Sunday, August 9, 2009

PPC Integration, Part 1: Integrating PPC with E-mail

Posted by Melissa Mackey on 6 Aug 2009

Pay-per-click ads are a great marketing tool all by themselves. They can be used to generate significant amounts of new traffic and leads. However, PPC doesn't need to be a standalone channel.

This three-part series will cover ways to integrate PPC with other marketing channels. Integrated marketing is nothing new, but in online marketing we often find ourselves working in silos. Integrating PPC with other marketing will create efficiencies across channels and make your marketing dollars work smarter. One channel that works especially well with PPC is e-mail.

It's well known that e-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to retain customers and increase lifetime value. While that's absolutely true, building a sizeable and profitable e-mail database can be challenging.

Enter PPC. But before you run off and open up that AdWords account, you'll need to do some homework.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

While this may seem obvious, I'm often surprised by how many clients put the cart before the horse. They hear that PPC gets great ROI, so they decide to start doing PPC. But without a clear goal, you won't find great ROI -- especially if your goal is generating e-mail leads.

Anyone can put up PPC ads with a few minutes and a credit card, but it takes planning and forethought to craft an effective lead-generation campaign. Be patient, and take the time to figure out what you really want.

Answer these questions first: Do you want to use PPC to generate new leads for your e-mail program? Is your goal to supplement an existing e-mail marketing program with PPC? Or are you trying to generate sales, and then add the new customers to your ongoing e-mail program?

Step 2: Begin With the End in Mind: the Landing Page

The next step is to decide which page of your Web site will best help you accomplish your goals.

If you want to use PPC for generating leads for your database, the best landing page will almost always be your contact form or "contact us" page. If your primary goal is to generate sales, then the best landing page is the page where the searcher can buy your product or service without additional clicks.

And if you just want to use PPC to reinforce an existing message, send them to a page they'll recognize: a replica of your e-mail marketing message, complete with graphics and a call to action.

Step 3: Develop Your PPC Ad Copy and Keywords

Once you've figured out what you want your PPC campaign to do and where you want visitors to go, it's time to think about the message. In PPC, your ad copy and the keywords you bid on are equally important. Choose keywords that are relevant to your product or service, as well as to your goals.

For example, if your goal is to increase e-mail signups, and your e-mail program involves coupons or deals, then you'll want to bid on coupon-related keywords. If you're a B2B marketer offering a service, find out what keywords they're searching for and bid on them.

If customer acquisition is one of your goals, and your budget permits, consider bidding on "conquest" or competitive keywords. While the debate continues to rage on whether it's a good idea to bid on competitors' trademarks, it often makes sense to bid on related products or services. Compelling ad copy can effectively create awareness and acquire new leads.

Speaking of compelling ad copy: The right copy is crucial to generating quality e-mail signups. The last thing you want is to pay for clicks to your site via PPC, and then end up with few signups to your e-mail database, and/or a high unsubscribe rate.

Use your ad copy to attract the right leads and filter out the wrong ones. Make it clear that you're offering a product, service, or item of value in exchange for their permission to contact them via e-mail.

Now isn't the time for clever or quirky PPC ad copy. You have 70 characters to show people what you've got -- make them count by spelling out the benefits of signing up for e-mail as clearly as you can in your PPC ads.

With the right goals, landing page, and messaging, PPC can be an effective and cost-efficient means for quickly growing your e-mail database.


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