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April 10, 2009

SMX Sydney: PPC for the SME

Coverage of the PPC for the SME session by Steven Power, CEO of ReachLocal at SMX Sydney 2009.

Understanding the Purchasing Funnel

Steven showed the purchasing funnel graph and how it applies to Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). He says 79% of searchers use the internet to research the purchase of products and services, while 42% of searchers are actually seeking a local business to buy something offline. Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME’s) should be using this information when planning PPC campaigns.

Get your business ready for paid search advertising:

– Are you ready and able to handle increased deamnd from prospective customers?

– Can your processes and infrastructure scale?

– How will you handle overflow?

– When do people shop online?

– Prepare before you start Pay Per Click

Steven then discussed a case study for Auto Lift Garage Doors where they tried PPC for the first time and couldn’t cope with the influx of inquiries that resulted.

Work out what success looks like:

– What are you trying to achieve?

– Are you trying to generate qualified enquiries?

– Are you trying to focus on a particular product or service

– What is a good return on your marketing investment?

What does success look like for you? Are you prepared to spend more? Steven then showed a graph of what success looks like for different SMEs:

1) 24 new customers $72,000

2) 2 new patients $16,000

3) Sales from campaign $50,ooo

4) 10 new customers $200,000

PPC is particularly effective on a Cost Per Customer basis, but it’s also effective on a Cost Per Lead basis.

Define your target audience:

– How far are your customers willing to drive? E.g. would you drive 30 mins for a dentist? (probably not) What about a brain surgeon? (probably)

– How wide is your service area?

– Where is your target audeicnce?

– How may locations do you have and where are they?

– What types of advertising do you use now?

– What is your average transaction value?

– How much business can you support?

Review your web presence

– Do you have an existing website? Offer page? Coupon page?

– What sort of property do you need to do PPC?

– Does your site reflect your business today?

– Is it an info site or a sales site?

Case Study for BMW Precision Automotive where a Flash landing page worked well.

Product or Service:

– What are you tryiing to sell?

– Do you want to focus on a high margin line?

– Will separate landing pages be more effective?

Geographic Coverage:

– What is the geographic service area that you want to cover?

– Do you have local market credibility?

Contact and Key Information:

– Is it clear and easy to contact your biz? Is contact info on every page?

– Does your copy have a call to action?

Key Images:

– Is your web site visually appealing?

– Does it encourage potential buyers?

Easy Navigation:

– Is it easy to find key information and use the features on your web site?

PPC Budget:

– Make sure your budget adds up

– What can you afford to spend per lead?

– What are you currently paying per lead?

– How do you calculate ROI?

– What about lifetime customer value?

– Use the available online budgeting tools

– Think like a searcher

– It’s an iterative process

– Monitor performance and manage your list

– Understand the value of each keyword in your bid management strategy

Test measure learn and improve, says Steven. Ask the question: “can someone help me manage my PPC campaign”? Steven says that many SMEs spend too many hours managing their PPC campaigns and they should be outsourcing that. But make sure that you use companies endorsed or certified by the search engines.

* Photo courtesy of Andrew Ballard of ReBusiness