Ditch .COM to Improve Your Search Engine Marketing Performance

If you're looking to target the LGBT community and quickly drive sign-ups, purchases and revenue from them, search engine marketing (SEM) should be at the top of your to-do list. Many marketing directors and CMOs rely on SEM to fill monthly growth percentage quotas. But be warned: Unless you follow a few best practices, the cost of your SEM campaign might outweigh the ROI. 
 
One way to  maximize SEM performance while keeping costs down using online marketing is to drive Google AdWords traffic to a dedicated landing page instead of your main website. Better yet, customize your landing URL with a highly relevant top level domain (TLD) such as .LGBT rather than .com. 
 
Why? According to a recent study from marketing firm Globe Runner, using a highly relevant TLD instead  of .com can boost both user trust and conversions, while costing up to 50 percent less per impression (CPM). 
 
For businesses marketing to LGBT consumers, a customized landing page and URL may just be the answer to revving up your SEM efforts. 
 
The SEM benefits of a dedicated landing page
 
Chances are, your site's home page includes several different calls to action — Read our Blog, Sign up for Emails, See Customer Reviews.   A  dedicated landing page, on the other hand, is focused one thing:  conversion. It simplifies your sales message and is devoid of distractions like a navigation bar, a news section or an image slider. 
 
Pretend you're an LGBT travel service running an ad for an excursion to Africa. Sending prospects that click your ad onto your home page could confuse or distract them. If, however, you drive them to a dedicated page that talks about the specific trip they clicked for and has a clear CTA to sign up, there's a higher chance they'll actually purchase.
 
Dedicated landing pages allow you to easily test what works and what doesn't, then optimize for more cost-effective conversions. Change a button color, alter some text, test different images and you could find a solution that has a high conversion rate. It's nearly impossible to do this with your home page.
 
How a Top Level Domain Like .LGBT Can Improve Your SEM Campaigns 
 
To test the effectiveness of using a unique TLD, Globe Runner conducted a study in which they ran ads for a diamond company with two different URLs: 3CaratDiamonds.com and 3Carat.Diamonds. Both URLs pointed to identical landing pages; all ad copy, keywords and bid prices were the same, as well. Only the URL changed. 
 
The unique TLD outperformed .com in SEM advertising across several indicators. While .Diamonds cost about the same per click (between $.70 - $.80), it achieved a slightly higher Average Position within Google search results. More importantly, while .com began the study with a higher conversion rate than .Diamonds (44% compared to 33%), over time, the conversion rate for the traditional TLD eroded to 23%, while the unique TLD ended at 35% after a small temporary dip. Globe Runner equated the drop in .com's conversion to a decrease in trust associated with the .com TLD. 
 
In terms of effective Cost Per Thousand (CPM), it cost the firm nearly double the money to advertise a .com domain name than it did a .Diamonds domain name.
 
If the Globe Runner study is any indication, business owners looking to market to the LGBT community would be wise to invest in a  unique TLD — one that can establish and, crucially, maintain trust among prospective customers.
 
A few tips to remember while deciding on your domain name.
  1. To make the most of a unique TLD, the destination landing page URL shown in your AdWords ad must match the actual destination URL they visit when clicking.
  2. If you're thinking of converting from .com to a unique TLD, it may help to conduct your own A/B testing using both to see which one converts better among your target customers.
Come back and share the results with us on Twitter @dotLGBT.
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Thursday, August 17, 2017