Posted on June 24, 2009
Whether you're looking to do Paid Search Advertising yourself or to hire someone to do that for you - you should know what makes a Pay Per Click campaign successful - or you will end up suffering. Paid search advertising may look deceptively easy to do. Countless times small business owners decide (and correctly so) that PPC is going to do wonders for their business and 'dive' right into it...
Unfortunately most of them don't really educate themselves enough on what to do and how to do it, and then they end up spending a helluva lot of money, with little to no results. Next they declare that Paid Search Marketing doesn't work and then they're out!
Alternatively, the small business owner hires an overpaid, over-promising PPC management firm, and lets them do whatever they like - not knowing what to be aware of in order to make sure he's getting the best possible results for the best price...
Well - despite the doom and gloom scenarios above, I'm here to tell you that PPC works for most businesses!
It works very well, and can be one of the best, quickest, most cost effective and best tracked medium of advertising/promotion there ever was... Sure, there are other ways you can market your business, but if you know how to, and if you want almost immediate results that are fully tracked - then PPC can't be beaten.
OK, let's get to the top 10 essentials of Pay Per Click marketing:
1. Know your market place
It's as obvious as daylight, but people still go into PPC without doing their research. Bear in mind that you may know your market place offline, but when you consider the internet - it may be a whole different environment. So make sure you look into it - even if you have to pay for professional research - it will be worth your while.
If you're letting an agency manage your paid search, then make sure you ask them about your market - make sure they have done their homework thoroughly.
2. Know your target audience
Again an obvious one - and yet again people don't do this step properly. Don't just list out a bunch of demographics about your prospective customers. Get into character - engineer 'real-life' people profiles (avatars), describing everything about them.
Creating about 3 customer avatars for your business, will help you understand your customers, and thus you'll be able to anticipate how they behave. Knowing how they are likely to behave, will allow you to setup a VERY effective PPC campaign process, that will guarantee you success.
Remember - your customer just wants to feel understood, then if your product/service is good - they will buy.
3. Know what you want your visitor to do
In other words decide - do you want a prospect visiting your site to:
The clearer you are about what you want visitors to do, the easier it will be to entice them to do just that. If you don't tell your prospects what it is they need to do to progress this visit to something that is of benefit to them, they will click away, most likely to never be seen again...
4. Know how they look for you & your product - i.e. understand searcher intent
This one's not so obvious. Only very good paid search marketers know that keywords have different intent behind them. In other words, if a searcher on Google types in "running shoes" they are highly likely to be doing some preliminary research on what types of running shoes there are.
If the same searcher typed in "running shoes reviews" - then they are likely to be still researching - but they now know that they will buy - when they find the shoe that appeals to them.
A prospect with 'buying' intent, however, will likely type in "buy asics gel kayano running shoes" or "asics gel kayano stockists". You get the idea...
5. Start small - grow big later
This simply means that it is better to find the most suitable keyword phrases for your business, and run with that small group first. This will allow you to test the 'waters' and it will help you keep control of your budget.
Later on, when you know what works and what doesn't you can add other phrases to your heart's content.
6. Split test your ads
It is amazing how many people don't take advantage of this feature on Google AdWords. Split - testing will give you a constant way of improving on your ads. Your ad is the 'window' to your sales... so you cannot afford not to be constantly trying to make it better converting than before.
7. Use landing pages (LP)
Landing pages are powerful when using them correctly. They allow you complete control of what your visitor experiences. I always recommend that if you are only wanting one result from your prospect you should use LPs. But if your resources and knowledge are limited, then at least make sure you are leading the searcher to the most search-relevant page you have on your site.
8. Track everything
This says it all - even if you don't know how to, or with what - find someone that can help you. Outsource this job, or simply head over to Google and read all there is on their Analytics service. In some cases this is perfectly sufficient.
9. Listen to your stats
Once you have your tracking working, make sure you look at your stats to see the results. I recommend you look at them once a day in the beginning - depending on the size of your campaign, the amount of traffic your keywords are getting, and the amount of money you've budgeted to spend.
Once your campaign is working and making you profit, you can start looking at it less often, but at least once a week. Also make sure to optimize it regularly on the basis of your stats.
10. Learn consistently and constantly
Learn from your successes, your failures, your competitors' successes and their failures too... I have a document template that I use for all my campaigns called - Lessons Learned. It's only through experience that you will be able to progress and optimize any paid search campaign.
Well - hopefully you'll find the above list of PPC essentials very useful. Of course there are a lot of other important points to consider, like daily budget, competitive research, and return on investment requirements, but the above 10 will be able to start you off in a very strong way.
Bear in mind that whether you're managing your own PPC campaigns, or you're hiring a professional to do it - you can use the list above to make sure you're getting the best out of your campaigns.
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