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Adopting MVPPC for Faster Learnings

Here at Compete Digital, we love inbound marketing. In fact, we love it so much that we do it full time for our clients.

However, we’re not ignorant of the power of other online marketing channels, especially PPC. In case you didn’t know, PPC is actually becoming cheaper these days, mostly due to the increasing number of venues offering paid traffic options (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc).

While most businesses view PPC as an expensive strategy and inbound marketing as a comparatively cheap one, I actually disagree – if you follow the principles laid out in this post, you’ll find PPC to be a economical and efficient option. Getting a good inbound marketing funnel going, on the other hand, takes tens of thousands of dollars and/or hundreds of hours.

PPC is actually becoming cheaper these days, due to the increasing number of venues offering paid traffic options

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Authority also doesn’t build up overnight, and even if you have the right amount of time and resources you won’t necessarily see the returns for many months – and most businesses can’t wait that long.

What is MVPPC?

MVPPC is a term I came up with while I was setting up campaigns for a few clients and working on the new Compete Digital website. The basic principle is that you have a minimum blanket layer of paid advertising across several targeted platforms that brings in a fairly predictable amount of targeted visitors and sales to your site.

An MVPPC campaign should only take a few days to set up and require little to no maintenance, as the goal is to “let it run” on its own while you focus on other areas of your marketing campaign. In order to achieve that, you simply go for the minimum bid advised and aim to find the lowest spend per conversion possible.

However, while we try to save as much money as possible on clicks to get started, we spare no expense in tracking and understanding what works and what to prioritize next in the marketing development.

Why adopt the concept of MVPPC?

Because the realm of online advertising is so large these days, a given business cannot focus on all platforms and angles. The MVPPC allows you to verify a new service or business offering at low costs with rapid feedback.

It also allows you to understand the channels that you should prioritize in your marketing mix while also building a predictable number of sales that you can rely on to keep your business afloat. It is a great way to split test offerings as well.

The main point of it is to be able to LEARN what works and what doesn’t on a shoestring budget. For this reason, the one thing we focus most of our efforts on is tracking.

Getting started

So far, I’ve included 3 main elements in all the MVPPC campaigns I’ve launched.

Retargeting

Because you will pay to acquire very targeted traffic, reminding people about your offer is usually a very high-ROI activity as the clicks are cheap and the conversion rate is high. I suggest getting started with Google analytics + Adwords because there is no third party fee and this will allow you to minimize the cost per conversion.

Depending on your levels of site traffic retargeting costs will vary greatly, but you can often get started for as low as $20/day and see what kind of returns that brings your business.

Social Lead Collection

Social is one of the most popular online activities, and it really helps you segment your audience by interest. I’ve been taking different approaches when it comes to social PPC, and lead generation has proven itself to be the best strategy.

I’ve used pages such as this one or this one, sites that come with lead pages giving away a freebie that would be of interest to our target audience. I’ve also targeted my ads towards people who follow our competitors and other popular sites that deal with topics similar to those we talk about here.

Here’s an example of a campaign I ran recently:

This list can also be used to promote your content (such as this blog post).

An average 25% opt-in rate while paying $0.20 per click on Facebook gave me a cost-per-email of $0.80. Out of all the emails collected, 1 in 15 was a potentially solid prospect we could sell or show off our services to, bringing my cost per serious prospect to $12. For $24/day I’ve been getting two solid leads a day. Not bad. The rest of the list can still be marketed to as some of them will most likely grow to become potential customers over time.

For more info on the topic of list building for sales, check out Patt Flynn’s podcast with Clay Collins, founder of Leadpages.

Direct Sales & Lead Gen with search

The last part of the MVPPC campaigns I’ve set up so far is of course search-based. The beauty of contextual search advertising is that you’re not only in front of the right people, you’re also in front of them at the right time.

In order to get that “cheap long tail traffic,” I tend to bid just enough to be on page 1 and get a few clicks a day (Google will give you an estimated first page minimum bid, but bear in mind a lot of people schedule ads so that value goes up and down a lot. Feel free to increase the number they give you by 20% for your max cpc).

This allows us to bid for a large number of keywords without breaking the bank and to analyze the traffic over time. I then bid more aggressively for the keywords with the highest conversion rate.

If you want to make your campaign even more frugal in CPC, I suggest you check out Larry Kim’s guide on lowering the minimum first page bid.

Closing thoughts

Nowadays, when I start a campaign, I almost always start with setting a layer of PPC like I’ve described in this post. It allows us to show almost immediate results to clients while collecting very useful data like profitable keywords that we can then target with SEO and Inbound.

The only thing that I would say is a disadvantage of this approach is that often it doesn’t scale well. As you try to generate more leads from all these platforms, it is very likely that your cost per lead or sale will go up as you move into more competitive spaces.

That’s all for now. If you have any question regarding the process, let me know in the comments!

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