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Consistency Is Key in the PPC Conversion Process

March 26, 2008

Let me enlighten you about something you might not have considered. Ultimate conversions from pay-per-click (PPC) ads come from a process, not a single event. Oftentimes, online marketers focus on the effects of PPC copywriting and the clickthrough rate it achieves. That clickthrough rate is thought of as the end-all, be-all for the campaign. But the overall goal of PPC copywriting is not to get people to click. Clicking a PPC ad is merely step one. The ultimate goal is to get visitors to take action once they reach your site.


Consistency is a vital attribute of successful PPC campaigns. Including the same keyphrases you target in the PPC copywriting throughout the rest of the steps in the conversion process can make or break your end results. This really shouldn't be surprising, however. After all, it's not a new development.


For decades offline marketers have known that consistency was the key to profitable multimedia campaigns. For instance, if you developed a promotion for mouthwash that included direct mail, magazine, television and newspaper, you'd want the message to be consistent from medium to medium. Offline marketers proved long ago that a single, repetitive voice where one medium interacts with and/or reinforces another brought about the best results. Let's look at an example.


For our fictitious mouthwash (we'll call it Fresh Breath), a campaign might start with television ads that show smiling people going through their morning routines including swishing Fresh Breath after brushing. A slogan or tag line could be used to help people associate a core message with the product. The voiceover might also say something like, "Look for money-saving coupons in this Sunday's newspaper." Great! We've got their attention and offered something (coupons) that can pique interest.


Next we move on to print. The newspaper coupon insert will feature a full-color layout with the same smiling face, the tag line and $1.00 off the customer's next purchase. But what about people who don't get the newspaper? We'll target them in magazine ads that feature a duplicate message. You might also consider sending out samples and coupons via direct mail, too.


Do you see what's happening? Consistency is foremost in the campaign. Everywhere the customer looks s/he sees the same core message about Fresh Breath and relates his or her opinions with this message. The same should be true with your PPC campaigns.


PPC Copywriting Starts the Process


All a PPC ad consists of is copy. VERY short copy. That means using successful methods to develop your PPC copywriting is a vital first step. Blow this part and the rest won't even get a snowball's chance to prosper because the visitor will never make it past Yahoo's or Google's search results page.


Think about your core message. Develop headlines that attract visitors and pique curiosity so they'll want to click for more information. Don't try to close the sale with your PPC ads. That's not their purpose. The sole purpose of PPC ads is to drive visitors to your site, where they can collect enough information to take action -- whether that means buying, subscribing, joining or whatnot.


When you write PPC ads, include the keyphrase in the headline if possible. If not, you'll want to incorporate the keyphrase into the body copy. Remember the tag line or slogan used in offline marketing? The keyphrase you choose for this ad will act as your tag line and will follow your copywriting efforts throughout the entire conversion process.


Consistency During Every Step


When developing your landing page (the page visitors will land on after they click the link in your PPC ad), use a headline that matches or is extremely similar to the copy in your PPC ad. Experiments have proven time and time again that the closer in content the two headlines are, the longer visitors will stay on your landing page.


But don't stop there. If your sales channel is a multi-step process, you'll want to continue use of the keyphrase all the way to the end. Let's look at an example using a Magnavox HDTV.


The PPC copywriting might include the keyphrase "Magnavox HDTV." The headline could read:


Save $$ on Magnavox HDTV


The two lines of copy might read:


All 26-42" HDTV models now on sale- 30% off. Free shipping over $200.


Anyone who types the keyphrase "Magnavox HDTV" into a search field will quickly be drawn to this ad because it includes the very item they were looking for… Magnavox HDTVs. In addition, the copy piques interest. All 26" - 42" models are on sale for 30% off. And I get free shipping. Great! I'd be clicking over in a heartbeat to see what was available.


But what happens if I, the customer, land on your home page only to find dozens of DVD players and iPods and stereos? Huh? Where are the Magnavox HDTVs I was just reading about? I'd be lost. I'd likely click back to the search results page and select another ad.


When I land on a page after clicking a PPC ad that specifically mentioned the very item I wanted, I expect to see a selection of Magnavox 26"-42" HDTVs. What's more, I'll need to actually read the phrase "Magnavox HDTV" to assure me that I'm in the right place. Consistency.


And when I click the 36" model I think I want? What then? I'll expect to see "Magnavox 36" HDTV" on the product description page so I can continue to know I'm in the right place. Consistency.


When I add the item to my cart? Right… same keyphrase. And when I check out? Yep! And when you email me my order confirmation? You got it! Consistency, consistency, consistency.


Don't stop with your PPC copywriting. It's simply not enough. That's a tragic mistake most online marketers make. You have to convey a uniform message all the way from beginning to end to get the highest conversion rates possible from your PPC campaign. When you do, your sales will flow in with more… consistency!


Karon Thackston

MarketingWords, Inc.

Post Comment

 Abrar Sohail said:
Its realy great Information. Thanks
 yragcom1 said:
Simple, but true and brilliant. Thanks, Karon.
 Scott Salwolke said:
Karen another excellent piece. I wish, however, you would take a page from Alfred Hitchcock and start including your name in the title. I would click on it sooner as I look forward to any article you've written.
 Jill said:
@Scott good idea, that's my fault. I'll do it in the future that way for our RSS followers.