At the dawn of the Internet age, […]
If businesses are going to pay for traffic to their website site, it is imperative that they set up the campaign to utilize all possible features and strategies available within the advertising platforms to maximize the chances of a positive ROI. Google and Bing both offer sitelinks, call extension, structured snippets, and other features to make your ad stand out from the competition. If campaigns don’t use them wisely, they will lag behind competitors.
However, even the best campaign, one that would be successful for most companies within the same industry, can fail miserably due to factors outside the control of the campaign itself. Google and Bing ad campaigns don’t exist in a bubble.
While considered part of the campaign itself by most pay-per-click professionals, many business owners figure whatever they have as a website will suffice as a destination for ads as long as the campaign is built well enough. This is usually not the case, especially in highly competitive markets. The best pay-per-click campaigns are built with a website structured and developed around the campaign itself. Many times, pages that would be good for sitelinks (links in the ads that go to deeper, more specific parts of a website) don’t even exist on the current site. The best thing to do is structure the ultimate pay per click campaign and then build the website around that. Pages on the website will then be built to serve the campaign.
Website design also plays a huge role in the success of a search campaign. If you are paying for visitors, they should be directed to a page with the best chance of driving conversions. Website necessities include:
The beauty of search engine marketing is that businesses can be visible to potential customers far along in the buying cycle. Visitors on search engines have realized they need or want something and intend to buy at some point. For general industry keywords, they will search, click on ads, then judge companies based on the offer and website. They will then narrow down their search to a few companies. Once searchers have a shortlist, they will then search “company name reviews” to see how each company fairs in online reviews.
If the company is lambasted on sites like Google, Yelp, and the BBB, searchers immediately drop it from the list. This result is worse than if the didn’t have a pay per click campaign running because they paid money for someone to learn about them, only enough to know they provide terrible service (according to online review sites).
Some of the best services I have provided to my customers has been outside what would be considered the normal scope of my job. After sales failed to increase once a campaign started, customers have questioned why it “wasn’t working.” I usually can show them the search term report and calls we have tracked that the campaign has generated to prove the value incoming leads. Then we listen to the recorded phone calls and, more often than not, the business owner realizes several missed opportunities that could have been converted to revenue with a more knowledgeable and engaged sales team.
The differences between the current sales effort and one needed for leads generated by a paid search campaign can be dramatic. For instance, If people answering the phone are used to existing customers calling to buy or schedule service, they might be in “order taker” mode. Someone calling from a paid search ad is far along the buying cycle, but they have never heard of your company before the day they are calling and probably need a little more information or convincing to convert into a paying customer. A well-prepared salesperson can handle most issues and objections with no problem.
While a great campaign can provide a positive return on investment regardless of external factors, building a strong foundation with strong products and great service that are properly reflected on the website and in online reputation is necessary to get the best results from a pay-per-click campaign. Hiring a PPC management consulting agency that understands how all these factors interrelate and has tools to track and help improve them is critical to any campaign’s success.