Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing Tips

Image Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing Tips
By Mike Brown

If you are a do-it-yourselfer and happen to want to give Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing a go for your web business, there are a few things to keep in mind.

These are items that we find, when taking over PPC campaigns for businesses who find they simply don't have the time or resources, are often missed or not managed at an appropriate level.

Hopefully this list will help those of you trying out the labor-intensive PPC process as well as give an idea of how we might help should the time come when you may need to hand over the reins!

1. Set goals
Before you even begin to venture down the PPC road, determine what your goals are for this campaign.

For example, are you looking for more eyeballs on the site (increased traffic levels), form signups, or increased sales? Once you've made that decision, if the goal is sales, what kind of return would you like to see? See our blog for more on how to calculate ROAS (return on ad spend) and ROI (return on investment).

2. Create a keyword set that will drive relevant traffic
This may sound easy but you must consider the thousands of ways people will search for your products. If built correctly, the initial net of keywords you throw will allow you to 1. Attract buyers at different times in their buying cycle, 2. Bring your site new customers, and 3. Allow for more educated choices when it comes to the fine tuning of the campaign. Google AdWords has a Keyword Selection tool to help with this process.

3. Setting up ad groups
After you've come up with a keyword list, you must now group them together into ad groups. A correctly set-up ad group is key when later evaluating performance and making changes.

For example, if your ad group contains 10 keywords and one of those keyword's ads has a low quality score, this effects all other keywords in that ad group.

4. Consider Match-Types
Google offers Exact, Phrase, and Broad match types for all keywords. Bing and Yahoo offer similar choices. Many people simply place all their keywords on Broad Match, believing that this will gather all types of relevant searches, when in fact the opposite will actually occur.

For example let's say you are selling men's shoes and one of your keywords happens to be Men's Black Leather Shoes, which is set to Broad Match. In this scenario, your ad may appear for searches like Black Leather, Men's Leather, Black, etc., all of which will not only drive up cost but lower ad quality score and drive completely irrelevant traffic to your site.

5. Create a list of Negative keywords
From time to time, a search engine will show an ad for a keyword that may seem relevant but does not make sense for your site's product mix.

For example, if your men's shoe site sells tennis shoes in all colors but red, you would want to include red tennis shoes as a negative keyword.

6. Write effective ad copy
After your keyword list is set, it's time to put together ad copy that is not only relevant to that keyword but will also entice the user to click on the ad - all within about 70 characters!

Things to think about - should the keyword itself be included in the title of the ad? What words or symbols are not allowed by Google (or Yahoo, Bing)?

7. Run a keyword report
After a week or so of traffic and data, it's time to run a complete keyword report to evaluate several metrics, some being - position (rank), impressions (how many times your ad appeared for that keyword), clicks (how many actual visits), click through rate (clicks divided by impressions), conversion rate (orders/clicks), revenue, and return.

Based on this report, you'll need to evaluate which keywords are working, which aren't, and what to do. Many people see this type of analysis as being required on a weekly or monthly basis, or not at all; when in fact this should be a daily check. Search engine indexes are living beings with changes happening by the minute, all affecting your ads in some way.

8. A/B Testing
For every ad group, you should certainly test several variations of ad copy (titles and descriptions) to determine which perform best. This type of testing is extremely beneficial when advertising sales or promotions.

9. Tracking
Are your URLs tagged with some kind of tracking code? No matter the system used (Google Analytics, Coremetrics, Omniture, etc.) you should have tracking in place to effectively monitor campaign performance (on an ongoing basis of course!). Learn what tracking and measurement tools are available in the Analytics program you are using. If you are not already using Google Analytics, we recommend checking it out. Likely you will need to install some code on your site for the tracking to work correctly.

10. Landing page optimization
Once you have a good keyword set and ad copy written, it's time to point the user to the page they are looking for.

For example, if the search is Sony DVP-SR200P, you will want to land that user on that product page, rather than your homepage or a DVD category level page. Correct landing pages are key to increasing the conversion propensity of a PPC campaign!

As you can see, running a well-managed PPC campaign can be a full-time job on its own. If you can implement and track even some of the above steps, you are to be commended! If not, give us a call; we're here to help!

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