PPC As A Prospecting Tool

Anyone who owns a for-profit website is interested in finding ways to generate additional leads to improve their bottom line. There is a lot of information on the web about how to accomplish this, and a lot of tools that can be used to generate website traffic. However, pay-per-click advertising will give you the most control.

Find Gold With PPC

Pay-per-click advertising ("PPC") is the perfect prospecting tool. If you have done foundational work in terms of developing a persona matrix, then you may desire to bring your products and services to market in one of your diverse or niche persona groups.

With PPC you determine:

  1. the keywords you would like to bid on

  2. the ad's copy that shows on the search engine results page when someone searches those keywords

  3. the page of your website the user ends up on after clicking on an ad

  4. the ways in which you would like to target users.

Hopefully that description alone is enough to spark some creative ideas, but let me break down the opportunity a little further to make it more actionable.

Understand How Your Audience Searches

 

Audience Searching

Every person searches differently, and there are likely hundreds of keyword variations that exist for what you are selling. Likewise, individuals of different personas or roles in an organization may use different types of searches in order to find what they are looking for. Finally, different types of searches may indicate a person is at a different stage of readiness in terms of becoming a lead.

You can use pay-per-click to test a hypothesis or research available information about a given persona. If you understand what specific persona types value, how they might communicate, and what barriers might exist when becoming a patron of your business, you can develop a campaign to find what really works best with that audience.

Here are some ideas:

*         Choose a selection of 5-20 keywords that someone belonging to your persona group might use to find you.

*         Write two ads to start*, keeping in mind your communication guidelines and what your persona group might value. For instance, if you are attempting to speak to a "senior engineer" persona, you might call out a whitepaper download that contains technical specifications.

*         Choose basic demographic targeting settings that could be used to narrow your scope: time of day, day of week, device (desktop or mobile), geography, etc.

The end-all proof of success for your campaign will be leads generated. Leads may take different forms depending on your website and goals: whitepaper downloads may be important, or perhaps contacting a distributor directly, or a request for quote submission may be more appropriate.

Measure Performance And Always Be Testing

If you are still working on getting your measurement abilities up to snuff, another metric that can be used as a signal is your "click-through rate", or CTR. At the end of this day, this ratio of clicks to impressions is a measure of the relevance of your keywords to the ad you are showing users.

If you see one of your ads working well based on the these numbers, one of the techniques you can use is to take the ad headline and use it on your landing page. Consistency works wonders for users, as well as for Google, who rewards this type of relevance with their "quality score" metric. Ultimately, this intelligence has many applications. Others worth considering are:

*         Email subject lines

*         Direct mail pieces and marketing collateral

*         On-page meta optimization

At the end of the day, it's important to never rest on your laurels. Always continue testing your hypotheses in a controlled fashion, apply the lessons learned, and devise new experiments that can help you develop your business in new ways.

*Here are Google's guidelines for text ads.

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