Book Notes: Perry Marshall - Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords (Review)

I read Perry Marshall’s book as a refresher on Google Adwords. Below are my notes.

Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords Notes

“Lower positions convert to sales better, generally”

In other words, don’t bid for top of page. This attracts tire kickers and is unnecessarily expensive.

Claude Hopkins is the father of Direct Response advertising and the author of “Scientific Advertising”.


Basic campaign setup -- Keyword Research research, check cost, see how many competitors show up.

Less than 15 = easy, 15 - 50 moderate, 50+ hard

2 ads per ad group (basic A/B test)

1 kw: 1 ad ratio is ideal, but impractical

Therefore, use ad groups to cluster similar keywords together with the same type of ad.

Put keywords into different silos based on theme (p. 34)

Look for potential negative keywords.

To keep bid prices down always split test two ads, eliminate the loser. Then rewrite to try and beat the current winner.

Higher CTR = lower bid cost.

If possible, put the keyword in the title, the body and the display url of the ad.

Wordtracker / Overture for click tracking (may be outdated and Google’s KW tool may be better now).

For more KWs, can use synonyms, brand names -- though might be a legal issue, misspellings.

LexFN for synonyms and related concepts.

Glossaries and indexes of books related to the topic you are advertising for → you can find high volume, low cost keyword ideas.

Phrase / Exact match can help reduce unwanted KWs.

Negative KWs improve CTR by lowering impressions (again helpful to lower click costs).

Writing Good Google Ads

No ivory tower language. Keep it simple.

Use keyword in headline.

Benefits first, features second (huge difference in CTR).

Benefits = emotional payoffs.

Retell the ads story in the display URL.

Images get higher CTR (display network), but may show less often because there’s less inventory. They take up more real estate.

Local search has less competition. e.g. dentists, counsellors / therapists, real estate, service based businesses.

Local service to test the market, then offer a product globally.

CPC goes way down if CTR is high!

Quality score → comprised of CTR, ad text relevance, historical KW performance, + other factors

Your Unique Selling Proposition

USP → Answer: What do you uniquely guarantee? OR Why should I do business with you, instead of any and every other option available to me, including the option of doing nothing at all?

Key USP Questions

1. Why should I read or listen to you?

2. Why should I believe what you have to say?

3. Why should I do anything about what you’re offering?

4. Why should I act now?

Use these questions for both your advert and your website / landing page.

P. 116 has some great USP examples.

P. 120 USP for a maid + flyers example

With a complex sales process (read: higher value item) break up the process into steps.

First get their email address.

Email Marketing → Subject line is all about context

Headline Swipe Files (p. 128)

For example,

* When [Method] is NOT the Best Way to Solve Your Problems

* Five Insidious Lies About [Topic]

Tell stories & show personality in your emails!

Often the stories aren’t that related… there’s a transition after the reader is hooked.

Frequency is important so people remember you.

3, 5, 7 are good numbers for sequences.

After 5-day sequence, taper out… (2 years later)

Unsubscribe between 3 and 10 percent.

After someone buys, put them on a sequence that helps them use the product (cuts refunds in half).

Use email to express a personality, don’t hide behind it.

You can duplicate a product, but not a personality (brand differentiation).

Optins can be more than an email address, which makes them more valuable.

Wright Brothers story -- testing the gliding first. Got the balance right. THEN, then added the engine.

Similar to getting product market fit right first before creating a sales engine. Steve Blank talks about this in Four Steps to the Epiphany.

Website is the glider.

Search traffic is the motor.

Adwords can send you a lot of traffic, but you need to be able to convert it.

Doing Customer Research

Chapter 14

Test different headlines e.g. for event title

You can use this for article titles, whitepapers, book names, product names, etc.

People choose to click / read on impulse so the title is important, and we don’t always know why or report why accurately.

Advertise an ebook and get feedback from them. E.g. say you offer the product but make it sold out or coming soon or something similar.

Tweak testimonials, upsells, etc. (e.g. upsells could be 1-1 services).

Good businesses make money on the back-end.

Split testing + attrition will make you a winner.

Most valuable thing you own is your list of customers. Second most valuable is list of prospective customers.

If you’re going to be an affiliate, add value related to the product you are promoting. E.g. Do a webinar that can segue into promoting a product, or offer a free guide.

The Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO: Keywords tell what your site is about, inbound links tell importance (and anchor text).

PPC immediate, SEO 6 months - 1 year to rank highly

On page SEO - Title tag, meta description, headline tags, body copy

Off page - URL itself, anchor text

High PR links

Link dilution

Standardize incoming link format else dilution.

Link building -- Guest posting with author box, directory sites to get started

Limit your CPC bids, but keep daily budget high so ads show throughout the day.

1% CTR is typical, but if ad is a direct answer to a question you can get 10%+ (p.272)

“What ultra specific questions can you answer for your audience?”

Keep keywords in small tightly clustered groups

30-50 clicks to split test. If CTR difference is large 5-10 clicks is fine.

Landing pages: 100 - 300 words of copy.

Optin rates → 4% low, 10-25% typical, best 50% in a highly focused niche

If cost per conversion is high on a keyword, reduce bid rather than deleting it.