by Michael Stone
Finding ways to improve pay-per-click conversions is essential in any economic climate, but with less money to go around and greater competition for consumer dollars, extracting more value out of every online visitor is a top priority.
While there are many ways to optimize your conversions, one of the most effective, yet frequently overlooked methods is to ensure messaging is consistent across your campaign -- from user search query to ad copy to landing page.
In theory, this sounds relatively simple, but when you consider that user intent often varies with every search, delivering a consistent message becomes infinitely more complicated. Keeping your message relevant to the user search query is the best way to meet this challenge, and if you maintain consistency throughout the conversion process, you will minimize the number of people who click your ad and then abandon your landing page.
Let's look at three easy ways to boost conversions by maintaining consistent messaging throughout your campaign.
1. Pay attention to user search queries: Create custom display URLs.
When crafting PPC text ads, remember you are fighting your competitors for users' attention. If your ad doesn't stand out, users will quickly move on to the next. The key to getting your ads noticed is relevancy. Make sure the user sees an ad that matches his or her search query. One smart way to do this is to create custom display URLs and insert the user search query into the URL.
For example, if your website is www.babycircus.com and you are bidding on the keyword "organic diapers," you would create a display URL that includes the keyword, such as www.babycircus.com/organic-diapers.
Generating custom display URLs is invaluable for creating the right first impression for your users. Taking the extra time to isolate high-performing search queries into single ad groups and create custom display URLs for the corresponding ads will pay off in spades.
2. Don't be afraid to get specific: Customize ad copy based on user queries.
Let's say you're an online shoe retailer with a broad inventory. In some cases you may want to appeal to the user looking for a store that has "everything," but what about the person looking for something particular?
For example, if a user searches for "Converse by John Varvatos," you'd do well to avoid serving them a text ad with a broad headline like "All Kinds of Shoes." This headline may describe your inventory and promote one of your store's main selling points, but it is not relevant to the user search query.
Instead, serve the user an ad that includes all or part of his or her search query. Use "Converse by John Varvatos" as your text ad headline to grab the attention of the user and reinforce the idea that you have exactly what he needs. Work in a relevant offer, compelling call-to-action, and display URL like www.yoursite.com/John-Varvatos, and you will significantly increase your chances of generating a sale.
3. Give your customers exactly what they want: Design custom landing pages.
Most of us would agree there's nothing worse than performing a search, clicking on a text ad because it seems relevant, and landing on a page that has little to do with what you want. Even if the advertiser can deliver exactly what you are looking for at the best possible price, unless the landing page makes this clear, there is little chance you will stick around.
If you want your users to convert, show them they are in the right place by reinforcing them with consistency. If a user searches for "discount antique furniture," use that same phrase in your landing page headline to keep the user interested. Then, use your body copy to further support the message by explaining the unique benefits of buying from your store, such as special savings or warranties.
Alternatively, you could feature a specific discount on your landing page, using a headline like "Get 25% Off Discount Antique Furniture Now" -- one that takes into account the user query but goes a step further by predicting exactly what the user wants.
Achieving consistent messaging by building more relevant ads and landing pages is one of the smartest things you can do to improve your PPC conversions, but a higher conversion rate isn't the only benefit.
Bringing more relevance to your PPC campaign will also help create a better user experience, leading to a higher quality score in Google, and a lower cost-per-click. Couple a lower cost-per-click with a higher conversion rate, and you are making more profit for less spend -- and isn't that the ultimate goal?
Editor's note: This article first appeared in the August issue of SES Magazine.
Michael Stone is one of the original members of Wpromote. In addition to heading up the sales team and managing the company's strategic partnerships, Michael is a frequent speaker at industry events and serves on the board of ThinkLA's AdZoo, an organization of Los Angeles-based advertising executives 32 and under.
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