The Strangest PPC Secret

OK, so here’s the strangest clickthrough secret I’ve come across in my years…

Something which has the capacity to take your prospect OUT of a competitive environment and position you as the obvious solution to their problem…

And something largely counter-intuitive, so I need you to stay with me please.

Here’s the secret…

When you’re in a high volume traffic stream, advertising to a specific demographic segment of the market can actual increase your volume of sales and overall profits, even–and sometimes especially–when that segment represents a smaller proportion of people searching.

For example, let’s suppose you’re selling a solution to stop excessive barking in dogs.  Let’s call it the “Shut Up Machine” OK?

OK.  And suppose we’re paying $1 per click for our best performing ad on “stop barking” for this ad:

CTR = 1%  Conversion = 1%
Cost Per Conversion = $100
Conversions Per 1,000 Visitors = 10

Now, let’s further suppose–and these are just wild assumptions since I haven’t actually researched this market–that the search volume in this market breaks down as follows:

  • Women Under 40 = 35%
  • Women over 40 = 30%
  • Men Under 40 = 15%
  • Men Over 40 = 20%

Common sense might suggest you’d need to keep the generic ad, because there’s no demographic which makes up the overwhelming majority of the market.  (So one might think that advertising to women only, for example, would drop our clickthrough by 35%, since women represent 65% of the search volume).

But in many cases I’ve seen this just isn’t true.    Especially if you’ve analyzed your BUYERS and found a bias therein.

For example, suppose ShutUpMachine.com’s buyers were 50/50 men and women, despite the fact women outnumber men 2 to 1 in search.  What this says is, men are disproportionately responsive.

Now suppose we dig even further (by surveying our buyers) and discover that 80% of our male buyers are over 40. (We’d expect only a slight bias towards the over 40 range given the search volume breakdown above) .

This tells us that men over 40 are especially responsive to our offer.  Indeed, 40% of all our customers are men over forty  in this scenario (50% of all customers are men x 80% of male customers over forty = 40% of all customers) , even though this demographic represents just 20% of the search volume.

In other words, men over 40 are twice as responsive to the generic offer.

Can you imagine what would happen to the system if you optimized it for them?

Here’s what I’d do in that situation…

I’d aggressively test optimizing a WHOLE PATHWAY for men over 40.

So we might write an ad like this:

And then we’d land them on a page with a story from a man in his 40s who wants nothing but some peace and quiet when he comes home from a hard day, finally finishes taking care of wife and kids, and just wants to relax.

We’d paint a before and after picture with that story…

And because we’d knock our visitor out with the “Holy Crap!  This is exactly for me!” experience, we’d probably get an even higher conversion rate on the landing page.  Let’s assume 50% higher.

What might the numbers look like?

This is the strangest secret…

Because often when you’ve done this kind of analysis of your buyers to isolate the most responsive demographic, you can create a situation where the CTR doesn’t drop at all.

In other words, you might be targeting a much smaller percentage of the market, but their click responsiveness makes up for their lack of presence in the market as a whole. (And even when that’s not the case, you can often make up for it with increased landing page conversion)

For example, you might see something like this:

A few important things to note:

  • Even though the CTR is the same from the PPC engine’s perspective, the truth is you’re getting a 5% clickthrough from your target audience.  You just can’t SEE that because you can’t restrict the exposure to the rest of the audience in general PPC advertising. (Sometimes you CAN do this with email buys and banner advertising, but you’ve gotta be very, very careful because advertising vendors will often jack up the price for these kind of “selects” more than the increase in responsiveness warrants.  Run your spreadsheets and know your numbers before testing this!)
  • Even though the price per click is the same, we get a bump in conversion by taking the prospect OUT of the competitive environment and re-assuring them we are the ONLY vendor positioned to meet their unique needs
  • As with so many other things in marketing, going after a “higher percentage of a smaller percentage” is so often the answer
  • There’s nothing to stop you from developing ANOTHER site for women over and under 40, etc.  in order to look for more volume with additional conversion bumps.  However, by rank ordering your customer demographics in terms of responsiveness you’ll be able to estimate the effectiveness of these efforts as compared to the time and money you need to allocate to accomplish them.  (In the example above, we found women were modestly less responsive than men as a whole.  Still, you should expect SOME increase in conversion due to the demographic segmentation (assuming you’ve studied how the product plays out differently in their lives), so it’s just a matter of math to guestimate which segments are worthwhile to pursue as such, and in what order.
  • There’s also nothing that stops you from ALSO running the generic ad if it’s profitable.  (You should test  running both a generic and a segmented ad vs. running only the segmented ad)

If any of this math was hard to follow, let me restate it in simple English…

  • If you survey your customer database, you might find you’ve got more women than men, more young people than older people, etc.
  • Compare the percentages you find in your customers to what Quantcast.com and/or Alexa.com says about the demographic breakdown for search volume in your market.  (Enter a few of the top search engine ranked websites to find out)
  • If you DO find your percentages are different than what you see in Quantcast, etc, that probably means there’s a demographic group that’s MORE responsive to your offer than average…
  • Test targeting a teaser ad and landing page to THAT unique demographic and see what happens

Yah?

Got get’m!

Onwards and Upwards My Fine Marketing Friends…

You can clear away SO much confusion if you’ll just take the time to master a few fundamental conversion principles.  And now you can watch me do it LIVE on site after site.  (Get started as of the time of this post for less than $5)

Dr. Glenn :-)

Your “Web Sales Hero(tm)”

PPS – Want a simpler way to increase your conversions?   Put evangelistic audio testimonials  on your site. Listen, testimonials sell, but they’ve got to be done right.   You want to support the specific claims you make in your USP with specific results obtained.  And you need to get the customer to describe their results in contagious, emotionally compelling language that BRINGS THE TESTIMONIAL TO LIFE.   (Do It Yourself |   Let Us Do It For You)

PPPS – The above example is hypothetical.  Please don’t attempt to advertise with these specific ads.


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