Use the Customer Buying Cycle to Your Advantage

Everyone has his or her own way when it comes to creating an effective PPC account structure. However, you might want to try breaking campaigns out by customer purchase stage.

People at different stages of the buying cycle will use different keywords, so it’s important your ads and landing pages match the stage of purchase cycle they are in. One way to accomplish this is to create a paid search account structure that reflects the purchase stage a person is in.

There are three core stages: (1) awareness, (2), consideration, and (3) purchase.

PPC Consumer Purchase Stage

Awareness Campaign

This is the stage all consumers start at. Consumers are looking for information, so their search terms can be quite broad since they don’t know exactly what they want yet.

At this stage, people are not ready to convert, nor are they convinced that your company is the right solution to their needs. They are simply learning.

PPC Search Queries

On the PPC side, we tend not to target these generic terms very often, because they usually are more costly and convert less. However, this is the perfect stage to use “seed” keywords.

The purpose of “seed” keywords is to establish your brand and get people to explore your site. This is also an excellent opportunity to start building remarketing lists to retarget people as they move down the purchase funnel.

Consideration Campaign

At this stage, the consumer has narrowed down their criteria and begins researching aspects of services and products. This is where their search terms get more specific.

People will compare, look up prices, and read reviews during this stage. They may reach out to your company to learn more too.

People could convert during this stage, so it’s important to target research terms. Research terms include, “reviews,” “compare,” “prices,” “ratings,” and more.

Buying Campaign

This is the final stage where consumers are ready to buy. They’ve done their research and know what they want, so people will search purchase terms (e.g., for sale, buy, order).

Ready to Buy PPC

You definitely will want to target this stage of the purchase funnel! Conversion rates are at their highest and cost per conversion is low at this stage.

Ad copy and landing pages should include your sweetest deals. Free shipping, discounts, and BOGO deals are all great ways to get people to buy. In addition, make the process as simple as possible. The last thing you want to do is have people in the palm of your hand ready to buy, then leave because the sales process is complicated.

Closing Thoughts

These are the three main stages, but you can get more in-depth. For example, you might want to consider a retention stage to reap the benefits of repeat buyers, donations, etc.

Just keep in mind, more campaigns mean more time needed for campaign creation and ongoing management.

Find out if this is the right campaign structure for you with your free PPC analysis!

Follow the author on:

Twitter: @erikapdx

Google+: +Erika Schmidt

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/schmidterika

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