Pay-per-click [PPC] marketing gives you the chance to use a search engine to generate website clicks. Instead of working to create organic results, a PPC campaign will generate sponsored results that are often seen at or near the top of a specific keyword search that you’ve dictated for your advertising. When your advertisement is clicked, then you pay a small fee to the search engine.
To get the best results from your next PPC marketing campaign, however, you need to follow some of the best practices that have been developed over time. Use them every week to make sure you’re getting the most out of each campaign you run.
1. Always double-check your bids and your budget.
Some keywords are going to be performing better than others over the course of a week. Raise the bids that are on the keywords that are exceeding your expectations so that you’ll get better revenue results with each click. In return, make sure that you are lowering your bids on the keywords that aren’t having a great impact on your ROI. This will balance out your budget each week while giving you the best return possible during your PPC campaign.
2. Don’t hesitate to scrap poor performers.
Humans are interesting creatures. Our loyalty can be one of our greatest strengths, but it can also be one of our greatest weaknesses. We might be loyal to a fault to certain businesses and purchase their products or services even if a competitor could save us hundreds of dollars. We’re also strangely loyal to keywords that have performed well in the past, but are poor performers in the here and now. If keywords have low quality scores and/or a low ROI and you’ve already reduced your budget, then terminate the keyword altogether.
3. Always do more research on keywords that could be added to your campaign.
The whole point of a PPC marketing campaign is to extend your reach into targeted customer segments. You can even use this type of marketing to reach out into new segments. In order to do so, you’ll need to keep researching keywords that can have a positive impact on your campaign. When poor performers are terminated, take the opportunity to bring in new keywords that may be able to better perform.
4. Keep track of your negative keywords.
Negative keywords are going to be wasteful clicks. There’s just no getting around this fact. Unless you’ve got a massive budget for your PPC marketing campaign, many of your negative keywords are going to be single word options. Most businesses need to focus on niche customer segments in order to develop a presence in that person’s life. Identify these negative keywords, keep track of them, and don’t be afraid to put poor performers into this list so that you can meet your goals for ROI.
5. Experimentation can pay off.
There is no great reward without taking at least some form of risk. This is especially true when it comes to the inclusion of different keyword match types. Take some time during the week to experiment with different combinations just to see what might happen. Most of the time the results will be negligible, but every so often a miracle comes along and your results will be spectacular.
6. Change your creatives every week.
Take the two worst ads that you’ve got and re-write them every week. Because most ad content is 130 characters or less, this won’t take but 10-15 minutes for the average person. In return, you may just get better results from the ad. Something as simple as a new headline can be all that it takes to improve results in a customer segment. Don’t be afraid to offer a different call to action or use different keywords dynamically so that the makeover of the ad can be complete.
7. Become more relevant.
Sometimes a target ad group is too generic for its own good. If it isn’t performing as well as it should, then splitting that ad group into two smaller groups that can be more targeted can be helpful. Sometimes creating a new landing page that is more targeted can be helpful as well. Do this while you set your goals for the next week for your PPC marketing campaign and you’ll be able to better track your overall process.
8. Use the Performance Grader to measure your results.
Most PPC marketing campaigns are being run on Google AdWords today. There are alternative advertising programs, but the best of the best today comes from Google. If that’s where you are, then be sure to use the program’s Performance Grader on a regular basis to see where your ads are stacking up against the competition. It’s free and will help you to improve your campaign in text optimization, impression shares, and CTRs. There really is no easier way to see where an advertisement can be improved.
9. Target the behaviors first, then target the location.
Customer behaviors are more important than customer locations. Although it doesn’t make a lot of sense to sell windshield ice scrapers in Phoenix, the behavior of the customer might dictate something else. Maybe the customer regularly travels into the mountains for business or to see family. There could be a good reason for that customer’s search. Targeting the location first and the behavior second will limit your customer base and ultimately never allow you to maximize a PPC marketing campaign.
10. Know the language of your customer segment.
When you know the language of each customer segment, then you’ll have a better idea of what keywords you’ll need to target. When there are millions of keywords that can be targeted, this becomes incredibly important. Traffic needs to be qualified and what makes sense to you might not make sense to your segment. A common mistake is to bid on the keywords that a business would use when trying to purchase the items in question. Business jargon can be very different from customer intention.
11. Use your quality score as a tool only.
Although the quality score of a PPC marketing campaign is important, it can’t be the only metric that is factored into the results that are achieved. Companies that focus on improving their scores first are advertising for the search engine first. Your campaign must always have each customer segment placed first instead. Quality scores naturally rise when customers interact more with the advertising. Search engines want ads that provide their customers with real value so that they’ll want to click on them. No clicks mean the search engine won’t make as much money.
12. Measure your results more accurately.
The most common metric that businesses use to measure the success of a PPC marketing campaign is the CPC [Cost Per Click] statistics. Although this is an important metric to track, it isn’t the most important metric. Your Cost Per Conversion is a better measurement of your ad’s performance. You might be getting 40 clicks for every 1 conversion. At $5 per click, that’s $200 to achieve just one conversion. Now if your average sale per conversion is $250, then you’re making money. If not, then you still need to be making changes even if your cost per click is where you want it to be.
13. Choose one keyword and be ultra-aggressive.
When your tracking your keyword ROI, it pays to be ultra-aggressive with one keyword that is successful. Many businesses will choose their top performing keyword and increase their bids on that one dramatically. Consider an alternative strategy instead. Take your #2 or even #3 performer and be ultra-aggressive with it instead. Increase the bids on the other top performers, of course, but consider keeping your proven contenders in a place where they can content. It might be a little risky to do this, but the rewards can be quite impressive.
14. Never stop testing.
Far too many PPC marketing campaigns are based on assumptions. You should never be guessing what customers are going to be doing. You should be testing to see how people are going to react. The more you test, then the better your information is going to be. It is proof of concept that allows you to spend your money wisely and target specific segments that are very interested in your value proposal. Assumptions are essentially guesses and anyone can guess right here and there. Consistent results, however, come from consistent testing – not consistent guessing.
15. Keep it simple.
Once you starting thinking about your campaign too much, you’ll begin complicating the campaign. You’ll start second-guessing yourself. You’ll create complicated navigation. By keeping it simple, you’ll create a single path through your sales funnel that leads to conversions much more consistently. Any distractions that are in place could cause someone to abandon a conversion that they intended to make.
These PPC marketing best practices are designed to help every campaign find more success. Implement them today and your ROI might exceed all of your expectations.