More and more organisations are investing in paid search marketing, or pay-per-click advertising, as it is more commonly referred to.
In Australia, because of the dominance of Google, paid search marketing is normally Google AdWords advertising.
The following tips may help you get better value for your investment.
In mainstream advertising, when you want to reach Chief Executives and you choose to advertise in the Financial Review, you are pre-qualifying.
Well, you have to do exactly the same online. And you mainly do it with key phrases and keywords. You can hardly spend too much time getting your keywords right and regularly reviewing them.
The keywords should make it clear exactly what people will find when they click through to your site. If they click on 'house and contents' you'd better make sure that's where you take them - and that when they get there, you explain your 'house and contents' policy. You may reduce the volume of clickthroughs, but that's what qualifying involves.
2. Focus on what the user needs
If you truly understand the buying steps that your prospects typically go through, you are more likely to know exactly what it is that they need.
What is most likely to influence purchase? If it's a complex sale with multiple buyers and influencers, then you need to provide the type of detail that buyers require.
Landing pages, in particular, should highlight exactly what buyers need.
3. Hot leads go cold quickly, so nurture them
In most B-to-B sales, getting leads to your site is just the beginning.
You need to have an agreed system in place for 'working' your leads, and that begins with an opt-in from the prospects for regular email.
How are you going to keep in touch? Is there something of value that you can offer on an ongoing basis?
If the lead has to be passed to your technical people or to sales, then there needs to be an efficient way of doing this that you stick to every time.
4. Track all conversion points
What's the conversion point that is usually most telling? Maybe it's the completion of an online form by a prospect.
It's important to know what this critical point is, but it's also important to monitor the impact of your paid search campaign on all your sales metrics.
Only then can you be sure of the impact your investment is having.
5. Detail tells the story
Search Engine Marketing is very much a detail business. If you are going to do it effectively over time, you need to have the time to continually check it.
Maybe it's identifying different ads that work, maybe it's advertising on different days or at different times. Whatever the case, there are savings to be made if you can identify exactly what is going on.
For example, if you uncover that a certain ad is producing most of your response and that other ads are doing nothing, then you can improve your results significantly by dropping the ones that don't work and putting all your budget into the one that does.