Pay Per Click or PPC campaigns are one of the most popular models of Internet marketing. The basic premise behind them is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This advertising mode became popular since the fee you pay to search engines for publishing your ad is usually much smaller than what you can earn.
However, if not structured correctly, your PPC campaign can be less effective than it could have been if you had spent more time preparing it, or can even cost you money.
In order to fully utilize your PPC campaigns and avoid wasting resources, here are some golden rules you should follow.
1. Have a clear goal
When preparing a PPC campaign, the first thing you should do is to set your goal. For some people the goal is to raise brand awareness, for others is to sell their product or get in touch with their customers. Whatever is the case, you should structure your campaign around that goal in order to maximize the effect.
Another thing you should keep in mind is the type of your business. Different businesses target different audiences and use different ways to attract their customers. Adjust your campaign accordingly.
2. Set the budget carefully
Always be aware that your maximum CPA, or Cost Per Action, should not exceed the price of your product or service. For example, your maximum CPA for sneakers that cost 75 dollars shouldn’t be more than 75 dollars or you’ll be on the path to lose money. Ideally, you should set your maximum CPA as low as you possibly, while still making a profit.
3. Narrow down your audience
Knowing your audience will help you reach potential clients faster and save money. As mentioned above, analyze your business and see what kind of people it attracts. Many experts agree that this is a critical element of your campaign. For example, if you sell fitness equipment, a good chunk of your audience would comprise of people in their late twenties and thirties who are interested in losing weight and getting into shape, or people who are already fitness enthusiasts.
It is true that people from other groups may be interested in purchasing fitness equipment. However, by casting your net too wide you risk showing your ad to hundreds or thousands of people who are not interested in your business, just to attract a dozen.
When it comes to audience for your ads, stay focused and when you see concrete results you can try and experiment a bit more.
Don’t venture into the waters of Internet marketing without knowing the keywords. Without them, your campaign would be futile no matter how much attention you spent on other elements. Similarly to audience targeting, you should select your keywords so that they reflect only your product or service. Setting keywords too broadly can involuntarily lead to a situation where your ad pops up in searches other similar products (more on that in a moment).
Sometimes, it is hard to extract the exact keywords you need, but don’t stress about it – you can always hire professionals to help. It is better to spend some money when preparing a good campaign than to waste that money on a poorly executed one.
5. Negative keywords
The notion of negative keywords is mentioned less than keywords, but it is equally important. Knowing your negative keywords can ensure that your ad targets the specific customers within a group. If we use the example for fitness equipment again, this means that your ad can be shown even to people who are searching for sneakers, although you sell benches and weights. To avoid this, always be on the lookout for negative keywords and promptly add them to your list.
6. Don’t forget mobile users
You should factor in the fact that many people use their mobile devices to browse and shop. Ads can be adjusted for mobiles, as well as calls to action. No matter what kind of business you are running, you shouldn’t miss this opportunity. However, if your website is not optimized for viewing on mobile devices, you should take care of that first.
7. Don’t limit yourself in terms of ad networks
Two most popular platforms for this type of marketing are Google AdWords and Facebook. It is imperative that you are present in these spaces, but you can start smaller. Many local internet providers and marketing agencies run similar platforms on a local level (city, country, region). They are usually much cheaper, so until you master your PPC campaign skills you can try advertising on these smaller networks.
8. Analyze your data
This is another thing many PCC experts agree upon. Every campaign you run offers plenty of analytic data you can use in the future – either for adjusting your keywords or as ideas for new products and services.
9. Pay attention to what works
As with everything in life, it may happen that your campaign does not yield wanted results. It is not the end of the world. If you regularly check the numbers you can notice this early on and adjust the campaign or end it.
For campaigns that work, you should try to gradually reduce the bid and continue doing so as longs this ad generates profit. Sometimes campaigns need fine tuning in order to reach the point where they are most profitable.
10. Focus on what works
This ties up closely with the previous rule – don’t spend too much time on campaigns that don’t bring you profit. Focus on what goes well. You should apply the same rule in advertising your products. Some of them will sell easy, some won’t. You should focus on maximizing ads for products that generate traffic.
PPC campaigns are a great way to advertise your products and services economically. This is relevant not just for small companies that have to be frugal about their resources, but also for big companies that want to economize. However, as stated above, you should be careful when planning a PPC campaign. Set your goals clearly, be informed about your customers and don’t forget to analyze data about your campaigns regularly.
Sam Cyrus is a web entrepreneur and a PPC expert from Sydney. Sam is also a creative writer and his interests are entrepreneurship, business, online marketing, SEO and social media.