Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are a cheap, easy, and effective way to advertise your business online. You can set up a Google AdWords account and have a campaign up and running in 15 minutes.

But as I learned from Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions for Your Business, these three-line ads (which appear at the top and to the right of Google’s search results) can also be used to “market test” the effectiveness of almost anything.

Products, product names, prices, copy, websites, offers – all can be tested with PPC.

For example, you can test two different headlines for a promotion for an upcoming conference. You just insert each in a separate PPC ad. The ads will appear when users type in the appropriate keyword in Google. (In this example, it could be “Internet conference.”) The headline that is clicked the most is the “winner.”

You’ve let the market decide which headline you will use when you roll out the promotion. And you can make a reasonable assumption that it will attract the most buyers.

As I said, PPC can be used to test almost anything. In fact, the title for the book, Changing the Channel, was determined through PPC testing. Michael Masterson and MaryEllen Tribby, the authors, came up with three titles, had ETR’s search engine marketing team put together an AdWords campaign, and let the market decide which title to use.

[Ed. Note: Pick up Changing the Channel, flip to any page, and you’ll find at least one useful tool you can apply to your business or the business you work for. Michael Masterson and MaryEllen Tribby have jam-packed this book full of their best and most powerful marketing advice.]
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