Search engine advertising (search engine text ads) is still one of the most important forms of online inbound marketing and search engine marketing. However, there are downsides to the success of Google AdWords and the solutions of “the others”.
One is the rising price per click and ultimately per lead. It’s the old phenomenon of supply and demand and of demand and price. This is one of the reasons why more and more search engine advertisers are focusing on “buying” so-called long-tail keywords (besides the fact that people increasingly use more words when searching).
A second downside of the success of search engine advertising is obviously that your competitors probably all use it as well. So, what will make the difference, whether your ad stands out and thus converts or not?
Well besides the position (and thus price you pay) it mot certainly is the relevance of the ad and thus the offer but most of all the words and emotional connection they make… The available space to write search engine advertisements is very limited.
Hence, you have very little space for engaging the search engine user, convincing him, and persuading him to undertake action, namely clicking the link.
Therefore, you’re obliged to be active, to the point, and brief. Little space, lots of competition: that makes it crucial to ensure that your search engine ad grabs the attention and holds it until the click. Of course, what happens after the click is important as well, and the content and words on the landing pages are also of utmost importance.
Here are some tips to improve the conversion of your search engine ad:
Make different text ads for every ‘keyword’ you’re advertising for.
You don’t necessarily have to alter the entire text, but definitely the specific elements so that the searching surfer immediately sees that the ad is important for his search. This results in a feeling of comfort, confidence and even trust, resulting in clicks. Furthermore, this way you can compare the efficiency of different ads. One word can make a world of difference on some occasions.
Mention the keyword in the title or in the text.
Even though the title is very short, it’s still recommended to mention the keyword in the title for every search word that you’re advertising for. If this isn’t possible, it’s best to include the keyword in the text itself. This way, the confidence that the ad is relevant to the search of the Internet user is further strengthened, improving the chance of clicking it.
Think from the surfer’s point of view.
Don’t waste precious and limited space on words about the company or the product. Instead, keep the searcher’s desires in mind when writing an ad. If desirable, you can mention information about your company when it’s solely for branding purposes. However, search engine advertising is rarely used for brand awareness. Thinking from the surfer’s point of view, or rather your target group also has consequences for the type of language that you apply. It has to be clear and plain, but most of all in tune with the target group that you want to reach. Be correct in what you promise and especially accurate as well.
Speak in advantages.
This point partially relates to the previous one. The searching surfer has a certain desire. It’s up to you to fulfill it. Your search engine ad acts as a miniature sales pitch, with its goal not being selling a product but obtaining a click. Here you have very limited space to draw the attention and to make a promise in advantages, which will convince the search engine user that you can help him fulfilling that desire.
Don’t make your ad too commercial.
The more your search engine ad looks like a commercial, the smaller the chances are for the surfer to click on it. Try to be informative instead. Your text ad must instigate trust and should have a more editorial tone of voice. Therefore, avoid too much terms like ‘Buy now’, ‘Unique product ’, etc. Did you know that there are surfers who have a hard time distinguishing regular search results from text ads? Making a ‘sales pitch’ in less than 100 characters is not a good idea.
You have to close.
A search engine ad won’t sell products by itself. That’s what the landing page on which the surfer arrives after the click tries to achieve, just as with email marketing. Therefore, your goal is to get the search engine user on that landing page. You buy a click and sell a promise. It’s obvious that – in most cases – your second text line should contain a strong call-to-action. So you have to close, just as in a sales pitch. Write a relevant call-to-action, which appeals to the surfers’ psychological and emotional motivations.
Keep your limitations in mind.
Not everything is allowed in text ads. For instance, Google doesn’t allow making use of exclamation marks in the headline and allows only one in the text itself. Also, there are limitations for using capitals, the use of certain words is forbidden, etc. Ask your partner for advice, or consult the guidelines that apply to the search engine of your choice.
Search engine advertising is about relationships, relevance and value
Finally, remember that marketing is about relationships, relevance and value. Come on! Even in search engine advertising? Yes, even there! When people interact with an ad there is a connection between the mind and needs of people and what you have created and, in this case written. If it’s relevant, it appeals to emotion and if it appeals to emotion in a positive way, it converts.
Recently I wrote on another blog about a post by Jeffrey Eisenberg who came up with a nice comparison of online conversion as a contract with the online (prospective) customer. I’ll take some highlights from it.
A maximum conversion rate, Jeffrey wrote, is only possible by making your offerings relevant to the queries of your prospective clients. In order to convert your prospective client into an actual account, offer him/her exactly what he/she is looking for. It is the essence of conversion.
Jeffrey advices us to think of every hyperlink, whether it’s in the form of PPC ads, SERPS, navigation on websites, banners (and I guess e-mails), etc as a sales contract between you and your prospective customers and “conversion as relevant answers to digital questions”.
I like that.
Whenever a visitor clicks on a hyperlink, he/she is indeed asking a question related to your products and services and expects you to provide a relevant answer with all details.
What does this imply? You need to make efforts to plan relevant hyperlinks and create content that perfectly corresponds to that hyperlink so that online visitors do not feel that they have been let down. Relevance is the key to persuade a buyer into the buying mode.
All your search engine marketing and other online marketing efforts will go in vain if a prospective client finds you and it takes too many clicks with most questions unanswered on the landing page. You can never convert him.
And what’s the use of paying for keywords in search engine advertising that are not proving beneficial when it comes to conversion?