Twice this week I was called into consult with clients by my SEM partners who only sell paid search.
They needed to know why their campaigns weren’t working. A successful SEM campaign has three components:
2. A compelling ad
3. A compelling landing page.
Today I’m going to discuss the three components of a killer Google ad campaign. You’ve already done the keyword research, so now it’s time to write that ad.
Google ads are tricky because you’ve got 75 characters to capture the reader’s attention, build trust, make an offer and get them to click through to your landing page. That’s about half a tweet!
Here’s how you do it.
1. Capture attention by using capital letters at the beginning of each word. You can’t use all caps. You can also use punctuation like a ? or !, but not bunched together.
2. Build trust by repeating the search term in your ad title. Google automates this for you. Use it.
3. Make an offer that capitalizes on the why of your business. You’ve got two to four words to explain. Be brief.
4. Specific call to action. Do you want your visitor to click through to your landing page or call you? Let them know!
Here’s an ad I just found:
801 Phone Finder
Search Free Any 801 Number
Cell, Landline, Unpublished & More.
Does it meet the criteria I mentioned?
It repeated my search term which included 801.
It gave the “why” or unique selling proposition – cell phones, unpublished, etc.
It gave a call to action – search free.
I would have changed the link at the bottom to make the URL simple, but that’s just me.
There you have the easy and effective way to write pay-per-click (PPC) ads for Google!
Writing ads is trial and error, so multiple testing has to be put in place. What kind of ads are your customers going to click on? I don’t know! Let’s test. Google makes it easy and shows the best performing ads more frequently. Be sure to write multiple ads and let your customer tell you which ones work the best.
I’ve been talking to a lot of people recently about landing pages for websites. I’m not sure everyone “gets” what I’m saying, so I thought I’d write a little article as a reference.
Ideally, a landing page is one a visitor first goes to when they visit your site through a paid or natural search result. An organic landing page isn’t always necessary or possible, but for a paid campaign, it absolutely is.
What is the purpose of a landing page?
An effective landing page should do three things:
1. Establish trust by being relevant to the search that was made. This is very easy to do with the SEM campaign, so make sure to do it.
2. It should describe your product or service in a way that begs a question from the visitor OR provides a clear call to action if this is a one call close.
3. It should capture a piece of visitor information like a phone number, email, Facebook fan or Twitter follow. As marketers, we have to understand visitors will contact us the way they feel most comfortable with.
Mark Ijlal pointed out we don’t know as much about our customers as we think we do.
Secondly, in all due honestly we don’t know that much about our customers. We think we do but we don’t. It is not possible for us to know about their online habits just by what they do on our website. They might be doing a whole lot more someplace else.
…because someone else gives them more choices, I might add.
I’ve come to the conclusion any pay-per-click landing page needs to have more than an email form or phone number. That visit costs money and you need the opportunity to contact the visitor again. Why not present the Twitter and Facebook business page fan as an option too?
I’m running into people and SEO companies that don’t use landing pages at all. It’s like running the furnace with all the windows and doors open. It doesn’t make sense!
Consumers are bombarded with messages. Most of us don’t make a buying decision after our first visit to a web site. We need more information before we commit, unless that site gives us the necessary belief (trust) to make the decision then. Could a client testimonial be effective copy writing on a landing page? I think so. It may not persuade everyone, but if it persuades just a few, that conversion rate will improve and you’ll see more web sales, web leads and web traffic.
If you think in these terms when conducting SEO and SEM campaigns, you will far exceed your goals and create a smooth landing experience for your website visitors. Never pay for traffic that doesn’t go to your custom landing page to build trust, clearly explain your product/service and ask to collect a bit of information about your potential customer.
Some people have noticed I haven’t spent much time talking about search engine marketing (SEM) on this site, even though I prominently mention it in my site title. Let’s fix that real quickly.
Once upon a time, SEM meant buying ads like banner ads or billboard ads through third parties. These days the common definition is buying text ads on search engines that are keyword driven, i.e. pay-per-click.
Some Internet marketers will tell you to focus on one type of web strategy. I suggest there is a time and place for them all. SEO is a fundamental discipline of Internet marketing and should always be used. Social media is rapidly transitioning from a “want” to a “need.” SEM can help augment both.
The nice thing about SEM is you only pay when you get an interested prospect. Your ad can be served hundreds or thousands of times before this happens. This is called cost per click or CPC. Other advertising payment mechanisms are cost per thousand views (CPM) or payment when a prospect provides information (CPL) or a sale (CPA).
Please note I didn’t say SEM should be the heart of an Internet marketing campaign. It should be used to augment a campaign. Here are three scenarios when this is necessary.
A new website –
If you’re just starting a new website, organic search engine results are going to be difficult to obtain during the first six months, even if you’re using alternate SEO methods. SEM solves this problem. It can also help with SEO if you get noticed by sites that are willing to link to you.
A temporary or promotional campaign –
If you get a special price or an over shipment of widget X, a PPC campaign is a great way to blow them out. Organic SEO would take too long to take effect, while SEM can be going in just a few hours. Any advertising that is time sensitive can benefit from SEM.
To control the sales cycle –
SEM is also highly effective at controlling the sales cycle. Several years ago I worked for a lead generation company in the secondary education field. Their major client would often call in asking to decrease or increase lead volume for certain schools. PPC allowed us to have more control of the amount of leads for a particular school and even a particular program offering.
For an Internet marketing campaign, I believe in using as many tools as I can to create effective results. Whether it be SEO, social media, press releases, article marketing or any of the other tools in my kit. SEM is just another tool that can be effectively used to augment a web marketing campaign. Use it wisely.