Tag Archives: search engine marketing

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Written by Caroline Cox on Sep 23

In marketing, as in sales, being able to save time wherever you can is a game-changer.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How to track ROI from PPC
  • The best ROI tracking tools for PPC
  • Ways to increase year-over-year ROI results from PPC
  • How to generate ROI reports for PPC campaigns

For most marketing initiatives, there are multiple steps you have to take to see real results — from launching a campaign to closing a deal — but the fewer it takes to succeed, the better.

That’s where lead scoring comes in. For B2B and lead gen search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, in particular, experienced industry pros will tell you it’s crucial to know the value of the leads that are being generated. And, especially when you’re dealing with a high volume of leads (which is a good problem to have!), sorting through them can be time-consuming.

HawkSEM blog: PPC lead scoring

Lead scoring helps you better understand how certain keywords impact your conversions and, ultimately, the success of your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign overall. (Image via Unsplash)

By setting up a lead scoring system, which essentially assigns values to leads and ranks them against one another, you can give scores based on various attributes and actions. This allows you to focus on leads that will generate the maximum revenue for your business with the least amount of effort (and in less time).

Lead scoring helps you better understand how certain keywords impact your conversions and, ultimately, the success of your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign overall.

 

How do I track ROI from PPC?

If you’re getting more than a couple of leads per week, it’s best to leverage a tool like Google Analytics to help you track keyword conversions. You or your marketing agency and connect this application to your CRM or Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) to include lead scoring based on behaviors and actions the new contact or prospect has taken.

Using software for this purpose will help you give value to your data while allowing you to zoom in on the keywords and campaigns that are most successful. This way, you can focus more of your efforts on revenue-producing PPC campaigns.

 

How do I launch an ROI-driven PPC strategy?

An ROI-driven PPC strategy is one that has been developed to produce revenue. By being strategic and iterating based on what’s working and what’s not, you can be poised for seeing serious results.

Important elements of launching an ROI-driven PPC strategy include:

  • doing customer research
  • writing strong ads
  • creating optimized landing pages
  • having eye-catching CTAs
  • leveraging ad extensions
  • targeting revenue-producing keywords
  • having consistent messaging from ad copy to landing page
  • tracking metrics

 

What if most leads aren’t converting to customers?

The biggest failure of PPC campaigns is not analyzing keywords and doing regular research to see which ones have a proven track record of producing results for your business. Beyond clicks, which keywords are driving the most revenue or lifetime value (LTV)? Focusing more on these “money keywords” can be the ticket to converting more conversations into actual sales.

Along with keyword monitoring, the formula you use to calculate your conversion goal when bidding for keywords should be based on the conversion rate you’re trying to achieve, rather than on the rate at which you’re looking to bid.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to achieve a 5:1 revenue-to-ad ratio. Knowing this, you should structure your campaign based on cost-per-acquisition (CPA) conversion goals. For successful ROI-driven PPC campaigns, it’s crucial that you know your goals and track pace to your goal along the way.

 

What are the best ROI tracking tools for PPC?

The most important thing you can do for your PPC campaigns is to pair a robust CRM or MAP (that includes lead scoring) with ValueTrack parameters, which are a type of URL parameter you can add to landing page URLs that collect info about those who click your ads. This allows you to analyze your PPC campaigns, target your money keywords, and develop real ROI-driven PPC campaigns.

Other trusted tools include Google Ads Editor, Google Keyword Planner, SpyFu, and SEMrush.

 

How do I track ROI from a PPC campaign with a complex, long sales cycle?

We know that a longer sales cycle means it can take a longer time to see results. Lead scoring is still important for these campaign types because you need to understand the value of each lead along the sales cycle.

This falls under the low-hanging fruit theory of easy wins: by scoring leads, you’ll know which prospects are closer to a sale and which are further. This info will help you better prioritize where to put your efforts as the cycle moves along.

 

How do I generate ROI reports for PPC campaigns?

Reporting is another place where PPC campaign tracking software is crucial to a thorough analysis. Putting tracking software in place lets you connect the dots with data between PPC traffic, CRM leads, and sales.

Quality ROI reports offer visibility into the PPC campaign, align goals with objectives, and give a big-picture overview of how a campaign is performing, so you’re not flying blind.

Why PPC Lead Scoring is Crucial to SEM Programs - HawkSEM blog

There are several different ways to calculate ROI for PPC. (Image via Unsplash)

How can I increase year-over-year ROI results from PPC?

In our years of experience, we’ve found that the best way to increase year-over-year ROI from your PPC campaigns is to track every campaign and analyze the results accordingly. When you home in on your money words and target your campaigns toward those keywords, while using lead scoring to prioritize your follow-ups, you can really start to see maximized profits.

It’s also important to monitor which ads are performing best, so you can put more resources into those better performing ads. By following this process, you can begin to pinpoint the PPC campaigns that work — and start to see all of your efforts pay off.

 

How do I measure the revenue generated per lead?

If you know what to look for, calculating ROI is a fairly straightforward process. The basic formula is calculated as:

Profit minus cost divided by cost: (Profit – Cost) / Cost

However, when it comes to calculating ROI for PPC, there are several different ways to do it. When advertisers talk about ROI from PPC, many are actually referring to return on ad spend (ROAS). This is a simple formula to calculate as well — it’s generally expressed as a percentage:

(PPC Profit – PPC Cost)/ PPC Cost x 100

Let’s say that you have $1,000 in sales from your PPC campaign. If you paid $500 against the PPC click costs, your ROAS would be 100%.

$1,000 profit – $500 cost = $500 / $500 cost = 1.0 = 100%

Lead scoring is a great tactic for a more efficient marketing process, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. But when you pair this strategy with smart keywords, consistent data tracking, and quality landing pages, you’re one step closer to boosting conversion rates and running a successful SEM program.

 

This post was originally published in August 2014 and was updated in September 2019.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her nearly 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Jane Serra on Aug 21

Paid search marketing for financial services can be an effective component of a marketing strategy — use it to build brand recognition and boost conversions quickly.

Financial services encompass everything from credit unions and banks to insurance, credit-card companies, and investment funds. But even though everyone should be thinking about at least some of these topics regularly, not everyone does.

This makes it a challenge for marketers. Luckily, Google Ads can give your financial services digital marketing a boost and build brand recognition, while paid search can attract leads quickly and drive conversions for finance-based services. Below, we highlight 13 tips to help you develop top-notch search marketing strategies in the finance industry.

1. Understand the regulations

Financial products and services are highly regulated. When creating ads, make sure you comply with local, state and national regulations. This may include specific disclosures that provide transparency to the product or services highlighted by the ad. Google and other search engines may also require specific information within the ad for it to be approved, such as:

  • Disclosure of associated fees
  • Contact information and physical location
  • Links for implied third-party endorsement or accreditation

Personal loan advertising must also contain info about the quality, fees, features, benefits, and risks associated with the product. The idea is that these disclosures provide valuable information to help consumers make informed decisions. When creating an ad, make sure your content contains:

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
  • Minimum and maximum repayment period
  • An example representing the total cost of the loan, including applicable fees

2. Know the financial products Google won’t accept

Google doesn’t allow advertisers to promote a variety of financial products, including:

  • Short-term loans (loans that require full repayment within 60 days)
  • High APR personal loans
  • Trading binary options or similar products
  • Complex speculative financial products

Advertising for loan modifications and cryptocurrencies is allowed, but there are strict rules. If you’re planning PPC for financial services in these areas, review the guidelines carefully. If your ad is not approved, Google provides guidance for what you can do to fix the issues.

3. Start paid search marketing slowly

Whether you’re experienced in PPC or are new to paid search, starting slowly can help ensure you get the most efficient results possible.

Start with one to three campaigns and a core group of four to ten keywords, then measure the results. You’ll see where your budget is being spent most effectively so you can cut the underperforming ads.

4. Prepare for higher cost per click (CPC)

Financial keywords are competitive. When it comes to digital marketing for financial services, this often translates into a higher cost than for other industries. Focus keywords in your niche rather than the industry as a whole to help attract the most qualified leads.

5. Narrow the target audience

If your company has locations in a few areas, tightly focused search engine marketing can help you make the most of your budget. In addition to geographic location, you can take advantage of targeting options such as age, gender, and household income.

The more specific you can be, the easier it is to find your ideal target audience. For example, if you want to attract management-level consumers, use income levels and demographics. This can help you find the clients that want your products in a sea of unqualified leads.

6. Create original copy

To stand apart from the crowd, you’ve got to get creative. By writing unique copy that features offers and benefits, you can increase click-through rates and attract the right consumers. For example, if you’re developing PPC for credit unions, credit cards or banking institutions, you may want to promote no annual fees or 24/7 customer service.

If your campaign revolves around insurance company products, what perks or savings can you offer? Create a call to action (CTA) that stands out and catches the consumer’s eye.

7. Customize landing pages

If your ad simply goes to your company’s homepage, you could be missing out on conversions. Make sure the link on your ad goes to a page that has the matching content.

The messaging across ads and landing pages should be consistent, relevant, and valuable to the consumer. You can even customize it based on the keywords and ad groups to encourage further interaction.

Paid Search Marketing for Financial Services: 13 Tips from an SEM Agency

Display advertising offers you several options to improve engagement and boost conversion rates. (Image via Unsplash)

8. Leverage display advertising

Although the requirements for advertising may be strict, millions of consumers need financial products – from help with tax preparation, retirement, and home equity loans to auto insurance and basic banking accounts.

Display advertising offers you several options to improve engagement and boost conversion rates:

  • Behavioral
  • Contextual
  • Geographical
  • Site-specific

9. Know these display ad best practices

The marketing strategy for an insurance company, banking institution, or financial products group must have the right mix of elements to be successful. Here are a few to consider:

  • Go local: Localize your ad to make your interactions more relevant. Use familiar local terms and graphics to increase messaging and conversion rates.
  • Add a focused hero image: If your product benefits a particular audience, use images that resonate with that specific consumer. For example, a happy young family in a yard for first-time homeowners may resonate better than a generic image of a wallet.
  • Build trust: Fear and uncertainty are common emotions associated with financial decision-making. Keep the message simple and repeat it, since most consumers need to see an ad several times before they believe it. Add any certificates or recognized local customers to establish trust.
  • Combine search marketing with display: Display ads increase brand recognition. As more consumers become aware of your product, they’ll search for it as they move through their decision-making process. As the search numbers increase, your search engine ranking improves, which can result in more sales.

10. Be aware of competitor positioning

Who are your top competitors? What features do they highlight? Be ready to outdo them with your product’s value proposition benefits.

Consumers often comparison shop, so they’ll be looking for ways that you are similar to competitors and what makes you different.

11. Make it a user-friendly experience

Keep your message simple and make it easy for consumers to understand what to do next. Use a quick form that lets them speed through the process, whether the desired action is downloading content, registering an account, or completing a request form.

Minimizing the number of steps and removing unnecessary fields has been shown to increase conversions significantly.

12. Test, adjust, and test again

Take your PPC insurance, loan, or banking campaign’s search marketing results to the next level by testing individual components. Start by auditing keywords for funding value, rather than for leads or conversions, to help you tune for the highest return on investment.

Look at the segment breakdown for tablet, mobile and desktop to see which ads perform best. You may find that it makes sense to run some ads only for mobile and others only for tablets or desktops.

All leads are not created equal. Because of this, it’s a good idea to align your sales and marketing goals by using lead scoring. This method prioritizes leads, allowing you to respond to people most interested in your products and increase the conversion rate. It assigns points to contacts so you know which leads require ongoing communication and which should be fast-tracked.

The most effective systems use a variety of attributes including but not limited to:

  • Demographics
  • Keywords
  • Clicks
  • Website visits

13. Add retargeting to your ads

Retargeting can be an effective method for increasing conversions. It encourages consumers to return to your website and complete an action they may have started but not finished, such as filling out a form or completing an order.

However, there are rules that may limit how much you can do in this area, so take some time to research the requirements in your niche to find out if it’s worth it for your company.

When people are seeking out financial services, they’re often in the midst of making their decision, so timing is critical. You have a short time frame to attract and convert prospects to customers.

Paid search marketing can jumpstart your efforts and show results quickly, which can help you tighten the focus of your messaging and improve ROI.

PPC advertising campaigns can deliver targeted, highly qualified traffic when developed correctly. At HawkSEM, we provide a customized approach based on your particular needs. Our passion for results and drive to meet goals ensure we do right by you, generating a higher ROI. Contact us today to learn how we can help dramatically improve your digital marketing results.

Jane Serra

Jane Serra

Jane Serra is the VP of Marketing at HawkSEM. She's an accomplished marketing executive with more than 12 years of experience leading digital marketing teams across demand generation, branding, events, content, and communications. When she's not strategizing, networking, and honing her craft, she enjoys traveling and scrolling Yelp for new restaurants to try.

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Written by Jane Serra on Aug 14

Check off these boxes to ensure your paid search marketing strategies are on the right track.

Whether B2B or B2C, software as a service (SaaS) products and platforms play a huge role across many industries, from finance to event planning and everything in between.

As your SaaS company plans its marketing strategies, there are a few key areas to focus on to make your strategy more effective. To get the best results, it’s wise to leave things to the experts by hiring a professional SEM company for your SaaS marketing.

Using an agency with a proven track record of success both in your industry and with SaaS, in particular, can help you be successful.

1. Increase the right type of lead volume

There’s a drastic difference between increasing your lead count and increasing quality SaaS lead generation. If more people are clicking on your ad but there’s no increase in on-site conversions — or, ultimately, sales — you know something is wrong. This is especially crucial because you’re paying for each click.

Sometimes, aligning yourself with well-known clients or customers can encourage higher caliber prospects to jump on board. Use recognizable industry names from your portfolio or any Fortune 500 companies you’ve worked for (with their permission if it’s for an ad) as a hook to clients considering a purchase. In some industries, listing elite certifications can also be a good SaaS marketing strategy.

2. Book sales demos that close deals

As a SaaS company, sales can rely on how effectively you demonstrate the value of your product — and how it stands out from the crowd. When you know the challenges faced by your prospective clients, you can cater to the product features that will be most relevant to their needs.

Showing metrics can also be very convincing. It’s one thing to say you can save a company money. It’s a game-changer to say you can potentially save them at least $100,000, and have the data to back it up. With that in mind, you need to be booking sales demos with the right type of clients so your demos will be more effective. That’s where an SEM or B2B agency can come in handy.

3. Know how to properly use LTV

Lifetime value (LTV) can be used to make critical decisions, such as how much you pay for user acquisition and how losing users impacts your bottom line. Because of this, it’s crucial to be certain it’s calculated correctly.

Hubspot explains you can determine lifetime value by calculating the average purchase value, average purchase frequency rate, customer value, and average customer lifespan. Ultimately, multiplying customer value by the average customer lifespan should give you your LTV. Once you have an accurate number, compare that with your customer acquisition cost (CAC) to make sure you’re getting at least three dollars out of every single dollar you put in.

4. Understand what constitutes quality conversions

Your goal should always be to create clients for life. Because it costs money to acquire new clients, the more clients you keep, the less it’ll cost you (spoiler alert, right?). Plus, an increase in client volume coupled with a decrease in cost per acquisition can save you serious money.

Understanding this can help you market with the long game in mind. Big players and key clients will sometimes visit your website or contact you with questions many times before deciding to make a purchase, but that type of client can be more lucrative in the long run.

10 Tips SaaS Companies Need to Know About Paid Search Marketing

Using charts, diagrams and grids can allow you to more clearly display how you’re different from your competition. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Consider your landing page your lifeline

A landing page is where a user ends up after clicking an SEO search result, marketing promo or email, or an online ad. This page needs to present the purpose and products of your company clearly and convincingly. It should give viewers a reason to browse the rest of your website and make them want to look into what you offer — and plenty of companies fall short.

It typically helps to use impressive numbers and statistics on landing pages that offer a wow factor. For example, stating that you can save clients up to 50% or cut their customer service calls in half is more convincing than saying your product “utilizes the latest technology.”

Along with potentially incorporating metrics, visual aids can also be hugely effective. Using charts, diagrams and grids can allow you to more clearly display how you’re different from your competition in terms of:

  • Cost
  • Features and benefits
  • Contract or subscription type

You can also mention specifics, like cost per user and “freemium” models to attract clients’ attention.

6. Study your ideal client and your current clients

If your search marketing strategy isn’t working as well as you’d hoped, you may have misread what matters to your target audience. For example, as a technical or IT company, keyword targeting is crucial.

Due to the technical nature of the lingo in that industry, one keyword may have multiple meanings and can prevent your strategy from being effective. It can be helpful to go back through and make some of the following changes:

  • Adjust display times
  • Switch up keywords
  • Use more compelling ad copy
  • Tailor by language and location

Sometimes all you need is a display campaign targeted to a very narrow audience to start attracting the right kind of clients. When you choose to go this route, however, it’s extremely important to pick your placements carefully and make sure they’re on relevant sites.

7. Strategize based on your ROI

While we know it’s easier said than done, you don’t want to let emotions or personal preferences get in the way of profitability. You might love the emojis on your website or social media posts, for example, but anything that doesn’t appeal to the majority of your clients needs to be changed.

Focus on the areas most attractive to clients and spend money in the right places to see the best results.

8. Avoid tunnel vision

While you are certainly aware of the benefits your products and services offer, you have to assume prospective clients aren’t. Especially if your company offers a niche product or cutting-edge service, educating people is key. In these cases, it might take more convincing evidence like:

  • Demos
  • Video tutorials
  • White papers
  • Case studies

It’s a good idea to keep a thorough portfolio of the assets that make your company marketable handy, for both your team and visitors to your website.

9. Stay true to your brand

Using a variety of simultaneous campaigns is usually the ideal approach since most viewers don’t become clients after one touchpoint or interaction. But even though you’re using different ad channels, your message and mission should be consistent across all of them.

Studying typical user patterns lets you focus your efforts on the best channels to increase ad effectiveness. When you know your standard user goes from an ad click to remarketing to white paper to a YouTube video before converting, you can budget better.

10. Take the guesswork out of campaigns

Knowing your audience helps make your paid search marketing more strategic. If your demographic is millennials, a social advertising campaign might make more sense than an intense search engine marketing campaign. If your audience is primarily ballet dancers, you would use a different strategy than if your audience was mainly construction workers. This is especially true for products that aren’t deemed necessities.

Instead of focusing solely on a Google search campaign, including Bing or other more specialized marketing channels that may produce better results. For example, if you’re targeting marketing execs, you might consider a campaign on LinkedIn where you can take advantage of keywords for specific job titles.

As you talk through your marketing goals and strategies with a professional SaaS marketing agency, be prepared to hear suggestions you might not have thought of before. They may tell you, for example, that you can sometimes achieve a lower CPC when you push content downloads and assets and then follow up with an email or retargeting instead of focusing solely on free trials and demos. Take the advice of professionals — you may be surprised by the results you see.

At HawkSEM, we provide a customized approach based on your particular needs. Our passion for results and drive to meet goals ensure we do right by you, generating a higher ROI. Contact us today to learn how we can help dramatically improve your digital marketing results.

Jane Serra

Jane Serra

Jane Serra is the VP of Marketing at HawkSEM. She's an accomplished marketing executive with more than 12 years of experience leading digital marketing teams across demand generation, branding, events, content, and communications. When she's not strategizing, networking, and honing her craft, she enjoys traveling and scrolling Yelp for new restaurants to try.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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