Using Landing pages to track SEM campaign return
Many salesmen are out selling SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But in some highly competitive fields, SEO will only get your company halfway to visibility. If each company has an agency pushing its SEO to bursting, generating fresh content, using Google Authorship and actively engaging clients on social media, how are you going to be seen? Most Google users do not click past page 3 in Google search results. Google is always striving to serve up the best websites to its users and that's usually going to be the company with the most informational content. Google gives smaller companies a fighting chance with SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEM is an amazing tool to gain viewers and revenue, as well as grow your SEO. But, are the clicks you're paying for making you money?
The Folly of Pure Analytics
Google Analytics, while greatly helpful in tracking interest, does not track ROI. It cannot communicate how much money you made per click, nor campaign. If your campaign made you any money at all, you'd be unable to tell just by referencing landing page hits. That's why curating your landing page is so important. Use Analytics for SEO.
Landing Page Tracking
If you're unfamiliar with Google Adwords, each campaign is tied to a self-generated list of keywords. Each campaign is tied to a group of ads. These ads are what the public sees on their search results page, at the top and the right hand side of the page. These ads allow you to select what page of your website to drop them on once the advertisement is clicked. Depending on your business, different tactics may be employed.
There are several ways you can utilize this unique landing page:
- Unique Phone Number
- Conversion Form
- Coupon or Promotion
Unique Phone lines are great for tracking sales calls. This is more of a visual signal that your SEM campaign is working. At the end of the campaign you're able to print off the phone records and match names to invoices. This allows you to see a true ROI. If my ad was clicked 100x this month and it costs me $3 per click, I'm out $300 to Google. If I sold 3 root canals at $500 profit a piece, the campaign made me $1200.
Conversion forms ("Hello, I'm interested in your service" Forms )are like unique phone numbers, but require more work by the user. This usually results in a higher bounce rate (SEM campaign bounce rates are generally terrible [50%] ). The form works the same as the phone number, where you're able to match up the name of the client to the bill. However, it is usually poor in tracking due to the client not wanting to fill out a form with his or her information or a phone number being provided instead. If you're in the service industry, you need to determine if your campaign is for a emergency services (which would warrant a phone number) or home repair (request a quote form).
Lastly, there are coupons and promotions which can be offered through the ad. "Click here for $10 off!" is not beneficial to your Adword display ad, but it might be a nice little coupon for your landing page. Landing pages should be a hidden page on your website, so that no casual browser could stumble upon it. The coupon or promotion code would indicate that the client has entered through your SEM ad and therefore you are able to track how much money your ad has made you via coupon code.
In the end, you could always go the old fashioned way of just checking the books. However, with a fluctuating economy, good months and bad months, you'll never be able to concretely know if your SEM campaign is making you money without tracking.