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Optimizing PPC by leveraging the long tail

When modest sized companies start out with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, there’s a natural tendency to bid on broad keywords they feel will attract the most leads. Keywords like “financial services”, “travel”, “marketing agencies” and so forth.

There are several problems with this approach:

  • In the broad keywords arena, you’re taking on large behemoths with massive budgets like Fidelity, Expedia and GEICO.
  • The clicks you generate with PPC will be very expensive.
  • Many of the leads generated are from people who aren’t looking for the product/area you specialize in.

Refining keywords to leverage the long tail.

The use of long-tail keywords is an effective way to attract the best leads for the products/services you offer, while getting the most bang for your PPC investment. Here are a few examples:

broad keywords long-tail keywords
investment counselors Boston boutique investment bank
travel adventure tours for seniors
insurance insurance for fleet vehicles

While the three-to-four-word phrases on the right will certainly attract fewer clicks, the resulting leads will be pre-qualified and at a lower cost. People who respond to those leads will also be easier to follow up with, since you have a more defined idea of what they’re looking for. They’re also further along in their research/shopping process, and often primed to buy.

Using negative keywords for further refinement.

Another way to increase the overall quality of your leads is by adding negative keywords to your campaign. When you add “free” as a negative keyword, for instance, Google AdWords won’t show your ad to anyone whose search team includes “free.” This can be an invaluable filter for say, a developer of pro-level software, who wants to avoid paying for leads from average PC users with very basic needs.

Improving the nurturing process for PPC leads.

As always, a huge factor for upping your conversion rates is how effectively you handle and nurture the leads obtained via PPC. Other process improvements you’ll want to consider, include:

  • Marketing automation with integrated CRM —  eliminating manual data transfer for greater efficiency.
  • Targeted landing pages that align with the specific topics of your long-tail keywords.
  • Ready-to-fly followup pieces that enable sales staff to anticipate and address key decision points for the prospects in the sales funnel.
In the final analysis, you’re looking to create a leads acquisition/management continuum as fine-tuned as possible from start to finish. This is a key unifying vision for marketers who want to substantially decrease costs, boost conversions and increase revenue — while developing high-value relationships for the long term.

Neptune Web is a full-service Boston-area interactive web and digital marketing agency with expertise in Website Design, Web Development, Digital Marketing Strategy and Execution.

We look forward to your comments and would be most happy to address and help solve any Digital Marketing or Website Design & Development challenges you may have.

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