Thursday, October 16, 2008

How to Use the Buying Cycle to Choose PPC Campaign Keywords

Here's an article by Marketing guru, Rosalind Gardner, which I think is very useful. Definitely a must read for online marketing enthusiasts.

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Choose keywords to target customers in each phase of the buying cycle...

Experienced PPC (pay per click) affiliate marketers know that they need to do extensive keyword search to find keywords that target potential customers who are near the end of the buying cycle --- or, ready to buy the product they are promoting.

To find out what the 'buy' keywords are, let's look at a real example of the buying cycle in action.

I wanted to scan my vacation slides from years gone by to digital format so that I could upload them to Flickr and use them on my travel blog. So, I'm interested in learning about tools that convert slides.

Interest Phase

Interest is the first phase of the buying cycle and very generic 1 or 2-word keyword phrases such as 'slide converter' and 'slide scanners' are typically used in this phase.

Google Search Results for Slide Scanner

Based on the natural and paid search results on the first page (as shown in the screenshot above), I found slide converters available through Amazon, Hammacher Schlemmer, eBay and more merchants.

And so began my research...

Research Phase

The second or 'research' phase of the buying cycle also begins when keyword phrases get longer and more specific. These keywords are also known as 'long tail' keywords.

Google makes it easy for surfers to move into the research phase by placing related searches at the bottom of the first page of search results. Related searches for 'slide scanner' searches related to slide converter included:

  • 35mm slide converter
  • hammacher schlemmer slide converter
  • slide converter reviews
  • nikon slide converter

Notice how both brand (Nikon) and merchant (hammacher schlemmer) names show up in these keyword phrases. Merchant and brand names in the related searches may give clues as to popularity of an item and help push a researcher in a specific direction.

The following words are commonly appended to a generic product keyword phrase by surfers in the research phase:

  • best
  • compare (comparing)
  • guide
  • recommended
  • review
  • top-rated (top rated)

As research continues, specific model numbers get included in the keyword search. I zeroed in on the following models:

When a researcher has finished reading reviews about a variety of different products and has made a decision about which specific product they want to purchase, they move into the Buy phase.

Buy Phase

I came to the conclusion that the Nikon 5000ED slide scanner had the features that I wanted, so it was time to get down to the task of finding a great deal.

Keywords typically appended to the specific model keyword phrase in the buying cycle include:

  • bargain
  • best price(s)
  • buy (buying)
  • cheap
  • compare prices
  • coupon
  • coupon codes
  • deals
  • discount
  • free shipping
  • low cost (low-cost)
  • low price
  • price (prices)
  • purchase
  • save money

Over the years, I've found that Wordtracker gives the best clues as to the exact keyword phrases people use in each phase of the buying cycle. Here is a screenshot of the Wordtracker results for 'slide scanner'. (Click the pic to see the full size.)

Wordtracker Results for Slide Scanner

So, how can you use knowledge about the buying cycle to improve your PPC campaigns?

Keyword Choice and Your PPC Campaign

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, you want to attract people who are late in the buying cycle - which means adding brand and model number keyword phrases to your Adwords (and other PPC campaigns) - IF possible.

You must confirm that using specific brand or model keyword phrases is permitted in your merchant's affiliate agreement.

For example, RitzCamera.com (a CJ merchant) lists the following recommended keywords:

camera center, digital camera, camera, camcorder, canon camera, nikon cameras, canon digital camera, nikon digital camera, canon lenses, nikon lenses, Nikon, Canon, Kodak, Sony digital camera, photography equipment, pentax, fuji, memory cards, digital SLR, 35mm, tripod, camera flash, telescope, binocular, GPS, elctonics, gifts, camera sale, discount digital camera, digital frame, plasma tv, LCD TV, MP3

So, in addition to the obvious generic search terms for slide scanners, a PPC search affiliate could also get highly targeted traffic with terms like "Nikon 5000 ED review" and "Nikon slide scanner review".

The benefits?

By using more targeted 'buy' keyword phrases, you will get less clicks (which means you spend LESS on ppc marketing), and you will make more sales.

Spending less and making more --- now doesn't that make keyword research worth the effort?

1 comment:

Doug Mossman said...

Great information! PPC marketing seems to be the way to go. But how do you know which one of all the ppc management companies to choose? I'm new to this and it's a little bit overwhelming so I appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks!

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