Tips to Successful Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Paid search advertising is a great way to grow your business, but how do you do it profitably? This is a question that I’ve been asked many times, by clients, in casual conversation, even very candidly by other digital marketing practitioners.

The complete answer of course is that there isn’t a single secret. It isn’t about one trick; it’s about having comprehensive knowledge and tactical expertise. Really successful Search Engine Marketing is about much more than just bidding for keywords.
 
However to try to distill the essence of the task down to one thought, the secret of successful PPC marketing is about measuring, managing and refining your campaign. It is about iterative development, good PPC marketing requires active management, it is not a fire-and-forget proposition. 
 
When you first sit down to begin a Google AdWords (or other PPC) campaign, you are going to make some assumption, if you’re smart you’ll do some research, but ultimately you’ll create a campaign (or several campaigns) based on a whole slew of variables.
 
Keyword Selection and Research
To begin a campaign, a thorough PPC practitioner will:
·      Identify Keywords and Phrases Relevant to a Business or Product
·      Inventory Related Keywords and Phrases Indicative of High Purchase Intent
·      Research Cost as well as Local and Global Search Frequency
·      Build a Series of Campaigns Organized around Themes of Keywords
 
For example, if you’re selling cookware, one campaign may include several keywords and phrases centered around products “frying pans”, “non-stick frying pans”, and “best frying pan” may be keywords. In another campaign you may choose to target gift giving, and use words like “bridal gifts”, “wedding gifts”, “house-warming gifts” as keywords.

Creating Advertising Copy
Now that you’ve determined the initial organization of your campaigns, you can begin to write advertising copy that coincides with your campaign. The ad copy for the “gift” campaign might say something like “Give a Gift They’ll Use Forever,” while the copy for the “products” campaign will likely be different; “Professional Quality Non-Slip Pans,” for example.

Set Campaign Parameters
You’ll also need to set all of the parameters for your campaign. These are highly dependant on the business you’re working with, the transaction model, and the assets you have at your disposal. 

Mobile vs. Conventional
If you don’t have strong mobile assets, a transactional mobile website, or a good reason why a customer might be doing a local search (like if you’re a local restaurant or local business), you may consider excluding mobile devices. This is not to condone ignoring the important and growing mobile browsing habits of most people, but this is about being efficient and intelligent within your PPC campaign. 

Geographic Footprint
If you don’t ship products, and you have a limited geographic footprint you will want to limit the geography of your search. You own a restaurant in New York, you don't want to pay for clicks in California. The point is that you want to spend your search dollars wisely. You don’t want to be paying for clicks that will never turn into sales. Everything you’ve done so far has been about being efficient in that regard.

Activate Your Campaign
And here is where the secret (if there is one) kicks in. Starting your campaign is just that, it’s the start. You’d be amazed how many PPC specialists don’t do the above steps properly. They start out doing battle for the most expensive keywords, rather than finding creative ways to utilize the most profitable keywords to drive the most traffic and the highest return on investment (ROI); and at this point, bad only turns to worse. You would be amazed at the number of advertisers that will do hours of work in research, and then fall asleep at the switch when the campaign begins.

Once a campaign has begun is when the work kicks in. Your campaigns should be tied into your analytics. You should be tracking not just the cost per keyword, and click-through-rates, but also what happens once that traffic arrives on your site.

Does your landing page make any sense with your advertising copy? Is your website workflow efficient at converting your paid traffic?

Suppose we take our above example, and we find out that your cheapest keyword, with the highest click-through-rate is the name of a competitors product “Brand-X.”

You may choose to create a whole search campaign, including specific keywords, ad copy, even a custom landing page, which targets specifically the clicks that are searching for Brand X. You might create a whole campaign around telling your customers how your frying pan stacks up against Brand X frying pans, and what differentiates your product. This may not be the advertising tone that you want for your main website, but the beauty of PPC traffic, is that you control where you send the clicks to your paid listing.

It is through the active management of your campaigns that you will achieve the greatest return and the highest ROI. Measuring and interpreting results, and applying creative tactics in response to the ‘learnings’ that your campaigns generate is the difference between effective marketing and experimentation.