This is the first of many articles Tim’ll be writing over the coming months about how you can improve your online marketing and drive more, qualified leads to your dating site. The key areas he’ll cover are PPC, SEO and Conversion Maximisation (how to get the most out of every click). These are the areas you simply have to get right to create a successful dating business online. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, and he’ll try and answer them either directly or through this blog.
Go for growth – but gently does it…
So you’ve got good, stable AdWords campaigns. You’ve got respectable Clickthrough Rates and Quality Scores across the board, and your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is on the button.
The question most of us reach at some time is how to expand these campaigns. You love the traffic you’re getting, and you want more of it, right?
Here are a few simple tips for anyone who’s fortunate to be in this position. Increasing your traffic can be done, but it’s usually at a price somewhere and there are pitfalls to avoid along the way.
- 1. Identify the Return On Investment (ROI) you can afford.
When you start to go for growth, it’s worth accepting up front that your advertising costs will usually increase, thereby affecting your ROI. So before you start, make sure you sit down and find out the highest cost per paying subscriber (or CPA) you’re prepared to accept. Doing this exercise up front will mean 1) you have a benchmark to manage things against and 2) you won’t lose your nerve as you see costs increasing! As long as costs stay within the tolerance you have set yourself, everything’s going to be OK.
- 2. See where else you can use what you’ve already got
If your campaigns are working on Google, the chances are they’ll do OK on Yahoo! and Bing too. The CPCs are generally lower, but so are the conversion rates, so don’t assume you can just upload your existing campaigns and expect boatloads more of good, converting traffic. You’ll have to start on these search engines in much the same way as you did on Google. Start small and focused and build on your successes. Get it right, and you’ve increased your traffic by 10-20% already. The downside? Yahoo! and Bing have pretty much copied Google’s adwords functionality, but they still have their own idiosyncrasies, which means even though your traffic may have increased, the time it takes you to administer these campaigns just increased significantly too. Best advice – start small and take your time to assess if the benefits outweigh the increased admin!
- 3. Expand on your best-performing terms
Assuming you’re using conversion tracking of some kind in your campaigns (and if you’re not – what are you doing?!), you’ll know which of your terms are performing well (and of course which ones aren’t!). This tip shows you a way to expand on these terms sensibly, within the Google Adwords tools. To expand on your good performing broad terms, go to the keyword in question within your Google account. Select the keyword, and a meaningful time period (45 days will do). Click on the “See Search Terms” dropdown, and choose “Selected”. This will show you all the search queries used which triggered your broad keyword. See which ones are generating good traffic, and add them to your campaign (make sure you keep your adgroups tightly themed as you add terms!). Depending on the keyword, you may be better off using phrase matching rather than broad on these newly added terms, to ensure you’re still controlling the quality of traffic coming through (for example, broad terms like ‘dating’ will drive you tons of traffic unchecked – and not all of it great, either – so it is advisable to keep terms such as this as exact and phrase until you know what you’re dealing with).
- 4. Keep an eye on your negatives
As you expand your broad match terms, make sure you’re paying equal attention to your list of negative keywords. With these new broad and phrase matches you’re introducing, it’s inevitable that you’ll be attracting some unwanted traffic too. Use the Search Query Reports in the Google Reporting Interface to identify these rogues, and add them to your negatives. Keeping on top of your negatives enables you to employ your broad matching with confidence.
- 5. Expand out Geographically
You’ll notice that a lot of your broad and phrase terms are pulling in visitors looking for dating sites covering their own area, so why not reward these people with a better, more targeted search experience? Choose two or three of your top performing generic terms, three or four top cities or towns and combine to create geographic-specific search terms (eg “dating sites Manchester”). Create two or three compelling location-specific ads for each location adgroup so you can test which performs the best. Once again, make sure you keep an eye on your negatives list, and once you’re seeing positive results from these three or four towns, then you can start to expand your cities & towns adgroups. We’ll cover geography-specific landing pages in another article later in the series.
There are quite a few good ways you can expand your campaigns successfully beyond simply increasing bids, and I’ve touched on only a few here. Later on in the series, we’ll look at some other tactics you can try too. The key thing to have in the back of your head, though, is how much Return On Investment (and extra work on your part) you’re willing to sacrifice. Good luck!
About Tim Taylor
Tim is the co-founder of T3Active.co.uk, a company specialising in all aspects of creating and marketing brands online. T3Active.co.uk also works with clients in the areas of website creation, PPC, SEO and Conversion Maximisation (improving sales), providing one of the first “one-stop shops” in the UK where entrepreneurs and established businesses alike can have access to website creation and marketing expertise under one roof.
T3Active.co.uk has been running its own dating sites since 2002, and invests over £0.5m a year in promoting them online. We believe that to advise other companies properly, it’s better to have done it yourself.