Are you throwing away easy conversions because of the way you've set up your pay-per-click campaign? Chances are high that if you are a small business owner running the campaign yourself, you are. It's not because you are missing some secret trick, or because you aren't capable of running your own campaign, it's likely because you've simply overlooked something obvious.

Delivering your visitors to the absolute most relevant content will dramatically increase your conversions.

Time and time again, I speak with small business owners that are running their pay-per-click campaigns in-house. Many of these companies are doing a fairly good job of tracking their conversion rates, selecting phrase to bid on and even writing compelling ad copy to help increase their click-thru rates. That said, over half of them would likely see a dramatic increase in their conversions rates if they would take the time to send visitors to something other than the front page of their web site.

For small business owners that have limited budgets for outsourcing organic search marketing, pay-per-click campaigns are an excellent way to target both broad phrases that would be difficult to rank organically for and niche phrases that you may not have the time to create content for. Sometimes however, a small business owner gets frustrated when they see excellent click-thru rates, but dismal conversion rates.

Let's consider that a user has searched on Google for the phrase "Lord of the Rings on DVD." Chances are high that this user is looking to purchase the movie. Now, when you decide what URL you send that visitor to, you could send them to the front page of your site (i.e. OR, you could send them to the actual page where you can buy The Lord of the Rings.

It's such a simple change, but it could mean the difference between a 2% conversion rate and a 10% conversion rate. Study after study shows that the less clicks you place between your visitor and a purchase, the more likely they are to buy. So why would you make them dig through your site when you could deliver them right to what they are looking for?

I understand that many business owners want to force their users to look at all of their products in the hopes that they will be able to upsell or cross sell their buyers. This is why the milk and bread is in the very back of the grocery store. That makes sense for a retail chain, but remember this; on the web, your biggest competitor is a single click away. You simply cannot play the same games with your customers that you can in a retail outlet. If you force your customer to play hide and seek, they will most likely seek out someone that makes it easier for them.

Don't make your customers work to buy from you. Give them what they want from the moment they enter your site. If you're not already targeting specific landing pages with your pay-per-click campaign, take the time to sit down and point those ads to someplace other than your front page. You might be surprised at the size of next month's profits.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
June 23, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > The Simple Pay Per Click Change That Could Earn You More