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Internet marketers and copywriters can use these insights into the consumer buying process to increase PPC click-through rates for lucrative SEM campaigns and blog posts.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing is a simple truth of internet browsing for web surfers. Many businesses use it as a standard means of obtaining qualified internet leads, keyword insights and traffic to their sites. Many web users consider it a “necessary evil” for affordable web browsing and tend to ignore most advertisements. To win those clicks, it’s important to understand where the potential customer is in the buying process.
There are a few techniques that marketers and copywriters can employ to help increase their revenue potential within the structure of this business model, regardless of topic or commodity sold.
Understanding the Buying Process
Consumers go through the same basic process for every purchase they make. The process itself may take longer and be more involved for higher-ticket items, but it is nonetheless the same process:
- Recognition of need – this is when the consumer says “I need that!”
- Research options – the consumer begins looking at all of the alternatives and researching the various options available for obtaining their desire
- Evaluate options and narrow down – following the information-gathering phase, this is when the consumer begins to decide which one or two options suit the requirements the best
- Selection – the narrowing down is done, and the consumer has made his or her choice
- Purchase – cha-ching!
Example – George squeezed the last of his toothpaste out of the tube this morning (recognition of need), so he walked into the grocery store because he needs to buy more. Standing in the aisle, he researched his options by glancing at the Colgate, Crest and Arm & Hammer, checking flavors available, the size of the tubes on the shelf, and the sale price tags floating beneath each tube.
Deciding he wanted mint-flavored toothpaste, George picked up the two cheapest brands – narrowing down his selection. Finally, he checked the price per ounce and realized that one tube was a greater value. He purchased the mint-flavored toothpaste with the lowest cost per ounce. This entire process took less than a minute for George.
The same process for a car or home purchase could take months, instead of minutes.
Applying the Buying Process to PPC Ad Copywriting
For an internet marketer, pay-per-click ad copy can appeal to web users at various stages of the buying process:
- An advertisement could attempt trigger a recognition of need in a potential customer, setting that individual along the buying process path (e.g. “Yoga mats carry bacteria, don’t share, buy your own today!”).
- Ad copy could promise to provide additional options or information for the research and information-gathering consumer (e.g. “Compare prices and product specifications”).
- Ads can ensure that consumer in the evaluation phase that they have the information they are looking for to make that final decision (e.g. “Real moms review our products, read now!”)
- And finally, the advertisement might promise to sell the consumer their selected item (e.g. Top brands at rock-bottom prices! Free shipping!”)
To make this work, consider which needs the target website, product or service meets and advertise accordingly. If a site cannot help a consumer narrow down his or her search, then perhaps the marketing strategy should be targeted toward need-recognition and final selection and purchase. Ideally, there would be several ad campaigns for each stage in the process, with each ad taking the click-through events to different areas of the website to meet the specific need advertised.
Using the Consumer Buying Process for Other Forms of Web Copywriting
Bloggers and other web copywriters can also apply this same process to their own work to maximize ad-click revenues. Unlike ad copywriters, the articles and blog posts must be SEO-optimized and searchable, and they must include valuable information for their readers with a clear and reliable voice.
Online writers can interact with customers at various stages of the buying process:
- Because articles and blog posts are longer and more detailed, it is more likely that this kind of web copy will trigger recognition of need in a consumer than a succinct paid advertisement. The key here is to fire the imagination and begin the research process.
- Articles and blog posts can provide product lists and information about the options available to consumers. This will be where a large number of web surfers are looking for informative articles, and may click on ads as they continue gathering information. The key to this stage is to pique curiosity. In the case that readers are close to evaluation and selection, links to reviews of similar products are a good idea.
- For those consumers closing in on selection, detailed reviews of several top choices are one way to narrow down choices. Considering many angles – including price, value, return on investment and long term costs – are all valuable in a review at this stage in the buying process.
Generally speaking, bloggers and article writers are not going to be driving home the sale in terms of the final selection and purchase that consumers make. However, if a review piece is keyword optimized to pull in advertisements that do close the deal, everybody wins.
Naturally, the key to all of these techniques is to provide the web reader with the information they are looking for when they want it most. Techniques of solid SEO are based on the same foundation!
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