A few weeks back at the Forrester Finance Forum in NYC, I sat behind E-Loan's CMO Catherine Muriel and got a chance to chat with her for a few minutes before her presentation in the sessions called Best Practices in Online Sales. And even though she had to fight through technical difficulties with the equipment in the room, I found her presentation fascinating.
Ms. Muriel went into detail on E-Loan's online sales strategy which involves a voracious pay per click search campaign while avoiding promoting a cheap rate online. You see, the team at E-Loan doesn't believe in promoting the lowest rate available in a mortgage product because, well it is misleading. The rates that are shown by competitors are often for a select few people the meet a bank's lending criteria. So, E-Loan chooses to promote no lender fees in their online ads. Just as a point of reference, they do show the best rates on their homepage, just not in ads or on landing pages. This is obviously a tough battle in a world that revolves around using the lowest rates in order to attract attention.
So, how do they do it and get new accounts without promoting cheap mortgage rates? Simple but very thorough. According to Catherine Muriel, they have most of their individual keywords going into individual landing pages and when you do that, you are really tapping into what makes search activity work well. Even when I was managing a huge search campaign at my former online brokerage company, I didn't map each keyword to a landing page. Sure I grouped similar keywords together and sent them into group landing pages, but never individual landing pages by keyword.
I tested their search campaign out and found quite a number of different landing pages. When I searched on mortgages I was linked over to this three panel landing page and when I searched on no point mortgage I received this smaller content page. Obviously, people searching on finer tuned keywords get a short, more direct page. I could have continued the search, but I didn't want to ring the cash register for them on their Google account.
Of course this got me thinking why don't more companies employ this strategy? At Harrisdirect, we didn't implement it because of lack of staff, but other than that, linking individual landing pages to individual keywords is really the way to market. Back in the day, Overture would decline search submissions because your landing page didn't provide the matched content; they still reject words, but in my experience they are not as stringent as they were in the past. If you don't do your best to match pages with keywords you really aren't playing with a full search deck.