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If you want to really know what triggers your clicks: Read PPC Marketing: An Hour A Day by David Szetela and Joseph Kerschbaum

July 20th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Book Review

By Marylene Delbourg-Delphis @mddelphis

Dave SzetelaHow much do you really know about PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Marketing? If you are not sure – or even if you believe you know a lot – I do recommend that you read PPC Marketing: An Hour A Day by David Szetela, the owner and CEO of ClixMarketing and Joseph Kerschbaum who recently joined the company as its Client Services Director. This book is a must read if you want to either enhance or perfect your understanding of an advertising genre that is not even ten years old and is growing faster than other forms of online advertising. It’s very well written and addresses marketers as well as the rest of us – because in the end, we all are both advertising recipients and initiators. The book is designed as a monthly methodology course that takes you through all the key concepts and processes involved in PPC marketing. Yet, the outstanding readability of the text makes it a fantastic book on the commercial depths of the Internet for non-specialists.

Direct Internet advertising, a science, an art… and a sophisticated iterative process. PPC advertising is all about constant attention to your users and customers – it’s a bottom up process, just like in all form social media campaigns. You can’t throw your mesage out there and wish for the best – because more often than not, nothing will happen; but if you work at it properly – you will get phenomenal results. So, first define what your strategic goal is about, and then implement it knowingly. Chapter after chapter, the book takes you from understanding why keyword research is one of the most important tasks in the discipline of PPC marketing, how “squeezing meaning and motivation into a tiny space” when you create an ad is a skill by itself, or how to maximize traffic as well as conversion of visitors to customers. Google is a huge network, but you must develop best practices and techniques to get results – as you also should for the Microsoft or Yahoo! networks. So build up your knowledge, test and optimize everything you do iteratively. As Dave sums it up: “Success in advertising is based on the mechanics of getting the advertising pieces into the hands of the right people, finding the right target audience, creating persuasive language and images and improving efficiency over time.

Even if you do not want to build your PPC campaigns yourself, real familiarity with PPC marketing is a must-have in 2010, even if you hire the right people to do it for you. Of course, one of the best companies you might consider is actually Dave’s company, ClixMarketing. There two main reasons for this:

A field-tested competence: Dave has been involved in direct marketing for twenty years. After nine years at the University to become a scientist just like his father who had worked for United Technologies for thirty-five years, he dropped out six months before finalizing his Ph.D. in Chemistry with a minor in Computer Sciences. He had gotten obsessed with the Apple II and decided that the personal computer industry would be his world. So he joined one of the first magazine publisher on the the Apple II to combine his love of the computer industry with his love of writing … and I found another love: direct (snail)mail advertising. From that day on, even after he joined Apple Computer as Developer Services Manager, he had one goal: Inform and advertise users and customers effectively? When PPC advertising started to really take shape in 2003, Dave started ClixMarketing.

A practitioner engaged in your success: One of the main competitive advantages of ClixMarketing is that they charge their clients based on the performance of the advertising campaigns: “We decided,” Dave says, “that the usual method for charging clients based on how much money is spent on advertising is anachronistic and provides only an incentive to spend more money with no guarantee of wider impact. ClixMarketing takes responsibility for the results and takes a share of it.” Very few agencies (if any) operate this way in the United States. There are reasons to this. While it’s extremely attractive to clients, it’s difficult to manage for traditional ad agencies. Many of the factors that are crucial for profitability have to do with the way visitors behave when they get to the site and traditionally ad agencies do not get involved in page and site design and optimization. The strength of ClixMarketing is its ability to provide a holistic approach and efficiently interact with the design and optimization and processes – that’s the big plus of an agency that was digital native from day one.

Engage is the name of the game. Engaging in a bottom-up strategy is the name of success on the Web. It’s social in nature, whether you befriend people or advertise what you do. PPC Marketing is the art of interacting with people on their own terms. You must find them. You must speak their language, and in the end you must be truthful. That’s the type of advertising people actually like: it’s not blasted into their face, but part of their own discovery process.

Disclosure note: I have known Dave Szetela for twenty years, when he was working at Apple. He was a fabulous resource for Apple developers, always ready to find a solution (and never afraid to hear about an issue). We have remained friends since then, and I must admit that he trained me about PPC. Incidentally, Dave is a fantastic musician too. Some of you may remember the band that was playing at Esther Dyson’s or Stewart Alsop’s Conferences. He was the one who initiated the trend. We talked about it recently. “I had formed an opinion that there was a disproportionately large number of musicians in the personal computer industry,” he recalls. “Clearly there was some correlation between programming and enjoying/practicing music. I was testing this theory when I met Roger McNamee, the founding partner of the venture capital firm Elevation Partners. We created the band “Random Axes” and always had great concerts.” My take is that Dave had a lot to do with Roger McNamee turning into a touring musician (along with his wife, Ann, a music theory Ph.D). Please take a look at Ann Atomic and of course at Moonalice!

As far as I am concerned, I have “formed the opinion” to reuse Dave’s word that musicians have the most essential quality required for social media: they interact with an audience, and when they don’t, they fail!

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