You’ve probably noticed that sometimes, when searching online, some of your search results look different from the rest. With Google, these results may appear at the top or right side of your results page with a little yellow box that says “Ad” next to them. These are (as you’ve undoubtedly surmised on your own) advertisements for specific businesses. But how do they get there?
The answer is PPC (or, “Pay Per Click”) marketing. PPC marketing is a useful tool that can benefit businesses and lead to greater online traffic and sales. If you’re considering PPC marketing, you probably have some questions. Here are the answers to the questions you'll have when starting to consider PPC:
PPC is a relatively simple concept. Search engines like Google allow advertisers to purchase ad space on the search results pages. This is typically done when the business chooses and bids on keywords that are relevant to what they offer. The advertiser then pays a fee (which is determined by their bid amount) each time their ad is clicked and a user is brought to their page (hence, pay per click). Search engine advertising is the most popular form of PPC marketing, although a number of other avenues exist for PPC ads, including Facebook, Twitter, and email services. Having a PPC campaign is an important part of any integrated marketing plan, as it targets consumers online who are searching for specific products or services.
Pay Per Click marketing is used by all manner of business. It’s relevant to both B2B and B2C businesses (after all, everyone uses the internet, right?). In 2011, 96% of Google’s revenue came from advertising for a number of varied industries — everything from Finance & Insurance, to Home & Garden, to Occasions & Gifts. For a complete breakdown of the top 10 advertising industries, check out the infographic here. As you can see, there’s space for every type of business to thrive with PPC marketing.
While there is a cost to using PPC marketing, the benefits of a well-executed PPC campaign can not be oversold. First and foremost, PPC marketing can drive traffic to your site, which can be especially useful during promotions your business is running, or new services you’re rolling out. The cost of using PPC can definitely be a good investment (again, this is with a well-executed campaign — more on that later). If you spend $3 to get a customer to your website, and then land a $300 sale, it’s obviously a worthwhile expense. PPC marketing also offers a great deal of insight into consumer behavior. With a PPC campaign, you can determine what your consumers are looking for, and (to some extent) what specific products or services they may need in the future. Now the big question is…
A PPC campaign’s success is determined by three key factors:
The Keyword List — The keywords you choose to bid on for your business determine what searches could lead to consumers seeing your ads. They should be relevant to your business — there’s no sense paying for keywords and clicks that aren’t going to lead to profit. Your list should also be exhaustive. Of course add the popular search terms to your list (again, keeping them relevant), but you should also focus on long-tail search terms. These are the search terms that will typically be used by fewer yet more motivated customers. As an added plus, since these terms are not as popular, they’ll also be cheaper to bid on, and you’ll face less competition for them. For instance, rather than only bidding on “guitars,” consider the value of adding “1975 Gibson Les Paul” — someone using those search terms knows exactly what they’re looking for, and has a higher chance of clicking your ad if you use the same specific terms. Lastly, your keyword list needs to be expansive; you should constantly be adding new and relevant keywords to your list to attract more (and more varied) customers.
The Landing Page — The ads that appear to customers obviously need to lead somewhere. If you spend all your time and money developing your keyword list and don’t follow through on the landing page, you won’t get more sales, and that effort will have been a waste. Your landing page should be unique to whatever keywords led to it — don’t advertise the same way to every customer. There should also be a clear call to action so that your customer knows exactly what to do once they get to your site. Google will actually take your landing page quality into account when determining your click fees, so having a good one could save you money in your PPC campaign.
Monitoring the Campaign — This is perhaps the most important factor in determining your PPC campaign’s success. You should be constantly monitoring the effectiveness of your keywords, ads, and landing pages to get the most benefit from PPC. Add words to your keyword list as they become relevant (you can also add negative keywords to eliminate your ad from showing up where it’s not relevant). Review the effectiveness of your most expensive keywords — are they generating enough sales, or are you paying more than they’re worth? As with any other business decision, you need to be consistently asking: is this working? If it is, what about it is successful? If not, why not? And what else can we be doing? Business should also pay attention to which words are generating the highest conversion rates in order to gain some insight into what their next campaign might be. Simply put, the benefits of PPC cannot be fully realized unless the campaign is actively monitored.
When considering a PPC marketing strategy, you’ll probably have more questions than what we’ve answered here. That’s great! We’d love to help answer whatever questions you have and we encourage you to get in touch.
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