Google AdWords, or any form of Pay Per Click can be addictive. You get hooked by that perfect lead generated and then suddenly PPC is the only marketing channel in town. All you have to do is spend more money and your business will grow beyond your wildest dreams.
Unfortunately, this is seldom the case. AdWords and Paid Social can be highly effective methods of generating enquiries, but they can also become a massive drain on marketing budgets with little or no return. Let me expand on some of the pitfalls to avoid.
It’s All About Conversions
“It’s all about search volumes” is something I often hear when talking about Google AdWords, and this is really not true. You do want to get in front of as many people as possible and you want as many clicks as possible, but what is more critical is that you want ‘good’ conversions.
A conversion is when someone completes a form on your landing page or requests a call. When you google “the average conversion rate for PPC”, the answers vary between 2.35% and 2.7%. Basically, for every 100 clicks you pay for, you get 2-3 form submissions. If you are paying £10 per click, this means each conversion is costing you between £330 and £500, so they need to be good conversions and not time wasters.
The top 25% of PPC advertisers are achieving 5.31% conversion rates and the top 10% are achieving 11.45%, which takes cost per conversion on our £10 click to £188 and £87 respectively, a big difference.
The focus should therefore always be on improving the conversion rate and not just about increasing click rates.
Don’t Be Too Broad
Creating an advert that is broad may generate you a lot of clicks, but it is unlikely to generate you many conversions. Let me use a simple example to explain: I create an advert that focuses on ‘Hats’ as my keyword and proclaims “we sell great hats”. But the reality is that I sell baseball caps so only a fraction of the people who click through finds what they want. It sounds obvious, but I should be using the keyword ‘Baseball Caps’.
Let’s take this example a little further; not everyone who searches ‘Baseball Caps’ wants to buy one. They may want to get an image, check out the history or find some interesting facts. So, a key phrase ‘Where can I buy a baseball cap’ will be far more effective at focusing on the target audience.
This is where specialists PPC agencies often fail to achieve the desired results. Although they know how to optimise AdWords, they do not have an intimate understanding of the prospective buyer and which are the key phrases that have a greater propensity to convert.
I would always recommend that you start narrow with your keywords to maximise conversions and then broaden out. It is much harder to start broad and narrow down and following this route will burn a lot of money.
Make Sure You Give Them What They Want
A common mistake I see is an organisation latching onto an attractive key phrase as it provides both the search volume and is a strong indicator of an intent to purchase. A good example of this is ‘XYZ Software Costs’ or ‘XYZ Software Demo’. Where it all goes wrong is that the landing page associated with the advert does not deliver on the promise of the advert.
If your key phrase is ‘XYZ Software Costs’ then your advert needs to say that you can provide indicative costs of XYZ Software. When the prospect clicks through to the landing page, this must provide them with the information they want – indicative costs of the software. If you fail to do this, the prospect will simply bounce off the page and, worse still dismiss you when searching in the future.
Maximise Every Click
The reality is that not every click will convert. Where someone is on their buying journey will dictate whether they provide their details or request a call. So, I would always recommend that, as well as trying to maximise conversions, you also try and capture the people that are not ready yet.
I do this by complementing my main call to action with a softer call to action such as a thought leadership eBook or an infographic. I put this behind a very simple gate which enables me to capture minimal contact details that I can then use for a soft nurture approach.
The reality is that Google AdWords or any form of PPC is not easy to get right. If you miss the point, you can quickly spend a lot of money with little to no return. You must be focused on who you are trying to attract, what are you looking to offer them and how you progress them on their buying journey. Get this right and you are half way to having an effective inbound marketing strategy.
Gary is the Managing Director of Cremarc, a specialist B2B marketing company that helps organisations to deliver effective marketing through storytelling, marketing automation and cleverly designed ‘challenger marketing’.