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Q: We’ve dabbled with Google Adwords pay per click and had no luck in the credit crunch. Our marketplace, car leasing finance, is too fiercely competitive. I’d like to believe ppc could work for us, but I have doubts.

All the same, I’d be prepared to hire a ppc management firm if I thought they could win quality sales leads for me. But how can I tell if they’re any good?

I accept there’s a credit crunch, and cars aren’t selling like they used to, and this has affected my industry, but I’d still like some clear direction on how to go forward with ppc and win more sales leads

Car Leasing Finance Company

A: To make Google Adwords and pay per click (ppc) deliver sales leads, you need to do 3 things:

> Creatively identify new keywords that others have overlooked, but still generate a reasonable number of Google searches

> Closely manage the ads for those keywords so they’re affordable vis a vis the value of the sales leads they deliver

> Develop landing pages that match those incoming clicks

This approach will maximise your potential to win fresh leads in a crowded market which has seen demand has gone down.

Here is an outline approach to follow

Creatively Identify New Keywords

The emphasis is on “creatively identify”, as all your main keywords will already be closely contested, either:

> as SEO optimised web pages that win the free search ranking scrap and come top, or near the top, as a result of customer searches

> or relatively expensive ppc adwords, costing up to £40 per click in some markets for certain winning keyword combinations.

What is required is an alternative to simply paying through the nose for top keywords.

This can be achieved by performing a deep analysis of the keywords and search terms used in your marketplace. The tool to do this is a utility called Keywords Analyzer.

Keywords Analyzer takes your seed keywords and identifies thousands of related search terms that have been actually used in real searches, search terms that stem from your seed keywords.

It also shows the likely traffic on those words.

It then allows you to apply filters that separate out the possible useful keywords from the great bulk of keywords it identifies.

As well as this, it estimates the likely cost per click, so you can hunt for bargains that:

> Generate a steady amount of ppc traffic

> Don’t require high bids, eg, less than 50p per click

Either you or any professional ppc agency you hire has to have this facility for brainstorming new keyword opportunities.

Closely Manage Your Ads

Having identified your best keyword options you still have to:

> Write compelling creative ad copy that makes users click

> Analyse which ad copy works and which doesn’t

> Develop variants on the best keywords and continuously test them

> Monitor your bids so you pay more where it’s worth paying more to win, but pay less where you don’t need to pay as much

Looking at these, the best way to write compelling creative copy is to write 5-7 ad variations for each keyword.

Set all of these up as Ad Variations in your Google Adgroups. This means having 5-7 variations per adgroup.

Over time, usually per 1,000 impressions, or per week. you can start to weed out the non-performing ads, and just retain the better performing ads. This way you’ll have identified your certain winners through consistent trial and error.

When you have identified the best ad copy, or are well on the way with this (it can be a moving feast), start developing different and new combinations in these winners in the Keywords area of your Adgroups.

So as well as car leasing, try “great car leasing” or “new car leasing” or “good car leasing”. Be creative, try out ideas, and monitor them for success rates usually as quantifiable higher click through rates (ctr), but ultimately as actual sales leads generated from your site.

And allow for all the usual misspells and negative keywords.

While your doing all this, look at the prices you’re paying. In essence you want to pay more for keywords that work for you, ie, generate new sales leads, by giving them more prominence, ie, higher ranking in the adwords displayed on the search page.

Some keywords, will be relatively undiscovered by competitors and you won’t have to pay that much to gain a high ranking. Other winning keywords will require a tougher approach, with higher bids.

You have to carefully calculate your actual gains, ie, the number of actual sales leads this keyword generates, vis a vis the cost of the ad.

Obviously it’s no good getting into a contest with big budget competitors. It’ll just drain your budget.

More on delivering sales lead from ppc in a credit crunch tomorrow

© Studio Rossiter 2008

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