Your guide to a successful online business!

In the previous four parts of this guide we’ve introduced the concept of search engine pay per click (PPC) advertising, looked at how to research and choose your keywords in detail, how to write your PPC adverts, and ways to analyse PPC performance. This final part will look at how to increase your PPC ad’s conversion.

Once your campaigns are up and running, generating impressions, clicks and (hopefully) conversions, you can start optimising them. This will help you increase the conversion rates.

Continuously test your adverts

To see how different adverts increase or decrease your metrics, use at least four variations on an advert. Two of these should contain slight changes. Set your adverts to self-optimise.

For example, if we wanted to advertise to people searching for ‘designer watches’ we could use these ads:

Batch one

Quality Designer Watches
Browse our selection of designer
watches. All with free UK delivery

100s Top Brand Watches
Browse our selection of designer
watches. All with free UK delivery

Batch two

Quality Designer Watches
Choose from our wide selection of
men and women’s top brand watches

100s Top Brand Watches
Choose from our wide selection of
men and women’s top brand watches

This way, the search engines will automatically start to present the most effective adverts more regularly, identifying the poor performers for you. Once these become clear, delete them and introduce a new batch to test. Over time, you’ll home in on the most effective text for your ads.

Expand your keyword list

One of the buzz phrases of online marketing is The Long Tail. This refers to those customers, products, or in our case, keywords, that constitute a tiny proportion of the total by themselves.  But when they are all added together, they actually generate a large proportion of the sales or clicks.

For example, if you have a keyword that is generating 10% of all your search traffic and a handful that are only driving 0.5% of your traffic, you may be tempted to cut these ‘misses’ or leave them underdeveloped. However, you will probably find that when you add all of the ‘misses’ together, they will contribute a large proportion of your total clicks and sales.

(For a deeper look at The Long Tail, read this article from Wired magazine.)

Yahoo keyword selector toolA good place to start expanding your keyword list is Yahoo’s keyword selector tool. Type in a word and it will show you how many searches containing that keyword were made using Yahoo! in the last month.

It will also show you terms related to that keyword. For example, using the word ‘watch’ returns a whole list of search terms:

replica watch
replica watch
football ticket
basketball ticket
omega watch
watch repair
watch movie online
citizen watch

…and so on.

To expand your keyword list, consider targeting relevant terms in this list which you haven’t tried previously.

Landing pages

A landing page is the page the customer reaches when they click on your ad. If it’s right, it will convince the customer to explore your site further and buy from you. If it doesn’t hit the spot then potential customers will go elsewhere – probably to one of your competitors.

There are a number of things you can do to the page to increase conversion:

  • Make the landing page directly relevant to the ad. A product specific landing page which is directly related to your advert will increase conversion when compared to a less specific page (like your website’s homepage).

If the ad references an offer, the landing page should take the customer to the offer, not merely to a page on the same topic. The landing page should also contain the same words as the ad to reassure the customer that they’re in the right place.

For example, if your site sells a variety of gift industry products including greeting cards, and your customer has searched specifically for “greeting cards”, the landing page should be the page on your site devoted to greeting cards. This will perform better than a generic ‘gift industry’ homepage.

  • Remove all counter-productive links or distracting navigation. If you’re after a sale, you don’t want your customer to decide another site looks more appealing, or to spend their time browsing the non-sales areas of your site. You want to direct them into the order process by ensuring they have no other option but to buy or look at information about the product.
  • Direct them to a form quickly. If your goal is to generate sales leads or encourage visitors to sign up to a newsletter, you should direct them to a form quickly rather than giving them the chance to become distracted.
  • Don’t include information about other products or services unless you want to cross-sell to the consumer. Text which isn’t relevant to that particular product or service will only detract from your sales pitch.
  • Make titles and link text interesting and attractive. Titles and links feature the most prominent words on the page, and are more likely to be read than the other copy on the page. Make sure they draw the customer in and persuade them to buy, sign up or download.
  • Use short sentences, concise paragraphs and lots of text breaks. Text is much easier to read when it’s broken up. In addition, be sure to check your spelling and grammar. Mistakes are not only distracting – they also detract from the authority of your message.

It can take a bit of time and effort to optimise these elements of your PPC campaign, but it’s time well-spent. Often you’ll find that making a few changes can significantly increase your conversion rate – giving you a better response for your advertising spend, and ultimately widening your customer base.

Running PPC campaigns can be both frustrating and time-consuming. Read more about our PPC search engine management solutions and see how we can help you increase sales through PPC without any hassle.

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