Monday, August 27, 2012

Christian Authors: Remarketing with Google AdWords

Remarketing with Google AdWords

Have you noticed graphical ads suddenly appearing from companies where you have either done business or considered doing business? I recently ordered some products from Land's End using their web interface; suddenly their ads started popping up in various locations throughout the internet. Another example is Budget Inn where I was doing a price comparison of alternative motels – ultimately I chose another motel. However, for several months I was seeing Budget Inn advertisements. Why? Remarketing.

I didn't click on these ads because I did not have a need at the time. However, they left an impression. Many marketing studies have shown that familiarization often leads to purchase decisions, where a single presentation gets far fewer sales.

In the last two weeks, I began promoting my book, Joshua's Spiritual Warfare, to those that have previously visited one of my webpages. By using Google AdWords, there have been nearly 1400 presentations of one of my four graphical ads, such as:

To get to this point, I developed a series of webpages that attracted many new visitors each day. Once the webpages were tuned for marketing, I was able to begin the remarketing effort. What follows is a description of that process.

Organic web pages
Soon after publishing this book, I realized I needed a way to get people to know about it. Placing my book on Amazon and other retail sites was inadequate, as were the several webpages that I developed that presented content of the book. I needed a way to get people to discover my site. The way I did that was to write a compelling webpage that described something that is not very well known: chiasms in the Bible.

Perhaps you have never heard about chiasms. If that is you, I suggest that you open another tab on your browser and then perform a search on "What is a chiasm?" or possibly "define chiasm". You should see my article, What is a chiasm? Definition and explanation of the chiastic structure by In many cases, when people search for information about chiasms or the chiastic structure, they will find my article at the top or near the top of the list of candidate page.

The What is a chiasm? article is an example of an organic webpage. I did not pay anyone to put it on the search engine's first page; it got there through a long process of editing and re-editing so that the article would be both informative and compelling. The average person spends nearly five minutes reading the content; there are five hundred new visitors each month.

Focus on marketing
I had a problem, however. The large number of visitors did not translate to a large number of sales. They got there because someone mentioned chiasms or the chiastic structure in something they read or heard, and they did some research to understand this topic. I suspect some people may have felt either skeptical or exhausted after having read that article. There was no reason for them to continue to learn more.

Once I decided to try remarketing, I realized I had to change the emphasis of the article from information to marketing. I needed to keep the article compelling so that people would stay engaged, but I needed to drive them towards other webpages. That meant revising the content so that people would clearly see the value of the chiastic approach: it would change the way they read the Bible. They also needed to understand my qualifications – very few people have written anything about chiasms in the Bible yet it opens a whole new understanding of the Scriptures.

I reviewed and modified as necessary nearly every single sentence in that article, added the information about myself and the book at the bottom of the article, and created a webpage where people can see other books about chiasms: Chiasm Bookstore - Recommended Books About Chiastic Structure. At the same time, I added the Google remarketing tags to my webpages so Google could begin to capture visitors.

I must admit that I found Google's information about remarketing to be challenging at times. You can read about it at Google Help on Remarketing. Google seems to be continuously learning how to make their product better, which means they are better positioned to provide details about their system.

On August 14th, after achieving the 100-visitor minimum for remarketing, I turned it on. In the last two weeks, there have been almost 1400 presentations of one or more of my graphical ads to those that visited one of my webpages. My cost has been $6.84 during this period as 5 people clicked on one of my four ads.

Monitoring the process
I have noticed an increase in the number of returning visitors to my website over this two-week period, but it is too early to be conclusive about that. Yet there have not been any sales during this period! I daily check the statistics, noting how any changes that I make are reflected in the ads responsiveness.

I need to continually refine my use of this system as I know I have just scratched on the surface. And I realize Google will make their product even better and provide more tools to help target the correct population.

For other articles about self-publishing in this series, see:
Index of Self-Publishing Articles by Thomas B. Clarke