The Yahoo! Bing Network
Since you’re running an online store, buying ads on the Internet must seem like a pretty obvious way to make your first sales. And this is true – it’s just that depending on your industry, online advertising has become hyper-competitive.
Now, if we had written this guide in the 1980's – we would have told you to put a small ad in some magazines, do a few trade shows and call it a day. But boy, how things have changed.
Nowadays, the obvious places to buy ads can take you for a wild ride, leaving you penniless at the end of the ride. And that obvious place we’re talking about is Google.
Google revolutionized advertising by providing the first 100 percent measurable (well almost) advertising platform known to humankind with Google Adwords. Combining the fact that you can know your exact ROI (return on investment) and Google’s massive search volume, Google Adwords has become a very competitive place for online businesses to spend their advertising dollars.
And that’s why we’re pointing you in the direction of a slightly less competitive, cheaper and friendlier network: The Yahoo! Bing Network. We're hoping by opening up this as an alternative, it'll let you get started and get sales results far more quickly.
Why is it Called The Yahoo! Bing Network?
At one time, each of these search engines / online mega-communities had their own individual advertising networks. And from our personal experiences, we really liked Yahoo!’s advertising platform. It wasn’t that competitive and had very reasonable CPCs (cost-per-click).
The only problem with Yahoo! (and especially Bing), was that they just couldn’t drive the volume of traffic that Google Adwords did. And that was a problem for people who had found a better return with these networks. Because if you’re getting a better bang for your buck, wouldn’t you advertise with them more?
At some point Bing and Yahoo! decided to join forces to battle it out against Google. And that’s why it has the hybrid name.
What is this Cost-Per-Click Business?
Most search engines use the cost-per-click advertising model (also called pay-per-click). It’s as simple as it sound, every time someone clicks on your ad, you are charged for the click.
You start your CPC advertising campaign by choosing keywords that search engine users will potentially search for. When they do, your ad will be displayed somewhere on the results page. If you wrote compelling advertising copy, chances are someone will click on your ad and will be taken to your online store.
The cost of the click is determined by a few factors:
- Your Specified Maximum Bid – For every keyword you select to return your advertisements, you are allowed to set a maximum amount you will pay for a click. That way, you can keep your costs under control when things get competitive.
- Your Quality Score – Google Adwords was the first to introduce the concept of quality score. Generally, the longer you stay on the network as a paying customer and the better you are at improving your click-through rate (the number of clicks on an ad divided by the number of times the ad is shown), the lower price you will pay per click.
- The Keywords You're Bidding On – Some keywords are very expensive per click. Phrases like “DUI attorney” and “real estate” can have double digit CPCs. The niche and industry you’re dealing with will determine what price range you’re looking at.
Hopefully this doesn’t sound too overwhelming. This advertising system is really a beautiful thing for businesses. It allows you to thoroughly test your advertising copy, landing page design, and advertising concepts – because 30 years ago advertising was no different than throwing darts at a board.
How to Get Started
Before getting started, here's a look at some demographic data to give you insight into what people are searching for on the Yahoo! Bing network.
Now the Yahoo! Bing Network make it pretty easy for you to get going because they want your money. However, we have provided some steps to help you get the most out of your advertising dollars:
Step 1 – Signing Up
To sign up for the Yahoo! Bing Network, go to this link . You’re going to need to have a credit card on hand. You might want to do a quick Google search for some “Bing Advertising” or “Yahoo Advertising” starter credit first. Sometimes your web hosting company will have provided you with a discount code or coupon that you might still have access to.
Step 2 – Choosing Keywords
The first thing you’re most likely going to do is come up with a list of hundreds of keywords that you want to bid on. We don’t suggest doing this for your first time out. Instead, pick about 5 keywords that reflect the most popular products you sell, and also pick 5 keywords for more obscure items.
For example, let’s say you sell iPhone cases. You might sort your list like so:
Popular Keywords and Phrases:
- Pink Hello Kitty iPhone Case
- Pink iPhone Case
- Strong iPhone Case
- Unbreakable iPhone Case
- Scratch-Proof iPhone Case
Obscure Keywords and Phrases:
- Otter Box iPhone Case
- Otter Box
- Banana iPhone Case
- Mr. Potato Head iPhone Case
- iFoam Case
The reasons we think it’s a good idea to make these two types of groups are:
- It will keep your introductory campaign manageable. Too many keywords the first time out will most likely cause you to throw in the towel early. Costs can run up and meager returns will probably be the result.
- You can see what works for you better: A) highly competitive keywords that yield lots of clicks (which are more expensive, but produce more sales). Or B) Less volume, but highly specific clicks that might produce better ROI.
- Testing and analyzing different advertisements later on is much easier when you are only dealing with ten keywords.
Step 3 – Creating Your Ads
A common mistake is to make one generic ad to serve all your keywords. Instead make specific ads for each keyword you are going to bid on. In general, the more specific your ad is to the searcher’s intention, the higher the click-through rate will be.
There are some important things to remember when crafting your headline and copy:
- Your headline (the first line of the ad), should include the keyword you’re bidding on. This generally converts visitors into customers much better because it matches the searcher’s intention.
- For your ad copy you might want to consider your unique selling proposition or see what the other advertisers are not saying. You might be able to attract clicks because of what they are lacking.
Step 4 – Choosing Where You Want to Send Them
Most people the first time out will send their CPC traffic to the home page of their website. As an online merchant, we recommend you send them directly to the product page related to the keyword they searched for.
Let’s use the “Pink Hello Kitty iPhone Case” as an example. Instead of sending them to http://mymobilephonecase.com you should send them to: http://mymobilephonecase.com/pink-hello-kitty-iPhone-case. The purpose of doing this is that the less clicks it takes the person to arrive at a purchase point, the higher your website conversion rate will be.
You can specify where you want your CPC visitors to go by pasting the URL of your choice into the “destination URL” field.
Step 5 – Test
Testing can be fairly tough for people who are not too analytical and nerdy. If you can figure it out, we highly recommend that you implement conversion tracking (sometimes referred to as goal tracking). Basically, this means every time someone from a Yahoo! Bing advertisement purchases a product from your website, Yahoo! Bing is attributed with that sale. This is how you accurately measure your ROI.
Conversion tracking also allows you to know what keywords make the most sales, which ads drive the most customers, what products people like the most…the list goes on. Conversion tracking completes this knowledge circuit so you can hone your campaigns and can earn more profit.
If you have the ability to paste in HTML code on your “Thank You” page, the page customer go to after they complete a sale, then you can implement conversion tracking.
A Final Important Word of Advice
CPC advertising requires your full attention. Most serious online businesses are running ads 24/7 – 365 days a year (and 366 on leap years). So you need to login to your account at least once a day to monitor the progress of your campaign. If you’re the type of person that “sets it and forgets it”, then you’re going to be in for quite a surprise.
But it’s worth it, CPC advertising will sharpen your business chops and make you that numbers person that you were meant to be. It will force you to be analytical about how your business works and will ignite new ideas for you to test and try out until you get in front of the right person for that first sale and then grow exponentially from there.