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Rethinking Your Paid-Search Presence

Paid search seems easy in theory: choose keywords, ad copy, and landing pages, then watch the conversions roll in. Right? The reality, however, is that you’re probably frustrated that you’re not getting the results you want from your paid-search campaigns. But if you rethink your approach to paid search, you can do better. Much better.

Being successful at paid search starts the same way every piece of your marketing should -- with a solid strategy. Consider:

  • What are your goals?
  • Who is your audience?
  • How will you attract them?
  • How can you be better than your competitors in a sustainable manner?
  • How will paid search fit into your overall marketing plan?

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These strategy elements run much deeper than just your paid-search initiatives. Instead, they resonate across all of your marketing. And it’s with this in mind that you need to leverage your paid-search insights across all of your marketing in order to drive much better results.

Keywords: identify, test, and translate to marketing efforts

Keywords are the crux of paid search -- they are how your customers will search for you. Choose them wisely. 

Companies A and B offer similar accounting software. Company A calls its product an accounting solution, Company B uses the term accounting software. Does that seemingly minor difference really matter? Using Google to examine the global monthly queries, “accounting software” has 550,000 queries, whereas “accounting solution” has only 135,000.

Logically, more searchers probably means more potential customers. So, yes -- it matters. 

But the keyword “accounting software” might not necessarily be the right solution for your company. Would that term attract prospects of the wrong size/budget, tying up your sales and support staff on unqualified leads? The results seen in the paid-search data can help you change your marketing to achieve much more significant results for your business overall.

Test various keywords carefully. Which keywords perform better and attract the best customers? 

Once you identify the most effective, profitable keywords, use these learnings to shape your broader marketing efforts. Incorporate these keywords into various marketing channels to create more effective content in your Web site, blog and social media platforms. Using these "home run" terms on a broader scale will help build relevant, useful content that speaks directly to your customers. As a bonus, you will also improve your SEO rankings. Translate these keywords across all marketing efforts (advertising, direct mail, retargeting, etc.) to dramatically increase traffic, customers and sales.

A large office supply company wanted to grow their co-op marketing efforts, building a targeted list of potential partners. To start, they analyzed their paid-search data, then targeted companies whose keywords drove the highest spend and highest number of conversions, at the lowest margins. 

Year-over-year, they grew their co-ops by 200%, reduced marketing costs, and eliminated internal marketing costs on their least profitable products.

Unfortunately, many marketers look at their paid-search keywords in a silo. They get stuck in the channel. They may realize that certain terms work better in paid search, increasing conversions, customers and revenue, but they stop there, rather than integrating these terms across all marketing initiatives -- which would provide a far greater impact. 

Rethinking messaging - rethinking paid search

If keywords are King, then messaging is Queen. Paid-search ad copy can be invaluable, providing a key understanding of what resonates with your customers. Rethink your overall marketing messaging, aligning it more closely with your paid-search copy to substantially improve results.  

Paid search is an effective, quick and easy way to test different messages. Historically, when a membership-only Web site tested different call-to-action messaging, they relied on direct mail. However, this method took a long time (6+ months), with high overhead costs. The company used paid search to compare the terms "Free!" Vs. "Free 14-Day Trial."  After only 6 weeks, they realized that their “Free!” offer led to dramatically fewer memberships than "Free 14-day Trial." When they incorporated the more successful call-to-action into all of their online and offline marketing materials, they increased memberships tremendously.

Harvesting critical learnings from paid-search ad copy tests can be helpful across all marketing efforts -- and can lead to a better Web site. By rethinking paid search -- and applying key learnings across all marketing efforts -- you will dramatically increase your successes.

 

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