SEO – PPC strategy: Planning beyond the click

SEO - PPC strategy: Planning beyond the click

Google AdWords, Bing Ads and other paid media platforms are attractive channels to reach a targeted audience, foster brand awareness and increase revenue. Far too often, however, we find that regardless of how successful a campaign is at the top of the funnel, what happens beyond the click is paramount to the success of any pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.

When working with an industry professional, the first question that is almost always asked is, “What are your goals?” However, it goes far beyond that. When defining the call to action (CTA) for the campaign, it is important to understand where that action leads, the touch points for the client once they follow through on the CTA, how that user will be nurtured through the funnel, and the lifetime value of that lead.

Not only is this important in creating a successful campaign, this is equally as important in determining your return on ad spend.

Campaign success is not always defined by top-level metrics

Click-through rates may be optimal, conversion rates may be off the charts and cost per click may be low; these top-level metrics are great to achieve, but they do not tell the whole story. If the lead is sent to an unresponsive call center, gets added to an email list that never gets utilized or is presented with a product that is not available, what is the true value of that lead?

Before considering PPC as marketing channel, it is important to define the exact flow that user will experience once they click on the ad, fully test the user experience and understand the process that converts that prospect to revenue.

This is true of paid search, paid social, remarketing, display, shopping and YouTube advertising. A successful Facebook ads campaign may grow your business page likes by 1,000 percent — but if that page isn’t utilized to interact with the audience, the user will soon forget about the page, the business and what encouraged them to click “like” in the first place.

Focus on the post-click experience

What is the campaign trying to capture from each potential customer? A form fill? A phone call? A purchase? The call to action determines which experience and sales funnel the prospect will ideally work through after they fill out the form, make a call or complete a purchase.

Marketers must understand the prospect’s entire journey, starting from the CTA. Consider the following:

  • If the CTA is a phone call, who is answering the phone? Are they trained to nurture that lead into the next stage of the funnel? And is there enough manpower to properly handle a call influx from the campaign without an increase in wait time for the potential customer?
  • If we are capturing an email from a form fill, is there a drip campaign set up, tested and current that will nurture these new leads? What is the average amount of time it takes for a new lead to convert to revenue?
  • If we are reaching for a purchase, is the product available? Has the user experience of the website been optimized and tested? Is there a remarketing tag in place to recapture that lead after a cart abandonment? Additionally, is there an email campaign in place to continue to nurture that customer after the initial sale?

The ability to answer these questions determines the post-click success of a paid media campaign and ensures that valuable ad spend is not wasted on an unprepared funnel.

A high-performing PPC campaign is just the tip of the iceberg, and it is important to define what success means. A high rate of conversion is simply the start, but what happens beyond that conversion is truly what makes a campaign successful.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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