There are people searching online who desperately want the solution you offer. They just don't know about you yet. Use this little-known turn-the-corner Google strategy to tell them about your solution, and they'll buy from you.
Every year at Christmastime, the Salvation Army sends out troops of bell ringers to stand on street corners and at entrances to grocery stores and shopping malls ringing brass bells, collecting donations, and saying "God bless you" to every kind soul who chips in.
There's no lack of Christmas advertising and soliciting already going on from relief organizations and charitable societies, from signs to TV ads to billboards to phone calls and more. So why the bell ringers? They're there to divert your attention. A ton of folks who wouldn't go looking for the Salvation Army otherwise will cheerfully give a donation if they're reminded of it on the spot.
It's the art of getting you to "turn the corner." Making you interrupt what you were doing, or looking for, or chasing after, and head down a different path. This is a vital skill if you want to reach into new, profitable markets and pluck out the big plums.
Our client Scott teaches a very contrarian approach to solving acne and other skin conditions. He argues that they are a symptom of another problem, far from being merely skin-deep. A messed-up complexion, he says, is a sign of toxins in the body. Eat a solid diet and clean up your colon, says Scott, and you've just rid yourself of a major root cause of adolescent and young adult skin problems.
Scott says he can solve your acne, but he's a nutritionist. That means if his approach works, it will solve not just acne but a whole spectrum of health problems--problems that Americans and Europeans spend millions, in some cases billions, of dollars every year to fix.
Most people who go to Google in search of a solution to acne are looking for some product they can glop on their face and get rid of the symptoms. That's not what Scott offers. Does this mean that he shouldn't try advertising to them? No, because he's got what he argues is a real solution to acne, and people are searching for it, so he can tell his story:
Serious Acne Alternative
Why Your Acne May Actually Have Nothing at All to Do with Your Skin
Most people assume that acne is just a skin problem and nothing more. So the ad attacks that assumption head-on. That may be the only way to get people's attention in his market.
Again, Scott is a nutritionist, and his most likely prospect is the person who is already nutrition minded. Still, his solution to acne could double or triple his sales. Or it could account for no more than 5 to 10 percent of his total business. Either way, those are customers that he can't get any other way.
So in Scott's market, "acne" is what we call a turn-the-corner keyword.
We've got a turn-the-corner keyword or two of our own. People go online every day looking for information about Yahoo/Overture. We bid on the keyword "Overture," and our ad is there inviting people to consider the Google alternative:
Overture: Beat the System
Discover the AdWords Alternative
Lower Bid Prices & Instant Results
This accounts for a significant number of our sales. We're not out to convince anyone not to use Yahoo/Overture. On the contrary, if you're not advertising on Overture now, you should be. It's more traffic for you.
But we're all about Google AdWords. "Overture" and "Yahoo" are turn-the-corner keywords for us. All the while, we can bid on these terms and make sales year in and year out because we provide the same solution they're looking for when they search on those terms: more traffic at better prices.
It's the same reason that this ad works:
The Lithium Alternative
A Rechargeable Solution to Alkaline
Saves You Time, Money & Frustration
If you're selling lithium batteries and you know that your product is a valid alternative for certain applications that use alkaline batteries, then bang your gong and tell the world.
Sell Results, Not Procedures
After all, what people who search on "alkaline" really want is long-lasting power for their electronic device. If you provide that in a different type of battery, then go on Google and tell them. If you sell acetaminophen and you know your product can relieve headaches and pain for the people who are looking for ibuprofen, then tell them.
You may already be doing this unconsciously. Now it's time to do it consciously. Don't limit yourself. Think of any and every problem that you offer a solution for, and then do whatever you need to do to catch the attention and sell to the people who wouldn't have thought of you but still want your solution.
Know which of your keywords are turn-the-corner keywords, and know that you need to employ a special strategy to make them work. Use seductive copy. Take a different angle, a different attitude, a different message. People will buy.
More Turn-the-Corner Examples
Notice the assortment of imaginative ways that these advertisers are catching people's attention and getting them to turn the corner:
Be contrarian. Most folks who search on ADD are just trying to "deal with it"; they don't think of it as a powerful asset.
ADD Secret Revealed
Find Out How ADD Can Lead to Genius, Creativity & Great Success.
You find this ad on Google when searching for "hemp." How's that for contrarian?
What Would Jesus Wear?
Fairly traded, sweatshop-free unique gifts & accessories.
Be controversial. This ad came up in a search on "evolution." It boldly plays to the modern debate.
Intelligent Design Truth?
Read why there is strong evidence of an intelligent Creator.
Most folks who search on "Darwin"--which is where this ad showed--aren't looking for T-shirts. But a lot of them will gladly consider the idea once you suggest it.
Charles Darwin T-Shirt
Not a fan of intelligent design?
Try some intelligent fashion!
Flatulence: The Facts
Don't Treat Your Flatulence
Until You Have Read This Report
Be deliberately ambiguous:
7 Great Lies Of Organized Religion
"A Hard Look at Past & Present"
Be the ambulance chaser:
Vioxx Injury Lawyers
Class Action Lawsuit Attorneys
Finch McCranie, LLP
This ad came up in a search on "Vioxx."
You Can Reach Three Kinds of People
This approach is how you're going to reach prospects that you might have overlooked. It's built on three possible scenarios:
1. There are people who'll gladly buy what you offer, but they don't know about you, or they aren't thinking about you at the moment.
2. You've got an alternative solution to a common need.
3. You've got a completely contrarian approach to a problem, which defies conventional wisdom.
Go after the ones who want your solution, but don't know it yet. You'll win over new customers that your competitors are overlooking. Hit the right need and you could multiply your traffic tenfold.
Perry Marshall and Bryan Todd are the authors of The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, 3rd Edition, published by Entrepreneur Press in 2012. Marshall is the founder of Perry S. Marshall & Associates, a Chicago-based company that consults with online and brick-and-mortar companies on generating sales leads and web traffic, and maximizing advertising results. Todd is an international marketing consultant and Google AdWords specialist based in Lincoln, Neb.