About fifty years ago, the owner of a local general store owner would have known all of his customers personally. He would be familiar with their families, the businesses, where they lived, and how they spent their leisure time. Most importantly, he would know what they were interested in spending their hard-earned money on. This is an example of one-to-one marketing because the business could think and act in terms of individual consumers and their households.
Today, marketers use digital marketing to reach out to their consumers. PPC (Pay per click) is one of the most effective channels of digital marketing which is used to generate leads. PPC enables marketers to bid for different types of keywords that their consumers are likely to use.
Traditional Advertising vs. Digital Marketing
Traditional marketing or the usual way businesses promote their products or services includes newspaper ads, billboards, brochures/flyers, television commercials, or radio ads. Digital marketing or online marketing consists of a business website, social media, emails, search engines, and YouTube videos. With the emergence of technology, businesses have moved from traditional to digital marketing.
But is there a difference in the marketing funnel for these promotional channels?
Most people agree that the general marketing funnel follows the AIDA model, which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
Awareness: The consumer has to be aware of two things – their problem and the solution. The key to successful awareness is consistently addressing the target demographic. Defining the brand and using multiple platforms to deliver the message is the crucial goal.
Interest: In this step, the consumer begins to explore the products and services available to them. To maintain interest, one needs to provide relevant information that will create desire and ensure the message is tailored to the audience’s needs.
Desire: In this stage, the consumer wants to make a decision but hasn’t fully committed yet. It is imperative for a brand to not overwhelm the prospect of information and only give the consumer enough to keep them moving.
Action: In this step, the customer either buys or doesn’t. If a brand has executed the previous steps correctly, then the customer will most like buy.
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Using the AIDA model, the brand is expected to elevate the business to the next level. Having said that, the digital marketing funnel is more inclined to follow McKinsey’s consumer decision journey that can help model how the customer comes to the moment of purchase and discovers what makes them buy from a company. This philosophy is also used in paid search marketing where different types of keywords are used.
While in the conventional funnel consumers start with a set of potential brands and carefully reduce that number to purchase, the digital model using the McKinsey & Company’s research showed that the loop model produced a decision-making process, which is a circular journey with four phases:
Consideration: At the awareness and consideration stage, users go through a list of brands in the hope that they will be able to match their needs. They use various combinations and types of keywords to get their search results using online search engines like Google and Bing.
Here the keywords used in the consideration stage should focus on:
- Users frequently search for
- Are not too competitive
- Match your defined marketing funnel
Active Evaluation: They assess the brands by accessing the information that is available online. Customers assess their needs and match them with the available brands, their pros and cons and with time the list gets more streamlined. As a brand, the keywords you use should be targeted towards:
- Have a basic idea about what their needs or wants
- Involved in doing in depth research
- Need to figure out which products or services will suit them best
Buy: Customers decide to go for one brand that meets their requirements and make a purchase. At the conversion stage, the keywords must be absolutely on point.
- Determine what your prospects need from you in order to convert into a consumer
- Searching for the best company or brand to use to service their need
- Looking for the best product or service that matches their requirements
Even though the keywords that you work with may seem like one of many drivers of conversions, they are an integral element when it comes to driving key stages of the purchasing process.
Post-Purchase Experience: This stage explains what happens after the customer performs the purchase. At this point, the customers can use the product and gather their experience.
If they are thoroughly pleased, they may rate and recommend the product to others. This is word of mouth marketing which forms the core of the loop in McKinsey’s consumer decision journey. Positive or negative feedback affects the evaluation fears and purchases decisions their customers make.
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Role of Keywords in Digital Marketing
Keywords are the cornerstone of digital marketing. On a fundamental level, a user searches for something in Google or any other search engine and when search term matches your selected keywords, the PPC ad or organic link comes up. The user clicks on the most preferred brand link, and then a purchase occurs.
PPC or Pay Per Click is the most common digital marketing platform that uses types of keywords to trigger the most relevant brand ads. Google also makes selecting and adding keywords incredibly easy. After all, more keywords mean more matching, and that means more ad revenue.
When an AdWords account is being set up, the advertiser needs to choose keywords to match with Google search queries, which will show your ad. When a match between a user’s search and the selected keyword hits, your ad is eligible to show. But it might not show because your bid is too low, the budget is expired, or other factors.
Types of Keywords Used in Paid Search Marketing
The idea of keywords matching is critical. Fundamentally, there are four different keyword match types that advertisers may consider when designing their paid search marketing campaigns.
Broad Match: As the name suggests, Broad Match keywords show ad results that are broadly matching someone’s searched keywords. So, even misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations can result in your ad showing up on searches.
Broad Match Modified: The Broad Match Modified keywords allow the board match to get more specific. In the editor, board match modified keywords are indicated by a “+” before each word. This match type means that each ad keyword or a close variation of that word must be part of the search keywords. The terms can be in any order and a close variation; each word must be present. Otherwise, the ad will not show up for that particular search. Synonyms will not be matched.
Phrase Match: Phrase Match means that the exact phrase must be in the search or a close variation of that phrase. In the editor, it is indicated by quotes around a phrase. While board match allows the keywords to be in any order in the search, phrase match requires the exact order of words in both the ad keywords and the search keywords. However, there can be additional terms before and after the phrase match.
Exact Match: Exact Match keywords means that searches must match the keyword exactly or with a close variation. In the editor, it is indicated by brackets around a phrase. The variation might be plural versus singular or something along those lines, but it is nearly an exact match. Broad match allows your ad to appear for many different searches, but those consumers typing those searches might not be looking for your product or service. With exact match, the number of searches that your ad will appear in is a lot lower, but those consumers are much more likely to be interested in your ad.
Importance of Keyword Optimization to Drive Online Conversions
Despite using keyword match types, your business may not be able to drive adequate conversions. There may be various reasons for its ineffective performance. Having said that, the major causes can be attributed to the following:
- The bulk of the broad match keywords and exact match keywords used may not be attracting adequate relevant traffic. This implies that you may not capture your audience’s search intent properly.
- The types of keywords linked to the ads may lack relevancy and proper ‘Call to Actions’ using Sitelink Extensions that is leading the traffic to bounce off.
- Using keywords with a low overall quality scores means that the ads are not being served as frequently as you’d like. It also means that in the majority of cases, these ads are not appearing as top search results for the brand’s prospective target audience.
The major contributors to low conversions can be addressed with constant keyword optimization. Core activities should involve:
Identifying Your Best Prospects Carefully, Then Catering to Their Needs and Desires:
- You should not have more than 5 to 20 keywords in a single ad group in order to derive the best ROI. More keywords do not automatically ensure more traffic in any way.
- Tie your keyword match types in with your ad copy, ad extensions and landing page. Ad copy must have strong, active verbs that can make your ads significantly more compelling.
- Prune keywords with no or low quality score because deleting terms that are generating impressions and clicks but no conversions or are being served on irrelevant user searches brings down the entire ad group.
- Focus on high performing keywords to avoid unnecessary budget spillage by updating the negative keywords list on a regular basis.
- Review and refine search terms and phrases to identify new keyword opportunities. Fish for additional exact match keywords that either looks promising or are already converting, but you’re not yet specifically targeting the search phrase. Experiment with advanced keyword match types which trigger your ads.
- Separating your high performing keywords in campaigns with lower performing and unproven keywords gives you more control over your budget. Spotting trends will become easier.
- Bid on competitor names as keywords to reach a more qualified audience and generate brand awareness.
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Marketers go to great lengths to research and understand customers need, wants and demands. The concept of understanding keywords in terms of digital marketing is not that different. Both are interrelated and dependent on each other to ensure that the business remains profitable in the long run.
You can use several free tools available online to figure out the types of keywords that best suit your business interests. Remember to factor in searcher intent and plan keywords that match every phase of your purchase cycle, and you will not go far wrong.
As a digital marketer, it is important to be aware about these different types of keywords. You can enter the arena of digital marketing by pursuing Executive Development Program in Digital Marketing from XLRI.
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