Tuesday, July 03, 2007

List Building Superstars - June 27th Teleseminar.

Simon Leung - Google Adwords List-Building.

Summer began with a bang at the List Building Superstars (LBS) teleseminar course. Gaj Subudhi and Kit Furey welcomed Simon Leung to listeners eager to demystify Google Adwords and decide once and for all whether it is a legitimate list-building tool.

On the surface, Leung is a logical person to learn Adwords from. After all, as a highly sought-after speaker and information product creator, Simon has earned over half a million dollars in the past twelve months. Even more interesting is the fact that he was a founding member of Google's Adwords division, and spent 4.5 years as a leading support specialist and optimization strategist before resigning in August 2006.

So, Why did You Leave Google, Simon?

While attending an Internet Marketing live event in Spring 2006, Simon was exposed to business and personal growth possibilities that proved too tempting to pass up. Sure, he was well-established at Google, but after years of pushing the Adwords envelope on behalf of his internal and external clientèle, Leung felt the time was right to pursue new challenges. The corporate learning curve may have flat-lined, but as a full fledged "Google-preneur", Simon could continue exploring and still be in position to help others.

The Importance of List-Building.

We all know - or should know - that sales and marketing is NOT a numbers game. Nor is it a recruitment game. It's all about building lasting relationships with your audience that encourage loyalty to the most important brand in the world - YOU!

How can newcomers start building their Adwords-based list? Simon says we should start by offering a free report - on Adwords optimization, for example - as part of our squeeze page pitch. Try both a forced and voluntary opt-in to see what works best.

Newbies have to overcome the fear of building and maintaining a massively responsive list, which is our goal after all, right? You must work to be successful; Leung echoes other experts' experiences by stating that dedicated list-building gets easier with practice.

Simon's Three Strategies for Optimized Adwords List-Building.

1. Get Started Right Away!

People worldwide conduct a monthly average of 200 million Google searches, so as a list "prospector", it pays to get a piece of the action now. With 65% of the search engine market, Google is fast becoming a generic term like Kleenex, Band-Aid, and Scotch tape. The sooner you dedicate yourself to becoming a Google Adwords expert, the closer you are to monetizing the biggest revenue generator of the number one technology company in the world.

2. Understand How the System Works.

Learn how to find and exploit relevant keywords and key phrases affordably in your particular niche. Each Adwords ad is at most 95 characters, so think carefully about a strong call to action that is relevant to your offer.

3. Constantly Monitor your Landing Pages' Performance.

Tweak specific parts (i.e. subheading, heading, font, colors, etc.) to increase your opt-in and conversion rates. Beyond all the hype and aura that surrounds Internet Marketing, a good landing page comes down to:

A) Superior web design and layout.
B) A captivating headline.
C) Persuasive copy.

Google "Slaps" Back!

Last year, Google decided to take action against online marketers who were abusing Adwords with deceptive advertising and low quality landing pages (e.g. FREE that is not really free). "Ad-soaked" webpages were dominating some niches, to the dismay of consumers and ultimately Google executives. Not only did these pages fail to offer solutions for consumers; some folks were making money hand over fist with them.

In response to user complaints and influential shareholders, Google researchers changed the algorithms in their ranking system. As a result, some Internet Marketers saw their costs skyrocket, in some cases from mere cents to several dollars a click! Now, Page 1 search rankings from the past would be jeopardized if the "Google-bots" disapproved of your website!

The Best Way to Avoid the Slap.

Simon Leung agrees that changes to Adwords are needed to ensure a popular, viable, high-quality user experience for all. He assures us that "Black Hat" strategies promoted by some well-known marketers are strictly short-term fixes that must eventually be abandoned. To ensure long-term success, Leung advises us to stick to "White Hat" tactics:

- High-quality and relevant keywords.Do not employ "bait and switch" techniques with sensational words like sex to get attention.

- Sharp ads aimed at human readers, not robots. Keywords are important, but your message must make sense!

- Real websites that overdeliver on content, and go beyond simple opt-in pages. Take the time to map out 'About me', FAQ, legal notices, and other pages that can improve your visitor's experience.

Common Adwords List-Building Errors.

Simon confirmed to listeners how list-building intentions can go astray. A lack of testing means that you will not know what needs fixing. Your ad? Individual website components? Your message? Poor communication with list subscribers may mean that your messages are not customized enough for them to care. It may also indicate that your efforts lack depth - don't assume everyone on your list is a beginner!

One solution mentioned by Leung was list segmentation based on user interests. Create specific Adwords campaigns that target beginners, experts, seniors, etc. Then, send out relevant e-mails on a consistent basis and encourage feedback.

Why not just SEO?

Granted, quality list-building takes many forms. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often touted as a way to generate traffic for free, but Simon claims that it can end up being more expensive that Google Adwords. Just factor in the cost of SEO courses, consulting fees, and the time required to become a real SEO expert.

Acknowledging his clear bias, Leung calls Google Adwords the most afforable way of getting targeted traffic to your website. Combined with a functional (non-SEO) website, beginners and veterans alike can make it happen.

Concluding Thoughts.

Is Simon taking advantage of "insider" knowledge to feather his nest? Undoubtedly, the techniques and strategies he shares with us are influenced by his Google work experience. Leung's legacy in the Adwords program cannot be denied - he wrote the training manuals, after all!

Yet, both parties are beholden to a Non-Disclosure Agreement, so Simon cannot expose proprietary material - even if he wanted to. In the long run, Simon Leung will have to demonstrate that he has the goods. Like other Google experts, the proof will lie in his business conduct, the knowledge he shares with others, and the information products he releases for sale.

Google Adwords specialists are popping up over the place, so apply your due diligence accordingly.

Rahul Majumdar is a full-time information marketer specializing in teleseminar reporting, article marketing, and information product creation.

Gaj Subudhi's List Building Superstars may be accessed here.

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