If you’re wondering what PPC or pay-per-click is, essentially it is a model used in online advertising as a way to drive traffic onto a website.
The way PPC works is that every time someone clicks on that ad and is redirected to your website, an advertiser (you) has to pay a certain fee to the publisher (the search engine that redirected the user to your page).
You’ve surely had instances where you Googled a specific product, and then you’d see an ad for that product pop up on your Facebook or Instagram page.
This happens because a business has a marketing and targeting strategy within its PPC campaign. That is meant to send ads that are relevant to the web page visits of their users or the terms that they type into search engines.
If you too want to optimize your PPC campaign, we’ve compiled a few steps that you can take in order to do so successfully:
- Know what you’re optimizing for
The purpose of your PPC campaign will depend on your objectives, so the first step would be to set a specific, measurable objective that you want to meet.
Are you interested in getting more visitors to your website?
If you already have a lot of visitors, but they aren’t subscribing to your services or buying your product, maybe you want to improve your sales.
Or, perhaps you want to further grow your brand and attract new customers.
A well-optimized PPC Campaign can help you in achieving all these goals. It’s important that you keep an eye on the resources that are available to you, so you can define the scale of these objectives in accordance with your budget.
- Once you have a clear objective in mind, look out for high-performance keywords
Discovering which keywords to bid on in order to get the most clicks and paying visitors is the foundation of a well-performing PPC campaign.
If you need some help with identifying the right keywords, Google Ads is a popular tool used for analyzing pages of your website to generate a list of potentially successful keywords.
So how do you know which keywords to pick from that list? Well, that also depends on your objectives.
Do you want to raise awareness of your brand in a specific area? If your target audience is, let’s say, in California, and you’re in the business of selling guitars, you might be better off using local keywords such as “guitars in California”.
Another thing that can happen is that you’re in the fashion business where you’re only selling shoes, but your ads are also displayed for people searching for clothing.
This means that your funds are potentially allocated to attract visitors that aren’t interested in becoming paying visitors, which means that you’re overspending on your ads.
A way to avoid this is to know what your target audience is searching for and what they aren’t. Once you figure out what they’re not after, you’ll be able to include so-called negative keywords, which are keywords you want to leave out of your PPC campaign.
The ideal ad copy should:
- Trigger a certain emotional response for your customers
- Provide an answer or a solution to their queries
- Offer unique value
- Include a call to action
An example of ad copy invoking an emotional response would be one that capitalizes on a customer’s fear or impulse, let’s say. The way this works is: your customer sees a costly product they really like and it’s a part of a limited edition because the description says it’s “available only for the first 10 customers”.
By using keywords like these, you’re offering an appealing, exclusive deal to your customer, which has the power to trigger their competitive spirit and illicit a buying response.
The great thing about this is that if it hadn’t been for an enticing offer, the customer might not have had the time to rationalize whether they really need the item and whether it is worth the price.
When you identify at least two or three high-performing keywords (having too many can negatively impact your PPC campaign), it’s important to track their performance. If you see that some of them aren’t performing well, you get to quickly weed them out and redirect your funds towards better ones.
Pro tip: don’t forget about optimizing your keywords for mobile usage, too. Users that are on the go and typing on smaller keyboards usually don’t bother with long searches, so short-tail keywords are the ones you should look out for!
- Include high-performance keywords in a good copy
When a user clicks on your ad, they’ll be redirected to specific content on your website or a so-called landing page. The goal of that content is to persuade the person reading it to buy the product or pay for the service that you’re offering.
Copywriting is an advertising tool that is part science and part art, so you want to have a highly qualified person writing your content.
One way to ensure that you’ve got a qualified person on your hands is to hire a niche copywriter, or in other words, someone who’s experienced in writing a specific content type for a specific industry.
Recycling old content or plagiarizing somebody else’s articles just won’t do the trick because your content needs to be unique and persuasive in a way that isn’t already expected and familiar to your visitors.
Another thing that’s important to mention is that you should make optimization of your landing page a part of your optimization of the PPC campaign.
Well-optimized landing pages not only cut your advertising costs but also have the power to close the deal.
What you ultimately want is to have them designed in a way that leads to more sales. This entails optimizing your landing page for targeting specific keyword phrases, increasing the credibility of your brand, and generating data and insight on your customers, among other things.
Lastly, just like with local keywords, you can have a local landing page in case you want to attract customers from a certain field. Knowing some SEO basics might be helpful in this instance because you’ll have to optimize your local landing page content for the area of your business.
It’s understandable if all this is a lot to take in and it seems like one person isn’t meant to tackle all these different aspects of a PPC campaign.
For what it’s worth, campaigns such as these are a part of an even bigger digital marketing strategy and businesses usually hire some of the top PPC agencies to handle them.
- Choose which channels to advertise on
Whether you’re advertising on websites, search engines or social media platforms, marketing channels are an integral part of showing whether your products or services are reaching their intended audience.
What you want is to allocate your funds into channels that are performing best and the way to do that is to monitor your ads for those that are generating the most conversions.
It might be helpful to sample test your keywords in one or two channels first, so you’re not at the risk of overspending, and then adjust your strategy accordingly.
Generally, testing any part of the PPC campaign is a great way to track its progress. You might end up learning that certain parts need improvement, like your ads needing to provide more value to your users.
A way to do that could be to use ad extensions for showing additional information with your ads, like information about the address of your business or its rating on Google reviews.
Testing can, of course, lead to negative results as well and there’s a way you can perform tests while limiting exposure to negative impact.
For example, Google Ads has an Experiments feature that allows you to test a variety of optimizations and launch them alongside your original setup. Based on the results that you end up with, you can make an educated decision on which strategies are worth the investment.
- Make sure your website is performing well
Once the user is redirected to your page, you have only so much time to close the deal. If that time is cut down due to a slow loading website, the performance of your ads will be negatively impacted as well.
Ultimately, you want your audience to be able to learn more about your offer within seconds. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can tell you whether the content on your pages is loading fast, both to the users browsing on their computers or their mobile phones.
A high-performing website also means that a website is:
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Entertaining to browse through
- Easy to navigate
- Easy to read
Everything from the font size to the length of your paragraphs, template design and graphics that are used matters.
Don’t forget to provide a secure experience to your visitors, too. Using HTTPS for your website ensures that the search engines won’t sanction your website for being unsecured.
Once you’ve done all of this, make sure to track the performance of all the aspects of your PPC campaign so you can make timely adjustments to it.
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for DigitalStrategyOne.