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The Keywords That Sell

You've thoroughly researched your keywords. The keywords you've chosen relate to your business.. You've worked really hard to get good rankings. You've paid for lots of PPC listings.

The traffic is coming to your site, but the sales just aren't happening.. You're just not getting the conversions. A top reason for this situation is overlooking the sales cycle when you are selecting keywords.

The sales cycle is a series of levels that a normal customer will go through when making the decision to purchase. The first sep is the customer's impression of a product, or the beginning awareness of a need, or solution to a problem that a product could appease.

The steps of the sales cycle continue through research and evaluation of the product or problem to the last step, which is the customer's decision to buy.

Internet marketers are able to approximate the stage the customer is in. They do this by looking at the keywords the customer uses in their search.

For example, perhaps you want to purchase a new printer. You might search on "printers" to get some ideas. After you get a broad outline of the marketplace, you drilldown to get more specific information. If price is the motivator, you might look for "cheap printers", or you may have run accross some color printers, so you search for "color laser printers".

Now you are honing in on a brand, or even a model. Perhaps the Samsung CLP-510N. You see, you're moving through the sales cycle from the initial evaluation to the close. You are doing this with multiple searches. If you were taking to a sales person, you would be asking the questions of him rather than the multiple search process..

Finally, you've decided that you want a " Samsung CLP-510N", but with free delivery. You can see that the key words "printers" or "color laser printers" will not convert the sale nearly as well as "free delivery Samsung CLP-510N".

In other words, tight customer targeting is very rewarding. Of course you can trget customers at any stage of the sales cycle. Even the customer who is just beginning the process. You really want to keep the cost of the initial searches low to make up for the low conversion rates. You can afford to invest more time and money in the searches that are more specific. The ones that point to the final stages of the sales cycle.


Consider the distinction between sales and marketing. Sales looks at the customer as an individual, and meets their needs, step by step, through to close. Marketing, on the other hand, is looking at broad market segments.

Marketers generate a list of keywords, based on subject and traffic numbers, and then optimise or buy PPC listings in order to grab a share of that traffic. This works, especially if your goal is to generate traffic volume, however there are smarter ways to operate if your mission is to cut straight to the chase and close the deal. Keyword targeting at the tail end of the sales cycle can lead to higher conversion rates, often with less effort and expense. Compare the effort and expense of getting first page placement for "fax machines" with that of getting placement for "brother fax-685mc free delivery". Never mind that there isn’t a great deal of search volume for very specific terms. Apply this strategy through your entire product range and it should soon pay dividends. Search engine placements should be easier to maintain, and more cost effective, than if you target more generic terms.


Statistics and tracking are your best weapons. Tag your visitors and watch what they do. Which visitors convert? What type of queries were they using? Look for patterns. If buyers were often looking for "free shipping" options, then you may have found a niche that your competitors are missing out on.

Know thy customer. And know where they are in the sales cycle. Here is a step by step on how to compile a keyword list.




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