Avid hiker, bicyclist, motorcyclist, long-time seasoned advertising pro and taste-tester of too much organic dark chocolate. Founder of Skyworks Marketing, Nonprofit Fire and Founder/Producer of local cable TV series Our Ventura TV. One career highlight was working on a small team that built a business from nothing to over $100 Million in 3 years.
TV advertising costs can be surprising. Few things have such a cost variance as television ads. For most people, what’s not surprising is how expensive they can be. The main surprise is how inexpensive TV advertising can be. (Having said that, the least expensive options may not be the best opportunities, either).
Overall, the cost of producing a commercial can run from as little as $1,000 if you are using stock photography and a simple voice over to upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars if you need to have multiple cameras, hire union actors and filmmakers and are looking for a final look that reflects high production value.
Following are some fundamentals about TV advertising costs.
TWO MAIN COSTS OF TV COMMERCIALS
1) A TV commercial needs to be produced 2) The TV ad needs to be broadcast
If you have a fixed budget, you can spend less on the production and more on getting the message out on the airwaves. Conversely, you could spend a bigger chunk of the budget on the production of the commercial and spend less on the broadcasting. For most advertisers, the budget is dependent upon an evaluation of short and long-term business objectives.
Broadcasting costs can be as cheap as $25 for 30 seconds in a small market, or thousands of dollars in large markets. But of course, you cannot buy just one spot. Hence, you’ll be buying a package of spots. So, even on the low end, for the least expensive placements, you’ll be spending a few thousand dollars, depending upon the market.
NATIONAL OR LOCAL TV?
National TV advertising is more expensive. Although some of the biggest brands may spend millions of dollars for a 30-second spot on the Superbowl, a more routine number would be in the six-figure range for 30 seconds on national TV.
Conversely, local TV can be surprisingly economical. If you are a local or regional company and you aren’t selling a product or service to a national market, then the decision is simple: buy local TV advertising.
A local commercial on a local station at 2:00 am can run as cheap at $25 per 30 seconds. However, 2:00 in the morning may not be the best time to advertise your product or service, even though it can be inexpensive.
TV COST VARIABLES
There are a number of factors that determine the cost of broadcasting a TV ad. Such variables include:
The region it will be aired (some are more expensive)
Time of day
Day of week
Quantity of expected viewers
Length of the commercial (15 sec, 30 sec, 60 sec or a 30 min infomercial)
How frequently the spots will run
In brief, the cost of broadcasting a 30-second spot mostly varies according to the number of viewers expected to be watching it.
To throw out some ballpark numbers on the low side, which would pertain to many small- to mid-sized businesses, a 30-second time slot in a medium-sized market can be purchased for as little as $5 per 1,000 viewers.
And bear in mind that a quantity of airings is vital to measuring effectiveness. If you run a commercial just once, it’s very unlikely you’ll see any increase in sales. Repetitive broadcasting generates the viewership familiarity that will make your message memorable.
OK, yes, it’s true: there are in fact numerous errors that can be made when planning or hiring professionals for a video production. So how can only one be prioritized?
In my years of producing over 1000 videos for TV, web and social media, the #1 error that I encounter boils down to this: Someone with good intentions and influence — usually an executive or business owner — initiates a project by saying, “I’ve got a great idea for a commercial. Let’s get it made.”
Indeed, this is a source of good business for video production
professionals. And having a clear vision can make the process of
creating a video more efficient. But it’s usually ‘not’ the best way to
represent a company’s economic and/or marketing interests — particularly
Does this mean it’s always bad? No. But the odds are stacked against
any gut instincts when such may lack the experience to embrace all the
factors that make a successful video — whether that be a brief
commercial or something more substantial.
A better approach would be “We should consider video. Let’s explore this.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that one’s gut instincts or
inspired ideas should be ignored. The idea could be valuable to
informing the general concept. But it would be wiser to consider such
within the context of what you’re trying to achieve in parallel with
To put this in perspective let’s explore a few key points.
First of all, it’s common that an inspired video idea might be beyond one’s budget, which would immediately curtail the project.
Secondly, is the budget just to produce the video? Or does it also include money for broadcasting, distributing or in some way getting the video seen, whether on TV or social media?
Sure, you could post it on Facebook and YouTube for free. But if you spent any meaningful resources on the video, the likelihood that it will generate enough exposure to make the project a success is low. (Viral videos are an exception to the rule, in the same way that winning the lottery is an exception to sound financial planning).
By the way, using Facebook and YouTube as part of a strategy to get your video seen is quite relevant. But getting it viewed is only reliable if you are “paying” to put it in front of the right viewers on YouTube and Facebook, not just posting it online.
Thirdly, if the video or TV commercial is intended to be used as part of a sales strategy, the idea of “return on investment” becomes a factor, and here the variables can become capricious. (Good news follows below in this article regarding how to make the ROI more predictable).
It could be argued that this next point should also be under the
heading of “budget,” since the lack of a strategic vision, all in
addition to a video vision, could contribute to inefficiency and waste.
Nevertheless, its singular importance deserves its own heading.
You can ignore this if you are a marketing professional since it’s so obvious you would not overlook it. But I’ve observed this to be true even with business executives who achieved a certain level of success in the past through their inherent marketing savvy. You could say they allowed their own enthusiasm for a video project to eclipse the fundamental context of their existing marketing strategy.
Stated another way, does one’s “inspired idea” or “gut instinct” for a video actually align with any existing company messaging?
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, your video or TV commercial should align with your current marketing materials so that all your messaging presents a unified presentation.
Unless, of course, a whole new campaign is envisioned, which would
then include new messaging for your website, newsletter, printed
materials and other advertising. Specifically, if you decide you want to
go after a younger demographic by making a commercial or promotional
video series targeted to the younger generation, but your website and
messaging is written for a different demographic, then the dissonance in
your strategic implementation will reduce the effectiveness of your
“OK,” you may say, “That’s too obvious.” And so right you are. But let’s get a little more nuanced.
Let’s say you’re a tech company and your website and existing promotional materials all emphasize your cool hardware. But you are inspired to explore a “more human approach” to your company’s presentation by emphasizing the benefits of your products or services over and above the technology, by conveying a touching story. Such is fine and opportune as a vision. But it should also be represented on your company website in pictures and words as well as any other marketing channels in use. Not just in the video.
Video is such a potent way to convey messaging that a one-off production that does not fit into a broader strategic plan is rarely going to be as effective as one that fits into a holistic strategy for your entire business or nonprofit.
MESSAGE AND VIDEO TESTING
OK, this next point is not without controversy to smaller businesses,
even though its merits are inarguable. It’s just that its value becomes
even more important as your budget becomes more meaningful.
A core problem that many small and medium-sized businesses have is related to strategic implementation — or more specifically, lack of strategy to begin with. In my experience, a number of businesses view marketing and advertising as “let’s try this and see if it works.” Given that as a starting point, always bet that it won’t work and you’ll be living a lavish life versus anyone who would bet against you.
Of course, it could be argued that such an approach is the result of business owners or execs being too busy to understand that every marketing channel, whether that be email marketing, display advertising, search marketing, commercials or any type of video promotion, has its own factors that should be respected for optimum results.
The good news is that your marketing/advertising ROI can be optimized. As well, your strategy can be informed and refined by data. That data needs to be derived by message testing, which is a disciplined comparative analysis of how to represent your own products or services.
In practice, there is much that can be known about this topic. But to keep this brief for any reader unfamiliar with the subject, the idea of testing is to present multiple ads or messages at the same time (to different viewers) for comparison. Always present at least two. Online, it’s relatively simple to test many different ads at one time, which are swapped out in real-time to different viewers. In other words, viewer “A” sees one ad or message and in the same instant viewer “B” can be shown a different version of the same ad. The marketer then analyzes the data to determine which ad or message generated the most desirable response. The ad with the best response becomes the “control” ad and then new ones are compared against that to find an even better-performing control message.
Not only can this testing be done with multiple videos, but it can be done before you produce any video at all. By testing messaging via simple online text ads, you are then better informed to approve video scripts that you already know will perform better. (Read “better return on investment”).
And then after you get to to the video production, you can create inexpensive variations of your video messaging to further refine performance. For example, sometimes you’ll find that a woman spokesperson will perform better than a man. Other times, it’s the opposite. Sometimes an older actor will engender more response, sometimes younger. Sometimes it’s obvious. For example, if you are selling to a mature or young demographic it’s best to feature those kinds of people in your video. Other times it may not be so intuitive. For example, you may be targeting grandparents by featuring young children who would represent the viewers’ own grandchildren for the purpose of selling children’s toys or clothes or other gifts, for their grandparents to purchase.
Although testing is an ironclad path towards greater video performance, as well as more effective marketing, advertising and messaging in general, the argument against it, typically for small businesses, is that it takes longer and costs more. That can’t be ignored. It does take more time and resources. But when done well, the whole point is to generate a higher ROI on your marketing and video-messaging investment.
Testing is how you can build more predictability into your ROI. And by the way, in some cases, testing inexpensive online text ads before moving to video may demonstrate early on that your gut instinct for a great video doesn’t seem to generate the positive traction you were desiring and you may determine to “not” produce the very vision that initially inspired this exploration.
Testing is not only the path towards more effective video production. It’s the path towards marketing and advertising success.
Of course none of the above deals with the details regarding pressing
“record” on a video camera. For those familiar with the overarching
three phases of the video production process (pre-production, production
and post-production), the above would be categorized as planning and
A briefer statement regarding the #1 error in commercial video production would be neglecting that the more you invest in strategy, pre-production, and especially message testing, the better your ultimate results.
In 1962, Time magazine called David Ogilvy “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.” In this 7-minute “We Sell or Else” video, Ogilvy discusses his “Secret Weapon” of Advertising.
David Ogilvy Video Transcript
I wish I could be with you today in the flesh, as they say, unfortunately I’m in India. Ever been in India? It’s very hot. If you don’t mind I’m going to take off my coat.
You know in the advertising community today, there are two worlds, your world of direct response advertising and that other world, the world of general advertising. These two worlds are on a collision course.
You direct response people know what kind of advertising works and what doesn’t work, you know to a dollar. The general advertising people don’t know. You know the two-minute commercials on television are more effective, more cost-effective than ten second commercials or thirty second commercials. You know that fringe time on television sells more than prime-time. In print advertising, you know that long copy sells more than short copy. You know that headlines and copy about the product and its benefits sell more than cute headlines and poetic copy. You know to a dollar.
The general advertisers and their agencies know almost nothing for sure because they cannot measure the results of their advertising. They worship at the altar of creativity, which really means originality, the most dangerous word in the lexicon of advertising. They opine that thirty-second commercials are more cost-effective than two-minute commercials. You know they’re wrong. In print advertising, they opine that short commercials sell more than long copy. You know they’re wrong. They indulge in entertainment, you know they’re wrong. You know to a dollar, they don’t. Why don’t you tell them? Why don’t you save them their follies?
For two reasons; first because you’re impressed by the fact that they’re so big and so well paid and so well-publicized. You’re even perhaps impressed by their reputation for creativity whatever that may mean. Second you never meet them. You inhabit a different world. But the chasm between direct response advertising and general advertising is wide. On your side of the chasm I see knowledge and reality. On the other side of the chasm, I see ignorance. You are the professionals.
This must not go on. I predict that the practitioners of general advertising are going to start learning from your experience. They’re going to start picking your brains. I see no reason why the direct response divisions of agencies should be separate from the main agencies. Some of you may remember when television people in agencies were kept separate wasn’t that idiotic? I expect to see the direct response people become an integral part of all agencies. You have more to teach them than they have to teach you. You have it in your power to rescue the advertising business from its manifold lunacies.
When I was 25, I took a correspondence course in direct mail. I bought it out of my own pocket from the Dardnell Corporation in Chicago. Direct response is my first love and later it became my secret weapon. When I started Ogilvy & Mather in New York, nobody had heard of us. But we were airborne within six months and grew at record speed. How did we achieve that? By using my secret weapon, direct-mail.
Every four weeks I sent personalized mailings to our new business prospects. I was always amazed to discover how many of our clients had been attracted to Ogilvy & Mather by those mailings. That was how we grew.
Whenever I look at an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper I can tell at a glance whether the writer has had any direct response experience. If he writes short copy or literary copy it is obvious that he has never had the disciplines of writing direct response. If he has had that discipline, he wouldn’t make those mistakes.
Nobody should be allowed to create general advertising until he has served his apprenticeship in direct response. That experience will keep his feet on the ground for the rest of his life.
You know the trouble with many copywriters and general agencies is that they don’t really think in terms of selling. They’ve never written direct response. They’ve never tasted blood.
Until recently, direct response was the Cinderella of the advertising world. Then came the computer and the credit card. And direct marketing exploded.
You guys are coming to your own. Your opportunities are colossal.
In the audience today, there are heads of some general agencies. I offer you this advice, insist that all your people, creative, media, account executives, that they’re all trained in your direct response division. If you don’t have such a division, make arrangements with a firm of direct marketing specialists to train your people. And make it a rule in your agency that no copy is ever presented to clients before it has been vetted by a direct response expert.
Ladies and gentlemen, I envy you. Your timing is perfect. You’ve come into the direct response business at the right moment in history. You’re on to a good thing. For forty years, I’ve been a voice crying in the wilderness trying to get my fellow advertising practitioners to take direct response seriously.
Today my first love is coming to its own. You face a golden future!
After 1984, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminated regulations to govern the commercial content of television, infomercials began to proliferate the late-night airwaves because they were cheap to make and proved to be a highly profitable media, selling anything that could be easily shipped.
In fact, infomercials became so profitable that more and more money poured into the industry and by the dawn of the 21st century, big brands started pumping money into the infomercial profit party in a much bigger way. This raised the profile of the infomercial industry as a whole, and furthered the acceleration of rising rates.
Having been involved with some of the most successful infomercials, I have observed that infomercials, as an advertising media, have matured in a way somewhat analogous (although not nearly as fast), as what has happened in the Pay Per Click advertising channel. As PPC became a successful advertising model, over the years advertisers have driven up PPC costs.
Further, the level of sophistication in PPC strategies to stay profitable has also increased.
In a similar way, the costs and risks associated with creating and testing infomercials have skyrocketed since their humble beginnings.
And yet, the investment to test for sales potential via PPC is less than TV.
So, when someone asks me if they should produce an infomercial, rather than delve into the relative merits of their product or service and how broad the demographics are for the market that buys it, I simply ask “How much testing has been done through less expensive media?”
When that has been refined and scaled up to optimize the response and profits, enough marketing data will be gained to determine what are the best keywords and messages that underlie this product’s success. And all that data will be very important as a research basis for scripting and producing an infomercial TV “test,” to see how it would do on a limited trial basis as a TV advertisement.
There is much more to know about creating infomercials, but the simple answer about whether you should create an infomercial for your product would be based upon how well it’s selling on the Internet and using the supporting data to help evaluate a translation to TV.
Stated another way, for most business persons, the question about whether a product would be successful as a national infomercial shouldn’t even be considered until it’s been tested online and then tested in smaller geographical regions on TV.
As an example, in the 1920’s, the Ponzi scheme (bogus investment swindle) was a notorious way to bilk individuals from their savings. However, the idea of that specific scam goes back earlier, to 1857, when Charles Dickens described it in his novel Little Dorrit. Back in 2008, Bernie Madoff became the operator of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, a testament that old ideas can be given a fresh suit to steal from people anew.
Of course criminal behavior goes back much earlier than Charles Dickens depicts. One of the Ten Commandments (“You shall not steal”) is indicative of how long criminal acts have been problematic to Mankind.
Nowadays, a modern way for criminals to put on a new suit is by cloaking themselves behind the Internet.
Examples of Internet Scams and Fraud
The list of ways that theft is perpetrated via the Internet is seemingly endless.
The FBI maintains a website resource of Internet Crime Schemes and how to avoid such. The FBI notes a whole bunch of common categories of Internet fraud. Here are a few:
Internet auction fraud
Non-delivery of merchandise purchased from websites
Credit card fraud
Nigerian Letter Fraud
That last is so well known as an example of Internet fraud that the FBI lists it on the same page as its own singular category. Although it has been bilking individuals of their savings “online” since the 1990’s, the scam goes back decades earlier in the form of direct mail and faxes.
Many scams can be identified with the simple admonition, “if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Most work-at-home scams could be avoided by simply respecting that age-old common sense.
A work-at-home scam usually involves a victim who is lured by a home employment offer to do some simple task for a disproportionate compensation. The true purpose of such an offer is for the perpetrator to extort money from the victim, either by charging a fee to join the scheme or requiring the victim to invest in products whose resale value is misrepresented.
To be sure, there do exist legitimate work-at-home opportunities. Many people do, in fact, work in the comfort of their own homes. But anyone seeking such an employment opportunity should be wary of accepting a home employment offer and apply due diligence, common sense and the following advice from the Justice Department.
Protect Yourself from Internet Scams
Internet fraud is common. And even though “auction fraud” is one category listed by the FBI, the vast majority of purchases made via auction sites, such as eBay, are fairly transacted. In other words, only a small percentage are fraudulent. The same is true for business fraud and online credit card transactions in general: the vast majority of purchases made over the Internet are transacted fairly.
The US Justice Department lists a number of ways to avoid becoming defrauded, including:
Being Careful About Giving Out Valuable Personal Data Online
Being Especially Careful About Online Communications With Someone Who Conceals His True Identity
It’s been about thirty years since I read the original text by Al Ries and Jack Trout and I just finished reading the 2001 version. It’s a classic marketing book. Here are a few tidbits from the book.
Positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect.
Positioning as an organized system for finding a window in the mind. It is based on the concept that communication can only take place at the right time and under the right circumstances.
The basic approach to positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what’s already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist.
Advertising is not a sledgehammer. It’s more like a light fog, a very light fog that envelops your prospects.
In the communication jungle out there, the only hope to score big is to be selective, to concentrate on narrow targets, to practice segmentation. In a word, “positioning.”
The best approach to take in our overcommunicated society is the oversimplified message.
In communication, as in architecture, less is more. You have to sharpen your message to cut into the mind. You have to jettison the ambiguities, simplify the message, and then simplify it some more if you want to make a long-lasting impression.
If you have a truly new product, it’s often better to tell the prospect what the product is not, rather than what it is.
To find a unique position, you must ignore conventional logic. Conventional logic says you find your concept inside yourself or inside the product. Not true. What you must do is look inside the prospect’s mind.
In a product ad, the dominant element is usually the picture, the visual element. In a service ad, the dominant element is usually the words, the verbal element.
The solution to a positioning problem is usually found in the prospect’s mind, not in the product.
Trying harder is rarely the pathway to success. Trying smarter is the better way.
Never be afraid of conflict.
An idea or concept without an element of conflict is not an idea at all.
With a given number of dollars, it’s better to overspend in one city than to underspend in several cities. If you become successful in one location, you can always roll out the program to other places.
With rare exceptions, a company should almost never change its basic positioning strategy. Only its tactics, those short-term maneuvers that are intended to implement a long-term strategy.
Creativity by itself is worthless. Only when it is subordinated to the positioning objective can creativity make a contribution.
Objectivity is the key ingredient supplied by the advertising or marketing communication or public relations agency.
To be successful today in positioning, you must have a large degree of mental flexibility. You must be able to select and use words with as much disdain for the history book as for the dictionary.
Language is the currency of the mind. To think conceptually, you manipulate words. With the right choice of words, you can influence the thinking process itself.
The first rule of positioning is: To win the battle for the mind, you can’t compete head-on against a company that has a strong, established position. You can go around, under or over, but never head to head.
In our overcommunicated society, the name of the game today is positioning.
Is there anything better for your business than Pay-for-Performance leads and sales?
Pay-for-Performance means you’re getting the highest return on your marketing and advertising dollars.
We’ve helped one business grow from nothing to over 100 million dollars in three years through online marketing, direct mail and national TV advertising.
How far can your business expand?
We are an exceptional and uncommon marketing agency that develops customized sales funnels for businesses and then fills those funnels with prospects via marketing and advertising campaigns to drive you more leads and sales.
If you’re a cost-conscious, savvy business leader looking to take your revenue to the next level, then you should visit SkyworksMarketing.com
We offer brief advertising trials for qualifying businesses to assess the potential for a future win-win partnership.
You get real-time prospects and/or sales that are exclusively for your business and no one else.
You get a partner that is simultaneously testing, optimizing and managing all the advertising to keep your funnel full, while constantly seeking new ways to get more prospects into the funnel.
You get an award-winning video production team to get your message out to the world, whether online, on TV, or both.
You get advertising on Google, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, LinkedIn and other platforms, depending upon what’s best for your products or services.
Furthermore, as the partnership matures and proves itself, you’ll benefit from our offline marketing as well, such as direct mail, print ads, radio and TV. You’ll even receive ongoing content development, including graphics, articles, videos, TV commercials, along with auto email sequences and website development.
You’ll also benefit from artificial intelligence and data science expertise to help tune your product or service offerings, and to inform new upsells, cross-sells and future product suggestions. In other words, we use artificial intelligence to help your business grow much faster and more effectively.
And of course starting from Day 1, you’ll get continuous development of new ads to drive new leads and new sales.
In brief, freelancers are usually less expensive than an agency. As well, often you could expect a larger commitment from a freelancer than an agency. On the other hand, you can anticipate more diversified experience from an agency, relative to a freelancer. However, such is not always the case with freelancers or agencies. Like anything else in life, buyer beware.
PPC Freelancers Based on Price
The rates that a PPC freelancer charges are not the only factors to consider when hiring. But generally speaking, a more expensive freelancer has more experience. It’s a good idea to check references. But even so, it’s important to ensure there’s communication compatibility. This is a position that is key to the very lifeblood of your existence: generating leads and sales for your business.
Here are some approaches to consider when evaluating pay rates.
a) Hiring an inexpensive and inexperienced PPC freelancer is the most unpredictable. It would be more acceptable if you are very experienced with PPC yourself and can closely scrutinize the details of their work.
b) Hiring a PPC freelancer with mid-pricing is less risky than hiring the least expensive resource. You should expect they’ll be able to follow your instructions. Although you’ll still need to scrutinize their work to confirm the job is being done per your requirements. But it’s a good bet that any required modifications will be done swiftly and competently as your needs come more info focus, from their perspective. Hiring a mid-tier PPC freelancer can be most workable if you are trying to save money compared to more expensive resources. Nevertheless, later on, you may still want to try a more expensive PPC freelancer to see if your PPC performance can be further improved.
c) In an ideal world, hiring the most experienced PPC freelancer at the top of the price range will generate the best results — at least in terms of seeing how effective the PPC advertising will be. But an ineffective marketing and sales funnel will not be made profitable by PPC alone (more on that below). Also, hiring the most experienced/expensive freelancer is a particularly good idea if you are not sufficiently experienced with PPC advertising and can benefit from more informed guidance. In other words, the less you know, the more expertness and experience you should hire.
Having said all that, the focus of this article is not on whether you should hire a freelancer versus an agency, or what approach to use when making hiring decisions; this is about how to make the overall experience more valuable and profitable after you’ve made the hire.
Marketing and Sales Funnel
In this article, when referring to Marketing and Sales Funnel, I mean the online evolution of:
Raising awareness in the minds of potential buyers that your product or service exists
Becoming a candidate in their decision process
Closing the sale
PPC Search vs PPC Display
There’s a lot one can learn about PPC advertising. For the purpose of this presentation, I’m going to overly simplify PPC into two general categories of “Search” and “Display.”
Search PPC is getting your ads in front of people who are searching for your product or service right now. If someone is searching for “red shoes” and they click on your ad about “red shoes,” then your PPC ad did a good of targeting the right prospects. Now, of course, just because they clicked your ad and went to your website, does not mean they will buy your red shoes. But the point is that with this kind of search PPC ad, you are able to get in front of potential buyers right now.
Display PPC is a different animal altogether and it’s what most of us are already familiar with because we see them almost every time we go online — whether we want to or not. We may not be searching for red shoes. Instead, we might be reading a sports article or a new recipe. However, we may also see an ad for red shoes. In this case, the display ad is hoping to take us away from the content we are consuming to visit their shoes. Display PPC is not as effective as Search PPC. There’s also a substantially larger pool of placements for an advertiser to get their message out to a broad public via display than search. For both these reasons, display ads are less expensive than search ads.
Both search and display advertising have their respective merits. Your business might benefit from one more than the other, but many businesses benefit from using both, particularly for different parts of the marketing funnel.
About Retargeting and Remarketing
Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your product or service in front of visitors after they leave your website. For the majority of websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting is designed to help businesses reach the 98% of users who did not convert right away. Retargeting allows you to strategically position your ads in front of these audiences on other websites they visit later to remind those past visitors about your brand and/or to make a purchase.
PPC Marketing and Sales Funnel Advertising
PPC advertising is often only one part of an overall marketing funnel. But different PPC campaigns can target different parts of the funnel. For example:
“Top of the Funnel” campaigns are about introducing potential buyers to your products or services. Although display PPC or search PPC can be used here, if there’s not enough search ad volume, you can find more robust volume via display ads. And “what” is being advertised might be content that is relevant to the type of prospects who would buy your product. For example, if you sell financial services, you might promote financial “How to” guides to get in front of potential prospects.
“Middle of the Funnel” campaigns are intended to insinuate your offering into the potential buyers’ decision process. Depending upon the product or service and market, these types of ads might be directed to more detailed descriptions of your product or service. To continue the above example, if you are promoting financial services, you might direct retargeted ads to those who got your “How to” guides to direct those prospects to detailed information about your financial services.
“Bottom of the Funnel” campaigns (often remarketing and retargeting) are intended to generate sales. These have a call to action and often some type of special “Buy Now” offer. And just like ads for the other parts of the funnel, you’ll want to test many variations to find better-performing messages.
Many business owners want to focus on bottom-of-the-funnel advertising. If that works for your product or service, by all means, do it. On the other hand, unless you have an inexpensive product and known brand, many prospects will need to see your ads multiple times before they’ll buy from you. Hence, the whole idea of providing different PPC ads to different types of prospects is to make your PPC advertising more effective and provide more value for the same expenditures.
PPC Freelancers vs Marketing and Sales Funnels
For some businesses, PPC may be the primary means of generating traffic and sales. Nevertheless, it’s still only a part of the entire marketing and sales funnel.
PPC freelancers are generally not hired to inform your overall marketing strategy. They focus on the platforms themselves, whether that be Google Ads, Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, Amazon Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s the industry norm.
To underscore the obvious, a PPC freelancer or agency is only one part of a solution towards making your sales funnel more effective. What this boils down to is if you are hiring someone to administer your PPC, ideally you would also be savvy enough with PPC and marketing yourself to maximize the value of the partnership.
If your marketing and sales funnel is already well-optimized, then the PPC advertising will amplify your sales, as long as the cost-per-conversion is profitable. But if you don’t have an efficient funnel and offer, then the PPC will result in more traffic but the conversion costs will run in the red. (Even so, the PPC may still be desirable in a number of businesses, since the financial loss on the initial conversion may be surpassed by the percentage of buyers who make further purchases after they become a customer).
PPC Opportunity – Use the Data!
It’s a wasted opportunity if a business owner or marketing manager is not using the PPC platform data to inform improvements in the overall marketing strategy and sales funnel (not just the PPC strategy). Yet, in most cases, it’s not the freelancer’s role to consult the business owner about overall strategy or the business sales funnel, even if/when the freelancer or agency is aware of such.
As a simple example in another field, if you were hiring a company to execute your direct mail campaign, in most cases, you wouldn’t expect them to also inform your strategy or even your copywriting. Their job is to print the letters, stuff and stamp the envelopes and get the mail to the post office. In many cases, they aren’t even qualified to discuss strategy or copywriting — that’s simply not their job.
As a comparison, any PPC freelancer or agency should, of course, be technically qualified to interact with the details of their respective platforms. But that does not suggest their expertise extends outside the platform itself. For example, a common suggestion PPC freelancers or agencies may make when asked about increasing ad performance is to “spend more money.” Although that may generate more traffic and sales, it may also be contrary to the best interests of your business if it’s not going to increase ROAS (return on ad spend).
A more meaningful suggestion would be “Look, we’re spending 30% of your PPC budget on a product that is only generating about an 8% response. If we move that budget to the higher converting products, we’ll see a better ROAS.”
As a business owner, you may say, “Thanks. Let’s do that right away.” Or, on the other hand, “Yes, I see, but that 8% response is for our highest-profit product.” In the latter case, dedicating 30% of the budget to a lower PPC performing product may be a perfectly valid business decision. In certain cases, it might even be worth increasing that part of the budget, regardless of the lower response, if it’s making more money.
Additionally, significant data is available from the PPC advertising that can inform your overall marketing: such as demographics, geographic locations and keywords used by those who engage with the ads. For example, what if you’re selling motorcycle jackets and you find that 20% of your buyers are women but all your messaging is targeted to men? Or what if you are marketing consulting services to divorced parents and the PPC data reveals a significant percentage of respondents are also using legal keywords as a basis of their search and you barely mention this part of your service on your landing page? These represent important opportunities to change your marketing strategy and sales funnel. In the former, you would be wise to set up special landing pages for women with photos of women wearing the jackets. In the latter, you would be wise to expand the messaging of your legal-related services and test specific ad campaigns and landing pages targeted to those visitors.
Greatest PPC ROAS
The greatest ROAS re PPC expenditures can be derived from adjusting the overall strategy and sales funnel, not merely optimizing the logistics and details of the ad platform. (Although, of course, optimizing the on-platform PPC performance is mandatory).
The strategy and sales funnel (as well as PPC) may be best viewed as a living, dynamic entity that needs continual maintenance, evaluation and optimization, as opposed to something that is left on automatic.
For example, the best PPC technicians are worth their weight in gold because they may be able to generate a few percentage points better ROAS than someone who is competently experienced but not at the highest echelon of PPC performance.
Companies spending enough advertising money recognize it almost doesn’t matter what the high-level freelancer charges because the improved performance surpasses the money the advertiser would save on someone less experienced.
Regardless, the biggest gains are on the over-arching advertising/marketing strategy and funnel, not the PPC logistics.
Hence, you can hire the best PPC expert in the world and lose money if the PPC expert is only focused on maximizing the platform value of driving traffic to the funnel rather than leveraging the data to optimize the funnel. (Again the former is typically all they are expected to do. It’s YOUR responsibility to strategically leverage the data).
In other words, the existing funnel may simply not provide enough opportunity. Furthermore, the PPC expert is typically not getting paid to consult the business owner on sales funnel points, even when the PPC freelancer is aware of them.
You can derive much greater value and ROAS when hiring a PPC expert if you personally are:
1) Experienced enough to provide optimal instructions and know when the instructions are being followed, or not.
2) And most importantly, able to evaluate the ongoing PPC data yourself.
Unfortunately, that’s not practical or real for many business owners and it’s an understood fact by the freelancers. Hence, the overall value of the partnership with your PPC provider may be lower.
You need a well-conceived marketing and sales funnel and it needs continual optimization. And the PPC metrics are a source of important data that can inform the sales funnel and strategy, not just the advertising on the specific platform.
Whether the PPC advertising is successful or not is relative to how much it costs to keep a stream of traffic flowing through your funnel profitably, while continuing to revise and optimize the ads and funnel before consumer response begins to lag while going through natural longer-term performance cycles.
A PPC freelancer or agency represents a partnership between the PPC platform and your own website and strategy. But the PPC platform can provide more value than just the PPC itself if you harness the data that it’s aggregating each and every day while you’re paying for advertising.
For Google Ads, this means you should have access to the online Google account controlling your ads so you can regularly analyze the data. For Facebook advertising, the Facebook Ad Manager is where you will gain the available info. For every other PPC platform, there is a respective interface to monitor analytics.
Log into them.
Look at them.
If you use the metrics, your marketing and business will benefit from more than just the PPC advertising itself. It’s part of what you are paying for on a PPC platform, so take advantage of it. Furthermore, it will provide more value in your relationship with whoever is managing your PPC.
Need a Pay-for-Performance (P4P) advertising partner to accelerate your business growth?
We’re looking for win-win partnerships.
Synopsis: Pay-for-Performance (P4P) Partnership Process
What We Don’t Do
What We Do
Data Science & AI
P4P Trial Selection Process
2-Week P4P Trial
90-Day P4P Trial
The basic appeal of a Pay-for-Performance partnership is that instead of paying for marketing and advertising services that may or may not generate enough leads and sales to justify the cost, you pay for marketing and advertising performance: usually leads or sales.
As ideal as a Pay-for-Performance business partnership can be — when you can find such an arrangement that provides significant leads and sales — there are two operative words: “business” and “partnership.”
In other words, the risk/reward needs to make business sense for each partner.
What We Don’t Do
Because there are a number of different Pay-for-Performance opportunities in the world, one way to describe what we do at Skyworks Marketing is by first highlighting what we are not:
We’re not providing names and addresses from an existing database so that you can cold call them.
We’re not an affiliate agency.
We’re not advertising a generic service and sending the leads to multiple lead buyers.
Those services are fine for a number of businesses. But it’s not what we offer.
What We Do
We create custom sales funnels and provide the ongoing advertising to generate real-time leads and/or sales exclusively for your business and no one else (and later, we may use content marketing).
Stated in more detail, we provide full-service, customized sales funnels, developed specifically for your business, while simultaneously testing, optimizing and managing all the advertising to keep the funnel full, and at the same time seeking new ways to get more prospects into the funnel.
We take advantage of online advertising media, such as:
We also use offline media as well, such as:
Furthermore, we generate ongoing content, including:
TV commercials (when pertinent)
Creating/managing auto email sequences
The purpose of all this is to drive and nurture leads and sales for your business.
Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
Through data science and artificial intelligence, we provide metrics and expertise to help tune your product or service to generate even more impactful results.
With this data, in time we provide insights into potential upsells, cross-sells and new products that can help your business grow faster and more effectively.
Primarily, we use data science and artificial intelligence to lower ad costs and increase ad performance.
The longer we run the ads through the sales funnel, the more data we generate, and the more effective the advertising becomes.
This type of marketing and advertising requires labor, experience and expertise.
Whether we establish a partial or 100% pay-for-performance partnership, we want to be confident that the business we are promoting has a high closing ratio to turn leads into sales and provides good products and services.
A 2-week trial is our primary test to determine a good fit for our potential Pay-for-Performance partners.
However, this trial isn’t automated, nor is it a system where the labor is executed on your end. There is real human effort executed on our end to launch and manage a trial.
Hence, here’s the catch: We can’t offer a P4P partnership, or even a trial, to everyone who desires such. We need to determine the potential for a longer-term opportunity first. That means you’ll need to fill out our (free) P4P application to provide some preliminary information. Your part is easy.
On our end, your application will be manually reviewed and often research will be conducted to assess the opportunity.
P4P Trial Selection Process and Qualifications
There are two general categories of information we assess when evaluating whether we will offer a trial to a potential partner.
THE BUSINESS ITSELF (including competition)
THE KEY TEAM BEHIND IT
Our ideal partner represents a highly experienced team (or leader), is well-capitalized and has a truly unique and outstanding business.
But that’s not so common: especially the “unique” part.
As a result, we also seek partners that may not meet our ideal requirements but show enough promise that we’ll invest resources into a 2-week trial.
Your product/service needs enough margin relative to advertising costs
There needs to be an opportunity for adequate sales volume
You need a higher-than-average quality product or service
You need a good reputation
You need a good sales team
You need effective operations
Ideally, you have existing upsell and cross-sell products/services
On the other hand, if you have a very strong model and margin (along with a high-quality product or service), that combination, by itself, can sometimes be the basis for a win-win partnership.
It all boils down to mutual opportunity.
A business that represents a strong opportunity for a win-win partnership will qualify for a 2-week P4P trial. A business with low opportunity for a win-win partnership will not qualify.
Following are some examples.
An average business model or idea without experienced leadership will probably not qualify for a trial.
A mature and experienced team with a low-opportunity business model will not qualify.
An inexperienced leader with little money and a brand-new business will not qualify (unless the idea or model is extraordinary).
However, a truly outstanding and unique business without an experienced team ‘may’ qualify.
A mature and experienced team with a good (average) business model may qualify.
A great team and a great business opportunity will qualify.
And to make things interesting, we may sometimes provide a trial for an opportunity that doesn’t look as promising, because we would like to see the trial metrics. So, anything can happen. The only way to find out for sure is if you submit a (free) application.
Again, it primarily boils down to mutual opportunity. The 2-week trial is where we gain some fundamental data.
2-Week P4P Trial
As part of the above qualifications and selection process, we’ll ask what you want to pay for a P4P lead or sale.
That number will be re-evaluated based upon real-world performance data after the 2-week trial.
Although we try to filter out trials that we don’t believe will show promise after a 2-week trial, the reality is such does occur.
So, after a 2-week trial, the performance data will inform three options:
No go. We cut our losses and part ways as friends.
The numbers show that the opportunity is so good that we can provide a 100% P4P Partnership, which means you pay only for completed leads or sales.
The numbers are promising enough to continue a Partial P4P Partnership. A partial P4P partnership means you will pay at least media costs in addition to performance incentives.
By the way, it’s worth noting that a trial that yields unfavorable results is not an indication of the success potential of your business. This trial merely provides preliminary data regarding the speed of a longer-term P4P opportunity.
90-Day P4P Trial
A successful 2-Week P4P Trial means we can move on to a 90-Day P4P Trial.
A 90-Day P4P Trial provides more meaningful sales metrics. A 2-week trial can produce the minimum data necessary to evaluate the potential for a P4P partnership. But a 90-day trial gives us firmer ground to build a more robust sales funnel since we only implement a fraction of the sales funnel and advertising resources in the shorter trial.
Message optimization, landing page optimization, conversion optimization and other factors can begin to impact the metrics in the 90-day trial, which all serve to increase performance and lower cost.
P4P remuneration will be re-evaluated based upon the real-world performance data after the 90-day trial.
We’re seeking win-win partnerships. As such, the P4P remuneration needs to work well for both sides of the partnership.
The most basic metrics we evaluate include how many sales (and profit) are generated in a given time period. You may be pleased with the leads and sales, but what if the volume does not support continued effort on our end?
Once again, we’re looking for win-win P4P partnerships.
If this sounds like something you’d like to explore, the next step is to request and instantly receive your free P4P Application.
We can’t guarantee that you’ll qualify, but no matter what, you will receive a professional, timely and courteous response.
How much would your business benefit from a continuous stream of pay-for-performance clients?
Let’s face it: Advertising is a pain.
Sometimes things you try don’t work at all.
And that’s the good news.
The bad news is that if you don’t generate enough sales, you’re on a trajectory to failure.
OK, enough of the obvious. What’s the solution?
At Skyworks Marketing we use data science, artificial intelligence and lots of real-world experience to increase ad performance and lower ad costs.
However, what benefits you the most is our pay-for-performance leads and sales.
We may use Google, Facebook, television and other ad platforms to increase revenue for certain clients, but only use one ad platform for other clients. It boils down to what works best for each business.
If there’s one thing we do emphasize – it’s video. Whether online, on TV, or both, video increases viewer engagement.
So, how much more successful would your business be with a pay-for-performance advertising partner?
It means substantially more value for your business along with our vested interest in continually driving you new leads and sales.