Here’s a simple 4-step technique to grow your opt-in lists, find new customers, and make the most of your pay-per-click budget.
Pay Per Click – The Standard Technique
The most common use for pay-per-click advertising (search advertising) is direct sales. Here’s a vastly simplified picture of a standard PPC campaign:
- Figure out your target keywords
- Bid on a bunch of terms
- Send traffic to your site
- Measure the results
- Rinse & repeat
This works really well if you get it right, but it has a fairly large, obvious weakness: The visitors you get from pay-per-click are usually first-time site visitors & it’s much, much harder to turn a new visitor into a customer than it is to sell to someone who’s already warmed to your brand.
As an email marketer you know this. That’s a big part of your job: Get permission to talk to your prospects regularly and you have a much greater chance of turning them into customers.
How to Use Email to Improve Pay-Per-Click Results
Here’s a simple technique you can use to join up PPC & email and get great results. We’ll take a B2C example to illustrate, but this will work equally well (if not better) in most B2B scenarios.
Step 1: Target searchers early in the ‘research’ phase
To do this we’d bid on phrases like “how to buy a tv”, “tv reviews”, “best tv”, and thousands of other much less expensive variations!
Step 2: Create something to help these people with their research
We’ll put together an ebook, “Everything You Need To Know About Buying a TV in 2009”. We’ll put this in PDF format.
Step 3: Turn the visitor into a subscriber
To convert the visitor into a subscriber we'll create a 2-step landing page on our site.
Page 1 would be a short sales pitch for your free “Everything You Need To Know...” ebook. The page will also contain an opt-in form, asking for “name”, “email address” and perhaps another key bit of information: “Budget”, “Location”, “Type of TV you’re interested In” for example. All of this along with a checkbox “I am happy to receive emails from ...”. In other words, the visitor is opting in to our emails in exchange for downloading our free ebook.
Page 2 would be a ‘thank you’ page containing a link to our free PDF ebook. Maybe we’ll include a list of best selling TVs, or a call to action back to our homepage to avoid this page being a ‘dead end’, engage the visitor a little more, and perhaps pick up some sales.
Step 4: Turn the subscriber into a customer
We know our new subscriber is in the research phase for buying a TV. Ideally we can then send them an automated series of emails to grow them from an ‘early researcher’ to a ‘customer’. Alternatively, if we don’t have the tools to support that, we can simply move them onto our regular email campaigns.
Either way, the ability to speak to this prospect regularly gives us a much better chance of gaining them as a customer than we would if we just pushed them straight from a search for “TV Reviews” to a page of “Top Selling” TVs on our website.
This is a simple B2C example, but the tactic has unlimited applications and can work far better in the B2B space, using how-to guides, whitepapers and reports in exchange for permission to speak to your web visitors through email.