3 Steps to Successful Pay per Click Campaigns
The attraction of pay-per-click advertising is the potential to obtain "traffic on demand" - driving new business (and hopefully profits) to your website. It's fairly easy and fast to setup a PPC (pay per click) campaign but converting the traffic to actual sales requires a winning strategy and involves more than just bidding.
There are three basic steps to a successful PPC campaign: ad creation, landing page design and bid management. Each step has its own unique function and to make your campaigns truly successful, all three must work in harmony. The ad will draw traffic, the landing page makes the sale and good bid management is essential to stay profitable. If your PPC campaigns are not producing the results you hoped for; analyze each of these steps to identify weak spots.
STEP 1: Ad Creation - Bait the Hook
The content of your PPC ad is the component that attracts clicks... the ad and the keywords you select are responsible for generating quality traffic. Even though you have a small space, the same rules of ad copywriting apply to your PPC ad:
- Be specific and compelling
- State user benefits - not features
- Include a "call to action"
Additionally, ads with a higher relevance to a person's search have higher click-thru rates so use the keyword in your ad. A good approach is to create multiple ads for each group of related keywords you are expecting to target.
Let's say you're selling gift baskets. Unfortunately, it's a common item and there's no shortage of other advertisers bidding on the term "gift baskets". In this scenario you would NOT want to use "Gift Baskets" as the headline. The term is too general and there is nothing to set it apart from competing ads.
Instead, create three different ads using headlines that are product (and keyword) specific like: "Gourmet Gift Baskets", "Flower Gift Baskets" or "Bear Gift Baskets". Each ad will target a different group of related keywords.
- Keyword-rich headlines generate more click-thrus
- Don't waste real estate on your business name (unless the purpose is branding)
- Use clear and compelling words to distinguish your ad from others
- A call to action like buy now, order now or find now can improve click thrus.
The results of your campaign show the number of click thrus and cost of your campaign. Most search engines will also show the click thru rate (CTR). The CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of times your ad is displayed (impressions). The resulting percentage rate is a good measure of how well your ad is performing in terms of being persuasive. In the case of Google AdwordsT, the CTR is also one of the ranking factors (besides bidding) that will affect the positioning of your PPC ad.
Don't be afraid to experiment. in many cases your ad will be a work in progress. Reading the results, testing and tweaking will help you find a winning combination that generates more clicks.
STEP 2: Landing Page Design - Reel em In!
A well designed landing page is the crucial component of your PPC campaign. The average PPC ad has a title and two lines of copy. That may be enough space to entice a "bite" but the landing page is solely responsible for making the sale.
When composing your landing page, get to the point and support the message from your PPC ad. Whatever is promised in the PPC ad should be prominent on the landing page. In some cases you can link your PPC ad to a page in your website - but, never link to the home page. The home page is way too general to be relevant to the visitor's search.
A good landing page will deliver a professional design with as few distractions as possible. In the case of our Gift Basket store, we'll send visitors to a different product purchase page for each ad group.
STEP 3: PPC Bid Management - Accounting for Success
Your advertising has a purpose - whether it is gathering leads, making online sales or increasing newsletter signups. Each of these actions is considered a "conversion" and for every conversion, there is a value. If you pre-determine the value, you can effectively manage the keyword bidding process.
In the case of our Gift basket store, we know the profit from one sale is $10.00. We want to maintain a positive return on investment or at the very least, break even. Conversion rates will vary based on the popularity and quality of your campaign but you can start with a conservative estimate and then replace the estimated rate with real data over time.
At a conversion rate of 1.5%, every 200 click thrus should bring three actual sales for our gift basket store. The profit from three sales will need to cover the cost of 200 clicks. If my profit margin from the sale of one gift basket is $10.00 then my total profit will be $30. I divide my $30 profit by 200 clicks to get an estimated maximum cost per click of 15 cents. (Profit / 200 = .15)
Depending on the competitiveness of my keyword, my maximum cost per click may be too low to get good positioning. In this scenario I may look for an alternative keyword or lower cost PPC search engine. Over time I'll be able to substitute my estimated conversion rate for the real one and adjust my bid management accordingly.
Google™ Adwords Professional
The G3 Group
If you need help with paid search management or training, contact a professional search engine marketing services company who can assist you with PPC Bid management and strategies for success in online marketing.
The Ultimate Keyword Tool will report top bids for any keyword. Use this tool in the members area.