This month on Edge of the Web Radio, we're walking through pay per click strategies, discussing use cases, and providing a ton of stats and information. Marketers recognize the incredible value that pay per click marketing can achieve in building awareness when you don't have search authority, acquiring leads, and capturing relevant audiences that are ready to make their next purchase.
That said, a common response we hear amongst PPC skeptics is:
Oh, we tried PPC and it didn't work.
We then narrow in the focus on what the definition of tried is and continue to find fault with the strategies that were deployed. I'll be honest in that I have not seen a single client fail utilizing pay per click when the campaigns are monitored, executed well, tested, and reported accurately. Here are the reasons we seen PPC failing:
- Commitment – Customers want to test the waters with PPC but don't want to go all in. Perhaps they just want to cash the $100 coupon they received in the mail. Either way, the initial budget is so small that they don't have enough to test enough keyword combinations, exclude non-relevant terms, and acquire enough leads to generate a sense of whether their quality score is improving and what keyword strategies to use. Your initial investment needs to be exponentially larger than your monthly expected spend on PPC to test, measure, improve and set expectations on your cost per lead, lead quality, and conversion value. PPC isn't a single campaign or a project, it's a process that can be improved over time and requires management by qualified personnel.
- No Landing Pages – When I click a PPC ad and it brings me to the home page, I instantly roll my eyes. Your home page is the map to your content but when I did my search I provided you the keywords with what I was searching for. You should have dozens, if not hundreds, of landing pages that are topically focused on the keywords you're targeting!
- Conversion Options – Not everyone wants to buy from a PPC ad click. Some are early in their decision-making process and want to do research. Providing options to subscribe, download a whitepaper, sign up for a demonstration, or other options are all conversions that can drive a search user into a more engaged visitor. And because they didn't sign up doesn't mean they're not going to so you need to keep track of the other activities that lead to conversions. Do you know how many of your customers started with a whitepaper download? Or an email subscription? Find out so you can make some of those offers in your PPC campaigns.
- Poor Campaign Tracking – I'm always surprised when companies have a single landing page that's open to both organic and paid traffic, but they don't have any campaign tracking to distinguish the two in their analytics. In other words, PPC may have been a great strategy – they simply can't tell by looking at their analytics. Get an agency to help configure your analytics properly so you can accurately measure the success of your campaigns.
- No Phone Tracking – Every business should have Analytics-integrated call-tracking on their site. As the world goes mobile, more and more people are skipping watching the video or reading the whitepaper and simply dialing the phone number. We have clients that erroneously segment their marketing efforts and attributes all phone calls to traditional media like television and radio. While those segments DO drive calls, we know that their paid click campaigns also deserve credit for much of their phone traffic but we can't measure it until they invest in a solution.
- No Testing – Sticking up a landing page simply isn't enough. The color of the button or even the direction of the person's eyes in a stock photo image can impact the conversion rate of the landing page. Landing Page Testing is a critical element of every pay per click campaign. You should be testing all elements to optimize the CTR and overall ROI of your paid campaigns.
- Poor Content – Quality scores also involve the quality of the content on your landing page and conversions are absolutely impacted by the quality of information throughout your site. A few bullet points aren't going to cut it. Videos, testimonials, use cases, supporting data, client logos, a staff photo… your content needs to be compelling enough for the visitor to trust that they can get the information they need when they fill out your form.
- Lack of Goals – We recently had a prospect come in and were really happy that he had defined goals – he wanted a 7:1 return on his paid search campaigns. Understanding the goal, conversion rate, and average time to convert helps your PPC agency understand the type of demand that they need to generate, the money that they should be spending per lead, and the length of time those leads will take to convert. They'll be able to adjust your campaign accordingly and help you determine a budget for success.
Thanks to Erin at Site Strategics for discussing some of these tips – be sure to tune into Edge of the Web Radio and listen to us on Stitcher, BlogTalkRadio, iTunes, MarketingPodcasts or any of the other podcast distribution channels!