PPC Creativity & Productivity Jump Start

loud noisesManaging paid digital campaigns requires a lot of creative juice, and sometimes you come down with the PPC equivalent of writers block. You look at your reports and your accounts and it all seems to jumble together or it’s piled so high that you’re afraid it’s going to topple over and crush you.

These times are hard and often frustrating. However, they can be managed and overcome. Here is my recipe for getting back your creative mojo.

Jump Start Your Creativity: Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

This is not a mental exercise (remember, a mental jam is the problem, so we need to work around it). You need to literally go through the conversion process as a customer. Start by going where your ads would appear. Do a Google or Bing search (or use the ad preview tool). While you’re there, look at the competitor ads. Are they saying something compelling? Look at the organic ads. Do they have something to offer that isn’t being mentioned in ads? What ad extensions are showing?

If you’re running display, go to a site where you’ve gotten conversions. What is their top content? Does it “feel” like a place your customers would be hanging out? If not, why might you have gotten the previous conversions? The goal is to experience the environment where your customers are encountering your ads. The context around your ads could be helping or hurting you but it should help spur ideas to get your going again.

Go Further

Now that you know how it “feels” when customers encounter your ads, go to the landing page(s) where you’re sending them. Does the landing page message deliver on the promise of the ad? If not you’ve got an obvious next step.

Is the landing page easy to consume? Do headlines, titles, paragraphs, bullet points, etc. flow naturally from one to the next? You want your customer to have a linear thought process that connects the ad to the landing page to the call to action. Tell them exactly what the next step is and why they should take the next step.

Go Even Further

Imagine that you filled out the lead form or put a product in the cart. Now you want to experience the next step just like each preceding step. For an ecommerce transaction this will entail going through the checkout process. If you can’t cancel a purchase, go as far as you can before confirming. Are there elements out of place (like a box for discount codes even though the company doesn’t have discount codes) or fields that aren’t necessary? Do you get confused in any way?

For lead gen, is the next step receiving an email? Will someone call you? You should strongly consider being a “mystery shopper” to get this experience firsthand, but at least talk to one of the people making this contact. That could be a sales guy who does product demos. Ask that person how a typical interaction goes. Ask what tips him/her off that the prospect is qualified or not. Could your ad messaging address those topics better?

Take That Inspiration & Get To Work

During the process above you’ll likely have at least one actionable idea that you can run with. Write it down somewhere so you don’t forget, but better yet, take action on it right now.