The PPC Cheat Sheet for Beginners

ppc_cheatsheetPay-per-click (PPC) marketing is one of the most effective ways to get your website in front of a targeted audience, but there’s a lot more to a PPC campaign than just selecting keywords and placing bids. If you’ve been considering using pay-per-click as part of your marketing strategy, it is definitely not uncommon for you to feel a little overwhelmed. Below is a PPC cheat sheet that will help you avoid common pitfalls that plague poorly run campaigns, so you can see results that mean business for your business. 

1. Identify your goals.

Yes, identifying goals is nowhere near as exciting as seeing your ads go live and getting those first few clicks, but without a clearly defined set of goals, you risk burning through your PPC budget with little to show for it. What would constitute a “win” for your campaign? Is it the sale of a product, the acquisition of a lead or an increased number of subscribers to your email list? It will be difficult to know when you’ve arrived if your goals for the campaign haven’t been clearly established.

2. Crunch some numbers and develop different ROI scenarios.

You should have a general idea of what it will take for you to realize a return on your advertising dollars. For example, let’s say that roughly one out of every 25 people who click through to your landing page will actually purchase your product. If your daily budget will afford you about 100 clicks, you can reasonably expect to make about four sales per day.

You will then have to figure out if the revenue generated from those four sales will be enough to cover your click costs for that day. Of course, not every day will be equal, so there will be fluctuations in traffic and sales levels, but you should at least have a decent grasp of whether your current budget will be able to yield you a profitable campaign overall.

3. Don’t be afraid to experiment with ad copy.

Regularly creating new ads is a great way to find what works with your target audience, and what doesn’t. Experiment with different titles and body text. See how using punctuation or different word arrangements in certain parts of the ad copy can affect click-through rates (CTR). You’d be surprised at how small adjustments in ad copy can produce exponentially improved results in your audience’s response.

Keep in mind that the average CTR for Google AdWords campaigns is roughly 2 percent, but there are many advertisers who are doing way better than that, and experiencing drastically reduced click costs as a result. If your ad copy really grabs your viewers’ attention by being well-worded, quirky, unique or even a little controversial, you can achieve a higher CTR, which will earn you better placements and a lower cost-per-click.

4. Watch your keyword performance stats like a hawk.

This point cannot be over-emphasized. Too many PPC advertisers waste money on poorly performing keywords because they fail to adjust their bids to channel more resources towards their top performing keywords.

Once you’ve had your campaign up and running for a few days (and sometimes even sooner), you should start to see some important metrics shaping up in terms of your keyword performance stats. You should be able to tell which keywords are pulling in high levels of traffic, which is a good indication that your ad is a good match for what users are searching for. Once you’ve identified these keywords, you can then adjust your bids to direct more of your ad spend toward them, while pulling resources away from keywords that show little to no results.

5. Take poorly performing ads out of the rotation.

If some of the ads you’ve created get very little to no clicks, there’s no need for you to include them in the regular rotation. Eliminate those ads and create new ones to take their place. You can then repeat the process with the new ads, carefully monitoring their performance to continue optimizing your campaign.

6. Make sure you’re sending visitors to the right landing pages.

Many new advertisers waste money on ads by directing all of their PPC traffic to their home page, instead of channeling that traffic to specific product pages within their site. For example, if your website sells a variety of smartphone cases for iPhones and Android devices, it wouldn’t be a good idea to send a person who searched for “cheap iPhone cases” to your general home page. They’ll then have to navigate from your home page to the page that specifically sells iPhone cases, which many visitors simply won’t take the time to do. It would be much better to change the target URL of your ad to the specific page that sells iPhone cases, so that the visitor will land on the page that best matches their search query.

While no PPC campaign will be perfect at the onset, you can greatly reduce your learning curve by following the simple tips outlined above. This will not only help you yield the results you want in your PPC campaign, but it will also save you a lot of wasted time and money in the process.

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