You’re Doing It Wrong: Pay-Per-Click & The Underpants Gnomes

December 15, 2015   /   by  Diane Callihan

How to Get from Underpants to Profit

There is a great episode of South Park when Cartman discovers that his underwear is being stolen nightly by a band of underpants gnomes.

In one scene, the lead gnome explains their business model:

  • Phase 1: Collect underpants
  • Phase 2: ? (all the gnomes shrug)
  • Phase 3: Profit

I can’t help but see the obvious correlation with PPC marketing.

The idea is that you pay-per-click, and thus, drive traffic to your website (Yay!).

And then what?

Well, ideally, visitors will go to a brilliant landing page, be really interested in what’s there, fill out a form for more information, and then you’ll have their contact info.

And then what?

And then maybe you could send them emails about things that they might be interested in.

And then what?

When do we get to the profit part?

Damn you, Phase 2!

The fact is, it takes much more than one simple step to get to the profit part. On average, it takes 12 (!) marketing interactions before a random web visitor becomes engaged enough to want to do business with you. TWELVE!!

Do you have time to reach out to every link-clicker 12 times? Does anyone?

The harsh reality about PPC is that it is not an investment; it’s an expense. As soon as you stop paying for it, it’s gone.

PPC will collect lots of underpants (aka leads) for you, but then you need to do something useful with them if you want to profit.

What you need is Phase 2.

Lead Nurturing, that is.

PPC is a great first step for collecting leads and getting people in the door. In fact, we’ve managed some wildly successful PPC campaigns that do just that.

But once they’re in the door, your guests need a little love. Lead nurturing, also known as marketing automation, can identify visitors even if they don’t fill out a form. It can track what and how many pages they visit and score how interested they are. It can send out automated emails based on interest, even multi-tiered drip campaigns. It can also send notifications to the sales team for hot prospects.

Twelve marketing interactions just got a lot easier.

And yes, automated messages can be highly personalized and people do respond to them. In fact, triggered email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” marketing messages. See more stats.

Most importantly, businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. And we’ve seen these types of results with our own eyes, like for our client Phytel, an IBM company.

So, to review:

  • Phase 1: PPC
  • Phase 2: Lead Nurturing
  • Phase 3: Profit

Then you can buy all the underpants you want.

Interested in learning more about PPC? Marketing Automation? Gnomes?


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Diane Callihan

Diane Callihan

With more than 20 years of experience writing for some of the country’s top brands, Diane helped to shape Roger West’s content strategy, lead generation, and PR efforts as Director of Marketing. She currently serves as President of Callihan Content Creation.