Are Dead-End Leads Ruining Your Pay Per Click ROI?
Pay per click (PPC) advertising can be an amazing tool for generating revenue for your business. However, something that can sneak into your PPC advertising and ruin your return on investment (ROI): dead-end leads. They are pretty much the worst. I'll explain why in a moment, but first let me tell you about my "straw that broke the camel's back" moment with dead-end leads.
I am the Chief Marketing Officer of PostcardMania, a direct mail company based in Clearwater, Fla. With that job comes the responsibility of overseeing our PPC performance. One day I discovered we had paid for a click on one of our ads by a Google user who typed "How to Get on McDonald's Mailing List" into the search engine.
This is a problem for me, because obviously this user wasn't going to be interested in purchasing a targeted mailing list to use with a direct mail campaign (which is what we provide). He just wanted some McDonald's coupons, and we can be of no help in that area. He is an unqualified lead for us, and shouldn't have even seen our ad. However, because he had the words "mailing list" in his search query, he was shown one of our mailing list ads. I don't know why he clicked on it, but that's the least of my concerns. Maybe we're just so good at creating ads that even people with zero interest in our offerings want to click on them. I like that explanation.
Long story short, dead-end leads like this one were ruining our ROI, because we were paying for them without a prayer of generating revenue from them. I came up with two strategies to rectify the situation while maximizing our ROI at the same time. These strategies will improve the ROI of any PPC campaign by ridding you of dead-end leads and maximizing revenue generation.
1. Keep Out Dead-End Leads With Negative Keywords
PPC uses keywords to identify quality prospects based on what they are searching for. The terms you want Google to target for you are called "positive" keywords, because they target the prospects you want to see your ads. These prospects are likely to be interested in what you offer, so showing them your ad means a good chance of generating revenue or at least a hot lead.
Negative keywords, on the other hand, are meant to do the opposite. They tell Google to keep your ads away from these keywords at all costs. These are generally keywords that are related to your business in some way, but are used by non-quality prospects, who are not interested in buying from you. Look at our McDonald's example. He was searching for a mailing list. It just was not the kind of mailing list we offer, and it was to be used for a very different purpose.
So the trick is to find out what keywords are related to your business, but used by non-quality prospects. I never would have thought "McDonald's" would be one of ours, but it was! Then, once you have identified these terms, set them as negative keywords for your PPC campaigns. This keeps those dead-ends leads away from your ads. That means whenever you pay for a click, it's for a quality prospect (and a revenue opportunity).
2. Use Analytics and Tracking to Find Your Best Revenue Sources
Blocking off the dead-end leads is the first step, but simply avoiding a dead-end is not the same as driving in the right direction. It's an important step to protect your ROI, but you also need to continually move your ad campaigns toward the best sources of revenue. Analytics and tracking technology helps you do that.
Google offers analytics for their PPC advertising, which can show you important aspects of your campaigns' performance. This helps you see which keywords are generating the most income, not just the most clicks or leads. At the end of the day revenue is what you want, so you need to model your ads after the designs and strategies that you see generating income for your company. Tracking is the only way to know what those designs and strategies are.
These two strategies will send your ROI through the roof. I know from experience. You'll get rid of dead-end leads, and start investing your marketing budget in ads that are producing real monetary results for your company. Give it a try and see for yourself!