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"Get In, Hold On, Shut Up"
Internet Marketing Techniques:
The Highway to Disaster

There is a bumper sticker that goes something like, "Get in, hold on, shut up." We frequently see mortgage sites try and apply this "Click In, Fill The Form & Shut Up" strategy to their valuable visitors. Visitors don't like it.

One of the most frequently asked question by our clients is quite simply, "How do I make my pay per click (PPC) program more effective?" Everyone is fighting to attract qualified visitors via the internet; but it is what you do with the visitor when they arrive that separates successful PPC efforts from those campaigns that merely cost money.

Keywords Are Not Magical. Content Is.

Internet users are becoming more sophisticated. You can no longer expect someone to show up to your site, blindly do whatever you want, then close a loan. Pay per click marketing is not some wu-wu magic that somehow takes a lost soul and converts them into a $400,000 mortgage loan customer. Undeniably, or is it unbelievably, PPC advertisers think that once you have paid for keywords, people will flow to your site and close loans. I have some very bad news for you... that is not going to happen if you have bad content.

Pay to Play

The fastest way to attract traffic to your site is quite simply to pay for it. By using both Google and Yahoo! (formerly Overture) you can reach approximately 90% of the domestic US search market. Remember this is pay per click (PPC), so each time someone visits your site, it will cost you, whether they use your mortgage services or not.

Aren't All PPC Words Alike?

Let's assume you are based in Dallas and offer home loans and refinancing to Dallas area customers. If a potential customer searches for "Dallas home loan" at Yahoo
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you get two columns of results. A wide column of search results on your left, and a narrow column of results on your right. The results on the left and displayed according to what the Yahoo algorithm has perceived to be the most relevant findings. The results on your right are determined by what the advertiser will spend. Google is set up the same way with paid results on the right hand side of the screen.

How Much Are Your Competitors Spending For Your Keywords?

Yahoo has a feature where you can see all the bids for any keyword. Here are some comparative top three bids for the Yahoo! PPC.

Keyword Searched Bid #1 \ Bid #2 \ Bid #3

Dallas home loan $14.50 \ $6.50 \ $4.02
Dallas home mortgage
$2.79 \ $2.78 \ $2.77
Dallas refi
$0.63 \ $0.62 \ $0.35
Dallas refinance
$14.50 \ $5.28 \ $5.27
Dallas home refinance
$3.21 \ $3.21\ $2.10

AS you can see from these results taken in May 2005, that the top bidder for the term "Dallas home loan" is willing pay up $14.50 per click for visitors to their site. The second bidder pays up to $6.50 and the third will pay $4.02. That is quite a spread, with the top bidder willing to pay three times what the third bidder pays.

Mortgage company owners will bid to land in the top three rankings because these are the most likely links to be clicked.

Don't Waste Your Clicks!

At these prices, you must make sure your site is perfect and delivers exactly what the visitor is expecting (ie Dallas home loan information) because if your visitor clicks on your PPC keyword and you deliver information on anything else (i.e. history of your company, picture of your office, a page listing all the mortgage programs you provided), that visitor will leave. You will lose the money you spent to attract that visitor because you failed to precisely provide information on the keyword they selected, "Dallas home loans".

If you look at the second term "Dallas home mortgage" you see the top three bids are separated by pennies, and the bidders are paying about $2.75 per click. If you get 1000 visitors it will cost $2,750 to attract these highly targeted, potential customers.

You can also research how many monthly searches occur at Yahoo! for any search term. Looking at the keywords we searched for above, we find two words have about 1,000 searches a month; Dallas refinance and Dallas home loan.

Keyword Searched Bid #1 \ Bid #2 \ Bid #3 Monthly Searches at Yahoo!

Dallas home loan $14.50 \ $6.50 \ $4.02 1122
Dallas home mortgage $2.79 \ $2.78 \ $2.77 32
Dallas refi $0.63 \ $0.62 \ $0.35 0
Dallas refinance $14.50 \ $5.28 \ $5.27 1141
Dallas home refinance $3.21 \ $3.21\ $2.10 25

Some may wonder why a term like "Dallas refi," devoid of searches, has bids associated with it. The reason is because if anyone ever does type "Dallas refi" your click will cost just $0.63 which is a substantial savings over the similar keyword "Dallas refinance" with a $14.50 top click value.

Great PPC Keywords + Poor Content = No Sales

When creating a PPC campaign, most mortgage site owners focus upon keywords: keyword creation, keyword selection, keyword bidding, etc. There are many components to the PPC game, including: title creation, description content, keyword creation, keyword selection and keyword bidding.

The single most overlooked aspect of a PPC program is also the damaging and expensive aspect of the PPC process... your content. Very simple things like: having a copyright at the bottom of your page which shows last year, making the visitor scroll down a page to find what they are searching for, making the visitor click on a link to find what they are seeking to not showing the current loan rats you offer on your site all can lead to a lost visitor.

You Had Me at Hello

It is not like where Rene Zellwegger says to Tom Cruise (in the movie Jerry Maquire), "You had me at hello." Your visitors need to be wooed, courted, pampered, spoiled, cared for, and treated with respect in order to become a customer. There is a huge (financial) difference between getting customers to your site and keeping them there.

You must realize that your PPC campaign is just a tool as the marketing aspect of your business. When the visitor arrives at your site, you must have the complementary sales wording in place to convert a marketing lead into a sales customer.

Driving Miss Daisy

If you want your PPC program to be successful, you must do more than pick a few words and bid. You must step back and look at the entire process from key word formulation, to bidding strategies, to the customer expectation and experience once they arrive at your site. Make the visitors unknowingly enjoy the perfection that your content can deliver by providing exactly what they want, when they want it, and where they want it.

You must cater to your visitors; so you efficiently and nicely chauffeur them around your site.

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