The Power of PPC Advertising, Part I

Before starting this post, by way of qualification and disclosure I will mention that I am a Certified Google Partner. This means that I have passed their extensive testing process to become certified by Google and that I manage the minimum required amount of monthly PPC spend. In fact, I manage tens of thousands of dollars in monthly spend on behalf of my clients most of which are small businesses and I help them achieve their marketing goals at the least possible expense of service. We have a very reasonable monthly service fee so if you are interested in talking with us about managing your PPC simply call us at 1-866-622-5710.

We often hear this or that person state emphatically that PPC advertising is a waste of money. PPC advertising could very well be a waste of money. Doing it correctly is complicated. You can spend your entire budget on worthless clicks that never convert to a sale. If you do not know what you are doing, yes it will likely be a waste of money.

However, PPC done correctly is NOT a waste of money and can be very profitable. In fact, most small businesses really need to be doing PPC if they are selling a product or service on the Internet. Consider this. The majority of web searches occur on Google. The majority of clicks on a search page in Google take place in the top five-seven slots. At least 3-4 of those slots are PPC ads. So if you are not in one of those positions you are missing out on the majority of potential traffic.

First, the majority of marketing dollars we recommend spent on PPC are recommended via either Google or Facebook. We leave Bing/Yahoo out of the equation. We do manage campaigns for customers in Bing or Yahoo but we keep their spend to a very small percentage of overall spend. This is simply because the reach is not high enough to be satisfactory. Google receives well over the majority of market share and this is where the dollars go farther so this is our area of concentration. It is unfortunate because we’ve often found Bing to convert better but there simply is just not enough traffic to make it return well dollar for dollar. With Google however we can get massive traffic so then it simply becomes a matter of managing the campaigns and spend carefully or it will eat your lunch.

We like Facebook to because it is reasonably inexpensive if you do it right can even cost mere pennies per click and you can target and focus your ad campaigns very specifically.
There are a ton of things that go into managing PPC well. We could write reams on this. This is why it generally does require professional assistance to do it well.  If you do hire professional assistance the rule of thumb with respect to cost of hiring someone is most in the industry charge from 10% to 20% of monthly spend as their fee and/or a minimum flat rate depending on your monthly spend.

First, make sure you set a budget no higher than you are comfortable to spend.

Second research the keywords you are going to bid on well. Don’t rely on what Google may recommend as the keywords, sift through those carefully because in most cases a lot of them are going to be useless. Bid only on keywords that are going to bring you prospects most likely to be specifically searching for what you are offering and thus more likely to convert. To research keywords Google does provide you with a keyword tool from within your control panel whereby you can get an idea of what a keyword might cost in terms of bidding and how much traffic it averages. A free tool worthy of mention perhaps is http://keywordtool.io.

Learn how to manage negative keywords in your campaigns. Negative keywords are searches people made, saw your ad and clicked on it and their search term was in no way relevant. Maybe you sell party balloons and the search was for hot air balloons. Google provides a method in your control panel to drill down to these searches and then put search terms you don’t want people finding your ad for onto a negative keyword list so you won’t pay for those clicks again. So you will need to do this regularly to insure you are only being seen by search terms most relevant to your success.

Look at your quality score for a keyword. The quality score can be found next to a keyword in your campaign by hovering your mouse over the little box next to the keyword and is a scale of 1 to 10, 10 obviously being best. it is this quality score that helps determine the final amount you will pay for a click as well as your placement. It is made up of a combination of factors mathematically which primarily consist of your ad quality, your clickthru rate when your ad is shown and your landing page quality/relevancy. So there are these factors which must be properly juggled and attended to in order to run a good campaign. The goal of course is to get your quality score to 8 or above. Having a high quality landing page with a strong call to action is also important.

When we run campaigns for our clients the majority of their scores are 10 and as well we achieve a 60% or better market share over their competitors. Google provides a tool in PPC called Auction Insights which lets you spy on your competitors and see what your market share of ads is versus theirs along with other valuable info and insights.

If you research your keywords well, run a tight campaign budget, watch everything closely, track negative keywords, optimize your landing pages, watch your quality scores, tweak your ads for performance and test them against each other, monitor your competition and don’t set your expectations to the roof, chances are you’ll do ok in PPC and find it well worth your time and investment!

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