Paid Search is generally best suited to end-of-funnel advertising. Showing your ads to users who already know that they want what you offer.
But of course, you can do more than just grab the low-hanging fruit.
Google Ads can (and should) be used at different stages in the process.
PPC can play a role in the awareness/discovery phase, where the decision-maker may be assessing options and gathering knowledge for a large purchase. Here you could step in to offer a buyer’s guide for example, and become a trusted option when it comes to decision time.
Or the consideration phase, where remarketing can help keep your product front of mind.
And often we’ll use a holistic strategy, with a hand in multiple stages in the funnel.
But to do this effectively we need to treat those different stages in the funnel separately – in terms of both ad text and keyword selection and targeting… with our eyes always open to where your user is in that journey between oblivious stranger at one end, and repeat user and zealous advocate at the other.
One way to look at it is to consider the different ways you would go about explaining your product to people with different levels of awareness and interest in it.
Now, King Arthur has a very different frame of reference to ours. It’s safe to say he doesn’t actively want an iPhone.
He may have relevant requirements… but he won’t be aware of the solutions by name or even concept – so he has a long way to go in learning what options he has, how to evaluate of them, and then choosing one.
‘iPhone’ won’t mean a lot to him, and he certainly won’t be moved by the specific benefits of iPhone over, say Android, or by the incremental improvements over the previous model.
But sending ‘faster messages’ (for which he may currently be relying on beacons / horse-borne couriers, and the odd pigeon) would surely appeal… and though he might not think to Google it, ‘instant long-distance communication’ might also pique his interest.
So in marketing to King Arthur, the right move is to take a step back from the detail / the minor differences between your product and the alternatives, and spell out those more general advantages that you might take for granted… but he doesn’t.
Grandma (‘great grandma’ fits the caricature a bit more fairly…) knows about phones. So now you could make some headway by describing your product as a ‘better, more convenient telephone’.
Perhaps she’s already familiar with mobiles and on the lookout for one.. But (being less familiar with the lingo) she’s searching for the ‘latest car phones’.
She may not be aware of many specific features, but you can use your more intimate knowledge of the product to find one that matches a need that she does know she has…
e.g. Grandma is getting a little hard of hearing, so she’d love the AirPods Live Listen feature, which turns AirPods into casual hearing aids.
Whether she is actively looking for solutions around her hearing loss (in which case, think keyword) – or might be interested in it as a side benefit (think ads and extensions) – you can use this to match the right message to the right audience.
Your friend on the other hand knows plenty about mobile phones.
Like most of us, she spends a quarter of her waking hours on them.
So she knows the different criteria on which to judge your product… how many megapixels the camera boasts; how many gigs of RAM it packs; how long the battery lasts…
She will have certain expectations around those variables so (while they would get you nowhere with King Arthur, and find limited traction with Grandma) now it’s vital that you present them up front.
Finally the phone expert, now he’s paying attention to more esoteric features of the model, e.g.
These are features that may be of little interest to the more casual phone user (or to you)…
But if we’re promoting it, it’s our job to find out what these deeper features are, and why they matter to our target customer.
So if we want to be persuasive to the phone nerd, we’ll have to put some effort into getting to know those finer details (just as King Arthur would have a fair bit of work to do before he could persuade us, say, to upgrade our fridge).
This is one way to think about how to treat different stages in funnel. Know whether you are talking (and should be talking) to a King Arthur, a grandma, a friend or an expert.
Make sure your language speaks to your audience specifically, meets them wherever they are on the buying cycle, and leads them onto the next phase in their journey towards buying your product.