Direct marketing differs from “brand” marketing — the kind we're used to on TV and radio and newspapers — in several important ways. AdWords represents direct marketing at its purest, so forget everything you thought you knew about advertising before throwing money at Google.
Direct marketers set one goal for their ads: to compel a measurable response in their prospects. Unlike brand marketers, you won't spend money to give people warm and fuzzy feelings when they think about your furniture coasters or ringtones or South Carolina resort rentals. Instead, you run your ad to get hot prospects to your website. On the landing page (the first page your prospect sees after leaving Google), you direct your prospect to take some other measurable action — purchase a product, fill out a form, call a phone number, initiate a live chat, race to the airport and hop on the first plane to Hilton Head, and so on.
On the Web, you can track each visitor from the AdWords click through each intermediate step straight through to the first sale and all subsequent sales. So, at each step of the sales cycle, on each web page, in each e-mail, with each ad, you ask your prospect to take a specific action right now.
Brand advertisers rarely have the luxury of asking for immediate action. The company that advertises home gyms during reruns of Gilligan's Island has no illusion that 8,000 viewers are going to DVR the rest of the episode ...