Email List Building with PPC : Do Your Research!

6 minute read

First of all, apologies for the long break in between posts. Changes in my work life meant I had to take a break from helping my friends at with these PPC themed articles. I am back now though, and the rest should appear in short order. Anyway, on with the info:

As I outlined in my last post, The 7 Stages of building a Great PPC Campaign, the first steps to being successful with a PPC campaign are all about research.

Research the market

If you are already starting or running your business, or are running marketing campaigns for a bigger business, the market research should already be done, so we won’t go into too much detail on this step.

If you do find yourself needing to do some research into your market, there are plenty of tools which you can utilise, some of which are also good for keyword research. My top 3 are:

  1. Twitter Advanced Search – actually a very powerful tool to monitor and discover what people are buzzing about in your marketplace.
  2. Google Insights For Search – great for seeing the development of search trends as well as comparing potential traffic by keyword and region.
  3. – There are a couple of similar tools around, such as Alexa, but I like Compete when I need a tool that enables you to see estimated traffic to your potential competitors’ websites.

Do your Keyword Research

Your keyword research will form the backbone of your campaign, so it is important to get it right.

Our goal here is to get as many interested people as possible to sign up to your email list, so that they receive all the amazing stuff you will send them, and ultimately become a paying customer. In other words help them through their Customer Journey.

The Customer what?

Most people go through a process when they set out to make a purchase, they will think about what it is they want, why they want it, which product and which supplier to choose. This journey can be broken down into four stages:

  1. Research: This stage is where someone is finding out about an area of interest. The search terms will be 1-2 keywords, and will be pretty general, such as: Snowboarding, Snowboards, Snowboarding info
  1. Consideration: This is where we see the search terms becoming more targeted, and generally 2-3 words in length: Snowboard Lessons, Beginner Snowboards, Snowboard Shops London
  1. Purchase: Here we see the person in question becoming a potential customer, and the search terms generally hit 3 or more words: Buy snowboards online, cheap snowboard shop, buy snowboarding boots
  1. Loyalty: These are generally brand terms and website names: Burton Snowboards,, Santa Cruz Snowboards

Ok, so what does this mean for your Keyword Research?

Well, as someone who probably already does email marketing, you will hopefully be familiar with the concept of targeting your emails. This is just the same. You should have a look at your offering and think about the best time in the Customer Journey for you to sign visitors up to your email list.

It may be that you want to grab them at the interest or consideration stages so you can send them some great info on your industry or product range, and help them decide to purchase from you, or possibly you would like to be more sneaky and grab people who are looking for the best prices on a specific brand of item.

Usually it will be a case of testing keywords in different stages and seeing what works best for you.

Where do you get those keywords from?

There are a number of tools out there, both paid and free. All have their strengths and weaknesses but here are some of the ones I use:

  1. Wordtracker: Their free tool gives you the top 100 searched related to your chosen keyword, and is always a good start.
  2. Google Adwords Keyword Tool: This also gives you the top 100 keywords from Google’s own data and has some nifty advanced features as well.
  3. Your own site analytics: Yes, this is a bit of a curveball, but one of the best keyword sources on your industry is the incoming keyword data in your analytics package. You will already have great data about how certain keywords perform if you have your analytics set up correctly.

Right, that’s your lot on researching keywords and your market. Next time we will go over how to build a quick campaign in Google Adwords, and that should get you well on the way to building your list with PPC!

Mike Theodoulou is a Director at Site Optimizer

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