How I Accidentally Turned A $700 Loss Into A $27 Profit With Paid Ads Last Weekend (HO Internet Marketing Hors D’oevre #105)

Your results will rarely, if ever, be what you hope for when launching a new ad or product. The real gold lies in what you do next, with whatever those results are.

I re-learned a valuable lesson over the weekend.

I’ve been having big success with paid advertising for many years.

An opportunity came up to test a new-fangled type of advertising last week, so I figured “what the heck”, let’s give it a shot.

t’s an “in context” type of advertising where your main keywords are highlighted on content pages all around the Internet.

When a user hovers over these keywords, on whatever site they’re on, your ad shows up, and if they click, you’re charged.

It’s pretty expensive, and actually more untargeted than you’d think.  That’s a story for another day.

The minimum ad buy for me was $5000.

Before I signed the insertion order, I made sure there was a 24 hour out clause, so I could shut down the traffic if it didn’t convert.

Then, right before I sent them my ad, I thought, “Hey, wait a minute…I’m not confident this is going to work at ALL, and I’m paying per click.  What can I do to give this the best chance of at least breaking even?”

DOH! I needed to “qualify” the clickers.  So I actually mention, right in the ad that you’ll be asked to buy a product, and I even mentioned the very expensive price!

Then, I created an opt-in landing page. (By the way, ALWAYS send your paid traffic to a page asking for some simple action before they are given a chance to buy, so you can judge quickly if the traffic source is going to convert.)

I highly recommend you use an opt-in form FIRST, that leads to a sales page, so you’re at least building a list.

Next, I submitted the ad and it started to run, on Friday.

To be honest, I kinda forgot about it until about 4:45pm… and I thought, “whoops, I better check to see how it’s working!”.

Even with the “qualifying” language in the ad, revealing the price of the product they’d be reading about, I only got an 8.8% opt-in on the page!  That’s about 1/3 of the results I usually get.

I immediately called my ad rep, and they were gone for the day, and I braced myself for a big loss over the weekend.

Monday morning, I get an email from my ad rep saying, “We were expecting you’d spend at least $700 on ads over the weekend, but you’ve only spent $250.  Looks like not as many people are clicking on the ad.”

Damn right buddy.  Because I qualified the ad on an unknown CPC traffic source, I minimized bad clicks, and increased good clicks.  Even though my opt-in rate was startlingly low, the people who actually clicked the ad, and then opted in were highly targeted!

In the end, I turned a probably $700+ LOSS into a $27 profit.

It was a "close call" for paid advertising this weekend!

It was a very "close call" for paid traffic last weekend. It ain't easy to do, anyone that says otherwise is blowing smoke up your behind! 🙂

I still paused the campaign and am going to spend some real time on it, optimizing it, and making it work…because I’ve proven there’s life there.

Lots of important online paid advertising lessons here.  Listen or read a few times to get them all.

Super tasty one today, eh?

Eat well, and profit.

Chef Dan “the eMarketing Man”

Image contributed by stefwillo