PPC (pay-per-click) advertising can be a very effective marketing channel for your eCommerce website. When you buy PPC ads, bidding on keywords that indicate buyer-intent is essential to reach people who are ready to buy rather than people who are still in research-mode. You know who your niche target customer is and you already have a list of keywords that people search on when they’re looking for products or services like yours. You’ve searched to see what ads your competitors are running. As you sit down and prepare to write that first ad, take another look at your list of keywords. Are you keeping your customer in mind? Do you want to pay for a click if someone is simply searching for information? How do you write copy for your PPC ads that targets the person who is ready to buy?
Recognize Searches Based on Buyer-Intent
We’ve all heard about the sales funnel where potential customers start the buying process by seeking out information and gradually work their way down to the point where they’re ready to buy. You know the drill. You’ve decided to buy a new TV. You start your search process looking for “flat screen” or “plasma”. After reading the pros and cons, you decide on flat screen TV and then start searching on specific brands. By the time you’ve read the reviews and narrowed down your choices. You’re ready to buy. So, you start searching on “buy 42 inch Sony flat screen tv”. The keyword that indicates buyer intent in this example is “buy”. Other keywords that can signify buyer intent include shop, order, purchase and sale.
Bid on Keywords Targeted to People Who Are Ready to Buy
One of the PPC advertising campaigns that I ran was for a product that targeted a very specific niche target market – virtual tour photographers. When I initially did my keyword research, I found that thousands of people were searching on terms like “rotating camera mount” and “stitching software”. So, the first ad copy that I wrote included those terms and I bid on those keywords.
I did get a good number of clicks on my ads. When I analyzed the traffic using Google Analytics, I quickly discovered that my “bounce-rate” (the percentage of people who immediately left my site after clicking on my ad) was very close to 100%. Naturally, I immediately paused my ads and took a better look at what was happening.
Most of the people who were clicking on those early ads weren’t ready to buy. They were looking for information. Several people who went to my website (and didn’t immediately bail) did call me for more information. I learned that most of them had no idea what a virtual tour was. These people were so early in the research process that I had virtually no chance of selling to them.
Adjust Your PPC Ads to Achieve the Results You’re Looking For
I researched keywords again and started looking for keywords that would be used by someone who already knew what virtual tour photography involved and was ready to make an investment in the specialized equipment and software that they needed. People who had already educated themselves on this type of photography knew that they needed a “pano head” and “PTGui” software.
After creating new ads with fresh copy and bidding on my new keywords, my 100% bounce rate dropped to 50% and less. My mistake had been that I initially was targeting my PPC ads to people in research-mode and ignoring buyer-intent.
Lesson learned – pay very close attention to the keywords that you bid on. Fortunately, I knew enough to track my results and I carefully monitored my ads. As soon as I realized that the terms that I was bidding on were targeting window-shoppers and not customers, I changed them.
So what are your experiences with pay-per-click advertising? What lessons have you learned? How do you include your keywords while still writing copy that packs a punch?