Are you implementing effective pay per click (PPC) campaigns? There are a number of technical facets to consider when evaluating the performance of paid search ads, but have you ever taken a look at how you approach your sales pitch as another form of web content?
PPC Ads are Sales Copy
Let’s reiterate the obvious here: PPC ads are sales copy. Do not craft a generic PPC ad as though it was just a piece of keyword-stuffed content. Keyword optimisation in PPC ads is not as important as in organic search, because your keyword bids weigh heavier than your keyword usage. There is only so much space you can use on an ad, in fact, Google AdWords only allow:
- 25 characters for the headline
- 35 characters for each line of description (two lines allowed for a maximum of 70 characters)
Why waste too much on repeated keywords? What you should be focusing on is the persuasiveness of the pitch.
PPC Ads are Micro-Content
Twitter is not a social networking site in its typical connotation — Twitter is a micro-blogging network. Each Tweet is a micro-blog where a message is encapsulated in 140 characters. You need to be meaningful, engaging, interesting, informative, or a combination of these in those 140 characters; this is what it means for something to be micro-content.
PPC ads aren’t just sales pitches that go for hard or soft selling. They can also serve as micro-content proving the value of your offer and providing a glimpse of the return on investment your target audience can expect. This makes it a very challenging task to craft an effective PPC ad that is both a persuasive sales pitch and concise micro-content as well.
What PPC Ads Should Do
Bearing these things in mind — PPC ads are sales pitches, micro-content, or both — you also need to align your PPC content to what it is they are intended for. The action you want to invoke is simple: you want your target audience to click your ads. But what’s the bottom-line? What should happen after the click? You need to zero in on what happens after the click, because if you can communicate it clearly, it becomes a very effective persuasion factor that actually MAKES your target audience click your ads. So, what should your PPC ads do?
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Drive target markets into a sales funnel — If your PPC ads are meant to direct target market into stages within your buying cycle, you should consider who you’re targeting and where you want to send them. This also means you need to prepare different PPC ads within one paid search campaign. To illustrate this point further, let’s say there are three different places that your targets can land on:
- A blog post promoting a special discount code or coupon for your services
- Service category pages with prominent “Special Offer” calls to action
- Landing pages that hard sell for lead info capture and a free trial
The third place — a landing page using hard sell techniques — probably won’t be as effective on people who are merely curious but not intent on buying. The first place — the blog post — tends to waste the time of people who really want to purchase. This means that you have the opportunity to fine tune the target marketing prowess of your PPC ads based on the keywords you bid for. More generic keywords like “[your service] advantages” or “[your service] pros and cons” gives you a hint that the users querying using these keywords are interested in the topic or are researching. You might want to send these people onto your promotional blog post. More specific keywords like those looking for samples or features of your service can be sent to service or service category pages, and then people who use long tail queries with keywords that strongly hint on buying intent can be sent to your hard sell landing pages.
This is just an example, but you should be able to grasp the message. Many entrepreneurs might even consider using PPC ads only to send people to a promotional blog post (instead of a more direct approach) can be a waste of time and money, but they are not taking the potential complexity of a buying cycle into account. You can leverage sending organic traffic to different stages of your buying cycle to get them more and more interested — lure them into a sale. Not everyone searching for a keyword related to your niche is intent on purchasing, and using a direct approach can turn a potential lead into a contributor to bounce rates. Remember that you can nurture leads into sales, but traffic that bounces back is already lost opportunity.
Generate leads through landing pages — The most popular job of PPC ads is sending targeted traffic to landing pages where they can then be processed for lead info capture or direct sales. This has become a rather difficult task in recent years because of how regular Internet users have built up psychological barriers that raise red flags in their minds when they 1. See ads, 2. See ad-like elements in a webpage, and 3. Tend not to trust webpages designed like typical landing pages trying to make a sale.
What this means for you is that getting people to click on your PPC ads is only half the battle — and it’s this half that you pay for per impression. If you fail on inbound marketing and let traffic slip by, you’re mission out on high conversion rates and better return on your PPC ad investments. Luckily, researching landing page design best practices and resources is fairly easy.
Making sure landing pages are properly optimised for inbound marketing is especially important to small businesses and startups that might not have enough revenue to implement PPC ad campaigns that direct traffic to various points of their buying cycle.
PPC ads are web content, sales copy, and micro-content. If you have a better grasp of what they do as web content and what they are supposed to do as sales pitches, you can better tweak them for improved performance.