Out of all the numerous ways that exist to drive traffic to your website, the one that stands out as a winner each and every time is Pay-Per-Click advertising. The entire Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model has revolutionised the way that advertising works, both online and offline. There’s no need to pay for mass exposure in magazines, billboards, television and radio when you can get your message in front of people that are actually looking for you. Only the person that’s actually searching for you, or has specific interests to which you align your advert, will see and be able to click on your ad.
This blog post explores PPC advertising and I’ll share some winning habits and strategies that I follow each time I set up a new Pay-Per-Click campaign. I’ve been experimenting and using PPC for over four years now, and I’ve also set up campaigns for many others too.
First, What Is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
If you feel confident in your understanding of the definition of PPC, skip this sub-section. If not, read on. In a nutshell, PPC is a form of advertising where you pay only when a visitor clicks on your advert and then comes to your website. PPC advertising is currently offered on search websites like Google, MSN and Yahoo, and on social websites like Facebook and LinkedIn. You can set up your advert to only appear when specific keywords or phrases are searched, or based on specific user criteria like age, gender, location, interest.
It’s a very well known statistic that around 80% of people that search Google usually click on the first result making the top spot in Google very important and prime position. Many people understand this, but most people mistake the top spot as the #1 ranking in the organic listings. In fact, this is not the case. It is the first listing in the yellow box above which gets clicked the most.
Using pay-per-click guarantees you prime search engine placement if you’re willing to pay for it as you’ll get to buy the ad space. Not only that, but you can target and refine your ad to appear only when someone searches for a particular keyword in the search engines, or has a specific interest on the social networks. Plus, there are ample tracking tools provided by these platforms to help you measure your return on investment easily and effectively.
Understanding The 4-Step Pay-Per-Click Journey
In order for PPC to work for you, there is a four step journey that you need to understand. This is the journey to helping you devise a winning and effective pay-per-click campaign on any of the platforms.
- Intent – Behind every search is a person, and each person has a want, need or an itch to scratch. The purpose of your advert needs to provide a solution to this person. If only we knew each person’s specific need, we could tailor our marketing specifically. Unfortunately, we can’t do that, but we can get specific enough to understand what our ideal prospect is searching for.
- Keywords – Whatever intent your prospect has cannot be searched unless it is somehow translated in the form of a keyword or key-phrase. This is also based on the level of skill, language, or experience the searcher has. Some people are specific in their searches, some are not. The most important thing to understand is that keywords are the bridge between a person’s intent and what experience you are going to provide. You need to create a list of keywords that you feel match the person’s intent and your service, and this is what you will be using to target your ads appropriately.
- Advertisement – You’ll need to then create your Adverts inside the platform. Ideally, you’ll want to create one Ad Group for every intent you are trying to match. Each Ad Group can be filled with individual ads that you can test against each other through varying factors to find the best performing advert. When testing ads, you will not want to test more than one component against another. For example, you can keep the headline, body and keywords the same in two ads, but have it targeting different countries. Or you can have everything the same in two ads but they both have different headlines.
- Landing Page – For your PPC campaign to produce results that are measurable in your bank account, you’ll need to have a strong landing page. A landing page is the page you direct your clicks to from your advert. A good landing page serves a single purpose, be it a free report request, a “call me back” form, a free trial to a product, webinar registration, or anything else. Your goal is to take them to the next stage in their journey with you which will ultimately satisfy their intent. Your goal should not be to satisfy their intent on the first landing page, otherwise they will never buy from you.
Building A Strong Foundation For Your Pay-Per-Click Campaign
The foundation of every PPC campaign is keywords, and targeting your keywords is the first step in the process of getting a strong return on investment. Without a solid keyword foundation your campaigns will be on shaky ground. If you don’t have a well thought-out plan for your initial keyword research, as well as continued keyword expansion, you could be hindering your PPC performance, right from the start of your campaign and wasting your hard-earned ad dollars.
Selecting your keywords isn’t just a matter of jumping into a keyword selection tool like Google. As I’ve already mentioned, the first thing is to understand the intent of your prospect. Once you have done that, you will then need to review your website and marketing materials. Look at your landing pages too. Does your intent-keyword-service all match up?
Then play the role of customer and look at the search engines and social networks for existing adverts that appear. Take snapshots and save them. Study their headline, ad copy and landing page. Do they all match up congruently? You’ll also get an idea of who your competitors are, and what kind of offerings they present to your prospect.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to segment your initial list of keywords. You’re looking for the top 3-5 keywords that match your intent and service. Decide the predominant themes that recur in your list of keywords. For example, if I have a list of six keywords that is play piano by ear, piano by ear, learn blues piano, listen and play without notes, learn piano online… there is one predominant theme that is “learn piano” and that would be a keyword for me to focus on.
Once you’ve done this manually, it’s time to use a service like the Google Keyword Tool which will help you decipher some long tail keywords and other related terms that you may not have considered before. You can also do a more detailed competitor analysis.
Developing Persuasive Ad Copy & Landing Pages That Work Together
We’ve all tried to search for something, find an ad that looked like it would give us everything we wanted, and then when we clicked on it, the landing page showed us something different. Landing on that page didn’t give us what we wanted and we had to go back and search again.
To be an effective advertiser, you need to make sure that both your ad copy and landing page work together so that the person that clicks your ad (because they have been pulled by an offer) gets everything that you’ve promised on the landing page. Most people fail to spend enough time on their landing page and rush to get their ad set up.
First, I like to keep my ad headline very simple. If someone is searching for “Wedding Cupcake Stands”, I would either use “Buy Cupcake Stands” or “Wedding Cupcake Stands” as the headline title. Second, I would then use one or more keywords in the description. “Get acryllic wedding cupcake stands for less than $30” or “Acrylic stands. All cupcake sizes. Free shipping.”
Finally, your landing page must also speak to the same person. Your landing page has to include keywords specific to the search and make it easy for him or her to make a purchase. In this example, the person will expect to be taken to a page that has everything about wedding cupcake stands. If you don’t deliver that, they’ll leave just as fast as they came.
With your landing page, in particular, the most important thing is to try and keep all your main content and forms above the fold. Most people are usually in a hurry. If they click to your landing page and don’t see what they need to do within the first 5 seconds, they’re likely to leave. Be sure that your call to action, button, or form is above the fold.
SIDENOTE: My team and I would be happy to set up your PPC campaign for your website and business. I’ve got 10 vouchers of $100 free Google advertising credit to get you started. All the details are here.
In short, PPC advertising is definitely worth a shot for every business (online or offline) because it is inexpensive to test and targeting allows you to get a higher return on your investment. The four step process that I’ve shared above is a basic framework for understanding pay-per-click. There are more detailed and advanced strategies you can then apply to each of the four steps, and if you enjoy this post, I’ll write more about pay-per-click.
Please share it on Facebook by hitting LIKE below, and please leave a comment on the blog. Tell me what you currently do with pay-per-click, if anything. Ask me your questions. The more you comment and interact, the more I get feedback about my posts, and the more I’ll put time to write more freely. I’ll also reply and share my thoughts in the comments.