Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a huge market. The model is especially attractive to new companies that have not yet established themselves in the organic search engine rankings. The downside is that making PPC pay can be quite an exhausting and overwhelming task. There’s much more to it than choosing keywords and creating ad variations.
In these tough times, most companies are looking for ways to bolster their bottom lines, and PPC can be helpful. Following are some tips and tricks to help PPD users reduce costs and increase conversions. In essence, you want to persuade prospective buyers that you have the highest quality item for the lowest price compared to the competition.
1. Research Competitors’ Ads
There is a wealth of free, valuable information on the Web waiting to be used. PPC ads are shown on most, if not all, search engines, and they can give you some insight into how your competition is advertising and what ad text they are using.
If you want to go deeper, you can purchase tools that show you what your competitor’s keywords are, what they are bidding, their ad text, and much more. With this information, you will have a good starting point for your PPC ads.
2. Explore Keyword Variations
For your PPC campaign to succeed, it is imperative that you conduct a proper search for keywords, look at competitor keywords, and use proper keyword matching. It is important to know what keyword matching is and understand the difference between broad, phrase and exact keywords. Each has a different effect, and using the wrong one can ruin your entire ad campaign.
Broad match keywords allow your ad to show up on similar phrases and relevant variations. Phrase match keywords allow your ad to show up on searches that match the exact phrase exclusively. Exact match keywords means that your ad shows up for that exact keyword exclusively. Negative match keywords are used to prevent your ad from showing up on specific keywords.
3. Focus on Low-Cost Keywords
Overpriced keywords can cause a leakage in your PPC marketing budget. If you sell a product or service with a low profit margin, then you need to do everything in your power to avoid high-cost keywords. You cannot afford to pay US$1 per click when your profit margin is only $0.75. Some keywords can cost over $5 a click! You do not want to spend this much unless your profit margin is large enough, and you know you can compete with the competition.
Most Internet advertisers want to look for highly searched keywords that are not overly priced. This can be done by studying the competition. Do a search for your keyword in your desired search engine and look at how many paid, or sponsored, listings appear. The fewer, the better off you are.
4. Avoid Hyper-Competitive Keywords
Keywords with a large search volume may be a viable keyword choice, but if the competition is too high, they may not be the best choice, unless you have an extraordinary budget set in place. The greater the competition level for keywords, the more you will have to pay per click.
There are tons of tools — both free and paid — that can show you keyword competition levels, monthly traffic, and cost per click. A reliable free tool is Google’s keyword tool. It is an effective medium for discovering profitable keywords that have not been tapped into yet.
5. Highlight Consumer Savings
People love to see words like “sale,” “save,” “discount,” “free,” “promo,” “buy 1 get 1 free,” etc., when looking at paid search results. The more you use these words, the greater visibility your ad will have in the consumer’s eyes. The bigger the savings, the more likely you are to obtain a click-through and, ultimately, a conversion.
Make sure to include good values, low prices, and timely promotions in all your ad groups. This is especially important if you have a product or service that is being marketed to highly price-sensitive shoppers.
6. Be Up Front With Your Ads
I cannot stress this enough. Being misleading is the biggest mistake advertisers can make when participating in pay per click advertising. You do not want to lie or fluff up your ads in the hope of making more sales. This actually has the opposite effect; people will click through expecting what was outlined in the ad and come to see that it was false or misleading. This may get more clicks in organic rankings, but it will result in an extraordinarily high bounce rate. Prospective customers will leave the site in frustration over being misled, and you will have lost money for the cost of a click.
Now, imagine this happening on a daily basis for months at a time. How much wasted money can there be before someone steps in and says, “STOP! You are doing this in the complete wrong way!” You need to be up front and honest to prevent excessive clicks from searchers expecting something you don’t have to offer.
7. Target Your Ad Groups to the Landing Page
To get the best quality score for your PPC ads, you will want to make sure the keywords and the ad text relate to one another. You also want to make sure the landing page, where the searcher is taken when clicking on your link, is highly related to your keywords and ad text. This will get you the best results and ensure searchers are not directed to the wrong page.
Do not bunch all your campaigns together; rather, separate them into appropriate categories. Then, create pages on your Web site specifically designed for PPC users to land on. You should not send PPC ads to your home page, but rather have targeted landing pages specifically designed for each PPC campaign.
These pages should have a call to action inducting the searcher to perform some sort of action that is beneficial to your business, whether it be providing an email address, or making an actual purchase. Your end goal is to persuade the user do something. This will reduce the bounce-back rate and increase your chances of converting leads into sales.
8. Analyze Your Ads’ Performance Over Time
Many people do not take the time to sit down and really analyze each campaign to see what is succeeding and what is leaking money. Once you have that information, you will want to fix the problem ads and leave the successful ads be.
This seems obvious, but is not done often enough. I encourage reviewing your pay per click campaign once a day. If this is too much, then review it at least two to three times a week. This is your money, and you do not want to see it wasted with no returns.
9. Refine Your Ad groups to Focus on High Performers
After you have run your PPC campaigns for a few weeks, you can analyze the results and see what the top performers and failures are. To make sure this is an accurate representation, use many different ad variations — have them set to rotate evenly at first. This will give you an idea of which selling points are working and which are draining your funds.
Look at cost per conversion and make sure it does not exceed your profit margin. If so, stop the ad or make some major modifications to it. If an ad group has a low cost per conversion, keep it running and let it rake in the money. You should refine your ads on a regular basis to avoid campaign failures and focus more on success.
10. Look at the Bottom Line
Conversions are king for PPC, just as content is king for organic rankings. If you are doing all of the above and still are not converting sales, then it may be time to take a step back and contact a professional to review your campaign and look for any flaws.
If you do not have the budget to do this, then pause your ads and just focus on refining one at a time. This will ensure that you do not use your entire budget, and it will allow you to spend more time figuring out why you are not succeeding. Once you figure out why one campaign is failing, it is much easier to spot trouble in your other campaigns.
Brandon Leibowitz is president of SEO Optimizers, a provider of Internet marketing services specializing in search engine optimization.