We talk a lot about organic traffic because, well, let’s face it…you’re probably working with a budget and therefore the more free traffic you can get to your website the better. There comes a time, however, when paid advertising may make sense.
In fact, according to a study conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), PPC ads accounted for $9.1 billion (39%) of the total online advertising revenue for the first half of 2014. Including mobile-related search revenue, PPC ads topped out at around $11.8 billion. You’d be crazy not to want a piece of that pie.
If you’ve maximized your organic efforts and are ready to take the next step by launching a pay-per-click campaign, here are 7 steps to ensure you’re headed in the right direction (and spending your limited marketing budget wisely).
Step 1: Research, research, research. The first step in the process is conducting a thorough needs analysis. First, you must research and define your business goals. Next, you must learn about who your target audience is and, finally, what key words those folks are using most often when searching for your product or service. You cannot create, launch and manage a successful PPC campaign without this foundation. And don’t forget negative keywords. This will help prevent your ad from being shown to people who are almost guaranteed not to become customers so you don’t waste your money on them.
Step 2: Structure your campaign. Now that you know what goals you’re trying to accomplish, who you’re targeting and what keywords you’ll be using, it’s time to start developing your campaign structure. As a rule of thumb, no more than 5-10 keywords should be used in a given campaign, so keep this in mind as you map out your plan of attack. For best results, try splitting your keyword list into different ad groups. The number of ad groups you develop will depend on how many different offers and audiences you’re targeting.
Step 3: Develop your ad copy. This should demonstrate the unique value proposition of each campaign. What sets you apart? What are your biggest selling points? If you’re stumped and need a little inspiration, try doing a Google search and seeing what your competitors are using for their ad copy. Then, figure out how you can use your ad copy to convey why your product or service is better. Unfortunately, space is limited, so you’ll need to get creative. (Put on your thinking cap – you can do it!)
Step 4: Create compelling landing pages. Remember, it’s really not the copy of your ads that will get people to convert. Those will just get them to your website. The real deciding factor will be the content on your landing pages, so make sure it’s compelling enough to close the deal otherwise you’ll be spending your hard-earned advertising money for naught. It’s equally important that your ads point to the appropriate pages so don’t miss this step or you’ll end up losing traffic as a result.
Step 5: Leverage ad extensions. Just as it sounds, ad extensions allow for the display of additional information about your business, product, service, offer, etc. from the end of your ads. You can include all kinds of juicy info here, including your location, contact info, social media links, calls to action and more. Ads with extensions tend to have greater visibility and therefore perform better. That means more chances for clicks and conversions.
Step 6: Take advantage of bid management tools. The beauty of today’s PPC campaigns is that they are highly sophisticated yet remarkably easy to manage. You can control your campaign right down to geographical location, the devices your ads are displayed on and even the time of day they’ll appear. Not only that, but you can adjust the actual amount you’re bidding based on these factors. So, if you want your ads to run 7 days a week, but don’t want to pay as much for clicks you get on Saturdays and Sundays, you can program your campaign accordingly.
Step 7: Test and refine. The goal of any PPC campaign is to maximize cost per conversion (Cost/Conversion) (OMG, sorry to go all acronym-crazy on you). Anywho, the only way you’ll achieve this goal is by constantly testing to see what’s working and what’s not. Otherwise, you could very well be tossing good money at bad and having nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Constant testing and tweaking allows you to stay on top of your advertising efforts so you optimize your spend and get the best possible results.