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Why Pay For Advertising That Does Not Yield Sales?

By Sharon Housley

Why pay for advertising that does not yield sales? Before you part with your cold hard cash, consider various ways to increase and maximize your conversions.

The term conversion simply represents the number of website visitors that take the action that the web publisher desires. In most cases, conversion refers to an individual browsing a website and purchasing the product(s) or service(s) being sold. The idea is that a browser has been converted into a buyer.

What if you could increase the number of people that visit your site to customers who purchase or take action on your site by 1 percent. What would a 1 percent increase in conversion mean to your bottom line? Even on low ticket items, a 1 percent increase in conversions can be potentially staggering when considered over time.

How do you increase conversions?

Obviously the copy is critical in converting a 'browser' into a 'buyer' and while a webpage should be optimized for search engine spiders, search engine optimization should not be at the expense of web surfers. Webmasters must balance search engine optimization with sensible copy that calls the website visitor to the appropriate action.

What about advertising?

Keyword advertising can be very effective. In order to increase the conversion of keyword advertising, create continuity between your keyword and your landing page. Use the same words in the ad as in the landing page. Keep in mind that landing pages do not have to be part of a websites normal navigation. Webmasters can customize landing pages to cater to a specific audience, advertisement, or search term.

Ultimately, the goal is all about ROI or return on investment--publishers aim to make more than they spend. For every dollar you spend in advertising, you want to make a profit of $ 2.00 or better. That means in many cases you will need to monitor any changes in sales and web traffic, and determine what specific actions are resulting in the sales increases.

When evaluating advertising campaigns, consider whether the results will be long term or short term. Long term results from a short term expense could involve a website design. Short term results are generally things like ezine advertisements that result in sharp sales spikes that don't generally last.

Consider whether the expense is a one time cost or ongoing. Equally important, determine whether you can reliably track and measure the results of the advertising campaign. Can the results be reproduced by spending more money?

Targeted advertising will convert at a higher rate than non-targeted advertising. It is critical that advertising be targeted, so that you can maximize your conversion and increase your ROI.

On the other hand, if you have a low conversion rate, spending money on advertising is not likely going to produce significant results or a high ROI--so before you part with any hard earned cash take a look at your conversion rate.

Why pay for terms that are not converting?

Monitoring is critical to any advertising campaign. As a webmaster, you have a whole host of tools that allow you to track the actions that your visitors take. Use these tools to analyze and test theories that relate to conversions. When determining areas of low conversion, evaluate weblogs. Look at the abandon rate by viewing single access web pages. Use cookies to track the actions that browsers on a website take, do they return and purchase at a later date? Another option is to track customer actions using javascript that is embedded in the website's webpages.

Pay particular attention to what keywords result in traffic, and what keywords result in actual sales. Anyone can purchase traffic with the keyword phrase "free money" but how many of those who click are going to take the desired action on your webpage? Keyword terms that are closely related to the product or service being sold are going to have a higher conversion. It is important to filter phrases or keywords, that do not convert or result in unrelated traffic (due to synonym use).

What about the landing page?

When designing the landing page think about the action you want and emphasize it; remove all other distractions from the webpage. The landing page should be designed in such a way that the website is driven to the action you wish for them to take.

Unique URLs or special landing pages can be instrumental in tracking a advertising campaigns success. They are also helpful when you conduct split-testing sending users to different web pages, and then tracking the actions that result.

What common problems result in poor conversions?

Poor web site design can result in a low website conversion. Websites should explain the product or service is that you are selling in simple terms. The website navigation should be intuitive, and it should not be difficult to locate what visitors are looking for. Avoid vintage web graphics that are of low quality, or fonts that are unreadable. Avoid color schemes or font size that alienate web visitors, colors should be used to highlight important points. Webmasters should avoid small font sizes or fonts that are not easily readable.

While some items are easy to measure, others become a little more nebulous, it is difficult to know whether enhanced graphics will increase sales, but they should be considered when evaluating a poor conversion rate.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts.

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