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In the B2B market, an efficient PPC campaign needs to capture and motivate prospects throughout the decision-making and sales cycles; while always understanding that intent and CTR are not always uniquely matched with either the research or buying phase.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ideal Conversion Scenarios

Ideally, every click to your company would be from a highly qualified lead far enough along in the buying funnel that they were right on the edge of converting; however, because of the long sales cycle associated with B2B products and solutions, it is far more likely that each prospect visits the website multiple times, researching multiple products and solutions, looking for different benefits, pricing, and implementation content before ever actually initiating an offline contact and becoming a qualified lead.

The “trick” would be to somehow match the behavioral intent of every click to a unique landing page with dedicated conversion triggers – where a researcher would land on a page that said “looking for more information”, while a CIO would land on a page that said “have questions about the implementation process” or “cost savings and real ROI from…” However, sometimes a researcher, buyer, manager, and tech use the same keyword when looking for different aspects: for example, “MFT” when looking for product specs, whitepapers, cost/benefit analysis, and implementation strategies.

So what is the solution? Content is key to directing each unique click to the most relevant conversion path. In other words, the universal landing page (unless search engines progress to a level of behavioral targeting that lets you filter a researcher from a purchaser and redirect each click accordingly even though they are using the same exact keyphrase) has to be a “written net” that is equally able to capture all types of behavioral intents. What does this mean, visible conversion triggers leading into intuitive conversion paths. It means understanding who and what your core target market is and is looking for. It means designing a landing page backwards!

When designing that ultimate landing page, work from the need of your target back to a single landing page. If there are three possible final pages (a research conversion page/whitepaper, pricing "learn more", and implementation plan download) work backwards from those pages to a single landing page with clear, although multiple conversion triggers.

A common red herring in B2B is to assume that the query is the only qualifier, and that intent always matches the keyword. In other words, a user looking from a research perspective will type in "MFT whitepaper", but more likely, a user types in "MFT." What you need to do, is be able to capture that long tail and those varied intents in one landing page.

In future posts I will discuss how landing pages can be tailored for multiple intents, and some best practices to qualify prospects within your site, maintain a strong relationship, and lower bounce rates.

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