Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a powerful way to generate leads, increase website traffic, bring in e-commerce sales, enhance brand awareness, and drive readers to a blog. For many organizations, PPC is becoming a digital marketing must, as Google and other search engines reward advertisers and minimize organic click opportunities.
As effective as PPC can be, however, you need to get a lot of factors right for the best results. This article explains how to execute flawless PPC marketing campaigns.
Did you know: Google is the largest PPC advertising platform? According to StatCounter, Google’s global search engine market share is above 90 percent. And according to Google’s economic impact statement, businesses earn an average of two dollars in revenue for every dollar of Google Ads spend.
Choose the Right Keywords for Your PPC Campaign
Choosing appropriate keywords is central to a successful PPC marketing effort. You must bid on the most relevant keywords for your business and the goods and services you sell.
Did you know? Google Ads earn almost two out of every three clicks for high commercial intent keyword searches, according to WordStream. Commercial intent refers to the actual desire to buy a product or service.
Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner makes it easy to research and select the most effective terms for your marketing campaign. Just be aware that your competitors will likely use many of the same keywords. Avoid wasting money on bland terms that won’t bring in consumers ready to purchase—rather, bid for keywords that reflect a serious intent to purchase. It pays to drill down.
Consider carefully what customers would search for if they were looking for a company like yours. (If you’re not sure, ask a few of your customers.) Use descriptive keywords like your company or brand name, product or service type, location, and ones like “cost-effective,” “reliable,” “proven,” or “guaranteed.” You can even consider targeting a competitor’s name to snatch business from them.
Deliver a Meaningful Online Experience in Exchange for a Click
Your goal for PPC campaigns is to get people to take desired actions, like providing contact information, buying something, or making an appointment. Success starts with providing a valuable online experience for visitors.
Monitoring actual visitor behavior with tracking software will help you determine whether your digital experience is a good one.
Are people bouncing soon after they arrive on the site? Check that page load times are fast, the headline is meaningful, and the images are attractive.
Are visitors bailing on the page? Determine what messages or images could turn them off or whether the page is too long.
Are people not taking the action you want them to take? Check that your calls to action are clear and visible.
Optimizing your digital visitor experience will help you maximize the results of your PPC campaigns.
Leverage Long-Tail Keywords
Many businesses focus on short-tail keywords (those that include just a few words at most) because they are general enough to cover broad topics. Examples include “how to lose weight” and “the best homeowners insurance.”
However, this strategy often results in spending a lot of money to generate very few leads. You’ll target a vast audience and may get clicks, but they won’t come from serious or focused buyers.
A long-tail keyword contains at least five words, such as “how to lose weight and gain muscle” and “buy low-cost, high quality homeowners insurance.” Both of these examples will likely get better results than the shorter examples because even though they’re more specific they better reflect a certain type of purchase intent. People who click are likely to convert because your solution meets a specific need they have.
For optimal efficiency, identify long-tail keywords that clearly express the value your product or service provides.
Target the Right Customers and Prospects
People early in the buying journey click on ads to receive information about your business or a product or service.
Those further along in the buying process are different. They know the value your company provides and what it offers, and they come with an established buying intent. Change things up and focus on keywords more appropriate for them. For example, if you own a contracting business, use terms like “hire a contractor” and maybe include your company name in some of the terms (instead of the more generic “contractor”).
Retargeting is also critical because most prospective customers need multiple touchpoints with an unfamiliar brand before buying.
Include Clear Calls-to-Action in Your PPC Campaigns
Every PPC advertisement ends with a call to action (CTA). To make it as effective and actionable as possible, it must explain a clear next step to take.
Once prospective customers understand the value you could provide through your ad, you must tell them what to do next. Explain to prospects exactly what they must do to experience the benefits you explained in your ad. For example, a CTA could instruct prospects to visit your website, download an ebook, join your email list, sign up for a newsletter, or buy a product or service.
Nail the Pitch and Landing
After prospective customers click the CTA on your PPC ad, you must present them with compelling content on your website or landing page. You’ve paid for the click and you want to turn that investment into a client.
It’s crucial to offer up content that’s convincing and optimized for converting consumers. Consider why prospects come to your website and how you can offer them value right now — and the promise of additional value — after they engage with your business.
Tip: Use Google Analytics and tracking software to monitor PPC campaign landing page performance. They can help you optimize what’s working and identify barriers to visitors taking the actions you want them to take.
Consider Whether Geotargeting Makes Sense for Your PPC Campaigns
Geotargeting can help optimize your PPC efforts. Different audiences have unique preferences. Geotargeting lets you run a range of campaigns in different places. This allows you to customize your marketing to meet diverse preferences and needs. For instance, if you own a chain of plant nurseries, you might want to show up in Google for tropical plants in the south and cooler climate cultivars in the north.
Optimize Your PPC Campaign for Mobile
There are significant differences between desktop PPC ad content and mobile ads. You must create responsive PPC ads that are optimized for mobile viewing. Mobile-first is critical because many more people use mobile devices to access the internet than laptops or desktop computers. Focus on mobile-friendly content in your ads and on your website to stay competitive.
Leverage Ad Groups
It often doesn’t make sense to show the same ad to all prospective customers, especially if they have unique needs or reasons for purchasing your products or services. That’s where ad groups come in.
Ad groups are effective when you are targeting a narrow audience, especially when only a small percentage of online consumers could find value in your ad.
Use market segmentation to identify your ad group segments based on place in the marketing journey, location, demographics, or unique needs.
Pay Attention to Timing
Your ads must reach your ideal consumer at exactly the right time. Studies have shown that PPC interactions increase and decrease throughout the day. Peak times are typically between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays for PPC campaigns.
General trends aside, your industry and specific customer base will determine the best times to run your PPC campaign. Monitor metrics to figure out the optimal timing for your business.
PPC Campaign Optimization: The Final Word
Pay-per-click advertising can be highly effective when done correctly. It takes trial and error to produce great results. Get a jumpstart by leveraging the proven strategies in this article, then take them and make them your own.