The Key to Higher Traffic and Sky-High Profitability

An effective ad draws clicks, but that’s not the end-all-be-all of PPC marketing.  What you’re really concerned about is conversions.  The conversion begins at your ad, and ends at your landing page.

The key to conversions (by key, I mean that an ad with a relevant landing page can perform 2 to 5 times better than an ad pointing to a generic landing page) is relevance.  I’ll give you a bad example to demonstrate:

I search magnavox TV and am presented with this ad in the top position:

When I click on the ad, I’m presented with a landing page that has absolutely nothing to do with Magnavox TVs.  It’s basically AOL Shopping’s top level of their electronics section.  If the ad manager would point this ad to the relevant Magnavox section, they would see conversion rates easily triple.

Imagine a door-to-door salesman that starts with a beginning line of, “Hi Ma’am, are you having a hard time getting tough stains out of your carpet? We have just the solution.  An industry leader since 1975, we offer a powerful, organic, environmentally-friendly carpet cleaner that will get the job done. Just spray, and walk away. May I come in to give you a demonstration?”  His offer is enticing and the lady lets him in.  As soon as he enters, he sits down on the sofa with a blank look on his face.  The lady then has to explain to him what she’s looking for before he’s able to show her what he has to offer…

You see where I’m going with this?  People are impatient on the internet.  If they click, they’re expecting something on the other side that will solve whatever problem they’re currently having.  If they “let you in” only to find that they’re going to have to do a lot more clicking and searching to actually find what they’re looking for…they’re just going to hit the dreaded back button.

One client that we worked with was sending every PPC visitor to the main home page.  We tweaked the home page, where we could dynamically feed the headline through the URL and saw conversions go from 1.8% to 4.5%.  On those 20% of your keywords that are bringing so much of your traffic, it will literally pay you many times over to serve up specific, targeted landing pages so you can give your visitors exactly what they’re looking for.

The key is to offer relevance from the initial search, clear on through the conversion process (remember, a conversion may not just be a sale).

  1. User searches: “personal budget” as their keyword phrase
  2. User sees an ad with “personal budget” in the headline (and perhaps in the description, or even in the destination URL as, you would obviously test these things)
  3. User clicks on the ad (because the ad is talking about what they’re searching for) and sees a landing page with a headline, “Your Personal Budget Struggles are Over”

Not only will the CTR from 1 to 2 be higher here, but the conversion rate where you’re actually making the sale will be much higher as well.  From the same keyword search you’re getting more traffic that is also converting at a higher than normal rate!

AdGroups – Maximizing CTR with your Display URL

It’s fairly well-known now that the Display URL can have a very large impact on your ad’s CTR.  Google recently instituted a new rule that requires the display URL to match the destination URL (at the root, you can still have tracking variables and such appended to your destination URL).  This has changed the landscape slightly.  Keep things simple and learn these best practices:

Capitalization – showing www.makeyourmoneyonline is not nearly effective as

SubDomains – showing [Keyword] is a bit more effective than

WWW – we’ve tested this extensively, and showing is more effective than every time (even though you’re giving up four characters by putting the extra 3 w’s and period at the beginning).

AdGroups – Irresistible Offers and Calls to Action

Description – Writing an Irresistible Offer

The first description line in your ad needs to leverage the fact that the reader noticed your headline and liked it enough to continue reading.  You’ll want to maintain the same tone, while piquing interest enough to incite a click (or push someone away who shouldn’t click).  There are several different avenues you can take when writing your offer, but whatever avenue you choose, make sure you always end with a strong call to action.  Here are a few options you have:

  • Take away their pain -> “Love handles got you down?”, “Fire your boss”, “Sick of the daily grind?”
  • Provide a solution – Howie Jacobson, author of AdWords for Dummies says that, “One way to get the solution your customers want is to fill in the blanks, ‘We provide ______ to _____ and what this means to you is _____.’ What you wrote in the last blank is the solution.”  Keep your solution relevant to the searched phrase (more on this in a second).
  • Give them benefits -> “Melt the fat away with our patented ingredient.” (vs. talking in specifics about the patented ingredient, you want to say what it will do for them.)
  • Make them a deal -> “Lose weight or your money back.”
  • Separate yourself from the Competition -> “Some claim potent ingredients, we actually deliver!”
  • Price -> If you’re dealing in a market that is very price sensitive, this is also a viable route.  Bear in mind however that you may not necessarily want to commoditize your product.
  • Resumé -> “Training Celebrities for two decades”, “Expert Advice on Tough Issues.”

Closing the Deal – Your Call to Action

Remember, you’ll want to make a powerful call to action to ensure that you push the reader to the point where they will definitely be wanting to see what you have to offer.  Which second line incites a higher CTR?

“Free Software Download.” or “Download Free Software Now.”
“10% Off Sale.” or “Buy Now and Save 10%”

Some great call to action words include: download, try, call, order, buy, get, purchase, or sign up.  If you’re using the informative headline from above, you might possibly try call to action words such as: listen, discover, compare, or learn.

Also, some powerful words to put your entire ad over the top:

Astonishing, Instant, Discover, Breakthrough, Critical, No-holds-barred, Unique, Urgent, Unbeatable, Innovative, Incredible, Enhanced, Electrifying, Guaranteed, Phenomenal, Revealed, Revolutionary, Secrets, Time-Sensitive, Ingenious, Proven, Step-By-Step, Unforgettable, In-Depth, Invaluable, Irresistible, Powerful, Shocking, Unlimited, How-to, Super, Tactics, First, Amazing.

AdGroups – Headlines that Sizzle

As mentioned above, the key to profitable AdWords marketing is to strive to continually stay relevant.  One thousand visitors that aren’t doing what you’re wanting them to do are worth nothing.  One visitor doing exactly what you’re wanting them to do is worth something.  Keep that in mind as you begin writing your ads.  Your ads are the gatekeepers to your site.  Their job is to make sure that interested parties are attracted to your site and that non-interested parties aren’t.  It’s a two-edged sword that can only be sharpened with tons of testing.

An Ad consists of the following four (three visible) parts:

  • Headline
  • Description
  • Display URL
  • Destination URL

We’ll dive into each of these parts separately to ensure you’re driving the traffic you want at a profitable price.

Headlines that Sizzle

The headline of your ad has one job – grab the reader’s attention.  The following two description lines will do the footwork of inviting (or uninviting) a click.  You only have 25 characters, so you’ve got to be creative and pare out anything unnecessary.  There are many different routes you can take when writing your headline:

  • Offer Instruction -> “5 Steps to Ripped Abs”, “How to Build a Website”
  • Ask a Question -> “Want to Quit Your Job?”, “How did I Retire at 29?”
  • Make it Personal -> “How I Finally Quit My Job”, “How I Retired at 29.”
  • Draw a Comparison -> “Cheaper than Walmart”, “More Effective than Tide”

Making even the slightest change can have a  profound impact on your ad’s clickthrough rate.  The headline is usally the point of bigger returns, as it’s a make or break situation here.  If your headline doesn’t sizzle, your ad won’t be read.  However, if you have a great headline you’ll know right away.  When you do find a gem of a headline, see how you can incorporate it into other ads (while still maintaining relevance).

Squeezing the Long Tail for Lower Costs

The long tail is basically those thousands of variations that don’t appear frequently but, when taken in the aggregate, have a very large volume of activity.

There are a two areas where you can significantly lower your costs and capitalize on a fraction of search engine traffic.

  • Misspellings – For every hundred people that type icon conversion there’ll be some that type icon conversoin, or icon convrsion.  There will be far fewer ads showing for a misspelled keyword phrase, which means your cost-per-click (CPC) will go down significantly.
  • Removing spaces and appending ‘.com’ – Some naive users of the internet think that the Google search bar is where you type the address of your intended website.  They’ll type and your ad will be there at possibly the lowest CPC possible. (We’ve found the appendage of .net, .org, and .edu to bring virtually no traffic of this kind).

Employing these techniques can bring traffic with a very high ROI because the CPC will be so small.  We highly recommend automating this process as much as possible.  We’ve found a tool at which creates every likely misspelling (due to key proximity on the keyboard, the switching of letters, the omission of letters, etc.) of your keyword list.  It also has some nice tools to automatically remove spacing and to append the .com to the end (among other things).  If you’re going to be an AdWords user, the small monthly fee will be well worth the time you save.

The key to profitability with AdWords is to be as detailed as possible.  The 80/20 rule applies:  20% of your keywords will drive 80% of your results, so make sure you’re working on improving the higher volume 20%.  Bearing in mind that we want to be detailed, take some time to organize your keyword list into meaningful groups.  You can see from the mindmap I did above that they’re already fairly organized into groups.  You’ll use these separate lists now when we begin creating the actual ads that will be shown on the search results pages.