One of the best ways to effectively advertise your products online is through the use of keyword ads. By targeting customers who are already interested in the products you sell, you can maximize your sales. But how does keyword buying work?
First, compile a list of keywords that are relevant to your products. If you sell a wide range of products, it would be difficult to purchase keywords for all of them, so you may need to divide them into categories.
For example, if you sell books, you could go broke trying to buy keywords for every title. But you could organize them into genres, and purchase keywords for each category of books — mysteries, biographies, or general fiction, for example.
Once you compile your list of keywords, you’ll need to check on the popularity of each word. The popularity of a keyword determines how much you’ll pay for it. The most expensive keywords can go for more than $50 per click, while others are available for as little as 10 cents. There are two simple and free ways to help narrow your keyword choices. The first is to see what keywords your competitors are targeting. The second is to check the popularity of search terms using a tool like Overture’s keyword selector tool.
A little research at this stage can save you a lot of cash. Your goal is to find the cheapest keywords that will actually deliver customers to your site. Returning to our book example, the keyword “books” is likely to be very popular — hence, very expensive. But if you specialize in mysteries, you will pay less for “mystery” or “Agatha Christie” than you would for “books.”
Once you’ve purchased your keywords, you’ll need to write the ad copy that will display along with them. For example, using our “mystery” example, your ad might read “Great deals on the latest crime and mystery titles from Mysterybookseller.com.”
While it’s not essential to put your domain name in your ad, it’s a good idea. If you include it, even customers who don’t click on your ad may see and remember your business name. It’s like getting free brand advertising for your business.
One important aspect of online advertising is the landing page; that is, the page users go to when they click though on your ad. You could own the best keywords and have the most compelling ad copy, but if you don’t make it easy for users to transact, you may be throwing away your advertising budget.
Use targeted landing pages for your ads. If you purchased “Agatha Christie” as a keyword for your specialty book site, make sure your keyword ad takes users directly to your Agatha Christie section. Online shoppers are in a hurry. If you send them to your home page and make them click around to find what they want, odds are your users will go elsewhere. Home pages routinely have the worst conversion rates for online ads.
Take full advantage of your advertiser’s built-in tools. Both Yahoo! and Google allow you to target your ads by location. If our bookseller only ships within the U.S. and sells only English-language books, we could target our ads both geographically and by language to reduce the number of wasted clicks — clicks we would pay for, but that don’t result in actual sales.
Lastly, track, track, and track some more. Online advertising makes it easy to see how your ads perform. If you don’t crunch your conversion numbers, you will never know which keywords are working for you and which are not. Track your results and refine your keyword buys over time. Only then will you get the best return on your marketing investments.