Over the past couple of months, I’ve discussed paid search strategy for reaching prospects at the beginning and middle of the buyer’s journey. Now we’re to the really fun part: conversion, or the purchase phase.

Here are a few tips for using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to reach prospects at the bottom of the funnel and entice them to convert.

1. Bid on brand terms.

Now that your customer has discovered you, and researched and compared your products or services, they may finally be ready to make a decision. At this point, it’s critical to make sure your ads appear for searches on your brand name. You want to make sure you’re visible to the people who remember visiting you earlier in the buyer’s journey. Include misspellings and other typos in case their memory is fuzzy. Remember to make sure you have allocated enough budget to meet the search volume that exists on your brand terms.

Clients often ask why they should bother bidding on their own brand name, particularly when their listing appears at the top of the organic results for brand searches. It’s a fair point, but do you really want to let your competitors own the top ad space? There are generally up to three ads at the top of the page, plus other search result features like the Google Knowledge Graph or local carousel, before you even get to the first organic result. Do you want to take a chance that you’ll lose prospects to your competitors at this key phase?

Moreover, there is an argument to be made that taking up more space on the search results page is simply more effective. Combining PPC and organic listings on the same page increases the odds that a searcher will click on one or the other. Multiple studies have found that combining PPC and search engine optimization (SEO) often leads to lift in organic clicks and conversions, too. Of course, you won’t know if this holds true for you unless you test it.

2. Make sure you’re bidding on keywords that signal intent to buy.

It may seem obvious, but it can be easy to overlook: your keyword strategy should include keywords that show a search engine user is ready to make a purchase. It may be something as straightforward as “buy widgets online,” but there are likely other keywords you should consider, too: “where can I buy widgets online,” “widgets with free shipping,” or “brand x widgets promotion code,” for example.

Think about what you might search for when shopping online, consult keyword tools like Bing Ads Intelligence or the Google Keyword Planner, and check your search query reports regularly to look for these types of searches.

3. Consider providing multiple offer types.

Your ultimate goal may be a final purchase, but are there other conversions or micro-conversions that matter to you as well? Don’t miss out on an opportunity to reach prospects with multiple offers. Perhaps a white paper is a good offer for some prospects, while a short contact form might be ideal for others. Whatever offers you use, be sure to include them in your ads’ calls to action so that people know what to do when they get to your website. 

4. Make it easy to checkout.

You’ve put a lot of effort into capturing interest and proving that you’re the best solution, so don’t let a cumbersome checkout process ruin your progress. Make your conversion point simple, whether it’s a shopping cart, a white paper download or an email signup form. Don’t include unnecessary data collection fields – stick to only what’s most important to your business and your consumer. 

Wrap-Up

While many marketers view PPC as a top- or middle-of-the-funnel tactic, it should be used throughout the buyer’s journey from awareness and consideration through conversion or purchase. As you start to develop or optimize your PPC strategy, consider the tips in this series and remember: if in doubt, test.
Questions? Please feel free to contact me.