Ways For PPC Professionals To Save Money

Aug. 31

If you’re a PPC professional at a company, it’s all about investing your employer’s money. By making wise use of your marketing budget, you deliver solid returns for your company by driving sales. In the world of SEO, they say content is king. In paid search, cash is king. Invest that cash wisely and the returns will be impressive. Now, what’s a PPC professional to do outside of work, when it comes to saving money and investing wisely? Today I’m thrilled to share some money tips for paid search professionals.

Tip 1: Leverage Your Employer’s 401k

Stacks of Money

If you work at a company (as opposed to being an full-time affiliate marketer), your role typically comes with benefits (especially at larger companies). One of the best benefits around is the ability to participate in your employer’s 401k plan. 401ks are an amazing way to save for your retirement. Dollars go in on a pre-tax basis and get to compound over the years tax free. You only pay taxes when you eventually withdraw your money during retirement. Even better: Many employers offer 401k matching (aka “free money”). I also like 401ks because they offer a “pay yourself first” investment strategy. Money automatically goes in, before you “see it” on your paycheck. No matter how small you start, I think it’s a great idea to participate in your employer’s 401k plan.

Tip 2: Take Stock Options Seriously

Another one of my favorite benefits of a corporate career is the ability to participate in your employer’s stock option plan. View your employer as an investment and choose wisely. It’s possible to do incredibly well by getting in early on a growing company (just look at LinkedIn, as an example). In addition to stock options, I’m also a big fan of RSU (restricted stock unit) plans. As compared to options, RSUs represent actual shares of stock that are gifted to you by your employer. I recommend taking your stock option and RSU plan seriously. Understand if your employer or prospective employer offers one. Then, make sure to keep a close eye on your investment. Don’t sell too early nor too late, it’s all about timing with the stock market.

Tip 3: Consider Lending Club As A Savings Vehicle

I’m a huge fan of Lending Club (affiliate link). This year, Lending Club has become a nice component of my overall savings strategy. You may wish to check out the following posts:

Lending Club not only offers a great way to save money, but also a great way to earn returns on your free cash. My net annualized return is 11.10% – not bad at all. Just remember, a well diversified saving/investing strategy is always important. As such, I have personally scaled into my Lending Club account more and more over time!

Tip 4: Consider Building Websites

I’m a huge fan of web publishing and affiliate marketing. I make money from this blog and also my portfolio of websites, IJL Productions LLC. In addition to earning/saving money from my websites, I have learned so much about SEO, blogging, social media, email marketing, PR, and so much more. In short: Websites are not only a money-savings vehicle but also a vehicle to grow your online marketing knowledge (in channels outside of PPC). Round out your PPC expertise with the other channels and you become even more valuable as an employee! Just remember to always place your own websites as a much lower priority than your job (I spend very little time on this stuff, it’s really my hobby and way of relaxing). In the corporate world, your job is priorities 1, 2, and 3.

Tip 5: Remember To Save Money From Your Paycheck

This may sound obvious, but I want to point it out since it’s not always easy. PPC is a high powered corporate career. If you’re good at what you do and give it your 110%, the upside and career path is great. Take time to save money. When you’re making money, it’s easy to spend money. And, you should since you earned it. However, just remember to save and invest some of it for the future too. Make a conscious decision and take action!

The paid search career path is one of the best, if not the best, around. Combine a strong career path with a strong savings plan and you are destined for greatness!

Disclaimer: I’m not a financial advisor and this is not financial/investment advice. Before making any financial decisions, make sure to contact your financial advisor.
Image of Stack of Bills © iStockPhoto – tforgo

Some Clever Offline Marketing Examples

Aug. 28

While I’m all about online marketing, I find so much inspiration in offline marketing as well. I especially enjoy it when the offline and online marketing worlds collide (as in the case of CPA Tank’s guest post about Offline Email Capture). From time to time, I like to write a post about offline marketing and here are some of my favorites from over the years: WebEx Caltrain Station Takeover, Showtime Photo Booth, and PPC Associates Billboards.

Today, I wanted to share some clever offline marketing examples from my friends at AdMedia ad network. I definitely recommend following AdMedia’s Facebook Page. I follow them and have been thoroughly enjoying their updates. Each day, they share really great posts, including these offline marketing examples. (Thanks AdMedia for the inspiration to write this blog post!)

Check out the clever offline ads below. The first ad shows a really cool billboard that actually blends into the landscape. How awesome! The second ad below, the bus stop ad, actually turns on/off as people pass by. That really helps communicate the message of saving energy. In my opinion, these are some clever offline ads. Have you seen any clever offline ads recently?

Offline Ad 1: Billboard That Blends Into The Landscape

Offline Ad 2: Bus Stop Ad That Turns On/Off To Save Energy

Images in this post © their respective owners
Sources: LAist and Ads of The World

Helpful Tips For Company Offsites

Aug. 25

This past week, I enjoyed a leadership offsite with my colleagues in Monterey, California. Monterey is a really fun area, just south of the San Francisco Bay Area. We stayed several nights at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, right on the water on historic Cannery Row. In addition to several days of extreme productivity and strategy, we did some serious team building and networking. Today, I’m going to share a few of my favorite tips for company offsites!

Tip 1: Enjoy The Team Building Activities

Spyglass Golf Course

Offsites are a great way to network and truly know your colleagues. At my offsite last week, I got to play golf at Spyglass Hill Golf Course, at Pebble Beach. This is one of the premier golf courses in the world, a truly fun experience. You can see a picture of me to the right, at the Spyglass Pro Shop, in my new Spyglass vest. Below, you can see a picture of the deer we saw on the golf course. It was awesome, we ran into deer on many of the holes.

I’m super excited because I’ve been playing a lot of golf at work events lately. The pay per click career path has given me to the opportunity to play at the Stanford Golf Course, Granite Bay Country Club, and now Spyglass Hill. I’m actually scheduled to play again at the Stanford Golf Course again in September with several colleagues.

While I love golf, these events are not just about the golf. They are all about networking and having a great time with colleagues. A truly solid and powerful organization relies on teamwork. Team building activities, such as these, are a key area of focus for anyone in a leadership position (or looking to become a leader). The next time your company has a team building event, make sure to attend and enjoy it to the fullest extent!

Tip 2: Bring New Ideas To The Offsite

In addition to team building, offsites are the place to brainstorm new ideas. Offsites bring everyone together, away from the office. Offsites encourage everyone to look at the big picture, and are typically in a setting that encourages brainstorming. I always recommend spending some time before the offsite thinking of new, big ideas. Of course, you should also try to do the same during the actual event, in collaboration with your colleagues. However, by putting in a little preparation work ahead of time, you will contribute maximum value to the group, during the event. In addition to bringing ideas, make sure to have all your numbers, marketing plans, initiatives, and ideas handy. You never know what will come in handy during a brainstorming and strategy session!

Tip 3: Get Plenty of Sleep and Always Be On Time

Offsites can be quite tiring. You’re essentially working around the clock at such events. When you’re not in meetings, you will be at events. It’s a lot of great stuff concentrated into a small amount of time. Make sure to pace yourself and get as much sleep as possible. By keeping this in mind, you will always be on time to each event (super important) and will have maximum clarity for your meetings.

I hope these tips help and make sure to have fun at your next company offsite!

Spyglass Pebble Beach Golf Course

Images in this post © PPCIan.com

SEM Jobs: A Guide For Affiliate Marketers

Aug. 20

One of the best things about blogging is all the great emails I get from you guys! Lately, several full time affiliate marketers have asked me the question, “What should I do to get my first corporate SEM job? That is a great question, and today I’m thrilled to share a few tips on getting SEM jobs, specifically for affiliate marketers.

Tip 1: Leverage Your Affiliate Marketing Skills

Affiliate Marketing

Corporate search engine marketing jobs offer a very different experience than affiliate marketing. At the same time, affiliate marketing provides a great introduction and education that will help anyone become a great corporate marketer. My advice to any affiliate looking for an SEM job: Leverage and embrace your background. Stay true to your affiliate roots! During your interviews, consider bringing in case studies from your affiliate campaigns. I’ll never forget the candidate who brought in a portfolio, complete with Google Analytics and Google AdWords reports/graphs from his very own website (that he had built and marketed himself). I definitely respect someone like that and am betting a lot of other hiring managers have the same perspective!

Tip 2: Make Sure You’re Ready For Change

SEM is the best career path around, in my opinion. SEM is also an amazingly intense career path. Meaning: You will be working around the clock. Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter are 24/7 marketplaces, they never sleep. If you’re an affiliate (and love PPC), you will love the work so this should be a breeze. However, you can’t do everything and you’ll likely need to ramp down your affiliate operations. Your new SEM job will be priorities 1, 2, and 3. Make sure you’re ready for that change. Mentally, you cannot be thinking about anything at your new SEM job than the job itself. The caveat: Don’t completely stop your affiliate marketing, it can be your competitive advantage and your pulse on the industry. Affiliates are savvy and my personal affiliate marketing efforts have helped accelerate my corporate career.

Tip 3: Focus On Professionalism

Due to the number and nature of “super affiliate” blogs on the Internet, affiliates have become the rap stars of the online marketing industry. Don’t get me wrong, rap music is my favorite. However, gold chains and the party lifestyle don’t mesh will with the corporate world. Just keep in mind that corporate SEM is all about professionalism.

Tip 4: Just Go For It!

In my opinion, corporate SEM is the way to go. Affiliate marketing is great, but I personally feel like corporate SEM takes it to the next level. You will be working with some of the largest budgets around. You will be optimizing to new levels. You will work with amazing bidding platforms. You will learn some serious creative skills (both ad copy and landing page creative). You will get to test new stuff all the time. You will get amazing exposure to some of the brightest minds around. You will become a world class businessperson, responsible for your company’s bottom line. These are just a few benefits of corporate SEM, I could list hundreds. If you’re interested in making that move, just go for it!

Image in this post © marekuliasz

The Search Marketer’s Guide To Creative Testing

Aug. 18

I’m a huge fan of creative testing. Just a few days ago, I wrote a post about A Few PPC Ad Copy Ideas. Today, I’m thrilled to share Marin Software’s brand new whitepaper called The Search Marketer’s Guide To Creative Testing and Optimization.

Marin Software Creative Testing Whitepaper

Marin offers one of the most amazing SEM Automation platforms ever, and their new 14-page whitepaper delivers some serious value. Covering topics such as maintaining keyword relevance, testing keyword tokens, prioritization of tests, implementing proper tracking, and measuring statistical significance, Marin Software’s whitepaper offers value for both beginner and advanced search engine marketers.

I highly recommend downloading this free whitepaper. It’s packed with valuable lessons and is a great weekend read. I went away inspired with some new ideas. I enjoyed the specific examples in the whitepaper and especially the “partner spotlight” case studies for partner, Boost CTR. Back at SMX San Jose 2012, I took a photo with the Boost CTR team. They have been taking the industry by storm and are a Marin Software partner. You’ll get a bit more flavor about them and so much more in this whitepaper. Paid search is all about continuously testing. Keep testing new ads and just remember that it’s all about the entire funnel (impressions to conversions). Ads with the highest CTR are only winners if your back end conversion rate also remains high.

Image in this post © Marin Software