PPC, SEM, Adwords. Believe it or not, these all mean the same thing. They represent a paid marketing technique that gives you an opportunity to present your services or product in front of users on search engines.
Have a product that needs brand awareness? You can use PPC to do that. Have a new service to grow? You can use PPC to get in front of your marketing personas. You can do it all and all for a price per click.
Well, go ahead, get started…
… but what if you don’t know where to start?
Don’t worry, we’re here for you. We’ll help you take that first step and start your first Adwords campaign on a path to success. From there it’s up to you to monitor and adjust based on your campaign’s success. (Oh, if you don’t want to worry about the process at all, we can help).
Step 1 to infinity: Create a strategy
That’s right: Creating a strategy is the first and the last step. Without a strategy you’re lost. Having the information in one place is vital to those that will run the campaign and those people you have to report the campaign’s success to.
What goes into a strategy doc for PPC is another thing all together. The main ingredients are: ad targeting strategy, keyword strategy, ad placement strategy, ad copy, landing page strategy, budget, and success metrics/KPIs.
Ad targeting strategy
With ad targeting in Adwords you’re able to target your ads, be it in search or display, a couple of different ways. These include:
- Audience: Audience target allows you to remarket your products or services to those that have visited your site, through Adwords, before. Yes it’s exactly like you’re being followed. If you’ve seen ads about a site you just visited, you’ve been targeted by audience.
- Device: This targeting is wide ranging. It covers the device your potential customer is on but it also covers their specific location, time of day, and day of the week.
- Location/Language: When we use location for this type of targeting, we’re talking about a specific country and the language they speak. Targeting your ads to the world requires some extra steps and country specific URLs, but it’s a nice tool to have if you’re a global company.
- Keywords: The linchpin in everything Adwords, your keywords take rank over everything you target. We’ll get into this more right now!
As I noted previously, keywords drive your PPC campaign. There are many tools to help you create your keywords but the keyword planning tool in Adwords itself is a great place to start. Here you can gain ideas based on your website, your services/products, or keyword groups based on your landing pages.
The end goal is to get a good number of keywords, roughly 30 per ad group, to make your campaign useful. Depending on how people search for your product/service, it will require some extra work to help target those potential customers. Using keyword match types will help narrow your keywords to those personas you want to focus on. Those match types include:
- Broad match: Broad match is true to its name: broad. If you’ve use this match type with your keywords, your ads will show up for everything related to those keywords. Misspellings, backwards, synonyms, you name it. It’s broad reach.
- Broad match modifier: Broad qualifier brings the targeting in a little. It takes out the synonyms by adding the modifier to your keyword.
- Phrase match: This is a phrase or a similar related phrase that uses your keywords.
- Exact match: Like broad match, exact match is exactly what it means. It’s the keyword searched how you use it.
- Negative match: Negative keywords are helpful in a couple of ways. It keeps a keyword from being used in your campaign but it also helps save you money from unauthorized clicks. With negative keywords added to your campaign you can make sure you’re targeting the right searches and not a loosely related one.
Ad placement strategy
Ad placement really relates to the display network placements you can use. This network encompasses the third party sites that allow Google to place their ads on the website. The sites that allow this set the parameters through their network, and Google then places your ad on a similar type of website. The website options range widely, but Adwords allows you to focus in on websites that your customers will be on based on your product or service. This is also where you’re able to remarket you ads. The two types of placements are:
- Managed: You get to pick the websites your ads show up on
- Automatic: Google does the picking for you based on your ad’s copy.
The ad copy for your ads is vital to the success your campaign will see. Having your ads define what you do and providing a proper link between the searcher and your website gives your ads a better chance to show up in searches you’re targeting. Below are factors to consider according to Google when creating your ads.
- Highlight what makes you unique: This is your calling card. Make it about you and what problem you are solving for the searcher.
- Include price, promotion, exclusives: Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them. So tell
- Empower customers to take action: The previous point flows into this one. Calls-to-Action are important and entice them to your website with the price, promotion or exclusives.
- Include at least one of the keywords: This helps Google choose the proper ads to display in the customers’ searches.
- Match it to your landing page: The landing page is a big part of keeping the visitor on your site and closing them. Google takes the landing page into account as well. It helps them display the proper ads for the searcher.
- Think about mobile: Mobile search is huge and only become a larger part of overall search. Keeping your copy short and to the point will help optimize your ads for mobile.
- Experiment: Not every ad will work when you turn the campaign on. Experimenting with the ad and testing the different versions can help you grow your clicks and optimize your ads.
Landing page strategy
Landing pages are your last shot to motivate your potential customer to buy, or to learn more. Having an optimized landing page gives your customer the option to learn more about the product and service you highlighted within your Adwords ad. Keep these factors in mind when you’re creating your landing page experience.
- Provide useful content
- Be trustworthy
- Allow the visitor to navigate away from the landing page to your site
- Add a call-to-action
- Give them the information they want
- Ad photos and make it visually appealing
Your budget, my friend (and if you’ve read the post up to this point I think I can call you friend), is the toughest question to answer. What I’ll say is this: It depends.
It depends on what your ROI is from spending one dollar in Adwords. What’s your return? How many customers do you get? What do those customers spend? What these questions boil down to is your Life Time Value: Customer Acquisition Cost (LTV:CAC) ratio. Your ratio will tell you what type of budget you should spend in Adwords. What your acceptable ratio is depends on the lifetime value that customer has. The shorter the lifetime value the higher your ratio should be. This ratio will allow you the space to maneuver your budget and keep your marketing costs down.
Defining goals or KPIs for your Adwords campaign has a direct effect on the return you receive. Without goals there is no direction. And without direction you are throwing money out of the window. Hubspot has a great list of metrics to follow for your paid campaign. The list includes:
- Quality score: Quality score takes into account your click-through rate, keyword relevance to the query, relevance to the ad group, CTR of the URLs in the ad group, and the quality of the landing page. Monitoring this score and shooting for 7 out of 10 or above will give your campaign an extra boost and can actually lower your cost per click.
- Click-through rate: This one is pretty straight forward and can affect your quality score and tell you whether your ads are relevant to searchers.
- Conversion rate: Using Adwords tracking pixels, you can monitor the success each keyword has and what type of rate it’s converting the searchers into a conversion. Your conversions can be set at any level, from lead to new customer.
- Cost per conversion: This gets back to the customer acquisition cost discussion we had earlier. The more you know the better you can make decisions that are good for your budget.
- Wasted spend: Wasted spend or negative keywords can be a drain to your budget. Making sure the keywords are moved to negative can help you save money and increase your click-through rate.
Starting a paid online marketing campaign can be a tricky proposition. Yet, with a proper strategy in place you can lay the groundwork for a fruitful campaign. This type of approach is only one piece of the overall marketing puzzle, but it can be the most transparent tool you use. So use it wisely and make sure your acquisition costs make sense to your business as a whole.
Get more great pay-per click insights and information in this post: 7 AdWords Influencers to Follow.