Prevent competitors from stealing your search leads with branded keywords

branded keyword searchesIf you’re looking for the most cost-effective, easiest-to-close leads for your business, your goal is to get to the people who already know (and trust) your brand, know they need what you sell, and are just trying to decide if your services are best for them.

For example, here is a progression of searches from someone least likely to become a lead to most likely.

  1. soap scum removal
  2. cause of soap scum
  3. what is hard water
  4. how do I fix hard water
  5. best water softeners
  6. culligan water softeners

In that progression, the 6th search is much closer to becoming your new customer than the 1st.

We call that a branded keyword term and for years we’ve been sharing with you the benefits of buying your own branded keyword terms.

However, thanks to constantly testing and measuring, we learned a few new benefits of bidding on branded keyword terms.

First, let’s review the reasons we’ve shared with you since 2012.

  1. Protect your brand, drive up competitor costs. If you have a trademarked brand name then your competitors can NOT use that name in their Google Ads. So when someone searches for your brand you should always be the most relevant ad. If 10% of searches click on your ad and only 1% click on your competitor’s ad, his costs will be as much as 10x higher for the same position.
  2. Locally tested sites (should) convert better. If your national franchisor is bidding on branded keyword terms you should bid on them as well because your locally split-tested website will convert better. In other words, if 100 people in your area visit a national website and 5% of those convert, you have 5 contacts. If those same 100 people instead clicked on your ad and, through local conversion optimization, 10% of those people contact you, you receive 10 contacts. That’s double the contacts with a local site. However, if your website is NOT optimized for conversions, then let your franchisor bid on the keywords.
  3. They’re cheap. Every market is unique however we see branded keywords as low as $.20/click or ⅕ the cost of non-branded keywords. In other words, for $50 or less/month in most places, is it really worth risking losing customers to competitors?
  4. Measure the impact of interruption marketing. All marketing should create some sort of behavior change in your target market. One of the most direct changes you will see from effective broadcast media, is people will go online and search for you by name. This is the most accurate way to measure your broadcast media.

Now onto our latest ways you can use branded keywords to generate more leads…

A few months ago a dry cleaning customer asked us to cut back their Adwords budget and do so in a way that would least affect their new clients.

They suggested if we cut out the branded keywords, people will still find their website via their organic results. In other words, why pay for Adwords when they are already in the top position for organic?

Sounds logical so we decided give it a try.

In the dry cleaning industry one of their best services for retaining clients is free pick-up and delivery of the dry cleaning.

A few months later we noticed their Year-Over-Year route delivery signups were down nearly 70%. That was unprecedented. We see fluctuations but never anything that drastic.

After digging in we found what was happening…

People often search for “[your brand] cleaner” and click on the organic result to find their nearest location and the hours of operation.

However, with Adwords we were able to transition people thinking of dropping off their cleaning for a one-time transaction to consider a free delivery service.

Instead of those same searchers ending up on the home page from an organic listing, they were told in a Google Ad to try “Free Pickup & Delivery” and then sent to a landing page that had been tested nearly a dozen times to convert well.

The lesson is, just because people find your website does not mean they are going to visit the highest value pages on your website and Adwords is a great way to ensure that they do.

When people are already interested in your brand, nudging them towards those high value services can be done cost-effectively with the right Adwords and landing page strategy.

If your website’s goal is to generate inquiries so your salespeople can direct them to the highest value services, your strategy would vary slightly.

Here’s how…

If your business has multiple products, services and prospect personas (say for residential and commercial), somehow your homepage has to address the needs of all of those people.

Unfortunately, the more options someone has, the less likely he is to make a decision.

Because of this, sending branded long-tail searches to a homepage can often reduce conversions compared with a targeted, tested landing page for a high-value service you provide.

For instance, if they are searching for “Culligan water softener”, click your organic listing and arrive at your homepage, you may convert fewer of those visitors to contacts than if they immediately end up on the page talking about your water softeners.

In summary, here are 6 reasons investing in branded keyword will make you more money:

  1. Keep competitors from stealing your customers by appearing ahead of them.
  2. Send searchers to a higher-converting, locally-optimized website.
  3. Branded keywords are inexpensive.
  4. Track the impact of your Interruption Marketing.
  5. Send people to your highest value products/services.
  6. Send branded long-tail searchers to the product/service directly related to their search.

To better results with more scientific marketing,



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