Credit Cards: the Key to Larger Digital Marketing Margins
Published: March 13, 2015
Author: Ian Lopuch
I’m a tremendous fan of paid digital marketing. I’m talking about channels like pay per click (PPC), display advertising, retargeting, paid social media, and others. In these times of fierce competition, I wanted to share tips that will give you a margin advantage vs. your competitors and help you get the most from your ad spend.
I’m not going to talk about your standard campaign optimizations such as keyword generation (both positive and negative), bid optimizations, ad copy testing, account segmentation, or advanced day parting. Rather, I wanted to bring up a unique optimization, one you may have never thought of before: Increasing your margins though savvy credit card payment management.
Important note: Today’s post will drive the most value for (A) those advertisers spending money on a variety search engines, ad networks, and platforms. Also, today’s post will drive greater value for (B) small and mid-sized advertisers. If you’re a large advertiser who mostly advertises on Google, you may not be able to leverage today’s tips because Google appears to be cutting down on the credit card billing option for the largest customers. Good news is most of us fall into buckets (A) and/or (B), so today’s tips are very actionable!
Tip 1: Consider Paying With Your Credit Card
Do you pay your digital marketing bills with a check, ACH, or wire payment? There are some benefits in doing so. You’ll typically have net-30 terms and time to carefully look over your bills. You’ll rarely have to worry about your account getting paused due to billing issues. You’ll have more time to dispute issues and short pay if you have received low-quality and/or fraudulent traffic. However, for all of these benefits, you are giving up a whole lot! You are losing valuable credit card miles and points!
Did you know: Most major digital marketing platforms allow you to pay via credit card? My first tip today is all about considering this option. There is no perfect solution. You will certainly give up some benefits of traditional billing. (We’ll talk more about this later, and how you can mitigate risk.) However, you gain so much. I’m a big fan of airline and hotel credit cards. In aggregate, I value points on my favorite cards around $0.015 each. That’s an extra 1.5% margin on every dollar spent if you’re able to rack up the points!
Tip 2: Determine Which Credit Cards Are Most Valuable to You
Do you travel a lot? If you’re a big-time traveler, it’s important to make the experience as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. Having the best airplane seating (business class and first class) and the best hotel rooms possible creates a great environment where you can be super-productive on the road. If you travel a lot and value productivity on the road, I recommend considering credit cards that tie into your airline and hotel loyalty programs.
Moreover, if you’re looking to maximize the value of your spend and add the most margin to your bottom line, I recommend opting for airline and hotel credit cards. These often have some of the best rewards as a percentage of your spend.
Do you entertain business partners and clients? You may want to consider credit cards that allow you to redeem your points in the form of gift cards to restaurants! Of course, you could also just opt for cash back too.
Tip 3: Maximize Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus Incentives
Did you know that many credit cards offer huge sign-up bonus incentives? It works like this… Step 1: Sign up for card. Step 2: Spend a certain amount of money within a certain time frame. Step 3: Receive your sign-up bonus.
If you’re a big digital marketing spender, you are in the perfect situation to rotate through a few different credit cards to fully maximize the sign-up bonus incentives. Certain credit cards may allow you to receive the bonus several times over for each instance of the card you own. Consider having a unique credit card per search engine account, for example. Receive the sign-on bonus multiple times – once for each account!
Remember above that I mentioned you could get around 1.5% of value back on your spend, if you’re smart with your credit cards? Tip 3 supercharges your percentage back because you’re getting a huge one-time sign-up bonus on top of that 1.5%.
That said, you don’t want to sign up for too many credit cards too quickly. Make sure to pace yourself. If you’re smart, methodical, and consistent, you could certainly maximize a few of these sign-up bonuses each year.
Tip 4: Sleep at Night Knowing Your Credit Card Payment Option Will Never Fail
So you may be wondering, what if my credit card fails? I’m a big spender and my accounts cannot afford to be offline for one second. This is an incredibly valid point, and one worth considering. Nothing worthwhile in life is free. Credit cards face issues. I’ve seen credit cards fail and accounts go offline. If you cannot afford any issues at all, you may opt to say on traditional invoicing.
However, I do believe it’s possible to eliminate 99% of credit card issues with a few easy tips:
1: Watch your accounts around the clock.
2: Have an escalation path ready. Know exactly at the search engines will be your point-person in case issues arise.
3: Have backup credit cards ready to go, and ideally pre-loaded into your accounts.
4: Have amazing relationships with your partners. Have people on the partner side who will fight for you.
5: Consider pre-paying your bills and carry a positive credit balance if your partners allow.
6: Consider getting the best of both words. See if your partner will still invoice you, and then allow you to pay your invoice via credit card.
Tip 5: Pay with Credit Cards Whenever Possible
As explained in the disclaimer at the beginning of this post, Google appears to be cutting back on the credit card billing option for its largest advertisers. Large advertisers are defined as those who have a dedicated account team. However, small and mid-sized advertisers can still pay on Google via credit card. Moreover, think of all the others places you advertise online. What about other search engines, ad networks, social media networks, competitive intelligence solutions, and even digital marketing technology platforms? In the world of paid digital marketing, we spend a lot of money. Try to pay with a credit card whenever possible to accumulate maximum points.
With increasing competition in paid digital advertising, it’s all about getting creative. If you can squeeze out an extra one or two percentage points of margin (or even more with sign-up bonuses), you suddenly have more buying power vs. your competitors. Get more competitive through payment method creativity!