Although organic search is effective throughout the sales funnel, it’s most often directed at the information, engagement, and follow-up stages. On the other hand, paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is used primarily at the top of the sales funnel, to get leads.
PPC search campaigns most often target generic informational keywords. Most often even the most compelling ads use qualifiers to maximize the targeting value of the ad and minimize the bounce rate from the ad.
Targeting generic informational keywords is sometimes used with intentionally less compelling copy as a tactic to enhance awareness, without incurring the cost of a clickthrough. This can hurt a campaign in the long run, since Google rewards higher clickthrough rates.
Another common tactic is to target comparisons. These ads direct prospects to comparison type landing pages where the visitor can compare the advertiser’s solution with those of their competitors. An excellent tactic where there are clear, easy to understand and meaningful features and benefits.
PPC can be an expensive game if the tactics are not tied to an effective strategy. For example, a great ad that drops a visitor on the Home page, can waste a lot of money. That is unless the Home page is designed specifically to lead the visitor down a specific conversion path. Even then there are usually lots of choices and navigation that can distract the visitor from the intended path. Often in this situation the visitor who was looking for something specific that was mentioned in the ad becomes frustrated and is unwilling to invest the time to find it. Either way, if you’re paying per click, that can become costly.
A well planned and wisely implemented campaign most often presents a specific benefit that the landing page is clearly intended to enhance the visitor’s understanding of and prompt a specific action that’s intended to result in a sale, or a viable lead for the sales funnel.