A client publishes a paid advertisement promoting a quick quote in the ad… the call is routed to a call center where the quote isn't provided. Oops. Another client rotates keywords frequently since they're not getting conversions. Oops… the purchase form submits to a page not found. Yet another client incorporates CAPTCHA on a lead generation form… that never actually works. Oops.
These are all examples that cost the companies thousands of dollars in paid search budgets. Not only did they result in direct lost revenue, they also frustrated prospects who will probably never return.
When website sales or leads do not materialize, companies will often point to their online marketing initiatives as the villain. Your online campaigns can hit their targets… but still fail because of poor execution on the back-end.
Here are 10 Steps to Winning Conversions with Paid Search
- Make sure that you have an analytics solution in place (and use it).
- Enable goal tracking (also known as ecommerce tracking). If you are only tracking goals, assign a value to each goal tracked.
- Activate goal conversion funnels for each one measured. Monitor performance by source, campaign, ad, keyword, and any other dimension.
- Within AdWords, Ad Center, or other Accounts, make sure that conversion tracking is on and operating properly.
- Routinely analyze performance metrics, not only within your accounts
- Measure additional KPIs, including bounce rates, average pages per visit, and average time on site for each campaign element. Poor content on your site or landing page can adversely impact campaigns.
- Check out the checkout process personally or have another person act as a Secret Shopper to uncover difficulties.
- Test your ability to complete desired actions (you can successfully complete an online order or request a catalog/brochure, etc.). This makes sense not only from an is it working standpoint, but helps you identify potential user experience/usability issues that can be corrected or improved upon.
- If your close rate relies on moving prospects through a nurturing program, e.g. email or phone, analyze this as well. Again, it’s not how many leads you generate but what you do with them.
- You may draw faulty conclusions about how poorly you think your campaigns are performing if evaluating their data sets only, make testing your site a routine.
The price of success is eternal vigilance. Make sure things work! Your website is a part of your business, not separate from it. If lead generation is important, do not stop at tracking the volume of your leads, but monitor outcomes. In some cases, where improvement is desirable/necessary, your online execution may be the issue. Don't make assumptions.