PPC Internet Marketing Campaigns - Features, Benefits and Unique Selling Points

By Gregory Smyth

Internet marketing and the advent of techniques like search engine optimization and web analytics have taken much of what is traditionally taught in marketing and communications courses, and turned it on its head. The technologies are completely different, an entire new set of contacts and protocols has to be made and learnt, and very different aspects of your products become important. However, there are some things in marketing that haven't changed for years, and the rise of internet marketing hasn't altered that. If you are trying to execute a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, you need to go back to the basics of marketing. One of the most important things to do is to re-examine your product through new eyes and determine its features, benefits and unique selling points.

The features and benefits of your product are very different things to the technical specifications or, in most instances, even the physical nature of the product. Identifying what a product actually does to make a consumer's life better is critical when writing PPC ads, where you have a maximum of 160 characters to explain an entire company. You'll need intimate knowledge of the product you are promoting, and also to have identified your target market, which we've written on previously. For example, if you sell lawn care products and you've identified that your target market is men, aged between 30 and 40, and 60 and 70, with average-to-high household income and in certain geographical areas conducive to growing grass, the next step is to put yourself in your customer's shoes. What will be the product features that matter most to your customers? Will they care about how much it costs, how quickly it works, how hardy it is or the image the product is selling? As always, whether you are building an offline or a web marketing strategy, if you don't know what your customers want, ask them. Market research is a valuable tool.

When thinking about your product's benefits from an internet marketing perspective, understand what the product does for the customer, not simply what it 'does'. Your lawn care products might save your customers time on gardening, it may help them achieve better results for their lawn or it might help them create a pleasant outdoor lifestyle. This is quite different from giving them a high nitrogen content or long effectiveness period.

Another important consideration for your PPC campaign is your unique selling point (USP). This is another marketing classic that is just as relevant when trying to increase search engine rankings or build traffic as it is when trying to get people to physically visit a store. To determine your USP, you will need to understand your competition as well as your own offering, and know what sets you apart. Your internet consultancy service will be able to use new tools like Webtrends and other website analytics to determine who 'online' competition, which can be very different to your offline competition. Analyze competitor sites, ask for more information and then determine what sets you apart - and then exploit your USP to its full potential in your PPC campaign.