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If you setup a “broad-match” for keyword “real estate”, you will attract visitors who have entered any possible variation of term “real estate” including geographically specific “real estate” keywords that may have absolutely no relevance to your product or service.
3. Employ Custom Landing Pages:
This is an absolute for all paid search marketing campaigns. Pay-per-click marketing is unique compared to other mainstream forms of online marketing. In part because marketers have opportunity to select specific keywords, write specific ads and direct click-through to a specific web page. This “connect-the-dots” process creates need to develop consistency among visitor’s expectation from keyword they enter to ad that draws their attention and down to web page they “land-on”. Relevancy and consistency are essential for an effective pay-per-click marketing program.
One of reportedly major reasons why pay-per-click marketing programs fall short of their intended goal is because businesses direct all of their click-throughs to their home page or to a poorly developed “contact us” form or product page. Since most businesses’ websites are designed to serve mutliple audiences (i.e. media relations, investors, current clients, potential prospects, customer services, etc.) they do not provide level of relevancy and consistency expected from visitor to get them to act confidently.
What are “landing pages?” Landing pages are simply web pages designed specifically for a keyword or related group of keywords. They are highly relevant to keyword searched and consistent with ad’s claim. They immediately focus a visitor’s attention on a primary call-to-action (most wanted response). In essence – landing pages ask your visitors to take an action.
If your paid search marketing is not living up to your expectations, consider which web pages you are sending visitors to. Are they relevant and consistent with your paid ads and keywords? Do they offer too many calls-to-action? Do they “fit” expectations of visitor searching on particular keyword?
4. Consider Branding; Direct Response Objectives: Branding has significant value for a web business and advertisers certainly prioritize it as “golden egg” of their efforts. However, associating branding objectives with paid search marketing is questionable. Studies show that search users attribute less relevancy to paid search ads then natural search listings. Also considering “click cost’ associated with paid search, it is preferable to use natural search for branding purposes.
Paid search is an excellent direct response channel since it can be maximized to provoke an immediate “desired action”. Unlike natural search where web page variables (which are not always human-friendly) are tweaked to attain effective search engine ranking, paid search enables you to direct click-throughs to a custom landing page and to split-test landing page to incrementally increase its direct response rates.
Ideally, only use paid search to “fill” any essential “branding keyword” gaps that your natural search is not able to represent effectively in search listings. That way, at least your brand is presented as an option for a search users’ keyword inquiry. Remember, if your not listed, then you are not an option to fulfill user’s perceived need.
Focus your paid search campaigns on direct response efforts through continuously split-testing your landing pages to increase your close rates.
5. Don’t Forget “Latent” Buyers:
A study conducted by DoubleClick/comScore in March 2005 reported that “in half of all cases studied shoppers performed searches related to category of their purchase at some time in three months before buying.” The study also found that, “on average five searches in a category come before an online purchase.”
What this means to you, is even though a paid search keyword appears not to convert immediately – be patient. The average search user performs five searchers before buying online and five searches may be across five different keywords. So before removing any non-performing keywords from your paid search marketing, consider its brand and direct response value. It may have a low “scoring” value but be biggest “assist” to sales.
In summary, focus on “qualifying” your keyword clicks BEFORE buying a visitor who has little or no intention of putting money into your pocketbook. By focusing your efforts on “conversion” rather than “click-throughs” you will increase your website sales and reduce your expenses – a sure bet for hitting jackpot. As a client of ours recently stated, “Give me campaign with 100 click thru's and 30 sales over 1000 click thru's and 10 sales any day!’
Best of Luck!
Kevin Gold is a writer, speaker and co-founder of Enhanced Concepts, Inc. Enhanced Concepts specializes in turning website visitors into leads or sales through web conversion strategies and ROI-driven search engine marketing. If you want to increase your leads or sales and get, a free copy of “Understanding Your Conversion Rate” and “12 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Website Conversion” visit www.enhancedconcepts.com.