Having a successful PPC campaign means we have to get a lot of things right. We have to make sure we understand and address all the steps in the buying cycle and don’t leave anything to chance or the ROI will suffer. After all, online marketing is really salesmanship in print.
Most advertisers I come in contact with struggle, knowingly or unknowingly with one important principle of advertising, understanding and empathizing with prospects from search engines. Visitors from search, organic or PPC, are different from other visitors and your website must take this into account if you are going to have a successful PPC campaign.
Visitors from search are cynical, skeptical and have very little patience. From the moment they arrive on your landing page, you have three to five seconds to make a connection. If you don’t, they will leave and probably not come back.
When we meet someone in person we can size up the situation by looking for body signals, listening to conversation, appearance, etc. But with online advertising, we have to rely on technology and copy (ad text, website text, graphics, etc.). I like to think of the process as a chain, and this chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If any link breaks, we lose the prospect and the resources we spent getting them to this point are wasted.
Here is how I describe the chain and the links within the chain:
- What the prospect is thinking
- What they actually type, i.e. the search query
- The linkage between the search query and the advertiser’s keyword (matching options)
- The actual keyword
- The ad copy; headline, description and display URL
- Your landing page priorities:
- Capturing the visitor attention
- Generating interest
- Creating desire
- Taking action
- Conversion tracking
- Your follow up mechanism
- Making adjustments to improve the process or “making the chain stronger”
Ideally, everything is tied together into one continuous thought. If it isn’t, if you have left out a step or taken too big a leap in the process or failed to anticipate what they are thinking, you will lose them.
A common mistake AdWords advertisers make is not focusing on relevance. They build campaigns, ad groups, ads and use keywords that are only somewhat related to what it is they are offering in hopes of attracting a wider audience. When that happens, they usually fail at using AdWords as a viable channel for their business.
The trap that we as advertisers often fall into is knowing too much about our own business and not enough about our prospect or our competition. The choices our prospects have besides our own view of the problem they are trying to solve. We focus too much on things like features and not enough on benefits. For example, we see a keyword or query phrase and don’t realize how broad the term is.
Have you taken the time to do competitive research? Have you tried searching the major search engines using your most popular search queries? Have you studied your competitor’s landing pages, user experience, offers, calls-to-action? Have you opted-into their offer to see how they market to you? If you haven’t, then you have a ways to go before your AdWords account is optimized.
Keyword selection and keyword matching options is perhaps the single biggest issue I see when I first look at a client’s account. This is especially true when it comes to clients who offer a service. Here is a test you can do yourself. Take some of your most popular keywords and perform a Google search to see who else is bidding for those same keywords. If they aren’t selling exactly what you are, then there is a good chance your keyword is too broad.
The other problem has to do with using and understanding how powerful and yet dangerous broad-matched keywords can be when Google experiments with synonyms.
Another way of viewing the successful AdWords model is to look at it through the lens of probability. A successful AdWords campaign is really a collection of proven, high-probability models. What is the probability that someone searching using this search query, who sees this ad and goes to this landing page, will take the desired action. Our objective is to build a campaign that gives us the most number of high-probability models. This means that there will likely be some search queries that resulted in a conversion, but you simply can’t afford to focus on that query because you can’t make the numbers work. It’s simply a matter of economics.
Think of your landing page as your “elevator pitch”. Once the prospect arrives at your landing page, or enters the elevator, you better be prepared to give it your best shot because it may be your last!