September 3, 2008
PPC is one of the easiest and most accessible forms of web marketing. It’s an excellent way to promote your business, gather some quick market research, or get quick presence on the search engine rankings pages while you wait for a new site to appear naturally in search results. Paid search advertising is also an easy place to spend a lot of money without results if you go into it unprepared. Here are our seven most important pointers to get the most out of your PPC advertising budget:
1. Be Specific It pays to come up with long lists of more specific keywords and organize them into ad groups. Plurals, geographic modifiers, and common misspellings are all things you might want to consider including in your lists. Not only will you save money, but you’ll get a better idea of what terms people are using to find your products and services.
The more general the term, the more competitive the ad space, and the more you pay for good placement. The more specific the term, the less competitive the ad space will be, and you’ll pay less for prominent placement.
2. Think Like a Customer If you were shopping for what your company sells, what words and phrases would you use? Would you add modifiers like “discount”, “sale”, or “best”? If your target audience is looking for information rather than a product, “white papers”, “reviews”, and “information” are things you might want to include.
3. Stay on Target Make sure to set your campaign targeting for the languages and geographical regions you want to reach. No sense paying for your ads to run in Europe if you only cater to Atlanta or San Diego. The people you want to reach will be able to find you, and you won’t pay for wasted clicks from potential customers who can’t shop with you because of geographical distances. Within your ad groups for a targeted region, you can use the broader terms, like “homes for sale,” and not just “San Diego homes for sale.” Lots of people don’t understand how search really works, so they don’t include locality.
4. Motivate Customers to Click Free shipping? 20% off? Having a sale? Mention whatever special offers you have going in the ad copy. Then make sure that the same offer is clearly displayed on the page customers land on when they click the ad. People are looking for a bargain when they shop online, so be sure to let them know when you’re offering one they won’t want to pass up!
5. Take Control of Your Spending You set the daily budget and cost per click in your campaigns. Figure out how much you can spend, then figure out which ad groups are the most profitable and allocate more money to them. You can also set up day parting to make sure that a smaller budget doesn’t get spent all on the east coast while the west coast is still on their first cup of coffee.
Turn off content matching. Most people are unwilling to click on content ads, and there’s no sense paying for impressions that won’t deliver. You might try running it for a week if your product appeals to a broad audience and you have a compelling offer in the ad copy. You can always turn it off if your money isn’t being put to good use.
6. Point Them in the Right Direction Think about where you want your ads to put people on your site. If you have an ad group all about the swimsuits that are on sale, people want to see swimsuits immediately after clicking on your ad. Make them navigate the site to find them, and most people are going to hit the back button on their browser and buy elsewhere. Nobody likes to feel like someone’s pulling a bait-and-switch on them, which is what it looks like if your ads point to the wrong place on the website.
If you need customers to take a specific action as the goal of your PPC campaign (like submitting their email address), landing pages are in order. The fewer choices you give people, the more likely they are to take the path you want them to take.
7. Testing, Testing Write more than one ad per ad group, then toss the ones that don’t convert and refine the ones that do. It’s a great way to see which offers and wording are better motivators and converters. Make sure to use keywords in your ad copy!
Specializing in marketing technology-based companies since 1987, and active in Internet marketing since 1992, John Rasco’s skills as a marketer, team leader and strategist are key to successful client engagements. Founder of RefreshWeb, a national SEO agency , John has an entrepreneurial gene, a creative bent and a passion for challenging projects. There are free SEO tools and tips on the RefreshWeb site.