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June 4, 2015

Six Questions to Ask Before Starting A Pay-Per-Click Campaign

Image courtesy of ( David Castillo Dominici) /

Pay-per-click advertising with Google AdWords can be one of the most effective and controllable marketing tactics you use for lead generation. We say “can be” because some companies will tell you they’ve made a fortune off of pay-per-click while others will tell you it’s a waste of money. The real question is, why is there such a disparity in pay-per-click success and how can I tell if my company will benefit from pay-per-click? To determine if PPC will be a viable option for your company, you need to answer the following questions

1. Are Prospects Searching For What We Do?

The best-constructed pay-per-click campaign in the world is only effective if the people you want to do business with are searching for what you provide. This seems obvious, but it is not always considered. Often companies hear about pay-per-click and want to jump in before they know if anyone is looking.

Free Tip: Google owns 67 percent of the search market, so Google AdWords is often a good place to start with your PPC campaign and is where we will be focusing.

2. What Keywords Are Prospects Searching For?

Again, this might seem like a no-brainer, but having the right keywords is vital to a campaign. Keywords need to be specific so that you don’t waste money on unwanted traffic and unqualified. You also need to ensure that the terms you are advertising for are terms prospects are using. A great example of this is that companies spending money on the search term “Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles” are losing out to those advertising “Used Cars.” Make sure your terms match up with the actual terms prospects are using, not the terms you want to use.

3. What Negative Keywords Should I Use?

The greatest keywords can be cluttered by terms that might closely match your keywords, but produce irrelevant traffic. For example, if your company provides Plasma Spray coatings to provide a thermal barrier to a machined part, even if you carefully choose your keyword match types, you could end up with a lot of traffic for people searching the term “Blood Plasma.” By making the word “blood” a negative keyword or a word you don’t want to show from the start, you can eliminate unwanted clicks and costs (As time goes on, you can use the “Search Terms” report from Google to add more negative keywords).

4. Does My Ad Copy Match the Search Terms?

Make sure the ads that you write are relevant to the search term. Include your keywords in them and highlight any unique selling propositions that your company offers. Every step of the way should be consistent. We’ve chosen a specific search term, make sure the copy speaks to that specific term – now is not the time to tell a prospect about all the other great things your company does.

5. Is My Landing Page Specific?

If your ad is sending prospects to your home page or a general capabilities page, then your odds of getting conversions are dramatically decreased. If you’ve chosen specific search terms, written ad copy to speak to those terms, your landing page should be just as specific. You should continue to speak about the topic and give a very clear call-to-action. What is their next step? If it is to submit an RFQ, you should have that available right on the landing page. Eliminate unsupervised action by telling your prospect exactly what to do next. You’ve paid to get them to your landing page: Get them to engage.

6. How Am I Tracking Success?

Whether using conversion code from the AdWords interface, sending out notifications e-mails when someone takes an action or both of these (recommended), be sure to monitor the success of your campaigns in some way. Otherwise, it becomes a guessing game as to whether it’s working or not. If you aren’t paying attention to conversions through every step of the process, you are likely wasting money and missing out on opportunity. If you aren’t going to track it, don’t do it.

Google AdWords is also highly controllable. Not only can you set your daily budget so as not to overspend according to your goals, you can also control geography, days and times of days your ads show as well as specific bid adjustments based on the type of device your prospect is using such as a mobile device compared to a desktop computer.

Results are provided in near real time, so at any point in time you know how many people have seen your ad, how many people clicked through to your site and if you are tracking as indicated above, how many new prospects and or new customers you get.

Given time and the right performance optimization adjustments from the data you uncover, Google AdWords can be the right marketing tactic for you.


Vince Kostelnik is the president of Ad Ej Solutions (pronounced “edge”) which partners with business-to-business (B2B) companies to create an effective digital presence. In doing so, these organizations gain more qualified leads for their sales professionals to close, so that their businesses can grow. In addition to providing contract CMO services, he is also a Google Certified professional, managing and optimizing AdWords accounts since 2010. “It’s invigorating to watch companies grow and prosper in today’s economy.” You can learn more at