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Start Pedalling the Sales Cycle - And Make The 'Phone Ring
Use The Power Of PPC, (Pay Per Click) Advertising To Deliver Your Sales Message At Just The Right Time!
Every product or service has a sales cycle, i.e. a process or sequence of events that potential buyers go through before placing an order. Sometimes the sales cycle is very short, for example if you are thirsty and you need a drink then you will probably buy one fairly quickly. In such cases there is virtually no research necessary, you know you like Pepsi so you buy a Pepsi at the next available opportunity.
In most other cases, however, the sales cycle is somewhat longer. Let’s imagine that you are considering the purchase of a new stereo system. I would suggest that the sales cycle here would be along the following lines
- Read a few reviews and make a shortlist, (this could be done both online and offline)
- Visit a few e-commerce websites to get pricing information
- Establish best price for what you have decided to buy
- If funds are available, make a purchase otherwise – wait until payday!
A simple example I know but it happens every second of every day somewhere out there on the Internet.
The trick is to try and intercept the buyer on his or her journey to the final stage of the Sales Cycle – the sale itself.
PPC marketing enables you to do this by specifying that your advertisement should only be shown to those who are at a certain stage in the sales cycle. How can we do that? Well, the most important thing to get right is our selection of keywords.
Let’s say we have a Google AdWords account and we choose the following keywords for our campaign:
- Sony Stereo System
- Sony CD Player
We are effectively telling Google to show our ads to those who search for the above words and if the searcher clicks on the ad they will be taken to the page on our website that lists the Sony equipment. Great, we have a visitor to our website who is interested in Sony stereo equipment.
That, however, is the problem, all we know is that they are interested, but are they ready to buy? We will never know for certain but we can shorten the odds in our favour by improving the keywords that we use and the way that we use them. Let’s refine the key phrases as follows:
- Buy +Sony Stereo System
- +Sony Stereo System Prices
- Best Prices For +Sony Stereo System
- Buy +Sony CD Player
- +Sony CD Player Prices
- Best Prices For +Sony CD Player
We could also include other words like “cheap” “Cheapest” “lowest price” but use these with care as they can sometimes attract the wrong type of traffic.
Note that we have placed a “+” before the word Sony in these examples. We only want to attract those who are interested in Sony equipment. If we sell other brands then we can duplicate this campaign for the other brands but never mix them up in a single campaign.
The + symbol will match for any combination of the words in the search string so long as the word “Sony” is included.
You can really tighten it up by modifying, (i.e. adding the + symbol), to other words such as “+buy” thereby only really showing ads to those who have demonstrated that they are looking to buy.
By trying out different combinations and making adjustments as you go along you can really start to pinpoint the traffic that is at an advanced stage of the buying cycle and likely to purchase real soon.
Check out our other articles on this subject and related subjects, including; “catching the ones that get away,” “creating an effective call to action” and “controlling the cost of acquisition,” coming soon on this site!
Effective Keyword Selection
Put yourself in the pace of the person who might, just might, be looking for your product. They know what they want but the search engines keep presenting them with less than perfect results to their searches.
Could it be, though, that the search itself is not really accurate enough? If you are looking for a pair of red shoes and just search for shoes, are you likely to see what you want when the results appear?