How To Create The Perfect PPC Campaign
Having helped hundreds of clients with web design and online marketing, we’ve noticed something interesting about pay-per-click advertising (PPC). We’ve observed it’s something almost every business owner or executive will want to attempt at some point, given that it can be such a huge source of almost-instant sales and revenue. At the same time, it seems like more companies lose money on internet ads than gain from it.
In other words, there seem to be a small number of businesses getting the biggest gains from PPC. They’re getting the lion’s share of leads and sales even though (in many cases) they’re actually spending less than their competitors.
If you’d like to join them, we’ve got good news: you don’t need to have massive budgets or unnatural marketing instincts to run profitable ads on Google and Facebook. You just need to know the ingredients to a successful campaign. Let’s look at what you can do to make sure your PPC accounts run smoothly and profitably from the start….
Find the Buyers You Want to Target
Since running PPC ads involves spending money from your marketing budget, it doesn’t make sense to target anyone with a pulse who might be interested in what you sell. Instead, a smarter strategy is to find that slice of the buying public who are a great fit for your products and services.
It’s not only much cheaper to aim your ads at a specific group of customers, it pays bigger dividends in return. All the major PPC platforms give you a great deal of control over when, where, and how your ads will be displayed. It’s worth tweaking your audience controls so you only spend money on the people who will respond. You can always expand your campaigns later, but in the beginning you should be looking for the customers who are most likely to respond to your ads and offers.
Experiment with Different Platforms
A lot of newer advertisers will only pay attention to the websites or services they are used to using (typically Google, Facebook, or Bing). It’s a good idea to start with the platforms you’re familiar with when you first start running ads, but you shouldn’t limit yourself only to the ones you prefer.
One reason to think bigger is that some of your customers might have different preferences. Additionally, you could discover that some websites, search engines, or social media platforms offer lower costs and higher returns because your competitors are overlooking them. You may even run into a situation where you actually find a new favorite, either as a marketer or a user. Don’t overlook an opportunity just because you aren’t familiar with a PPC advertising channel already.
Pay Close Attention to Account and Campaign Settings
As we’ve already mentioned, the goal of your PPC campaigns (especially in the beginning) should be to run ads that are highly-effective with a narrow slice of the market. One way to further your efforts is by digging into your account and campaign settings. There, you can control budgets carefully while also controlling ad displays by location, language, time, device type, and so on.
This isn’t just about finding the perfect buyer – it’s also a way to save money. You don’t want your ads being shown to prospects who might click on them without taking further action. That’s just a waste of money. So, if you can disqualify certain searchers or social users based on what you know about them, it makes sense to filter them out of your campaigns at the account level.
Develop a Core Advertising Message
It can be tempting to simply generate a few PPC ads and run them quickly in hopes of attracting new customers. However, it’s better if you have a messaging strategy or online brand that will serve as a common thread throughout all your campaigns.
Having an overall strategy or marketing persona can help you with the creative side of the process. It’s difficult to come up with someone buyers will respond to when you’re facing a blank screen. But when you already know which unique strengths or benefits you want to put forward, things get simpler. In addition, you benefit from having repetition in your PPC campaigns. Customers who might not respond the first time are more likely to click through to your website if they see the same messaging and benefits again and again.
Go Beyond Basic Text Ads
For a long time, text ads were the default choice for PPC marketers, especially on Google and the other search engines. That’s changed in recent years, though, with image ads and even videos becoming commonplace.
As a marketer, you should be experimenting with all your available options. Try out images, videos, mobile ads, and extensions to enhance your campaigns. Give remarketing a shot and see if you can bring back potential customers who saw your website once and might be convinced to buy if they returned again. You may discover that some of these make your ads more profitable and efficient, while others might not be worth the cost.
Create Smart Ad and Landing Page Combos
Technically, ads and landing pages are separate entities. You shouldn’t treat them that way, though. That’s because prospects who click on your ads are going to be taken to your website immediately. To them, it feels like an extension of the same conversation.
To put this another way, your buyer has something in mind when they see your initial offer. If you don’t follow up on that theme or idea once they’ve actually visited your page, the momentary disconnect could be enough for them to lose interest or take their attention elsewhere. For that reason, it’s in your best interest to be sure your messaging lines up from one element of your campaign to another.
Set a Smart Bidding Strategy
At a basic level, smart PPC advertising is about getting more back in revenue than you spend on your campaigns. It doesn’t matter if you get lots of leads or sales if your budget is bigger than your returns.
To deal with that reality, and avoid being blindsided by high click through rates that don’t translate into profitable sales, you have to follow a smart bidding strategy. That means accepting that more views, or a higher search ad position, isn’t always the smart choice. Remember, when your ads show up first on Google, it could mean you’re paying more than any of your competitors to get traffic. That’s only a positive if you’re sure attracting those visits are going to pay off in the end.
Look for Signs of Buyer Engagement
While we’re on the subject of efficiency, we want you to remember that the goal of your PPC campaign is not to get clicks. While you might be paying for clicks (or impressions on some advertising platforms), simply having people visit your website doesn’t really profit you in any tangible way. You need to generate conversions from those clicks to make your ads worth the money you spend on them.
With that in mind, you should be looking for signs of buyer engagement as your ads run. These could include sales or call-in leads, of course, but also newsletter subscriptions, walk-in customers, phone inquiries, or other forms of hard interest. The more you’re devoting to PPC advertising, the more important it is for you to track the sources of new business that come your way. That way you can know what your targeted buyers are responding to.
Keep Refining Your Campaigns
Even after your PPC campaigns become effective and profitable, your work as a marketer isn’t finished. You should always be looking for ways to improve responses and cut costs. The best way to do that is by getting into your web analytics package to study visitor behavior, testing new ad and landing page groups, and trying out new target markets.
Over time, you want your PPC campaigns to grow from one month to the next, but in a careful way that emphasizes efficiency over increased spending. You’ll want to refine your approach until returns become predictable, and then see if you can’t build on those successes to find higher margins with every new ad or effort. Keep a mindset of consistent growth and your ads will just keep getting more and more profitable over time.