PPC is my favorite marketing channel because of its incredible efficiency. After all, you are capturing prospective customers as they are searching for the precise product/service you sell. It doesn’t get much better than that, you are capturing people who are explicitly looking for brands like yours. However, one of the challenges for PPC, especially for gigantic programs, is search query volume. After optimizing your program incredibly well (I’m talking about years of optimization), your growth may start slowing down if search query volume in your category is not growing quickly enough. Of course, you can always do more with the same traffic (you could optimize landing page conversion rate, for example), however you will also continue to face intense competition for those incredibly valuable PPC clicks. What can you do in this situation? I’m a big fan of branching out and actually creating new demand. Creating demand for your brand is not going to be as cost-efficient as PPC, but it’s an important and scalable mid/top funnel marketing practice for the large-scale paid media advertiser.
Idea 1: Target Lookalikes Via Display Advertising
What does your customer look like? How old is your average customer? What gender are they? How much income do they make? What life events trigger your customer to purchase your product/service? Where does your customer live? The list goes on and on… Mine your data and build out profiles for your top performing segments. It’s ok to have segments of your current customer base and also segments for your overall industry, in which you are under-weighted (sometimes this second one works really well because you are not capturing these buckets well via traditional paid search). Truly get to know your customer.
Then, leverage this intelligence to target similar profiles via display advertising. Many of the prospective customers you reach have not yet searched for your specific product/service. (Even if they are, however, marketing is all about multiple touch points.) Because they fit the profile of your ideal customer, you will be able to start generating new, incremental demand. In creating demand, you are expanding the universe of prospective customers searching for your brand. You are no longer constrained by existing search query volume on your brand, product, or service!
Idea 2: Create Amazing Content, Share Via Social Media, and Then Retarget
Partner closely with your social media team. Build amazing content on your blog, YouTube channel, social profiles (maybe run some cool infographics). The idea here is to “go viral”. Once this happens, you are able to retarget! Get your Google analytics/retargeting pixel on your YouTube channel, Google+ page, and your blog. Because this all started with amazing viral content, it is very likely you will attract prospective customers to your cookie pool who were not actively searching for your brand/product on search engines. You are expanding your universe and creating incremental demand via amazing content. The content alone will do a lot of the heavy lifting and brand building. However, to fully close the loop, it often comes back to paid media. Retargeting, in this case, is one of the best vehicles around. When a prospective customer sees your display creative, they will instantly remember your great content and then visit your site to purchase.
Idea 3: Run Paid Social Media Campaigns To Identify New Customers
This tip closely ties into the last one, but is slightly different. Here, instead of letting your content do the heavy lifting alone, you are also combining great content with paid promotion. Run paid “like” campaigns. Promote your tweets and posts. Invest some money behind your social media efforts. This may not yield direct response conversions right away but will expand the universe of prospective customers viewing your content. Then, leverage great content to sell these prospective customers on your brand over time. You will reach prospective customers (who fit into your segmentation model) in social media who are not actively searching for your product/service just yet. Then, when the time is right and after your content has encouraged them to take action, they will remember your brand due to the relationship you have built. Once again, you are building incremental demand by leveraging paid media outside of PPC.
Paid search is an amazing channel. It’s very close to the point of conversion and must always be on. Because of its value, it must be managed closely and watched like a hawk. Leverage the tips above to generate new, incremental demand and you will likely (on a last click basis) see even more incremental conversions on your brand name keywords over time. The boost here is the incremental demand generation going on outside of paid search (across paid display, social media, and retargeting campaigns). Get really great at attribution and make sure to give those assisting new demand generators their fair share of credit!
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