Search Marketing: Three questions to help you think like your potential customers


Finding appeal for your PPC ads is never easy. But if you take the time to think like the searcher and then offer them what you truly believe they are looking for, you are one clear step closer to finding the key that unlocks the door to a significant increase in conversions for that segment.

Let’s see what the process of finding appeal might actually look like as I quickly apply it to one of our audience-submitted PPC ads from our previous Web clinic on PPC.

Headline:              Taste of Home Magazine

Line 1:                   Only $10 per Year! Exclusive Offer

Line 2:                   from Official Site. Order Now

I wasn’t provided a list of keywords, so I’ll answer the questions that I can:

Question 1: What keyword or keyword phrases would a customer type in if they were looking for a product/offering just like mine?

According to their site, this is the #1 cooking magazine in the world. But why? Maybe because:

  • The amount of recipes,
  • The quality of the recipes, and
  • The fact that many of them are easy-to-fix.

Many visitors will definitely search with brand-based keywords (if they are indeed #1). They might also search for [magazines with recipes], or [cheap magazines with good recipes], or all sorts of variations of that.

Bottom line: I’m guessing that visitors probably want a magazine that has one or a combination of the above things mentioned at a good or discounted price (price must ALWAYS be considered in appeal).

Question 2: According to Google Analytics and AdWords, what keywords are visitors clicking the most?

I don’t have access to their data, but after using the AdWords keyword tool and the Google Wonder Wheel, here are a few sample keywords that pop up and seem to fit:

  • food magazine recipes
  • gourmet magazine recipes
  • food magazines
  • cooking magazines
  • simple magazine recipes
  • everyday food magazine recipe
  • health magazine recipe
  • Taste of Home
  • Taste of Home Magazine

The specific ad we are optimizing now is actually found in brand-based keyword searches.

Question 3: When a visitor searches for this keyword [Taste of Home] or [Taste of Home Magazine], what might they be looking for?

  • Reviews of the magazine
  • Information about the magazine
  • Actual Recipes
  • Discounts
  • More…

And NOW the fun part…

Let me show you two examples. One positive example, and one that could use some testing and optimization help. Let’s start with the positive example…

In this ad, the keyword is magazine food recipes.


First, I see that this is an ad for a magazine. Great! I want a magazine if I typed in magazine food recipes. Next, it tells me that they have easy recipes (I like easy). And they don’t just have some, they have 100+. Maybe I’ll never need to buy a cookbook again! I’m interested enough to click (though I’m not sure yet how I feel about the price).

Now there are a few things they can do to optimize this ad further, but it actually has a great start.

So what about the ad we looked at first?

I found this ad when I searched for the keywords Taste of Home and Taste of Home Magazine.


This ad assumes the searcher is looking for certain things:

  • Product price
  • A special offer or a discount
  • They want to order

But WHAT IF they just want a review? Or information? Or want to know what in the world Taste of Home magazine is? (see Question 3 above)

Selling is not always a one-step process. Sometimes a person actually has to like and believe in the product before they purchase it.

If searchers specifically want a discount, they would type in [Taste of Home Magazine Discount] or [Taste of Home Magazine Offer]. So, why is this ad completely focused on the discount when discount is not part of the search?

Ads I would test for this keyword group (Taste of Home or Taste of Home Magazine)

On Line 1: I would talk about the number of popular recipes per issue.

On Line 2: I would talk about its rating (what others think) and then close on offer.

So, it would look like this:

Or, another variation

These examples address more than just price

By including the number of recipes PER ISSUE, we help answer the “question of what” (an issue of appeal) and establish some exclusivity as well. Also, when mentioning “#1 rated,” we address another issue of appeal (product reviews) by setting up the expectation that we will address that rating when you click.

Finally, we don’t leave the issue of price out because these particular questions are always looming: Can I get a price break from Taste of Home if I go directly to them?

We’ll discover what searchers are really looking for

By testing these new ads against the old one, we’ll discover just how many visitors are actually looking for common answers concerning the product as well as special pricing. So, if my ads tank, at least I’ll learn (see my post on strategic test planning) what visitors are looking for in this particular ad group.

How to organize your keywords into ad groups:

With hundreds of possible keywords, it’s nearly impossible to try and create a set of ads to test for every possible one. Instead, you must organize your keywords into clusters, or groups, where appeal is the commonality (what it is you think the searcher are looking for). Keywords can also be organized by product and then also by the amount of traffic exposure.

Using this approach, you can test ads on a near-keyword level and with specificity. This is the kind of campaign organization strategy that we teach in our certification courses, and it has helped our research partners achieve a significant decrease in CPC while seeing a significant increase in traffic.

Related resources

Search Engine Marketing: Finding appeal for your PPC ads

Search Marketing: Tips on mastering the latest innovations in this mature category

How to Test Your Value Proposition Using a PPC Ad

MarketingExperiments Fundamentals of Online Testing on-demand training and certification course

photo by: cameronparkins
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