Generating Low Cost Terms for Google Campaigns
Want to use Google more effectively to generate better results and higher ROI?
Try building Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns based on secondary terms instead of only primary ones. Secondary terms generally have a lower cost per click, are considered less competitive, and usually offer better ROI.
The difference between "Primary" and "Secondary" terms
"Primary Terms" are those terms that most simply describe your industry or offering, whereas Secondary Terms" have some additional term or word attached to it that makes it longer (and therefore less competitive). Generally, the longer the phrase is the less it costs per click because there is less of a chance that someone will click that exact phrase. The upside though, is that less clicks per phrase on a less competitive term usually means a lower cost per click overall.
So, instead of running only 3-4 primary terms in your campaigns with each click costing you $2-8 per click, try packing your campaigns with primary and secondary terms. It might help you lower your average cost per click. Sure, you may generate less clicks on each term, and you may have to spend a bit more time managing your campaigns to be more effective, but overall, your cost per click will probably decrease.
A quick way to generate primary terms
Simply right click a competitors site (not on an image) and select "view source". There, you will see meta information something like: <title> what the company does in one sentence</title> and <meta name="description" content="more information and a longer description of the company, its offerings, and many primary keywords"/> and <meta name="keywords" content="5-10 primary keywords with a few (10-20) secondary ones>
Cut and paste all the terms into an excel list. Do this for a few companies you think are solid competitors to you. Use the most general terms that best describe your company, offering, or industry. Use these 3-5 primary terms to build out your secondary term list.
Creating secondary terms from primary ones
Enter (one by one) your short list of primary terms used to describe your offering into Overture's Suggestion Tool or Wordtracker. In your results will be variations of those terms, ranked by how many times searches are being made on them per month. If your primary term generated zero returns and shows no ranking, you may want to reconsider using that term.
Take whatever results you have for each word and cut and paste them all (list by list) into one excel worksheet down the sheet so the numbers are in column one (A) and the terms are in another (B). When you are finished, highlight your entire sheet, click "A-Z Sort" (under "Data") and sort by Column A (the numbers column). If you decide to highlight only one column, make sure you click "expand your selection" to include the other column. Get rid of all duplicates and the ones that don't explain your offering. This will give you a clean list of potential terms, along with the number of times people search for that term - all ranked from most searched to least.
You can use this list two ways. One, is to pick out a few terms and develop individual Google campaigns entirely focused on that one term. Then set up a campaign for each term. Around these terms, create specifically tailored ads. The other way, is to cut and paste the entire list of terms (primary and secondary) into a campaign by themselves, and then go back and add the entire list again (into the same campaign), but this time enter them with extra words attached describing in more detail your exact offering. (i.e. affordable, virginia, maryland, dc, d.c., washington dc, etc.) This will give you a much larger list.
Let's use an example:
"content management" is a primary term
"affordable content management" is a secondary term
so is "affordable content management reston"
and also "affordable content management reston virginia"
...and so on. You see?
Where's the ROI?
The term "content management" is considered to be a primary term in the content management industry, whereas "affordable content management" would be considered secondary. Content management companies generally want to rank high on the primary term, but to do that, they need to spend a ton of money for each click - somewhere in the order of $5-20 per click. Unfortunately, in the process of trying to outbid each other, they inadvertently price each other higher and higher. Google is most often the biggest winner on this one.
Some larger companies can afford to spend heavily because their Content Management System (CMS) is priced at $100,000, and at that price point they can absorb a much higher advertising cost. They may see solid ROI at $3 per click because they know they are comfortable spending up to $7,500 to generate one $100,000 deal.
Using this example, this same company may have already figured out that they only need to have 3 proposals out the door, generated from a series of meetings with 9 different companies. They may already know that interest from these 9 companies will come from 27 qualified leads - all generated from 2500 clicks to the site during some period of time (let's say a month). They may also know that after they run the numbers, they will spend $7500 to generate that one deal - equaling 7.5% of revenue for that offering. They may know that this is acceptable - even considered successful. And in this example it just may be.
That's great for them, but what about us? What about those of us offering something for only $15,000 (or less)? Spending $7,500 (50% marketing investment) might not be feasible in our case. If we set up our campaigns with only primary keywords, we find ourselves competing for space with these larger companies, and would be positioned down the list on page two or three. Maybe. If we're lucky. If we decided to compete and price ourselves at $3 per click we might end up spending more to get the deal than the deal was worth. This is where using secondary terms at lower costs becomes valuable.
A last word
Google can be made to work for you, but you need to be willing to do more than simply enter 3-5 primary keywords. Instead, you need to know how much you can spend - based on product cost, ability to close deals - to make it work. Think of using Google as moving up and down many levers. This one opens you to more people, that one makes sure only qualified people find you. There's more to it than that, but hopefully this will help you some.