Marketing in Times of Uncertainty: Tips From the Front Lines

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook report for April 2020 indicates we’re heading into an economic crisis like no other. These are uncertain times and any business that plans to survive will need to work hard, and smart, to differentiate themselves and get people to open their wallets.

News Fatigue and What That Means For You

News fatigue is a real phenomenon, and it’s something that affects almost everyone. Even if you’re a marketer in your day job, you still buy products, watch the news, and talk to people. Are you sick of hearing about certain world events? If so, your customers are too! Swiss communications company Mitto surveyed 7,000 consumers and found that 41% of them wanted brands to talk about something other than the coronavirus. Many consumers are watching less news and focusing more on upbeat entertainment. As a marketer, if you’ve traditionally followed the newsworthy topics of the day, it’s time to switch things up and be more upbeat.

Finding a New, Stronger Message

We’re entering a period of global economic uncertainty and that’s scary for brands and for their prospective customers too. Make your brand stand out by offering uplifting, inspirational and entertaining content.

This isn’t the first economic downturn we’ve suffered recently. Many people working in marketing today were around in the years surrounding the 2008 housing collapse. The lessons that marketers learned then were clear:

Traditional Marketing Segments Don’t Apply

Forget the customer types you learned about in marketing classes. In tough times customers fall into other categories – those who are feeling the recession (and can’t spend), those who are waiting it out (and can be persuaded to spend where necessary), and those who are well off, or are just living for today. Market to reality, not to some outdated profiles.

People Prioritize Expenses

When people’s wallets are under stress they prioritize expenses more carefully – there are essentials, justifiable treats, postponable luxuries, and expendables. If your product is in one of the “nice to have” categories, how can you move it into one of the first two?

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC)?

PPC stands for pay-per-click. It’s a form of online advertising where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked on. This method of advertising is essentially a way to buy visits to your site rather than to generate traffic organically.

Some of the most common PPC ads show up on search engine results pages. You can probably recall Googling something and the first couple of results that show up are labeled as sponsored ads. Those are PPC ads.

You might be thinking that there’s not much point in paying for ads when you can use SEO and drive substantial traffic organically. But research shows that people click on Google ads over organic search results at a ratio of nearly 2 to 1 (WordStream Research, 2019).

Advertisers will bid on ad placement within a search engine’s sponsored links so that when someone searches a particular keyword relating to their business, that advertiser’s sponsored ad will pop up as one of the first results. The number one search engine in the world runs its own ad business to manage bids. You may have heard of it…

Google AdWords

Google Adwords runs a PPC advertising system and it has almost become an art. Adwords select “winners” of these ad bids to get the top spots on search results based not only on the highest bidder but the quality and relevance of keywords and ad campaigns.

Google Adwords determines the quality of keywords with a Quality Score. With Google, the Quality Score actually matters more than your bid, because Google is more concerned about user experience than maximizing profit. A Quality Score is calculated by the relevance of your keywords and the quality of your landing page.

Keyword Relevance

Keywords must be well-researched so that bids on ad placement are worthwhile. It’s best to create lists of keywords, and then group these keywords based on what the goal of an ad is on said keywords.

Google will look at your keyword lists and determine how relevant they are based on the content of your ads and your site. So your research has to be exhaustive. Don’t think about just the common search terms people may use relevant to your products or services, but also very specific, less searched phrases particular to your niche.

Keep in mind that more commonly search terms will be more expensive to bid on, while specific, long-tail searches will be less expensive. Don’t rule out bidding on those either. And don’t just do your keyword research once. People and searches are always changing, so your keyword lists need to be continuously refined.

Landing Page Quality

A landing page is simply the page a user ends up on after clicking your ad. This is the final step in generating a lead from a search engine, so the content of your landing page must be specifically tailored to the search query that leads the user to click on your ad.

The content of this page must have a persuasive call-to-action. Landing pages should make the user feel like it was worthwhile to click on your ad. Google takes this into account when calculating your Quality Score.

Quality Score

Keyword relevance + Landing page quality = Quality Score

Where does the monetary bid come into play?

Google takes this equation…

Quality Score x Highest Bid = Ad Rank

…and whoever gets the highest Ad Rank wins the ad auction!

PPC for You

So, now you understand a little more about how PPC ads work, and how Google determines who gets the best ad placement on search pages. Consider maximizing your web traffic by bidding on PPC ads. The keywords you choose and your landing page content are the most important factors in getting the best ad placement, even if you’re not the highest bidder!

Interested in learning if PPC ads are right for your business? Contact CommCore Marketing to talk about your marketing today.