A good referral may still be the best way to find a consumer driven business. However, with more and more decisions being made online, it is increasingly important for marketers to manage their client’s images. Outside of reputation management, there’s an opportunity for a first impression to be made in paid search ads; but advertisers must keep a couple of things in mind when delivering a first impression on behalf of their clients.
Online businesses don’t have the luxury of second chances. Today, ads are often the first impression a consumer may get of a business. It is important to begin establishing a trust between the advertiser and consumer at this first point of interaction.
Put The Best Ads Forward
Trust is established through the three “must haves” of an ad:
- Differentiation of the business
- Promotion of a product or offer
- Location of the business or service
Think of the ad as an equation with three variables – each variable must be present, but what the variable says can be interchanged.
Within the ad, it’s important to differentiate the advertiser from their competition and make claims that can easily be supported on the landing page. Include references to how long they have been in business, awards they have won or types of products that they use — these are all examples of areas that could set them apart from their closest competitors.
Using a dentist as an example, an office that is open 7 days a week is a great point of differentiation – and would be a great thing to put in an ad.
A promotion should be unique as well. On a search results page full of “Free Consultation” promotions, don’t get lost in the crowd. This promotion is another way to set the advertiser apart from their competition.
A marketer may need to work with the advertiser to create a promotion if they don’t already have one – every business should have some sort of draw, you might need to just think outside the box.
Coupons are pretty hot right now, so consider them as a surefire way to gain credibility and bring clients through your doors. Consumers love saving money, so for a dentist to offer free whitening with another purchase serves as a great promotion.
Finally, location. National branding campaigns may sometimes be the exception, but in most other cases, giving the consumers a location lets the online searcher know if you are within their reach.
Whether I am looking for a dentist’s office in Newport Beach or a new watch, I want to know if the business is located down the street or can easily ship to my house. Consider breaking up your ad groups by geography and product type to make ads much more relevant.
With the variables defined, the next step is create a trustworthy ad:
example: “Newport Beach Whitening: Free Tooth Whitening With Cleaning. Call Now We’re Open 7 Days A Week!”
Making Good On Ad Promises
After making a couple of large claims in the ads, we want to make sure we keep that trust going by supporting the claims immediately on the landing page. The same three variables of an ad should be validated on the page.
A good rule of thumb: claims from the ad should be found within three to five seconds after visiting a landing page.
Differentiation on a landing page can take multiple forms. Logos of accreditation are often overused, but the right kinds are still effective. Use popular certifications and memberships and not ” As Seen Somewhere On TV,” or no-name logos.
When showcasing products, services, and partners, bypassing stock photography for the real thing goes a long way with consumer comfort.
In our dentist example, make sure “Open 7 Days a Week” is readily seen on the page – if this is what initially sold a consumer, they will be looking for validation again on the landing page.
The promotion that drove the consumer to the landing page often has the largest impact on that consumer becoming a customer. Make sure the promotion is the most readily seen variable on the landing page.
A good tactic: pull up your landing page, and then close your eyes. When you open them again, is the promotion the first thing your eyes are drawn to? If the answer is no, the promotion needs to be made more prominent on the page.
Also, a promotion that is actionable such as “Download Here”, is that much more valuable – these actions can easily be reported back to the advertiser with analytics and conversion tracking.
A real-life example – see each of the variables from the ad text:
The more comfortable a consumer is with a landing page, and the less work they need to do to get what they are looking for, the more likely they are to become a customer.
In our example, a click on an ad for “Newport Beach Whitening” should drive to a Newport Beach, CA landing page for teeth whitening – not the homepage where another search has to happen. Don’t give the consumer another reason to press the back button in their browser. Trivial, but not seen often enough.
Closing The Loop
With fingers crossed, the work done building this trust will translate into new, happy customers. Marketers often leave the equation after the introduction occurs, but the business delivering a good product will be key to sustainable growth.
A tremendous amount of investment is made to gain new customers, but turning a new customer into a returning customer could mean the difference between a one-year and a twenty-year business. Crazy what a first impression can do.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.