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The PPC Marketer Vs Info Marketer Face-Off

Having a foot each in the info marketing and PPC (Pay Per Click) space has been eye-opening and there’re a number of possibilities for hybrid marketing, especially given the pros and cons of each side of the divide as I’ll go into details here…

Information Marketing (or Info Marketing) is where I started out, marketing ebooks and digital products and gradually developing my own products.

Traffic generation and list building are the bread-and-butter for info marketers. The mantra “The money is in the list” applies.

As an info marketer, you should be keenly aware of the lifetime value of each customer. That’s the value of commissions or product sales you’d expect from each of your customers over the lifetime that they do business with you.

[If this is new to you, you need to work this out immediately, as it had direct implications on your business]

If you have compelling and sticky content and treat them well, you can expect to grow very loyal customers.

What’s a loyal customer?

Take me for example, when it comes to digital cameras and camcorders, I’d look at what Sony and Canon offer. If they don’t have what I’m looking for, I’ll consider other options (only with great reluctance).

The old time marketers would call this “brand loyalty”, the Internet Marketers would call this “mind share”, which might not always translate into “market share”.

Besides the value of the information they either develop, acquire or distribute, info marketers place a premium on building a brand. Think of a Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, John “Marketing Rebel” Carlton, the Alpha Shitweasel Gary Halbert, these are guys who’ve already built their brands, and have fiercely loyal followings. Have you built your brand yet?

Before his untimely passing, Info marketing guru Corey Rudl built a massive brand.

If you’d like to see the power of a brand, think of Napolean Hill, Claude Hopkins, Dale Carnegie, Sun Tzu, Gandhi, Niccolo Machiavelli. They’ve all passed on, but their written works (books or “paper-based information products” if you’d like to refer to them) still persist.

Info marketers generally have a lower reach, they reach comparatively fewer people, but their customer value would be very high.

Using a manufacturing industry analogy, info marketers specialize in the “high value, low volume” space.

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On the other hand, PPC Marketers can literally buy traffic by the bucketload.

Leads can be generated very easily, especially if you go hog-wild in bidding on keywords in the search engines.

The analogy of a rowboat in the middle of the ocean and the phrase “Water, water everywhere, but not a single drop to drink” comes to mind, especially having seen some PPC campaigns which have targeted the wrong demographic (and the leads generated have proven near impossible to convert into customers)…

I’ve seen new marketers wander into PPC, and have heard more than my fair share of sob stories of thousands of dollars being sunk into PPC and not a single sale being generated.

The analogy of a “high volume, low margin” business comes to mind. Although there are some PPC marketers who are actively building a lead or customer database (via an opt-in list or other mechanism), most PPC marketers don’t.

Statistically, the opt-in form reduces conversions, but even bigger than that, the info marketing aspect of building a relationship by mailing your list at least once a week, may not figure as a priority in the PPC marketers world.

Note that once a lead is in your list, the customer acquisition cost is zero, and if the trust and brand loyalty/mindshare relationships are established, you might be the next Sony or Canon to your fantatically loyal fan base.

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Having worked with Amit Mehta on our Super Affiliate Accelerator project, I’ve got a new perspective on the PPC vs Info Marketing debate…

Ultimately, it’s difficult and probably foolish to see if the PPC Marketing or Info Marketing approach is “better”. What’s needed especially if you want to build a hybrid marketing system combining the best of both fairly opposite worlds.

If you do it successfully, the sky (and probably much of the Internet) will be the limit.

5 comments on The PPC Marketer Vs Info Marketer Face-Off

  1. Garrett
    October 25, 2007 at 1:48 pm (4720 days ago)

    I love the insight. Recently, I have been turned back on to PPC.
    Keep up the good work Andrew!

  2. Ro
    October 25, 2007 at 4:18 pm (4720 days ago)

    Interesting post, Andrew. I’ve been thinking about this kind of stuff too, mostly because I kind of stumbled on to it. I didn’t even know that MFA or PPC -focused sites even existed a few months ago, so I basically just started a niche content site. I’ve been slowly playing with PPC campaigns for landing pages, but landing pages that are part of the content. I have a lot to learn about Adwords, so it’s slow and easy $5/day budget for now.

    In my Analytics I’m seeing organic visits to these landing pages, which is pretty interesting.

    I come from the “old-school” interactive agency world, so for me the idea of a content site comes pretty naturally, as does the concept, at least (implementation can be expensive), of tying in effective CRM software to capture data from your websites and emails. I think that’s the key — a contact database that is constantly interacting with your website, mobile site, emails to make them more targeted, effective and personalized. Your post got me thinking about that, and about how you connect that to PPC affiliate marketing.

    If you look at Azoogle, you can see how more targeted offers (dating for over 40, versus just ‘dating’ ) pay more. Being able to intelligently and dynamically segment these kind of text affiliate links with CRM data is a huge win. I’ve been doing this kind of stuff for years in the non-profit world, where ideas are what’s marketed and donations and political actions are what constitutes ‘conversions’. But it’s the same concept, really — it’s all ‘info marketing’.

    Anyway, thanks for jogging my mind.

    - Ro

  3. Andrew Wee
    October 25, 2007 at 4:37 pm (4720 days ago)

    Great insights, Ro.

    I see many affiliates do well with general offers, but the high paying CPA offers (in the region of $50 – $100+ per lead) typically have abysmal EPC returns.

    Some of it has to do with the higher level of difficulty in lead conversion. But a lot of it has to do with unmotivated affiliates throwing traffic and hoping something sticks.

    A well-crafted site can play the game of “small numbers” and use demographic and psychographic techniques to create laser-targeted content.

    I’ve pitched this in my “The Inner Game of Affiliate Marketing” speaking proposal to the Affiliate Summit West 08 committee, so let’s see if I get a chance to speak next Feb in Vegas.

  4. Phil
    October 25, 2007 at 5:50 pm (4720 days ago)

    Change the link in your post unless Derek is in your team ;)

  5. Andrew Wee
    October 26, 2007 at 5:11 pm (4719 days ago)

    Anyone would be priviledged to have Derek on their team. He’s talented.

    If you read a little lower in the post, you’d see the Super Affiliate Accelerator reference.

    Although I like to blog, I haven’t mastered the ability to reshape other bloggers post yet a la Hiro Nakamura.

    Maybe next season…

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