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Improve Your Call-to-Action in PPC Ads

  |  August 21, 2012   |  Comments

The key is to tightly connect and reiterate the messaging and call-to-action from the ad copy to the landing page.

buy-nowIn developing online pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, there are so many components to consider - keywords, ads, settings - we find ourselves occasionally forgetting something. Even the best-planned programs will fall flat without a simple call-to-action (CTA).

I dusted off my marketing dictionary from the '90s and found that the principle of the call-to-action hasn't changed: "A statement usually found near the conclusion of a commercial message that summons the consumer to act."

With consumers constantly bombarded with advertising messages in search results, social networks, and content websites, advertisers need to clearly indicate the action they want the user to take within the ad copy and on the landing page.

Crafting the ideal CTA can be challenging, especially considering the limited ad space and limited time you have to capture the consumer's attention in an online ad. The key is to tightly connect and reiterate the messaging and call-to-action from the ad copy to the landing page. This reinforces that the searcher has landed in the right place and tells her what to do next.

How to create the perfect call-to-action?

Start with what you need the consumer to do on the website. The call-to-action will always contain an action word - a simple but strong verb:

  • Register
  • Sign up
  • Contact
  • Subscribe
  • Purchase
  • Download
  • Upgrade
  • Join
  • Post
  • View/tour (as in a demo or page)
  • Browse (as in selection or options)
  • Learn more
  • Donate
  • Try (as in a product trial)

Next, it will contain a reason to act. For example, there is a benefit for the searcher to respond, such as a special price, exclusive offer, or other benefits.

  • Promotions or offers
  • Pricing or discounts
  • Sense of urgency or deadline
  • Exclusivity
  • Other benefits to responding (e.g., save time, save money, increase productivity, etc.)

Now, put these concepts together to form a clear and concise statement both in the ad copy and on the landing page. You will likely need a slightly shorter version for the ad since it has limited characters.

  • Buy now and save 10 percent
  • Shop early and save more
  • Sign up today for free members-only trial
  • Register for free account today
  • Subscribe and get a free ebook
  • Get a quote and learn how we can save you money

There are endless options to create concise and strong calls-to-action to make your campaigns successful. Try testing different combinations to determine what yields the best performance for your business and audience.

Buy Now image via Shutterstock.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Raehsler

Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.

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