Optimizing PPC budgets driving through a windshield

When reviewing your web site design performance, part of the challenge with evaluating your search marketing performance is analyzing where traffic is coming from to see the results it is producing. With the economy forcing budgets into downward spirals, you need to minimize your PPC spend and maximize revenues from the clicks that come in. When optimizing your PPC ads for maximum performance, sometimes you have to pretend you are driving a car and looking through the windshield of the car in front of you. What this means is that instead of focusing purely on high click through rates so that you have a strong CTR with Google, you may need to focus on your actual conversion rates (this means the people that click through who also fill out a form to take an action on your site). If your conversions are HIGH, then you can be confident your click throughs will be fine too. Remember, without conversions you won’t have any money to pay for more clicks. So focus on the scoreboard, not your rushing yardage.

An optimal way to make a meaningful impact conversion rates is to use the ad copy – though it is just a few words basically – to let the customer know before they click, what they should expect to see on the other side. Tease them, reveal a few things, but don’t pull off a surprise effect which leaves them stumbling and looking for that exit sign. Bottom line is to deliver the message even before they reach your site.

What choices are in your arsenal of delivering pre-expectation ad copy? Price, Urgency and Value.

With regards to price – ie. discounts – you will likely have more clicks (thus increasing your CTR) but your conversions are at risk if the clickers are not yet in purchase mode. It sucks to pay search engines for research oriented clicks. So what you can do is to focus instead of terminology that is more closely related to a prospect who is in PURCHASING mode.

The simplest method is to create urgency by using time or number of openings available.
– One example is a sale date. For example, “Sale Ends Nov. 1st, Order now. use code #1234x”
– Another example is to use competition in the form of “10 left at this price. sale ends today. Free Shipping!”