Search engines play a leading role in making purchase decisions. Studies show that more than 90% of business buyers lookup information online prior to making a decision. Since buyers rely so heavily in the early and mid research stages of their buying cycle, shouldn’t your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) plan be primed and optimized?
The goal of SEM is to increase your website’s visibility on Google and other search engines. SEM can include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- SERM (Search Engine Reputation Management)
- PPC Advertising (Pay-Per-Click Advertising)
The most popular pay-per-click (PPC) program is Google AdWords, as it accounts for about 90% of PPC ad dollars. PPC advertising is a form of inbound marketing and offers the ability to capture leads fast and efficiently. Building product buyers who type in search keywords in Google or Bing are essentially raising their hands to say they’re interested in your building products.
But AdWords is becoming more competitive and costly, which reduces the return on every dollar you invest in it. Below, I’ll touch on tips that will help ensure you are maximizing your SEM efforts to achieve success.
Tip #1: Be specific. Due to the character limitations, there’s no room for fluffy marketing copy in your AdWords ad copy, so you’ll want to get right to the point. Don’t write generic ad copy. Be as specific as possible so that your ad delivers the right message to your buyers. You will want to create multiple ad groups for your different sets of keywords so that you can write specific copy for each ad group.
Tip #2: Use keywords. Traditional advertising copy is clever and creative, but when it comes to PPC, too much creativity can hurt you. Due to the nature of PPC ads, you need to grab a searcher’s attention right at the beginning. When you write ad copy for your building products, be sure to include your main keywords in your headline and description. Having your keyword in the ad copy also makes your ad more relevant and will give you a better quality score.
Tip #3: Feature your UVP. What makes your building products different from your competitors? When you write ad copy, you should include your differentiator.
Tip #4: Include a call-to-action. ALWAYS include a good call-to-action in order to increase your click-through-rates and your campaign’s effectiveness. Searchers need to know what’s in it for them if they click on the ad. Be sure your ad copy matches the landing page your searcher will be directed to when they click on your ads.
Tip #5: Stand out. Don’t believe the myth that by copying the ads of your competitors, you can make your PPC campaign successful. It confuses searchers when they see the same kind of ads lined up in a column. They will go for the one that stands out and is different than the rest of the group.
Tip #6: Format correctly. It is absolutely imperative that you format your ads properly, with correct casing, spelling and character count. The format for AdWords looks like this:
Headline: 25 characters
Description line 1: 25 characters
Description line 2: 25 characters
Display URL: 35 characters
Per Google’s advertising policies:
- The display URL field can’t be used as another line of ad text
- Your ad text can’t appear cut off or incomplete
- The description lines can’t lead into the display URL [e.g. the second description line can’t say, “Learn more at…”]
For a step-by-step video on how to create an AdWords campaign, click here.
If you violate these formatting rules, you risk having your ads disapproved, which means they won’t run until the violation is corrected and the ad is approved, or worse, your domain could be disabled until the problem is fixed.
Tip #7: Test. Then test again. Lastly, and most importantly, test your copy, landing pages and offers to see which will produce better results. You should have a couple of ads setup for each ad group and then let them run to see how they perform.
PHOTO CREDIT: garryknight via flickr