Fall can be a great time to review marketing campaigns from the past year and make adjustments, particular with the holiday sales season around the corner.
But small business owners often feel that their review of digital marketing turns into an endless process, especially when it comes to determining results from paid and organic search. Still, it is an important investment of your time, becausemisunderstanding the purpose of paid search combined with marketing budget worries can lead to ineffective conversions (i.e. the desired results, like online sales or downloads, of a visit to the site).
So here are a few ideas that can help your small business renew the focus of campaigns that lead to increased conversions.
Start with these tips to improve and measure your pay-per-click campaigns.
1. Set analytics solutions to monitor contributions to website goals:Analytics reports can tell which campaigns are effectively contributing to your goals, but also show you time on site and pageviews per visit to confirm that your ads are driving engaged visits to your site. Also consider specialty reports to compare the value that paid search contributed to your site goals and how it changed over time. This analysis can reveal how you should approach adjustments to the keywords for paid and organic search.
2. Ensure campaign ad categories are labeled for easy identification: You should create specific categories for paid search that can be reflected in the campaign and ad groups. Doing so makes campaign tagging simple to apply and allows better attribution of the ads that contributed to site goals (Note: see this earlier pbSmart Essentials post for using a URL builder to tag campaign URLs in an ad.)
3. Make sure that the budget for paid and organic search makes sense:Import your organic and paid search data into a spreadsheet and compare the amount of traffic against the percentage of ad budget allocated for the segment. Does it make sense for a keyword contributing 10 percent of your traffic to receive 40 percent of a PPC budget? Creating a table will make the answer obvious to you.
4. Consider paid search as a supplement to keywords targeted in organic search:Some small businesses emphasize search instead of a PPC campaign, but many digital marketing research firms are discovering that combined paid and organic search results for a given keyword can have a higher conversion rate than that for organic search results alone. Apply organic and paid search for your top terms that need more exposure. The lift in conversion rates overall should be higher than any slight cannibalization of search traffic from having an ad appear alongside an organic search query result.
5. Use long tail keyword terms that could draw visits with a lower spend on clicks:Conversion lift opportunities can sometimes lie in long tail keyword terms, attracting more relevant traffic with a lower spend than many highly volume terms. Long tail keywords are words with lower search volume than a head keyword — typically a branded term. But three- and four-phrase keyword terms related to your industry, product, or service can yield a better combination of relevant traffic.
6.Use contextual marketing to make ad spend more effective:To better ensure that the ads appear when customers are considering your services, consider networks that display ads in a more relevant setting to your targeted audience. For example, an ad offering a DJ’s services can be displayed in a network that includes content for weddings.Adwords offers a contextual marketing option by running ads on partner sites of the Google Display Network. Facebook Ads operate in a similar way. The keywords in Facebook Ads are matched to profile activity rather than search queries. So an ad for an auto parts store would show up for profiles containing an interest in automobiles. The end result is an audience being more receptive to an ad because the queries are occurring in a more specific online environment.
7.Create Ads for specific events:If the ad budget is extremely tight for your small business, consider constructing ads for specific happenings. Seasonal events, such as a holiday sale, can be effective. Another approach is setting an ad for specific geographic region where your business serves but may not be receiving visitors.
8.Place ads on ad networks related to your referral traffic:Referral traffic from other sites may be complemented with ad exposure to gain better response leading to conversion. Sites like LinkedIn and Business.com offer ad networks specific for a business audience, while Yelp and YP.com may be helpful for sales offers. There are also publishers such as Adsmoke, a platform that displays ads at the beginning of a Youtube video, which can provide opportunities to match your ad to the context in which it appears.
9.Scan your site for overlooked keyword ideas with CPC opportunities:If content has been changed over the year, use tools that can scan your site for additional keyword ideas. These suggestion can lead to more affordable target words. Both Google Adwords Manager and Microsoft AdCenter can survey your website and generate a keyword list for you. You can compare the generated list with a keyword density list, to determine if a preferred keyword does not appear frequently in your site — another potential candidate for use in an ad to attract audience.
Earning conversions takes time and investment. But evaluating campaigns with Web analytics and segmentation brings an improved focus of your business' marketing. Your ads will be target the specific groups of customers you want for your products and services.
Learn about all the different ways Pitney Bowes can help you communicate better with your customers.
Pierre DeBois is a marketing analytics expert. He is the founder of Zimana (www.zimana.com), a small business analytics consultancy. Pierre is not a Pitney Bowes employee and shares his insights on this blog as a paid contributor.