What is Pay per Click Marketing?
Pay per click (PPC) marketing, like so many other forms of Internet marketing, is a very simple concept that can become quite complex. When you sign up for PPC marketing, the search engines will place your business’ ad on their website and you’ll only be charged for the space when someone clicks on your ad.
And while some may take just a few minutes to complete, others could take days or weeks, depending on how much time you have and how much research needs to be done. It’s for this reason that it’s recommended that you hire a marketing consultant that can help you run the campaign from beginning to end.
There are many areas of online marketing when a marketing consultant may or may not be necessary; this is not one of them.
Business owners simply do not have the time required to run an effective PPC campaign, and just about all of them find that they need help from the professionals.
In this section we’ll outline what the necessary steps are to run an effective PPC campaign; so that when it’s time to speak to your consultant you’ll have a good idea of what you want and how to go about getting it.
Then later in this guide, you’ll find a section on how to hire the right consultant to help you.
1. Set a Budget For Your PPC Campaign
This does not mean that you need to know from the very beginning what you’re going to bid on your keywords – you don’t. You do need to know how much you’re willing to spend on the campaign and then record that number to make sure that you don’t go over it.Remember to not only include a figure that you’re comfortable spending on the bids, but also any set up fees that might be included to join a network, and the fee for your marketing consultant.
All of these are also expenses brought on by the campaign, and need to be factored in. Once you get into bidding, it’s very easy to get caught up in a bidding war and get carried away. Going in with a firm number of what you can spend will help prevent this from happening.
2.Research Keywords and Create a List
Now it’s time to focus on your keywords – by far the most daunting task for any business owner, and even many consultants! Keywords are the cornerstone of your campaign. Everything is based on them, and the ones you choose are extremely important.
So, how can you start researching different keywords?
First, know what keywords are. Keywords are any words that visitors type into the search engines when they’re looking for you, your business, or your company. Start simply by brainstorming every potential search term and phrase that you can think of, making them as broad and as specific as possible.
If you’re the florist in Nebraska your initial keywords might be: florists, florist Nebraska, florists in Nebraska, Nebraska florists, bouquets, bouquets Nebraska, buy roses Nebraska, buy roses online.
You can see how with just a few minutes spent thinking about it, you can come up with a keyword list of a hundred or more possible search terms. Remember when creating your list to leave out industry-speak and terminology. This is not what the average visitor is looking for; and you need to be thinking like the average visitor.
When you’re done brainstorming, you then need to see how effective those keywords will be. Having a long list of keywords is good, but if half of those include terms no one’s looking for, they’re really of no good to you. To see how popular certain keywords were, marketing consultants once had to rely on simply entering every term individually into each search engine.
This was extremely time-consuming and an extremely tedious chore.
Today, there are much better ways to evaluate the popularity of certain keywords. Here are the top five:
- Wordtracker: With Wordtracker you can not only look up the most popular keywords and see how much activity they receive, but with their Competition Search you can also compare your keywords to see how competitive they are. This feature lets you know what keywords are being bid on the most, and which are not only the hardest to win but also, the most expensive to buy. Another benefit of this feature is that it might uncover hidden keywords that you never thought of, but that have huge potential for you
- WordStream: This program has many different options to help you better research the right keywords you should be using; and they’ll also help you organize them to see which ones will be most profitable for your campaign. The only downside is that WordStream is a fee-based program so you’ll need to really determine whether or not it’s worth it to you.
- Google AdWords keyword planner: This is a free tool that anyone using Google AdWords has access to, and it’s unwise not to use it. Simply fill in a few blanks and Google will pull up an entire list of potential keywords, their popularity, and their effectiveness.
- Google Suggest: This is much like Thesaurus.com. You enter a keyword and it will pull up a list of related words. Entire another one, and you’ll get another entire list; and then another, and another. You could go on, and you should. Remember to add each one that’s applicable to your keyword list.
- Thesaurus.com: And then there’s Thesaurus.com – a great tool to find keywords, but one that’s not really a keyword research tool. But it will help you find synonyms and related words to your keyword or phrase.Once you have your list you’ll then need to eliminate a few of them so that you can have a list of the most effective keywords.Start by going through and choosing only the words that are the most relevant to your business and industry, and eliminating the rest. Then go through and determine which keywords you have the most relevant content for.You won’t be using the keywords if you’re not creating content specific to it, so there’s no reason to have them on your list.
When your finalized list of keywords is created, you should have 20 – 30 keywords in total.
Those keywords are important and will need to appear in the ad you eventually create. But first, you also need to make sure that your website has enough content to support those specific keywords. The chances are good that, because you’ve chosen keywords that are fitting to your business and industry, you’ll already have a lot of content on your site to support those keywords.
For those that don’t though, you should write a page incorporating no more than three to four keywords per page to go on the site. Putting new content on your site might not seem like it has much to do with PPC, but you must have content to support your keywords. Otherwise you could be penalized, and at the very least, your PPC campaign will be completely ineffective.
After you have your finalized list, and content to support it, it’s then time to start bidding on those keywords.
3. Bid on Keywords
The way bidding on keywords works within the different PPC networks is much like their signup process – they are all very similar, they all vary slightly, and how to actually place your bid is typically laid out in a step-by-step process that will walk you through the entire process.
However, your strategy for bidding is what’s important, and probably something that would have to be changed a few times, depending on how they work.
First, you should know a few basics on how bidding works.
From your keyword list, start with the ones that have the best earnings and returns, and the ones most related to your business or industry.
You then need to decide how much you’re going to bid on each keyword; but be careful here. As mentioned, it’s very easy to spend too much on a bid, and so that’s where your strategy comes into play. Typically when it comes to bidding on keywords you have two strategies you can employ: to be conservative and start off slow; or go all or nothing and bid largely on whatever you can. Both have their time and place, and the one you choose will depend on your business’ situation.
Being prudent in your bidding strategy, and selecting only a few choice keywords to bid low on is a good strategy for businesses that don’t have a lot of room in their advertising budget and that don’t mind investing a lot of time in the testing and retesting of different keywords and different bids. However, when using this strategy for your campaign there are a few things to keep in mind.
One of those is that, even though you’re bidding low and don’t mind waiting to see which works best, you still want to bid high enough to make sure that your ads are still being placed within the 4th and 8th positions. The 1st through 3rd obviously receive the most clicks, but you’ll also need to bid a premium for them.
You don’t want to be any lower than 8th however, because then your ad won’t appear on the first page, and won’t be effective.
The other thing to keep in mind when bidding prudently is to remember that tracking your results is even more important.
You’re going to be using a number of keywords over a long period of time, and trying to determine which of those keywords gives you the best return. While bidding only on the highest sought-after keywords is a good bet that you’ll get those earnings back and so, tracking may not be as crucial, that’s not the case when you’re bidding low and bidding often.
Bidding aggressively is to bid high on the most wanted keywords. Your ads will appear within the first three ad results, and they’ll be very expensive. While appearing in the top three is definitely an advantage, you need to make sure that your budget can handle it.
Many business owners fall into the trap of thinking that they must be within those top three results. If your budget can afford it, this strategy can be extremely effective for business owners that want to get fast comparisons of their keywords so that they can move on with refining their campaign. While the business is advancing their marketing campaigns, they’ll also be grabbing the majority of their market share and gaining an edge over their competition by being in the top three results.
The bidding strategy you use will entirely depend on your own wants, your business’ needs, and what you think will work best. But, not even the best bidding strategy with the best keywords will work if the ads to go along with them aren’t any good. That’s why you also need to know how to write a good ad.
In my next blogpost, Six Steps to Running an Effective PPC Campaign – Part Two, I will give you the next three steps for an effective PPC Campaign!
Would you like more information about Pay-Per-Click Marketing? Ask us!