Building and executing a successful pay per click (PPC) campaign requires managing a lot of moving parts simultaneously. If you’re approaching a PPC campaign for the first time, it can be a little intimidating, but this introductory guide can help get you started.
If you’re unfamiliar with pay per click, it’s a type of auction-style advertising in which marketers specify an amount of money they are willing to pay for visitors who click-through search ads to their website. Advertisers choose keywords or phrases they want their website associated with when someone performs a search.
PPC has become an effective channel for marketers to reach target audiences in the places where they spend the most time online. As prospective buyers begin their research process, vendor websites that rank high in search results are among the top sources of information that influence their decision-making. Along with organic ranking, PPC campaigns help position businesses as key players and subject matter experts for the search queries performed.
This PPC campaign management checklist is designed to help navigate you through the process of creating a campaign that produces results. The steps for your PPC campaign should look something like this:
Assess what you’re selling.
You shouldn’t launch a PPC campaign without determining exactly what you’re looking to sell. While this may sound obvious, if you don’t define this up front, it could mean frittering away time and financial resources, resulting in a PPC campaign that may not achieve the results you’re expecting.
For example, if you’re a marketing automation company such as Marketo or Eloqua, you may offer a variety of services, so you’ll need to pinpoint precisely what you’re going to promote.
Performing searches related to your services such as “email marketing software” or “website personalization,” will help identify and begin to assess the offers your competitors are running.
To effectively manage a PPC campaign, you’ll want to establish some clearly defined goals. That could include improving brand awareness, as well as driving sales or adding subscribers to your mailing list. After identifying your goals, you should then begin initial keyword research.
Identify keywords and perform keyword research.
Keyword research involves investigating and discovering terms and phrases that people often enter into search engines when looking for something matching the description of your service or product. Therefore, your keywords should be as relevant as possible to whatever products or services you’re marketing. You’ll also want to make sure you’re researching keywords in the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, as well as international search engines if that applies to your campaign.
Here are some of the most popular keyword research tools:
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool
- Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence
- Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand
- Moz Keyword Explorer
Use these keyword research tools to discover search queries you might not have thought of on your own. Be sure to focus on a variety of terms including brand, generic, related and competitor terms.
Take note of irrelevant search queries, and use negative keywords to exclude extraneous search terms from your PPC campaign. Limiting your bids to searches directly related to your campaign will lower costs and improve conversion rates.
You can then expand and refine your list based on criteria such as search volume, competition, and popularity. From there you can sort and organize your keywords into small targeted groups to measure the performance of your keywords, and refine your lists as necessary to ensure you’re creating the most accurate, relevant ads possible.
Develop compelling ad copy.
To execute a successful PPC campaign, you’ll want to develop ad copy that is clear and provides value to your audience. You’ll also want to test different versions of your ad copy to see which performs best so you can maximize the ROI of your PPC campaign.
When A/B testing, change the ad rotation settings in your PPC campaign to serve ads evenly as opposed to automatically optimizing for click-through rate. By doing this, you’ll be giving each ad an equal shot by serving the same number of impressions.
Build your landing pages.
Creating a landing page with a clear call-to-action is essential for an effective PPC campaign. You want your visitors to immediately get a sense of the product or service you are marketing from the second they arrive on the page.
It’s imperative that you populate your landing page with relevant information. A landing page with irrelevant info can adversely affect your ad scores, which means you’ll end up paying more for each click while getting less exposure and overall reach than other advertisers with higher scores.
Evaluate how your PPC campaign is performing.
PPC campaigns are data-driven, so you can clearly understand exactly how your campaign is performing and what visitors click on once they’ve reached your landing page. Monitoring and assessing your campaign’s performance and making adjustments as needed will help you maximize results.
There are several indicators that will help determine how well your PPC campaign is performing over time, and deliver insight into what might need to be corrected along the way, including:
- Bounce rate
- Click-through rate
- Quality score
- Landing page conversion rate
Your PPC campaign in a nutshell
Top-performing PPC campaigns benefit from a combination of clearly defined goals, strategic keyword research, great ad copy, and value propositions. It’s also important to remember that PPC campaigns aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. You’ll want to be sure to evaluate your PPC campaign’s performance and adjust it if necessary.
For those looking for assistance with managing their PPC campaigns, sign up for a free digital marketing consultation with our team. Help is just a few clicks away.