As a business owner, you are undoubtedly aware of the power and potential of the internet for sales and conversions. You know you need a digital marketing strategy but are unsure of how to pursue or even begin. You’ve searched for your product or service online and see your competitors listed on Google, but you are nowhere to be seen. How does this happen?!
In short, your competitors are paying to be there. To achieve this, one avenue many businesses take is to launch a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign. PPC ads are advertisements you pay for each time they are clicked after a search engine query. By far, the most used and implemented PPC campaigns are with Google and its result pages. Clicks, essentially paid visits to your site, can vary in cost from a few pennies a piece to many dollars depending on the “value” of the keyword (search terms) associated with the ad. Keywords associated with specialty services – medical, lawyer, home remodeling – will cost far more per click in general than terms like “car wash” or “tennis shoes”.
Some products and services may be better to expose to your audience via a SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If you want potential clients to find your business via a broad, organic search – SEO and its free cost may be the best choice for you. If you want to focus and target specific audiences, PPC and its Pay-Per-Click model may be the preferred option for you.
So, you’ve decided you want to bid for ad placement in Google or another search engine. How can you be sure you should invest the time and money in a Pay-Per-Click campaign?
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- Consider Your Target Market – What are you marketing? Who are you marketing to? Are you certain they will see your ads if you place them in a search engine like Google? Some products and services are so niche that there simply isn’t a large enough audience to make a PPC campaign – especially a remarketing campaign worthwhile. Knowing your audience and targeting to them strategically is of the utmost importance when starting a PPC campaign.
- Determine If The Cost Is Worth It – As I mentioned above, PPC clicks cost money and the costs can vary widely. Are you willing to pay for a click or clicks and potentially spend more on ads than you sell a product for? What is a conversion worth to you? Does your product cost $10 or $100? What is your profit and how much margin are you willing to spend to get your ads in front of potential buyers?
Research how much potential keywords cost and how spending the money necessary to buythem fits into your marketing budget. Sometimes, clients will set unrealistic budgets and not getthe results they are looking for because their daily spend will be exhausted before lunchtime, and they are not getting the click / conversion rate they are looking for.
In other words, be prepared to spend more than you think you will for keywords – other businesses want to stake claim to these keywords too! The more expensive and specialized a product or service, the more expensive a specialized keyword will cost per click – at least in the beginning, until data can show you what keywords are leading to conversions and what keywords are not. Over time, you may choose to drop expensive keywords if they are not producing, thus alleviating costs.
- Should You Hire A Professional? – Obviously, in my line of work, I would suggest the answer is a resounding “YES!” but there are reasons why I suggest a PPC expert:
- A knowledgeable and honest PPC expert will recommend useful and detailed changes you can make to your website to make it better – clickable radio buttons, content, and pictures above the fold to make your website more engaging and more likely to gain conversions.
- A PPC expert will likely have worked on an account like yours before and will already know the best way to maximize your account, as well as what strategies and what keywords to use.
- A PPC expert will possess knowledge of the constantly evolving world of AdWords. Maybe you have tried advertising on the internet before and came away from the experience poorer and bewildered. Be aware, Google is constantly changing its advertising platform – new rules, new spending limits, new interfaces. This is not to mention all the fine tuning and expertise it may take to get your ad campaign running the way you want it to. Geotargeting? Ad scheduling? A/B testing of ads? Negative keywords? These are all things that once implemented, increase your odds of landing conversions. If you don’t know what these terms mean or how to accomplish them in AdWords, it may be time to consult a PPC expert.
- Also, a fair and honest PPC professional, in addition to the other services described above, will also help you save money on a PPC campaign by examining when ads are being clicked and served; thus, help you determine exactly when your ads should be running.
- Do You Want The Exposure? – This may sound like a silly question, but follow me here…if you launch an ad campaign and suddenly sell more products than you have in-stock, is your business prepared to deal with the negative reviews and the backorders? Sometimes, businesses can be overwhelmed by the response they receive due to a PPC campaign that takes off and will opt to pause the campaigns or shut them down to catch up with orders,follow-up phone calls, and emails. While this may seem like a wonderful problem to have, often it is not – especially if your business is relatively new and hasn’t built up customer’s goodwill.
So, while a PPC campaign is often a valuable tool for a business trying to maximize exposure and gain recognition, do be aware there are potential issues and be prepared for them. A true PPC professional will want to see your account do well, not waste your money and maximize your results. Just like you, a PPC expert is selling a service and the last thing he/she wants is a negative review by an unsatisfied client.
While weighing the pros and cons of a PPC campaign, as listed above, consider how else your ad dollars could be spent – radio ads, billboards, ads in periodicals…how targeted are these ads? Are they reaching the audience you desire? An argument can be made that while sometimes more expensive than you anticipate, Pay-er-lick advertising, (with its targeted demographics and “tailored” appeal), might be a better investment of your ad budget.
In conclusion, is a PPC campaign a good fit for every business or professional? Maybe not, but if you have considered the risks and rewards and are willing to be patient while your account is made the best it can be, a Pay-er-Click campaign may be just the thing you are looking for!