The Big Idea
PPC (pay-per-click) search marketing is one of the most valuable ways to directly influence every stage of the buyer’s journey. Using several techniques that target significant phases during the online decision-making process, you can increase brand awareness, website traffic, and sales. And the data proves that businesses should be using Google for PPC search marketing:
- 90% of B2B stakeholders use an internet search to research new business purchases (Think with Google).
- 71% of the B2B buying process begins with a generic internet search (Think with Google).
- 59% of global retail shoppers research a product using Google before making a purchase (Think with Google).
Regardless of your business model, consumers are researching products and services to educate themselves on their options. By advertising on Google during their search, your ads will reach consumers during critical moments as they become aware of solutions and consider their choices. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to use PPC search marketing to promote your brand and increase sales, and the investment speaks for itself.
Businesses that advertise on Google Search Ads are expected to earn $2 for every $1 spent (Google, 2019).
Whether you’ve dabbled in pay-per-click search advertising and need to increase your ROI or you’re just getting started and want some tips to make your search marketing as effective as possible, we’ll break down how you can think about using pay-per-click search marketing to create brand awareness and consideration to ultimately increase sales.
The Buyer’s Journey
There are three psychological phases all consumers go through to make a purchase, referred to as the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness: Consumers have a problem, and they have become aware of your business.
- Consideration: Consumers are now evaluating their options. They may be deciding on factors such as features, costs, and benefits.
- Decision: Informed, consumers are ready to make a decision and purchase your product or service.
Since there are three main psychological stages, your PPC search advertising should be divided into three campaigns with relevant tactics and keywords. Using these methods, you can effectively support each phase of the customer buying journey and position your brand as the solution during the decision process.
For the awareness stage, you’ll use a search campaign that bids on keywords that promote your unique selling proposition (USP) while speaking broadly about your products or services. Using two different ad groups, you can target two target personas that have different needs.
At this point, consumers are typing general phrases or questions into Google. By bidding for general terms through CPC (cost-per-click), you can attract potential customers to your landing page to learn more about your brand and offerings. With two personas in mind, you can create multiple ads to test and refine your keywords and copy to monitor and measure success.
The search campaign for the awareness stage is meant to attract new consumers to your website to create brand awareness. Test, refine, and monitor multiple ads to optimize your efforts.
For the consideration phase, consumers now know who you are and what you sell, and they are thinking about your offerings compared to other businesses. However, you may experience new visits on your site that result in leaving without taking further action. By using a remarketing/retargeting code, you can target these website visitors that leave.
To do this, Google provides a remarketing/retargeting code to embed on your website. Next, you’ll create another PPC search marketing campaign for the consideration phase that utilizes Remarketing Audiences. These are segmented lists that will be based on website visits that attach to the correlating pay-per-click campaigns. Additionally, you can use the “Similar Audiences” feature to target consumers that have the same interests and behaviors as the audience that visited your site. These tactics allow you to continue to develop the relationship with your potential customers or to activate a new set of consumers that visited similar websites that are also in the consideration phase.
Now that consumers are aware of their solutions, the keywords used for this campaign should be more specific to your products and services.
The main differences with this second PPC search ad campaign are the implementation of a tracking code for remarketing/retargeting, utilizing Remarketing Audiences and Similar Audiences, and using more specific keywords that reflect your products or services. The goal of this campaign is to follow up with consumers that expressed interest by using automated advertising that reaches them during their evaluation phase. Continue to use various ad groups for multiple target personas and to test and refine often.
At this point, consumers are ready to make a decision. They are either ready to buy from any company or they are ready to buy from your company when the timing is right.
Some website activity that you may notice includes:
- Visits on a specific product or service page, but consumers are leaving before providing their email in exchange for more information or content
- Visitors putting items in their cart and then leaving before purchasing
To address these behaviors, you’ll want to create another PPC search marketing campaign that uses remarketing/retargeting for these specific products or service web pages. It is ideal to create Remarketing Audience lists that link to specific product pages at this stage. These customers are farther into the buying process, so you’ll want to use keywords that reflect this. Be prepared to commit continuous monitoring and management for multiple ad groups to engage your target personas.
The buyer’s journey can be broken into three phases, and consumers are using Google to learn about their options. By using PPC search marketing campaigns, your business can support each phase of the buyer’s journey to increase brand awareness, website traffic, and sales. Like any marketing campaign, it requires strategy, testing, and continuous monitoring.
“Advertisers who align PPC marketing efforts with the buyer journey will come out ahead of the pack in 2021,” According to Search Engine Journal.