How to Start and Run a Successful PPC Ad Campaign
Did you know that Google AdWords reaches 80% of global Internet users? And research shows that PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors. With PPC ads, you can reach the people you want to reach when and wherever you want to reach them. In fact, one study finds that paid ads can raise brand awareness by up to 80%. And what about the money? Businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords, according to Google. If anything, these numbers should fire up your curiosity to want to find out more about PPC and how you can implement it for your business.
WHAT IS PPC?
PPC stands for pay-per-click. It is a form of online marketing in which advertisers set up ad account on an advertising platform such as Google AdWords and pay a fee each time one of their ads gets clicked, hence the name "paid to advertise."
When it comes to driving *search* traffic to your website, there are two basic options: PPC and SEO (search engine optimization). Typically, PPC is a way of "buying" visits to your site versus "earning" those visits organically via SEO. While there are several forms of PPC advertising like display advertising, video advertising, social media advertising, remarketing, and search engine advertising, you can use any one of them to meet a wide range of marketing goals, including improving your product visibility, capturing new leads, driving more traffic to your website, increasing your conversions, or simply making good ol' sales.
Want to learn how? Let's show you!
START BY BRAINSTORMING
Every successful paid advertising campaign starts with brainstorming. This is where you do your research, set goals, and form a general idea of how you'd like your campaign to turn out. This is where you also get to find out what your customers want and how they are searching for it. It's important you understand this first before choosing your keywords and launching your campaign.
So use your buyer personas and other customer data you have to determine beforehand the kind of paid ads campaign you'd like to run, the exact type of people to reach, the objectives of the campaign, and so on.
OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE
Before you start your PPC campaign, it’s important that your first step back and address any issues your website might be having. This is not a necessary step, but since you'll start having more people clicking on your website link, it's intelligent to fix issues like page load time, broken links, and generally optimize your website for the PPC campaign.
If your website is not optimized for performance and prospects click your ad and end up on a page that doesn’t load quickly, is difficult to navigate, or has other technical problems, then there's a high chance that they'll leave without taking action.
PICK YOUR BIDDING STRATEGY
Once you've brainstormed and optimized your website for performance, it's time to get on with the ad campaign proper. At this stage, you'll need to choose a bidding strategy. Keep the intel you got during your brainstorming session in mind. Google, Bing, and other relevant platforms have all made provisions for several different bidding strategies and choosing the most appropriate one for your business depends on several factors including your campaign goals, your budget, your experience with PPC, and even your type of business.
However, one of the first decisions you will have to make, on Google AdWords for example, is picking between manual and automated bidding. The manual bidding method gives you control to set the maximum amount that you could pay for each click on your ads. It also lets you make changes at both the ad group and keyword levelThe manual strategy is great for advertisers who haven't done PPC before, especially if you're working with a low budget as it allows you set a cap on your cost per click. But the trade-off with manual bidding strategy is that you don’t have an opportunity to optimize your bids and since you'll be managing it manually, it requires a bit more time.
Automated bidding, on the other hand, requires a lesser amount of time but you might end up paying a little more. The automated bidding strategy has various different bidding strategies under it, and you can choose the right one depending on whether your goal is to drive traffic, increase conversions, or boost visibility.
SET A BUDGET
When it comes to PPC advertising, the budget is essential. One of the beautiful things about this type of advertising is that even if you're on a limited budget, you can still do it. How? PPC allows you to retain close control over the amount of money you spend. So if you're worried that you might need a lot of money to run PPC marketing, then there's hope for you. As a matter of fact, if you're new to PPC, don’t have a lot of money to spend, and just want to test the waters, you can still get started with an investment as small as $25.
But the bottom line is that in pay-per-click advertising, you have to spend money to make money. That's why setting the right budget is a big part of your PPC strategy. The most important consideration for pay-per-click budget planning is your leadership characteristics, which include:
Target cost per lead (CPL)
The geographic location of leads
Once you determine these characteristics, it becomes easy to set a budget that'll likely bring the best possible return on investment. Generally, the question to ask is: "how much can I afford to spend and how much do I want to make?"
Knowing how PPC is calculated can help. Ideally, the return on ad spend is simply calculated as PPC revenue minus PPC cost divided by PPC cost. This is shown as a percentage. In simpler terms, it is the revenue generated from your PPC campaign minus the cost involved.
SELECT YOUR KEYWORDS
In PPC marketing, keywords are so vital that they can determine the outcome of your campaign. This is why it is important to take the time to determine very carefully the keywords you select. Without keywords, you wouldn't be able to target a select audience and search engine wouldn't know when to display your ads. The keywords you choose should be the ones your ideal customers are using to search for your product. If your targeted keywords aren't what your customers are using to search for your product, then your campaign will likely flump. Plus, targeting the wrong keywords could result in you spending a lot of money with little to no conversions. Additionally, you should aim to choose keywords that guarantee you the greatest visibility, the most views, the most click-throughs, the most traffic, and the most conversions.
Here are some ideas for effective PPC keyword research:
Spy on your competitors to see what keywords they're targeting
Use a lot of long-tail keywords versus using short-tail ones. Long-tail keywords are less competitive, yet specific and have greater conversion power
Don't forget to incorporate local keywords into your keyword structure particularly if you also target local users
The better the keywords you choose, the better your chances of getting a higher quality score and a lower cost per click.
It is also important to consider negative keywords here. Negative keywords help in filtering out keywords you don't want to include in searches looking for your product. For example, if you want to advertise electric bikes but don’t sell speed pedelec, then you'd use "speed pedelec" as a negative keyword to exclude searches looking for that type of product.
CREATE A COMPELLING LANDING PAGE
The next step is to create a unique landing page for your ad. But why create a landing page?
When prospects click on your PPC ad, it is almost always because the content of the ad got their attention. So they want to know more about the ad. Usually, the next step is to click on your link. But if the link they click on takes them to an unrelated or generic page on your website, like your homepage, then that prospect will likely click on the back button. That's definitely not something you want. By creating a customized landing page that complements the content of your ad, you stand a better chance of meeting your campaign goal.
Still using the electric bike example, if your PPC campaign is created to advertise a special promo for Class 3 electric bikes out of all your other classes of eBikes, then the landing page for the ad should offer more details about the promotion, a coupon to redeem the discount or something else that relates specifically to the promo.
CREATE A KILLER AD
Once you’ve picked your bidding strategy, set a budget, do your keywords research, and created a worthy landing page, it’s time to create your actual ad.
When it comes to creating a killer ad, there are four key elements you must nail:
Great ad headlines have similar aims as the flashy window displays you see in store when you walk in the street — to stop you in your tracks, get you to see yourself owning whatever it is they’re selling, and force you to step into the store to buy it. Plus, the best PPC ad headlines are specific, address problems, speak to emotion, and include the target keywords.
Super-persuasive ad copy
A compelling ad copy is a must for any successful PPC campaign. For your copy to be really effective, write the copy based on your ad objectives. For example, if you want people to sign up for your newly launched online course which will be open for only the next one week, and is created to help people do something within a specific time frame, then let that reflect on your copy.
Unique value proposition
Your unique value proposition (UVP) is arguably the most important element of your overall marketing messaging. To help make your ad different and better-sounding than the competition, including a unique value proposition. The UVP is also known as "unique selling proposition" (USP), and it is a succinct statement that describes the key benefit of your offer and what distinguishes you from the competition. Your unique value proposition should appear prominently on your landing page and on your ad copy.
Creating a PPC ad without a call-to-action (CTA) is like playing a football game so hard but without wanting to score a goal. It's pointless. Not only should you include CTAs in your ad copy and landing page, but the CTAs should also be clear, super-compelling, and strategically placed. Also, keep it short, sweet, and straightforward as in the image below:
TEST YOUR AD
One mistake most advertisers do is that after creating a potentially effective ad, they publish it immediately without first testing to see how the ad will perform. But hey, it is after creating your ad that the real work begins. Testing your ad gives you a chance to tweak it, optimize its elements, and make necessary changes for maximum performance. A great way to test your ad is with A/B testing (AKA split testing). It involves showing two or more variants of the same page to users at the same time at random, tracking their performance, and using statistical analysis to determine which variation performs better for a given conversion goal.
You can choose to modify either the copy, keywords, headline, CTA, the landing page, or even the colors of the elements. Once you've found which version performs better, make the necessary changes and stop putting resources on the less-performing ad.
Pay-per-click advertising is definitely one of the most effective marketing strategies online. Unlike what some people think, it is relatively easy to start and fun to manage. Start by brainstorming to have a picture of what you want with your ad campaign, optimize your website in preparation for the campaign, choose the right bidding strategy and then set your budget. After, that you'd just have to run strategic keyword research, create a well-designed landing page, create your ad and test it for the best results. If you've never implemented a PPC ad campaign for your business, it might be time to try it. Use the information we've provided to guide your steps. And if you need help with relevant tools, check out our array of online marketing tools.