How to Craft a Compelling Offer for Search Engine Marketing

The best way to motivate a click online is to make a compelling offer and provide an urgent call to action. This is not news to Internet marketers. But when it comes to search engine advertising, like Google AdWords, you need to think about your offer and call to action a bit differently. The secret is coming up with an offer that attracts qualified prospects, to maintain conversion rates—instead of bringing in tire-kickers who are only interested in getting a quick deal, and won’t actually buy.

The best way to motivate a click online is to make a compelling offer and provide an urgent call to action. This is not news to Internet marketers. But when it comes to search engine advertising, like Google AdWords, you need to think about your offer and call to action a bit differently. The secret is coming up with an offer that attracts qualified prospects, to maintain conversion rates—instead of bringing in tire-kickers who are only interested in getting a quick deal, and won’t actually buy.

Two important considerations undergird this point:

  1. You only have 95 characters, spread over four lines of type, to play with.
  2. Since you are paying for each click, your ROI depends more on quality than on quantity.

In direct marketing offer theory, this is called managing the “offer equation,” which says that response quality is inversely related to response quantity. In other words, the sweeter the offer, the higher the response, and the less likely the respondents are to become profitable customers. Conversely, a lower response brings in a more committed prospect, one who is likely to prove more valuable over time—just costlier to acquire.

So the ideal in search engine advertising is to identify an attractive offer that also qualifies. And, it needs to be very simple, so it can be communicated with minimal investment of your precious 95 characters.

Here are some excellent offers that serve both purposes: simplicity and quality control:

  • Free shipping. A great way to differentiate yourself in a highly competitive environment. Free shipping is very appealing to prospective buyers, but because it is only redeemed on purchase, it’s successful in the equation management game.
  • Free trial. Another classic equation management tactic. Only people who are serious about your product will be likely to take it on trial. But you still get the power of the word “free.” In the tech world, a free software download has been a proven winner of this type.
  • Free gift with purchase. Another way to motivate conversion, versus mere click-through, and easy to explain. But it does take up a bit more real estate than free shipping or free trial.
  • Free information. Always a popular and productive offer in business markets, where buyers need detailed information as part of their purchase process. Examples include a free case study, research report, or white paper. Qualifies beautifully.

To be avoided are generous offers that motivate high response but poor quality. A free mug or t-shirt, with no strings attached, for example. Unless you can otherwise qualify the target with a highly selective keyword or phrase.

Have you come up with a compelling offer to motivate quality responses in B-to-B search engine advertising? Let’s share ideas.

A version of this post appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.

Remember Skype?

Skype, the the internet telephone service provider that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet, has been know for a some very creative VOiP applications over the years.

Skype, the internet telephone service provider that allows users to make phone calls over the web, has been known for some very creative VoIP applications over the years. But one thing it’s not been known for is its ability to be an advertising vehicle for marketers.

Up until now, that is. Last week, Skype introduced a pay-per-call advertising service, Click & Call, that turns phone numbers into little ads, similar to pay-per-click search ads, for the 560 million Skype users.

Here’s how it works: When Skype users click on the blue-highlighted phone numbers anywhere an advertiser’s phone number is listed on the web, Skype’s software is launched and the caller is connected to the company for free. As with paid search ads on search engines, businesses set monthly budgets and pay Skype based on the volume of calls they receive.

Marchex, a provider of click-to-call products and services, is Skype’s partner on the service and will share in the revenue. Marchex is also setting prices, providing analytics for the service and offering it to third-party resellers. Marchex says the service already has more than 20,000 customers.

If you’re an advertiser looking for reach (and who isn’t?), Skype’s nearly 600 million users could be very appealing to you. Other benefits of the program, in my opinion, are the fact that you only have to pay for the calls made to your business; you can set your own budget; and you can closely track which calls at which times make your phone ring.

What do you think? Let us know by commenting below.