Is Your Paid Search Paying Off or Is Your Web Site Wasting Your Money?
So you’re spending your hard earned business dollars on paid placement ads. You’ve got a sizable increase in visitors to your site, but people still aren’t buying, calling or contacting you to do business. What’s a marketer to do?
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.
Yes, I just compared your potential clients to horses, but that is exactly what we have here. It’s time to look at the effectiveness of your web site. Don’t freak out yet; we aren’t talking about a redesign just tweaks.
Here are a few scenarios to get you thinking and digging into your own site experience to take action:
Guiding Visitors to the Wrong Page
If you have gone through the effort of building out a paid search campaign that highlights specific products, services and offerings yet when they click on an ad they aren’t brought directly to the page of that item, you are likely going to lose them.
Many people direct ads to their home page WHY? If your home page is featuring this specific offering, and has a link directly into that page, that will work, but the burden is on you to update the ads when the site changes the feature or removes that section of the site.
Solution: Searchers want not only to be led to the person who has the answer to their query, but they don’t want to dig for it. Bring them directly to the page that is the most related or exact match to their search.
Lots of Pages, Low Time on Site
Look closely at the number of pages that visitors from paid search are visiting. If ads direct them to the home page, follow their trail to see if they made it the right page. Then review how much time they spend on that page. If the site is low on content, then the time on site will be low, as it may not take them long to go through it. If it appears that visitors from ads are clicking and leaving quickly, they aren’t finding what they are looking for.
Solution: Look at competitors for the search term that you are bidding on. If they are not your competitors in the field, you may be targeting the wrong term. Too often we are so entrenched in our own business and this terminology, that we forget about the whole world outside that doesn’t use the same words to describe or find what we do. Consider refining your list of keywords by adding negatives to eliminate showing up for related queries that you don’t provide a solution for, or pausing terms that don’t appear to match what these visitors are looking for.
I’m Here, I’m Interested, Now What?
Problem: Let’s go back to the horse and water analogy. Just because it is obvious to you that the horse should drink the water, you may still need to nudge his head in that direction. Do the same via your web site.
Solution: Spell out the next logical step with an associated action for potential customers to follow (and something you can track): Call Now (include the phone number), Schedule a Demo, Book or Buy Now. Check out a previous FSC post that outlines how to implement onsite calls to action.
Match the Offer to the Audience
Problem: In marketing we have all been taught that we get the most attention when we include words like FREE, but free isn’t always a good thing. Recently we worked with a client who was offering a free trial for a pretty pricey business solution. They were concerned that they were not getting the leads with what they felt was a very attractive offer. But why? As much as you dig into the data assessing the key performance indicators, there is an element that no amount of data diving will give you the human element. Offering a free trial solution to a business sounds like an amazing deal that you feel no one should pass up free to you, may have strings to the potential client. With this same client, we looked at the nature of the business and how attractive a â€œfree trialâ€ really was.
Solution: Consider all aspects of what you are offering and if it really matches the needs of the client. Free may not be what they need to buy into what you are selling maybe they need to see the value without investing their time and effort on a solution that they may not like. Vary your offers to see which works with your audience.
Which is a better fit for your client?
- Free product walk-through preloaded with content Â (saving the potential client time and energy before they really know if they like it or not)
- Hands on demonstration with a dummy account
- Discount on your product if they act by a certain date, share with a friend/colleague
- Request for more information (some people still like to talk to someone, ask questions, feel like they are being heard)
Pick Apart the Pattern
Look closely at the pages that visitors are going to beyond just your product pages. If you see a pattern of visits from your home page to company history or about pages, as well as news or press release pages, that may be an indication that visitors want to know your staying power (especially if you are selling a subscription or membership). For ecommerce or online retailers, visitors may be in search of information that supports that you are a reputable source for their needs.
Solution: Update company information pages (about, history, contact, clients, staff) and be sure to add announcements and newsworthy information to your site often (start with quarterly, if not monthly). If you have online reviews or testimonials, add them to your site and make them easy to find even highlight them on your home page. If you don’t have them, do a little outreach to clients you feel would be happy to share their experience. If your business predates your online presence, be sure to go back and add old press releases, items of interest and news clippings.
The details are in the data, but remember not to rely solely on it. Let the patterns, trends and numbers guide you to think outside of what you know, to get into the head of those you’d like to help. If you can’t get out of your own head, ask someone outside of your industry for feedback. How would find what you have to offer? Can they find it on your web site? That data is just as valuable as site traffic.