Google keeps sending out $100 Adwords coupons. Hootsuite giving away Twitter sponsored post credits. Facebook and LinkedIn Ads look oh so tempting. Lots of people ask us when to start using paid ads. That depends partly on your budget. With most entry level paid ads you pay per click any where between $.50 and $3.00 or more, depending on the keywords you are bidding on and your budget. Because with advertising you pay per click that means the traffic is expensive.
Why Pay for Ads?
For most businesses the reason for paying for ads is to get more traffic and we want to get more traffic so we can get more customers, increase brand awareness, better inform the audience etc. Ultimately the goal is to get some kind of conversion. That could be a sale, a registered user, a newsletter signup. Conversion.
Build a Better Mouse Trap (Conversion Engine)
For many businesses I could just say ‘Build a Mouse Trap’. The fact is that not that many marketers have a conversion engine filling their database with new contacts that they are fine tuning and improving over time. This engine is made up of conversion funnels. That is a call to action with an action step that connects the business with the customer. That could be to fill out a form to download a whitepaper, attend a webinar, buy a product, etc.
Before You Pay
So before you need to have a few basic things in place. If you are going to pay for each visitor you want to be able to convert as many of them as possible and put that contact into a system so you can make the most of that new relationship.
Landing Pages that Convert
When paying for traffic we want to get the highest possible conversion rate. If we send people right to a product page, the home page or Facebook its less likely they will connect with us than if we send them to a landing page with a specific call to action.
Landing pages are usually a page with an “Ask” that is effective in getting a people to give you their contact information. If I created a page that offered “$100 Free” and asked visitors to provide their mailing address and phone number I might get 90% conversion rate. As long as the language and images (and maybe statements about how I’ll use their information) where compelling enough.
You may not be able to afford to give away $100 for every lead. You could give away an industry report, white paper, a free webinar. You could also try a special offer, discount or coupon. Unless you are offering a very special discount, perhaps with a deadline or limited quantity, you are likely to get a higher conversion rate when there isn’t a payment required.
A/B or Multivariate Testing Landing Pages
A/B or Multivariate Testing is when you have different variations of the page and send a percentage of your traffic to each one to test which page gets a higher conversion rate. By trying different images, text layouts and content we can improve the performance of the page. This can be done on your website but there are some great tools like Unbounce and Optimizely as well as some WordPress plugins that help make this process easy.
Here’s a bunch of examples of conversion landing pages.
Facebook Ads are great and can really help you engage a large audience with the right ad. The problem is that when someone clicks on an ad and it sends them off Facebook there is a very low conversion rate. The good news is that is easy enough to create an app on your Facebook page and display your conversion landing page there. Shortstack is one of many services that allow you to create forms and embed content on your Facebook page. You can even embed your Unbounce landing page.
CRM Database and Email Automation
Its a good idea to have an idea about what to do with the leads once you get them. Once someone fills out a form and downloads your thing or signs up or whatever something should happen. They should get a thank you email – sure. Perhaps they can check off the option to get email updates.
The fact is this new precious contact is GOLD to your business. You need to be able to store that contact and add lots of business intelligence. What did they signup for and when? Should we call the contact? Did we call them? Email them? What did we find out? Who called?
We need to be able to segment that list. How annoying is it that my health club that I’ve been a member of for years still sends me email messages asking me to join the club? You need to be able to segment that list and send the right messages at the right time to optimize engagement.
So Now You Are Ready for Paid Ads
You have a fine-tuned conversion engine with a CRM database. When everything is in place advertising is a great idea. Now you are ready to advertise. Of course now is the challenge of effectively targeting your ads so that qualified traffic click to your landing pages. You can even target ads to people that have already been on your website (retargeting). But that’s a whole other topic.