Far too many organizations have fallen victim to the snake oil salesmen of online marketing – Pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) “gurus” promising the moon and delivering decidedly less. If you had this experience, don’t hold a grudge. When implemented properly, PPC can be a powerful tool in your marketing mix.
Whether you’ve decided to keep your PPC efforts in-house, or you are working with an agency there a number of things you can do to ensure you aren’t wasting money on useless clicks. Here are 7 simple tips to improve the performance of your next PPC campaign.
Transition from broad match, to exact match
PPC can seem like a relatively expensive and complicated advertising method but it can produce an influx of highly targeted website traffic almost instantly. When you are getting started with PPC, choose broad match keywords. By selecting broad match, your ads automatically run on relevant variations of your keywords, even if these terms aren’t in your keyword lists. This helps you quickly attract more visitors to your website, spend less time building keyword lists, and focus your spending on keywords that work.
Once your PPC campaign has generated 1500-3000 impressions you can start to identify the highest performing keywords and transition to exact match. This strategy lets the market validate the actual search keywords that people are using to find your product/service/category.
Use negative keywords
Negative keywords prevent your ads from being triggered by certain words or phrases. For instance, if your ads were attracting too many people who are searching for “free” services you might exclude these people from seeing your ads. Negative keywords are an important part of every campaign because they help make sure that your ads appear only to people looking for what you offer.
Use geo-location features
Similar to negative keywords, Google’s geo-location features allows you to control where in the world your ads are shown. For organizations that only service a specific geographic region there is no point showing your ads to people outside your market. PPC dollars are wasted because unsophisticated users don’t focus their impressions by location.
Within your PPC ad copy you need to have a strong call-to-action that gives your searchers an incentive to click. This could be an offer to download a free whitepaper, sign-up for a free trial or call for a free consultation.
Test new website content
Short term PPC campaigns can be used to boost website traffic to new landing pages or blog posts to gain fast feedback. By creating slightly different iterations of landing pages, marketers can split test how different elements of page design, content offers, or calls-to-action impact conversion rates.
Direct visitors to a landing page NOT your homepage
When a searcher clicks on a targeted PPC ad they expect to find targeted content. Create a simple landing page that picks up right where the ad left off. Well executed PPC campaigns send visitors directly to a landing page that features the relevant information that the visitor is looking for and presents them with a valuable offer like a free eBook, whitepaper, or a relevant product or service available for sale.
Be aware of quality score
Google measures a number of criteria which make up your quality score. Quality score essentially boils down to two simple factors. How likely is your ad to be clicked? Is the visitor going to have a good experience before and after they click your ad? Basically, these are measures of your ad’s relevance to searchers. As you iterate on your PPC ads, Google’s algorithms will measure your improvements. If you improve your click through rate of your ads and the conversion rate of your landing page, you can begin to reduce your bids and actually lower the cost-per-click that you have to pay.
Want to learn more about PPC best practices? Download our Introductory Guide to PPC: The Inbound Marketers Swiss Army Knife. This whitepaper will provide you with an understanding of how we use PPC to:
- Ease the transition from outbound to inbound dominated marketing programs
- Boost the results of early inbound marketing efforts
- Test the value and conversion rates of new content
- Research Keywords
Additionally, we outline our 8 step strategy for implementing results driven PPC campaigns.