About a month ago we brought you an article on the art of PPC bid management. In it we explained how, based on our research, bidding on broad terms might not be as effective as more specific targeted terms. However, if you need to build up your customer's awareness of you or your product then perhaps you may need to bid on both broad and narrow phrases in order to reinforce yourself to them.
So now that you may have defined the most appropriate bid management strategy, the next step you need to take to help the strategy be the most effective it can be is determine where people will enter your site.
Many PPC campaigns tend to send people to the home page of a site. To me this makes no sense. How often have you gone to the grocery store and found exactly what you wanted right by the door? So why would you force your potential customers to wade through a site (which could be hundreds of pages) just to find what they were looking for in the first place?
A grocery store or other brick and mortar shop doesn't have that ability: To "drop" people in front of the product they want. Usually, the customer has to wander up and down aisles and aisles of products looking for that can of mushrooms, or package of meat marinade.
But with a web property, you have the ability to steer your customer right to the product they were searching for, encouraging them to buy sooner.
There are many reasons for making your landing pages your product pages. Especially if you are bidding for those phrases which best describe your products. The first is convenience. You are helping your customers by giving them what they want, when they want it. You are not forcing them to browse the whole site, hoping that they find what they want.
Now some of you are probably saying "yes but, that means they may only buy that one item and nothing else." Well, this could be true in some cases, but if you run an e-store, there is a good chance you can offer your customer links to other "related" products.
Amazon.com does this. When you search for a product on Amazon.com they offer links to related items, or items which others bought (or searched for) when they bought the item. You could do this as well. There are many ways to hook your customer into other products, by exposing them to the options on the product page. You do not want the other products to be too overt though, or you will turn them off of the product they came for in the first place.
Another reason is timing. Going back to the grocery store example, did you ever notice that in most grocery stores they have candy and magazines right in front of the cash register? These are impulse buys. That is, people can reach over and grab a candy bar and make it part of the purchase without thinking too much about it.
By landing your customers on the page they are looking for, you are encouraging them to purchase without thinking about it too much.
Sure, people will decide if you have the right color or price, but all things being equal, if you do have the right color and price, by directing the customer to the page as close to the conversion as possible, you are encouraging them to not think about the decision too much, and just move towards the conversion.
If you land them on the home page, or even a page 2 or 3 clicks from the product they are looking for, you are giving them ample opportunity to consider the purchase and maybe reconsider and move on to another vendor, or abandon the search altogether. If you are paying for the click that took them to your site, why not encourage them to purchase by making it as easy as possible?
Of course if the customer is on the fence about the purchase, offering things like free shipping, a discount or other incentives (i.e. free shoe laces for the set of running shoes, providing consumer reviews, or offering links to 3rd party product reviews) can help push them towards making the decision to purchase.
Remember that the purchase decision online is much like anywhere else, the customer does the research, decides on the brand(s) they like and begin to form their choice based on a variety of factors. If you have gotten them to the product page, chances are they have added you to the short list of preferred vendors. Now it''s your job (through your site) to encourage them to purchase.
The difference between a virtual store and a real store is that you can more efficiently direct your customer's right to the page that has the product they are looking for. Another difference is that decisions made on a website happen much faster than in a store. While it may take a person 2 or 3 minutes to make up their mind in a store, in many cases you have less than 10 seconds to sway that decision on a web page. Therefore you need to make it as appealing as possible.
The first step to doing that is get them to the page they are looking for as fast as possible. The next step may be to offer the added benefits to buying from you, such as free offers and discounts.
So when planning your PPC strategy, keep in mind that the customer is who keeps your business going, why not give them what they want - that is to land on the page that they are looking for.
Copyright 2004 - Searchengineposition Inc.