My name is Bryan and I am a screenshot addict.
When I fall off the wagon, every so often, I’ll go ahead and pick a keyphrase and start clicking through PPC ads and their landing pages and take screenshots of the whole entire experience. You can’t imagine how often the experience from keyword to ad to landing page is broken. I want to call them and yell at them to subscribe to OnTarget. I don’t do it. Instead a few weeks or months will pass and the same advertisers drop those ads. I can just hear their internal discussions as they analyze their metrics and rationally conclude that keyphrase X doesn’t convert for us.
(Maybe we should start the Internet Marketing Darwin Award for PPC ads.)
Do you believe the keyphrase you chose is relevant to your business? If it is, then your responsibility is to show every visitor how that keyphrase is relevant to their needs. Every visitor that comes to your site is not completely unique. They have various mostly foreseeable motivations persuading them to buy and various foreseeable objections that would keep them from buying. Ask yourself:
PPC ads are just like tapping someone on the shoulder. PPC ads are only meant to grab attention not convert. If you want to convert your visitor you need to work on the rest of the experience (the conversation) beyond the click.
Do you make any money when a visitor just clicks your ad? No.
So instead of thinking of PPC as pay per click start thinking of it as pay per conversation.
Devote some resources to optimizing your conversations.
1. The first thing you need to do is bucket your keyphrases. Start with the first 100 or so top phrases that drive traffic to your website. For each one of those classify the terms by phase in the buying process. Does the keyphrase apply in the early, middle or late stage of the buying process?
If the term is driving traffic to your site but not really relevant to your business put it in a disqualified bucket for now. For FutureNow one of those terms is “convertion rate.” It may be a harmless typo but time has shown that if they can’t spell conversion they aren’t likely customers.
An example: Someone is planning to buy a new television set. Early in their buying process they might use phrases like LCD tvs, best LCD tv, or LCD tv reviews. As they progress to the middle stage you might see keyphrases like compare Sharp and Sony LCDs, LCD tv 1080 dpi and then move on to specific models in the late stages like Sony KDL-52XBR6.
2. Define and realign your goals with your visitors. Would you expect every person you went out on a date with to marry you at the end of the first date? So why do we expect every keyword to convert visitors to our ultimate goal, the sale or the lead? Our job is to get them there, but based upon their buying preferences, they may not be able to be moved any faster than they are prepared to.
Start planning micro-goals along the way to your macro-goal (sale or lead). Someone earlier in their buying process might not be ready to commit on their first visit. Plan smaller milestones or micro-goals that may lead that person to convert at a later point in their process.
Why don’t many more early or middle stage landing pages have some easy way to capture a visitor’s email address with some kind of offer?
If your web pages were sales people, how many of them would you fire or at least get trained?
Don’t pay for a keyphrase or a date if your only expectation is a full commitment at the end. You need to romance them and show them all your best moves. (Warning – this is conversion advice and it works but I’m no dating expert, just ask my wife.)
Some examples: Maybe you can offer them a buyer’s guide download, a coupon for their first time purchase, an offer to see a webinar about how to choose the product/service they are considering or a price alert notification if this item goes on sale.
Every keyphrase should have a goal that is in alignment with the visitor’s stage in their buying process.
3. Measure your success and build confidence. Respect and support your customer’s journey along their buying process by pulling them along instead of trying to push them to commit too fast. That is the friction that is caused by your sales process colliding with, instead of aligning with, their buying process. This is what creates cognitive dissonance. What you need to build is confidence. Your visitors need confidence that you are there to support their buying process and confidence in your ability to address all their needs and wants in order to convert visitors at all stages.
Start tracking and evaluating your keyphrases and landing pages by how well they support moving visitors through the buying process. Analyze these micro-goals and continuously optimize the experience to move further and further along so that you keep them on target. Every step closer to the macro-goal is a success, every visit that just bounces is a failure.
Take these 3 steps now and you’ll enjoy a more confident and lucrative 2009.
P.S. This post was inspired by my presentation at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago. Read about it on the AimClearBlog.
I was also lucky enough to get a signed copy of my friend Andrew Goodman‘s updated book Winning Results with Google AdWords, Second Edition.The first was was great and I am looking forward to reading this one over the weekend.