Pay-per-click advertising offers a number of advantages over other online advertising methods. Unlike search engine optimization and social media marketing which can take weeks or even months to deliver results, PPC ads can begin appearing within hours of being created. PPC also allows you to set a daily budget and requires no long-term commitment. But managing successful PPC campaigns that deliver a consistent ROI can be a tedious and time consuming proposition.
Here are some tips on how to make the process more effective and profitable.
Research and Refine Your Keywords
Many small businesses mistakenly bid on the keywords they think their target audience would use to find them online without fully researching the matter.
Keyword research is the foundation of any successful online marketing campaign and can often be an eye-opening experience. Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool and Microsoft Advertising Intelligence are great free keyword suggestion tools that can help you uncover the optimal keywords for your particular business.
Target Motivated Buyers
In addition to broad keywords, you should also include long-tail keyword phrases in your PPC campaigns.
Long-tail phrases are more specific and less searched-for but typically have higher conversion rates than broader, more generic phrases. Long-tail keyword phrases tend to be used by searchers who have already done their homework, and are closer to end of the buying cycle.
Use Negative Keywords
As you review potential keyword phrases, be sure to pay attention to keywords that don’t apply to your particular goods or services.
You can filter out specific words by listing them as “negative keywords.” For example, a used car dealership would include the word “new” as a negative keyword to prevent their ads from displaying in the results and possibly generating wasted clicks for the search query “new cars for sale.”
Geo-Target Your PPC Ads
Local businesses often waste money by not specifying the target areas where they want their PPC ads to display.
The top-tier search engines, including Google, Bing and Yahoo, allow PPC advertisers to geo-target their ads based on the IP address of the searcher and geo-specific keywords (state, city, zip code, etc.) which are becoming more important as users increasingly use mobile devices to conduct their online searches.
Time-Target Your PPC Ads
Remember that your ultimate goal is conversions, not just clicks. Analyze your data to see if you can identify conversion trends by time of day, day of week, and even season of the year. Be sure to track conversions, not just clicks, and adjust your campaigns to display accordingly in order to increase your ROI.
Make Your PPC Ads Compelling
Getting your PPC ads displayed in the search results is only a small part of the battle. You still have to make your ads stand out against the competition and entice searchers to click on them.
Before writing your PPC ads take a look at your competitors’ ads and decide what your specific value proposition is. Do you offer free shipping, written guarantees, 24-hour emergency service? Make your ads as compelling as possible while still adhering to the search engines’ editorial guidelines and, when possible, include strong calls to action.
Use Optimized Landing Pages
Many small businesses also make the mistake of linking all their PPC ads to their Home page. This can lead to confusion and the loss of sales.
Always send visitors to highly optimized, highly relevant landing pages that specifically support your ads. Not only will this practice eliminate confusion and increase conversions, it will also lower your cost per click.
In addition to click through rates, Google also uses a Quality Score to help determine your cost per click and position in the paid results. The more relevant your landing page is to the corresponding PPC ad, the higher the ad will rank and the lower your cost per click will be.