concepts & techniques to other sites in a legitimate way. Some examples:

  • Find a celebrity who endorses your product and include that in the sales copy. Maybe even create the product / service / website by building it around a co-branded strategy. Demand Media has done this with Lance Armstrong and Tyra Banks.
  • Offer a free download or white paper.
  • Be the first to review new products in your market & get some of your new products into the hands of well networked people who have loved them in the past.
  • If you own a trusted brand and give away some iPads then you should be able to come up with some promotional angle where you break even or make money on the exposure. Such strategies can be used for list building, link building, gaining awareness for a new website/product/service, etc. And you can do niche offers in niche markets.

A lot of trends can be seen in advance every year. Next year there will be another Halloween. Is there a way you can incorporate it into your marketing strategy? Other trends also lift up every year seasonally. Looking at past performance gives you a good idea of when it will become popular next year.