Why Google adwords and landing pages are essentially Direct Mail 2011.

If you’re wondering how to get started with an effective Google Adwords campaign, you need to take a look back in history.

The 1990’s was the golden age of database marketing — direct mail, catalogs, Val-Paks, and dozens of other marketing vehicles designed to deliver an offer to a targeted list in hopes of snagging a new customer. It was an era was all about the direct mail package — the offer, the message, the teaser, the buck slip. Copy was king. The mantra was test, test, test until you optimized the elements that would deliver ROI.

Copy is still king. The messages, offers, and teasers you used to see on direct mail envelopes are still alive and well. The same proven fundamentals of outbound database marketing are now used primarily in Google adwords campaigns and custom landing pages.

When John Q Consumer is searching for polo shirts, pool supplies, or the cheapest tree trimmer, he turns to Google. In the old days, he might have turned to the yellow pages or had a coupon he received in the mail. Now when searching google, it’s your 95 characters of copy in your ad that persuades a prospect to click through to your custom landing page whose job is to close the deal.

 

Hook, persuade, close. Same fundamentals, new medium.

Briefly, here are the basic similarities between direct mail and Google adwords campaigns, and how to make them work for you:

1. Hook with Google ad copy (the envelope teaser) — Envelope teasers like ‘wake up and see the world’ are akin to your Google ad copy, because those few words will determine whether the offer resonates with your prospect enough for them to take the next step, open the envelope. With Google, your teaser, or ad copy has to hit a little bit harder. So, for the same product, your offer with Google may be a little more straightforward such as ‘eliminate dependence on glasses or contacts.’ With Google ads, you only have text, no pictures, so simpler is better.

 

envelope-teaser-google-adwords

The direct mail envelope teaser.

google ad vs direct mail teaser

The Google Ad Copy.

 

2. Persuade with your Landing Page (the direct mail letter) – Once a prospect clicks your ad, they have essentially opened your envelope, and are considering your offer. In the 80s and 90s, marketers tested direct mail letter formats in much the same way search engine marketers test landing pages. The layout, bullet points, copy, headlines, captions and graphic elements are mixed and matched until the right combination steers prospects to take action. Marketers use arrows, bursts and testimonials much the same way on landing pages as direct mail letters. The goal is always to use enough elements with enough persuasive copy to get the prospect to take the next step.

 

custom landing page design

Example of landing page coming from PPC ad.

direct mail letter

The direct mail letter, full of promises.

 

3. Close with you Conversion Form (the BRC) — In the old days, you had three ways to get a prospect to convert — the business reply card (BRC), the 800 phone number, or god forbid, the fax form. Today, it’s still the same mentality. We walk the fine between asking the prospect to give just enough info so we don’t turn them off, but just enough so we know they’re a qualified prospect.

the business reply card

The BRC - business reply card