Hack – a strategy or technique adopted in order to things in a more efficient way. with better results.
There are very few secrets out there nowadays when it comes to Marketing. If you see a blog post like “5 top ppc secrets” then I’ll save you some time, it’s nothing but click bait. If you succum to the click bait you will see the 5 “secrets” are nothing but the obvious tips you are already doing.
Here IS a secret though – most marketers, even the best ones you can think of, the ones in you head right now, do not apply these strategy hacks. They are common sense, but they do require more effort and more granularity, and most people are just too lazy to follow them through. The ones that do however, see a huge improvement in performance and most importantly, sales.
These hacks are explained in relation to paid search channels, but the theory behind them can be applied to TV, radio, leaflets and any other form of advertising.
1. In a paid search account, don’t just look at what your told to look at….thats what your competitors are looking at…
Sounds confusing, right. Well not really.
Knowing what ads perform best, what keywords have the highest ctr and clicks is easy. It’s all there for you, in the first reports you see when you log in. That’s what most people, including your competitors look at, it’s natural, it’s how they were taught to manage campaigns.
Knowing keyword x has a great ctr and gets lots of clicks is great, heck, knowing it converts is great too (we’ll come onto this later). The thing is, that keyword isn’t whats converting. The search queries that match that keywords criteria are.
In most campaigns there’s a 90% chance, even the top performing keyword for conversions or clicks, is actually losing money, and wasting budget in one way or another. That keyword may be triggering for search queries that will never convert.
If you look inside of your Google Ads Search network campaign today, I’ll 100% guarantee that you have more search terms than keywords.
The keywords are what you control and what you’re bidding on. But the search terms are what Google is controlling and what you’re paying for.
This means that one single keyword, out of the potential hundreds (or more) you’re bidding on, could easily have hundreds of related search terms.
Look at all these search terms trigger by just one keyword.
This means that a mix of your search terms is actually getting you conversions, more so than your keywords. When you begin lowering your search term to keyword discrepancy, you regain more control.
What to do:
- Single out the search queries that convert and put them into their own exact match ad group with ad copy that is exclusively relevent to the query
- Set that new exact match as a negative against the broad match keyword that was previously being triggered
2. Match your message and CTA to your potential customers temperature
No, we’re not expecting you to get out a thermometer. In sales, leads are classified as warm, if they’re close to being an agreed sale, and cold, if they are some way off the mark.
Guess what, it’s the same in marketing, before they even become a lead. People are at different stages of Awareness, Consideration & Purchase.
Different marketing channels, fit different stages and temperatures.
Cost per clicks are cheaper on display and social, but get hardly anywhere near the same volume of conversions, why? Display traffic is “interupted” traffic, as we call it, they werent looking for you or your product or your service, they were looking at something else but your Ad interupted that and caught their eye enough to take a look. Display traffic can often be categorised as users in the awareness stage. Similarly social traffic is usually awareness stage traffic too, although with some more interest and intent than pure display.
In short, visitors who come from different PPC channels have completely different conversion intents.
It means you need to do a better job of matching your Call To Action offer with the temperature and conversion intent of that traffic. If your hitting display adveristing and social with a “get a quote” message, your likely to fail, and waste valuable media spend in the process.
SIDE POINT – But we need more leads!! I hear you cry. Well, you need to up your paid search budget until there’s no more room for growth, then you need to work on a lead nurturing strategy taking awareness stage users through the journey to consideration and purchase.
BACK ON TRACK – Now we know that visitors from different ppc channels have completely different conversion intents, what we need to accept is that in order to get them to convert we need to accept macro and micro conversions. A macro conversion should be your end goal, a purchase or service enquiry for example. If thats the only conversion your going for, then theres alot of marketing you do that is going to be a complete waste.
When you start to accept micro conversions, like an email in exchange for a resource. Only then can the marketing channels that have lower conversion intent really start working for you. Then your lead nurturing strategy takes them to your macro conversion.
Once we start working towards macro and micro conversions, we can implement this hack – “the stronger the intent, the more threatening your CTA can be”. This means you cant hit someone in the awareness stage with a CTA to get a quote. You should hit them with a whitepaper, a coupon or a free podcast download….a micro level conversion. But you can hit someone in the consideration/purchase stage with that CTA. Closely matching your ad copy and CTA to that potential customers, temperature, which differs by PPC channel, is one of the best hacks to make your campaigns run more efficiently.
Remember – If you dont have a plan to escelate the leads who complete a micro conversion, then getting any micro conversions or using the channels that promote them is pointless. A lead nurtuing strategy bridges the gap between each stage of the funnel. You can’t take someone from awareness to purchase without them considering your product/service first, so a lead nurtuing campaign that set out to try and do that would fail.
3. Track more than you need…
So, your up and running with all of the above, things are looking good. But wait, your conversions havent increased much? Everything must be wrong….
Nope, theres a good chance your execution is just a little off. You see before someone completes your macro conversion, there’s a typical chain of events that occur. CTA clicks, time on site, form field completions etc.
If you are not tracking these events, then you will never know where the bottleneck is. Once traffic, at the right termperature, hits your site, the channel and campaign has done its job, it’s now down to your site to do its job.
Hack – Track more than you think you need, identify bottleknecks, fix bottleknecks
(Pro Tip – There are very few things that improve PPC & marketing performance faster than Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). This hack is the first step into developing an ongoing conversion optimization strategy.)
4. Look at the whole picture. Optimize for sales, not just conversions (specifically for high intent)
A conversion isnt always black and white, except in e commerce. Over 70% of the marketing spent each year is for a sale that isnt black and white, like a subscription or a service with a long sale cycle.
Looking at it this way, you now know which keywords and search terms are producing conversions, but do you know which ones are producing sales?
Let’s look at this keyword comparison…which is performing better?
If thats all you had, you would say keyword 1 right. Well, that is all that MOST companies running paid search ads have. But it doesnt need to be. Let’s say we hooked our ad account to our CRM. We can see the lead, and the opportunity value and the likelihood of it closing. We can also see what does close and what search query resulted in that inbound lead.
Now lets look again, which keyword performs better now? And whcih would you be willing to give more budget and higher bids?
Say you ran the campaign for 6 months just looking at “in account data” conversions, ctr etc. Now you run the campaign for the last 6 months of the year hooked up to your CRM. Imagine, going back and calculating how much money you wasted on the keywords you thought were performing while not giving the others you thought were not the budget there were so deserving of.
It’s time you stopped focusing your keywords around a common account CPA goal.
5. Most metrics mean jack sh**
Not a typo..CTR, Conversions etc. These are guidling lights, but they are not what you should optimize your campaigns around. You build campaigns to get more sales or more leads, so why would you shift your attention to improving CTR or even conversions (when conversions may != sales)
There are very few things that improve PPC performance faster than Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
Once you embrace the fact that your website or landing page is the decision point for conversions — not your ads — you’ll see how much CRO can do for your PPC performance.
It’s very easy to get caught up in PPC metrics and acronyms…
In other words, be okay with sacrificing your quality scores if that 1/10 keyword is making you money.
Instead, stay focused on improving your conversion rates. And don’t start hyperventilating if Google Ads says your landing page relevance is low.
Is you agency implementing these points?
Whens the last time they suggested hooking up your ad account to your CRM so they can see the result of the conversions? (spoiler – probably never, some agencies are happy you dont have that information as it means less accountability for them)
Does your agencies reports focus on CTR, CPC & Quality scores? Or are they focussed cost per sale and sales volumes?
Do they ever suggest what you should be doing to increase your conversion rate to give your PPC and all marketing channels the optimimum level of performance for the cheapest possible price?
If your existing agency isnt implementing or trying to open a discussion to implement some of these “hacks” then your wasting budget and getting below par results. 100%, without a doubt, guarenteed that is happening if these “hacks” are not been used. If that is the case, we should talk.