You might have already heard of PPC campaigns, but granted there are some of you out there that hasn't. And that's okay. Today we're going to talk about what a PPC campaign is and how to run a successful on. PPC (also known as pay per click advertising) is essential when it comes to a comprehensive search engine optimization strategy. A lot of brands use this form of advertising because it brings them immediate results. And honestly, who doesn't love that?
Now there are a variety of ways that you can achieve your goals with PPC, some of which are the most common reasons why people use them:
- improve visibility
- identify new leads
- increase your conversions
- bring more traffic to your site
The Ultimate Guide To A Successful PPC Campaign
Keep in mind that the main reason brands use PPC is to grow their business. And even though PPC is easy to execute, it does take a little planning. That's why we're sharing everything you need to know about putting together a successful campaign.
Step 1: Optimize Your Website
I know you're excited to dive in, but before you start it's imperative that you step back and take a look at your website. Especially your landing pages. You need to make sure that they will work in conjunction with your ads. It's important because a prospect clicks on a PPC ad when they are intrigued and want to know more. But if the link they click on takes them to some unrelated/generic page (like your home page) then they will more than likely bounce. Seriously, this is the last thing you want.
When someone clicks on a PPC ad it's because they want to find out more about what the ad is about. That is why you really need to create customized landing pages that coincide with the content from the ad. Let's say you were running a PPC ad offering buy one get one free e-book - that landing page needs to have more details about the promotion, a coupon code or something else that relates specifically to the ad content. Otherwise, you're out of luck.
Optimize Your Landing Pages
You also need to optimize your landing pages for performance. Because if a prospect clicks on your ad and ends up on a page that doesn't load fast enough, they'll bounce. You also need to make sure that it is easy to navigate and doesn't have any other technical problems. So take my word of advice: make sure you maximize your site conversions. When you take this simple step, your prospects will more than likely follow through.
Below are a few examples of how to optimize your site for conversions:
- Go for a simple design with lots of white space
- Use clear and compelling CTAs (call to actions)
- Make sure your copy is clear and straightforward
- Write compelling and attention-grabbing headlines
- Strategically use video and images to retain attention
- Make information easy to digest by using visuals, standout quotations and bullet points
Step 2: Select A Bidding Strategy
Luckily there are different bidding strategies to choose from, but picking the right one depends on a variety of factors. You need to take your budget, goals, and experience with PPC into consideration. One of the first choices you need to make is between automated and manual bidding. If you've never done a pay per click campaign before, you might want to start with manually bidding. Especially if you have a low budget.
A manual approach lets you set a cap on your cost per click. Which is very important when you don't have too much to spend. The only downside to a manual bidding is that you don't get the chance to optimize your bids.
If that sounds less than spectacular, you can always turn to automated bidding. The automated route will reduce the amount of time you have to put into managing the campaign. However, you might end up paying a little more than expected. There are a variety of different bidding strategies when it comes to automated bidding. Thankfully you can learn more about different AdWords strategies directly from Google.
The main thing to remember is that there ARE a variety of strategies to choose from depending on whether your goal is to increase visibility, conversions, or traffic.
Step 3: Set Your Budget
Yes, the budget really is an important part of your PPC campaign. But the best aspect of the type of advertising is that you can still do it on a tight budget. Mainly because you can have control over how much you actually spend. So if you're new to this type of campaign, you can go ahead and test the waters before you make any sort of expensive commitment. So, if you only have $25 to spare, you can still get started with a PPC campaign.
To determine your budget, you should use this simple formula:
The profit area of the equation will include how much profit you make per conversion. In order to figure out the commission that pays for the AdWords, you need to decide how much profit you can afford to sacrifice while still making the campaign worthwhile.
For your conversion rate, you need to look at past data or the industry standard. According to Search Engine Watch, it's 2.7 percent. Then you'll multiply the maximum CPC by the number of clicks you want, multiplied by the number of days (shoot for at least a month) to get your budget.
Step 4: Research Your Keywords, Use Them Wisely
Keyword research really is the most important aspect of a PPC campaign. It's really the backbone of the whole process. Without keywords, there's really no way for the search engine to know when to display your ads. And that means that choosing the right keywords virtually guarantees the success of your campaign. It also ends up giving you the most views, click-throughs, traffic, AND conversions. Seriously, it's like magic.
Here are a few tips when it comes to selecting keywords:
- Choose local keywords whenever possible
- Take a look at what your competition uses
- Use specific keywords, instead of generic/vague ones
- Think about what you'd search if you were a customer looking for your products
- Use Google's keyword search or another tool to find opportunities (Moz and SEMrush are great)
Whenever you choose the best keywords, you get more hits. Not to mention, you'll also get rewarded with a higher quality score at a lower cost per click.
One thing you need to focus on is the element of negative keywords. This will filter out keywords that you want to exclude. For example, let's say you want to advertise for a coffee shop, but don't sell french press coffee. You would use "french press coffee" as a negative keyword to exclude searches looking for that type of product.
Step 5: Create An Incredible Ad
Once you have your landing page squared away, decide on a budget and bidding structure, and carefully chose your keywords, it's finally time to make your actual ad. Just remember to keep your ad short and to the point. Because you don't have a lot of room (or time for that matter) to catch the attention of prospects.
The trick is to write the copy based on whatever goal you have in mind. For instance, if you want to increase sales for Halloween, your ad copy needs to reflect that you are having a Halloween sale. Now you don't need to be overly creative here, just quickly catch their attention, hold their interest, and pique their curiosity.
In order to grab their attention, you need to come up with a unique and valuable proposition. One that makes your offer stand out from anyone else's. Make sure to describe in one sentence how it will be a benefit to your customers. Going back to the Halloween example, maybe you have an awesome costume that no one else has in stock. If you do, the ad would be the perfect place to mention it.
Step 6: Don't Forget the Call To Action
A good call to action (CTA) can go a long way. Without an effective CTA, there's really no point in running the ad. The call to action lets interested prospects know what they're supposed to do next. Yeah, the CTA can be short and sweet, but it HAS to be clear, concise, and compelling - like "buy now".
Tips for a killer CTA:
- provoke emotion or enthusiasm
- use a strong verb to start your CTA
- give a reason why they should take action
- take advantage of FOMO (the fear of missing out)
Step 7: Test Your Ad's Performance
Once your ads are running, you still have some work to be done. You need to track your ads, measure their performance, and make changes whenever necessary. It's really one of the best ways to improve your results. A great way to do this is with A/B testing. This lets you run two nearly identical versions of the same ad at the exact same time - with one important detail. Keep in mind that you can modify pretty much any element you want. Including the copy, CTA, keywords, or even the landing page itself.
Once you know which version of the ad performs better, you can make the necessary changes and stop wasting money on a less-effective ad.
PPC campaigns DON'T have to be difficult.
Trust me, pay per click campaigns don't have to be difficult. But they do require some knowledge of how the process works. Yes, it takes a lot of planning and research, but once you get it right your ROI will reap the benefits. The main thing to remember is to optimize your landing pages before you get started on anything else. Then you can set your budget and choose a bidding strategy. After you create your ad, don't forget to research your keywords either.
Once the ad launches, you need to track, measure, test and tweak. This is the best way to make sure that your PPC efforts produce the traffic, conversions, and leads you've been hoping for. Are you excited to start your first PPC campaign? Or have you done one before? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss!