By Lee Barnathan, California Business Journal
Max Kewal knows that when it comes to search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, most paid search professionals use best practices and a cookie-cutter approach.
“I don’t do that,” he says matter-of-factly.
Best practices, he says, are only a guiding tool. He’s not bragging. His results speak for themselves: For one client, Kewal produced a 130-percent increase in web leads. For another, he created a 600-percent increase in online sales.
First, the basics: pay per click, of course, is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites. Simply stated, an advertiser pays whenever the ad is clicked. And search engine marketing involves promoting websites by increasing their visibility on search engines on relevant keywords and sites.
Kewal has been working in this space since October 2002 when he was with Gray Line of China. Google and Yahoo had started doing PPC ads — and Kewal was fascinated. He learned all he could about the process. What he noticed — besides the lack of sophistication that still exists today in this space — was how Americans would book one- or two-day tours to Beijing or Shanghai while Europeans booked five-day tours with Gray Line.
In Kewal’s analytic mind, he thought that there had to be a way to ensure that when a person typed in the right keyword into the search engine, Gray Line’s appropriate ad would appear.
The key, he discovered, is to think like the customer: “Think about the problem going on in a person’s mind, and find the solution keyword,” he says. He also realized that pay per clicks advertising are great for generating sales for sightseeing tours as well as for generating leads for package tours.
Nowadays, Kewal works almost exclusively with advertising agencies, direct marketing agencies and web design and development firms. Most of these firms do not have in-house PPC expertise and prefer to outsource their client’s needs to Kewal’s company.
Kewal generates superb results for the agency’s clients because he works closely with their teams in the marketing, webdesign and development process. His initial approach is to familiarize himself with the target market as well as with the competitors and the industry. He also elicits feedback from the sales and customer service teams to improve campaign results.
The most common problem he sees resulting in a lack of profitability from PPC campaigns is the erratic or faulty set-up of campaign structure. Another issue he noticed is that landing pages only focus on the low-cost product/service and rarely bundle their product/service.
“They undermine their own product.People buy what you show them, right?” he says.
He advises companies to emphasize their premium products and services and bundle them wherever possible. This approach and strategy enabled him to boost sales by 40 percent for an e-commerce jewelry company and generate 38% percent more high-value leads for a B2B company. His clients can’t help but rave about their ROI.
Kewal’s services are offered to marketing agencies on a white-label basis. He also helps direct clients in increasing online leads as well as increase e-commerce purchases using PPC ads on Google, Bing, and Facebook. “It’s quite a joy to help businesses increase sales and reach a large market,” he says.
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