Let’s say you’re starting a new e-commerce site. You want to market your website online and start selling products but you’re not sure how to get started.

You have a lot of options. You can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  You can use Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising such as Google AdWords. You can use social media such as Facebook and Twitter. You can use e-mail marketing. You can try and strike up joint venture partnerships with other websites.

There are a lot of options, but generally speaking our recommendation is to start out by doing some market testing with PPC advertising. And our favorite paper click advertising source is Google AdWords.

Why Do We Recommend PPC?

PPC is the fastest way to test a lot of different key words at once. It’s much faster than SEO. You want to start testing keywords to see what converts – to see which keyword searches are actually going to turn into sales.

Search engine marketing is some of the most targeted traffic you can get. If people are searching for exactly what you offer and they’re not buying, then that gives you a sense that this market may not be worth pursuing.

If your test performs well, and some people buy, then you know exactly what keywords are turning into sales and so you can scale up your advertising. You can also invest in the right keywords for the long term with SEO.

Ingredients of a PPC Market Test

Here’s what you’ll need to get started with a PPC marketing test:

1. Keywords

2. Ad copy

3. Landing pages

4. Conversion tracking

How Much Should You Spend on a Test?

That depends on how much each keyword will cost to click and how many keywords you want to test. At a minimum you’ll want to get 100 clicks per keyword to see if that keywords converts into a sale. So if you want to test 20 keywords at a dollar per click, then you need to get a 100 clicks for each of those key words and you’re talking about a $2,000 ad budget.

What Should You Expect?

Well, you shouldn’t expect your test marketing investment to be immediately profitable. This is really more about market research and market testing than it is about generating return on investment right away. And honestly, the chances are high that you’ll fail at first. You probably won’t profit, you might break even and there’s a decent chance you’ll lose some money.

That’s OK as long as you’re testing.

What Could Happen If You Don’t Test…

Let’s say you don’t like the idea of PPC market testing, so you decide to jump straight into SEO. It often takes months to gain rankings for competitive keywords. That’s a risky investment if you don’t know the value of those keywords to your business. You could end up with rankings that don’t deliver any sales — and that’s a real waste of time and resources.

Always Be Testing

In summary, the best way to start your online business is by testing keywords with PPC. You should expect to fail some along the way, but try to fail as quickly and inexpensively as possible so you find what works and then you can scale that up.

Advanced Tips

Here are two advanced tips for PPC market testing.

1. Test with other people’s products first

If you are still in the product development stage, or haven’t developed your product yet, you can test a market with limited financial investment by testing other people’s products first. Sign up as an affiliate, run some ads, and see if you generate any sales. Sure, you’ll make less per sale, but you’ll find out faster whether your market’s a winner or a loser.

2. Build your list while you test

A great way to test a product – especially an information product – is to send ads to a survey or a free report rather than directly to a product. If people aren’t clicking on your ads and entering their name and email address to learn more, then that’s a red flag. On the other hand, if people do fill out your survey or request your free report, then you’ll have a nice list of potential customers once you’re ready to launch your product.

Need Help?

Market testing is a service that we offer to our clients. If you’d like more information about this service, contact us and we’ll schedule a time to speak with you about your business.

Got Questions or Comments?

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