Pay per Click: The Three Rules of Conversions

The great thing about Pay per Click is that you don’t have to worry about your search engine rankings — you’re paying to be listed number one. All you really need to worry about it targeting the right keywords and your budget.

And those two things bring us around to conversions. How many people who click on that ad actually end up buying your products or services?

In organic search engine optimization we still care about conversions, but a lot less so. If we have a keyword phrase that only has a 5% conversion rate, but still drives a huge amount of traffic, that’s still a good deal for us. For the Pay per Click campaign massive click throughs with poor conversions quickly become a money pit.

As a Pay per Click marketer, we need to focus on converting as many of those clicks into sales as we possibly can. This means we’re going to focus on the 3 primary rules of conversion: keywords, ad communication, and landing page.

Rule #1: Choose keywords for conversion potential

We need to target keywords that are relevant to the product or service we are offering, but at the same time are specific enough that someone entering those keywords is actually looking for our product or service, and not something else entirely.

For example, if you manufacture customized drill bits you might find that “custom parts” is a keyword that gets a lot of traffic; however, most of the people searching for “custom parts” are not searching for custom drill bits. If we pay for that keyword, we’re going to be paying for a lot of clicks that don’t turn into sales.

Likewise that vast majority of people searching for “drill bits” are not looking for something custom. We can always try to lure them in and entice them to change their mind and want our product anyway, but we’re going to end up with a low conversion rate — effectively paying a lot of money for clicks from people who aren’t remotely interested in what we’re selling.

While there might be a lot fewer searches for “custom drill bits” than the other searches, those are the searchers who are actually looking for our product. We will have a much higher conversion rate on that keyword phrase.

So rule number 1 is to target keywords that are directly related to what you’re selling, and not related something else entirely.

Rule #2:  Clearly communicate what you’re offering in your ad

Now that we’ve chosen a keyword phrase that is as targeted and specific as we can reasonably make it, we  need to focus on exactly what our ad is going to say. We want the ad to be enticing and exciting, certainly, but we  also want to be completely clear on what we’re offering — and what we’re not offering.

Let’s go back to our “custom drill bits” example.  Perhaps someone is curious about custom drill bits and types “how are custom drill bits made?” into Google. On the top of the search results is our ad. If your ad doesn’t make it clear that you’re selling custom drill bits, we might get this curious person curious clicking through hoping for some educational information. We just paid for that click, and there’s no chance he’s going to buy from us.

Similarly, perhaps we will only manufacture custom drill bits in quantities of at least 1,000. That’s something that would be useful to include in our ad — again we’ll be reducing click throughs from people who are not at all interested in what we do (in this case, mass-producing custom drill bits). Our ad might read:

Acme Custom Drill Bits
Affordable custom drill bit design and production in quantities as low as 1,000.

This makes it clear that we’re offering a product for sale, and further notes the minimum quantity. In addition we’re letting potential customers know that we can both design and manufacture the bits (and perhaps those are additional keyword phrases we’re targeting).

When your designing your Google adwords text or image ad, don’t only think of how to entice people to click on it — also give some thought about how to keep non-customers from clicking on it.

Rule #3: Direct the customer to the most relevant part of your site

Without question the biggest mistake that Pay per Click marketers make is having their ads link through to the home page of their website. In the vast majority of cases, this is a mistake.

If our imaginary company, Acme Drill Bits, does nothing except manufacture custom drill bits, then it could be acceptable to have our ads link to our home page. But if instead we manufacture all kinds of drill bits, and also manufacture custom drill bits, we need to make sure our ad points to the page on our site that specifically talks about custom drill bits — our landing page.

This brings us to another rule — in fact, it’s not a rule, it’s a law. It’s as certain and unrelenting as gravity.

Internet users are lazy: If there’s one thing that all internet research consistently tells us, it’s that internet users are lazy. If our page takes more than a few seconds to load, they’ll leave. If they have to click on more than three links to find something, they’ll leave. And if they click on a link and don’t instantly see that the site is talking about exactly what they searched for… they’ll click the back button and click the next link down the list.

If we don’t have a landing page on our site that specifically talks about what we’re trying to sell with our Google ad, then our first step is to create that landing page. We do that first, and only then do we purchase our Google ad.

Of course, just having a landing page isn’t enough. Our landing page needs to be clear, informative, and compelling. It should include a call to action and make it easy for our customer to purchase or contact us. And of course we want to be sure that we have a way of tracking our conversions, so we know how many sales we’re really getting because of our Pay per Click campaign. But of course, that’s another article.

So rule #3 is to make sure that your ad links to a landing page within your site that is relevant to the search keywords — don’t expect the users to navigate through your site on their own.

Violating any one of these three rules won’t always mean that you get fewer sales, but it will mean that you’re paying more for the sales that you get. Choose your keywords wisely, make sure your ad clearly communicates what you are — and are not — offering, and then direct your potential customers to a page that instantly fulfills their needs. Follow these rules and you’ll get more sales, and waste less of your pay per click budget.