How to Design Effective PPC Campaigns?

PPC – you might have heard this word a lot, many a times with ROI (return on investment). PPC stands for pay per click, an ad model that is your ticket to increased impressions, better sales and more ROI. 

As the name suggests, you pay for every click a visitor makes. The model is thus all about making each click count.

A successful pay per click campaign can take your business to cloud nine. A failed campaign can make you broke. This is why having knowledge about PPC and how it translates to better return on investment – before you dive in – is so important.

So Before You Begin…

If after thorough analysis, you find PPC isn’t the right road for your business, turn around. Take this path only if PPC promises high returns.

Is it For You?

Maybe, maybe not. Like we said, there are a handful of factors like your niche, targeted demographics, your size and others that will determine if PPC is worth the while.

How to Make the Campaign Successful?

If you do find it worth the while, you must undertake a thorough study before rushing with PPC. Planning is only difference between a thriving and a wobbling campaign.

How to Effectively Start a PPC Campaign?

Your campaign is probably going to be a success if you:

  • Know your goals – you must know why this campaign is imperative. Are you seeking inquiries? Or awareness? Define your objectives and analyze.
  • Have prepared your landing pages – it is about making clicks count, remember? How can a click result in a conversion if the landing page isn’t optimized? To maximize leads, the landing page must be optimized with a useful interface and a high quality, value-driven content or copy.
  • Know what customers are looking for – There are two rules of engagement here. Rule number 1; think and like a visitor. Pay attention to the results, what they are offering and how are they compelling the users. The second rule; always take notes of competitors. When you search different queries, how many competitors pop up? If there are only a handful of names, either your market is limited or the keyword isn’t popular.

And never, ever pick PPC model for a new trend/ invention. If people aren’t aware of a new trend or a new product, how much do you think are their chances of searching it?

Now let’s see how you can set up your PPC goals and why they are so important to your PPC campaign.

What are the right goals for a PPC marketing campaign?

Why Goals Matter in PPC?

In almost every matter of our life, we seek a direction, a goal if you will. From the time you woke up in the morning, till the moment you entered your office for instance, all your activities were focused on reaching the office, your goal – weren’t they? At night as you brush your teeth so you can go to bed, you have a goal in mind; to go to bed so you can feel fresh for work.

Even in business – entities that know what they want and how they are going to achieve it, are always the market leaders. So you see it’s always better to have a clear idea of goals.

What’s Your Goal?

Is it exposure you are after? Or more sales? Or do you want people to fill out the form after they have landed on your ‘landing page’? Whichever is your goal, your efforts should be directed towards achieving just that.

The real bonus is that you are better able to outline your problems only when your goals are clearly defined. Any deviation from your goal is a potential problem.

Charles Kettering once said, “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.”

How do you Solve a Problem?

As Kettering put it, once you find the source of the problem, you are already half way through it. If you are falling short of your monthly sales targets for instance, you just have to find out why it is so. If the targets were already unrealistic, then you know where to strike. If it’s lack of manpower, you can always hire more people or bring try to bring existing sales force up to the mark.

Just identify and remove the problem to get back on the track that leads to your goals.

How does it relate to PPC?

Let’s say you do want to increase the sales. If you aren’t getting enough leads, you have solved half of your worries, because you now know that your low sales are due to stumpy leads. If you were to increase the number of leads, your sales would automatically increase.

Can PPC get more leads?

You bet it can. It was crafted to generate more leads through more impressions.  But there’s a catch – you will not get more leads with PPC if you aren’t targeting your audience. This means if your keywords and landing pages aren’t optimized for intended audience, your PPC is likely to fail.

How to Target the Right Audience?

‘Moccasins’ might be a popular search term, but a potential buyer is more likely to search for ‘brown leather moccasins’. It’s the most important thing and you need to be aware of your target audience.

The word ‘moccasins’ might get you more impressions but a specific query will drive your conversions. The lesson learnt – know and focus on your audience. The next important thing is to design the landing page according to your targeted visitors.

Why a Targeted Landing Page?

Because visitors are probably on a tight schedule and you – as a marketer – need be aware of, and respect that. Many websites use home as their landing page, but it’s not the best choice. Why? Because visitors are always looking for quick fixes and don’t want to spend more time looking for the right page on your site.

If you aren’t narrowing their search, they will just hit the ‘back’ button and look for someone who is.

How to Optimize a Landing Page?

First rule; call them to action. Give them what they are looking for, and they are yours. The guy landing on your site through the query, ‘brown leather moccasins’ is looking for just those, brown leather moccasins. If you have one landing page that is targeting everything from flip-flops to leather boots, the landing person isn’t going to spend time sorting out what he wants.

He’s here for brown moccasins, and nothing else. So make sure your page is optimized for moccasins. Make sure it’s already sorted out. Likewise, a girl searching for cut boots would want to land on a page that targets just those boots, and offers a simple call to action. So:

  • Are your landing pages catering the right audience?
  • Is your individual landing page asking the same question a visitor seeks the answer to?
  • Is it appropriately answering that question and easing his troubles?
  • Are your pages calling them to action?
  • Are your landing pages tailored to solve their individual problems?

Address them and make them think it was them, not you. For max conversions, design a campaign that:

  • Gets their attention
  • Compels them to click and go to landing page
  • Compels them to take action and buy your product (or service)
  • Makes them feel it was their effort that solved the problem

If you are good to move on, let’s deal with another core issue – keywords.

Imperativeness of Keywords

These all-important landing pages, which will drive your conversions – lean on one crucial factor, keywords. The words you choose have the power to decide the outcome of successful (or an unsuccessful) conversion.

Keywords are so important, they are often the first thing a newbie PPC marketer with limited knowledge of Ad Words, asks about. Whether it’s SEO (search engine optimization) or SEM (search engine marketing), keyword is the real driver that can help assure the customer this purchase was her effort all along.

How to Optimize PPC Campaign to Attract More Customers?

But optimization is easier said than done. You are more likely to fail if you don’t know where your campaign is headed. So here is the ABC of optimization

1. Awareness of Objectives

The key goals or objectives of a PPC campaign can be brand awareness, more leads, or sales. In order to optimize the keywords, you need to be aware of your goals. If it’s sales, your keywords should be focused on selling. If the goal is awareness, you must target informative keywords.

2. Be insightful of your Target Audience

It just feels like rephrasing above lines, but before you pick the words with which you wish to interact with the visitors, you must know who they are, i.e. their demographics, their tastes, needs, wants and their affordability status.

You can’t just sell the product to everyone; there has to be a target in your mind before you initiate your marketing campaign, PPC or otherwise.

To test the waters just ask them. They love to tell, ask them why they preferred you over others.

Another great way to know about them is to mine data. You don’t have to be a research analyst for it. Many a time, basic information about your valued customers (visitors) can yield remarkable insights. Keep track of every bit of information you can get your hands on. Understand their trends, hobbies and demographics.

Google Analytics is a wonderful tool to gauge internal data and your target audience. With Analytics data in your hand, you can categorize your visitors and target them accordingly.

3. Carry out an Extensive Keyword Research

As you might have deduced from lines above, keyword research aids the communication process. So it should be your third step in this process, not the first, because you can’t communicate effectively unless you know who they are.

So how can you carry out an extensive keyword search?

You have a few options to get started, first of which is Google Analytics and Google’s Search Console (formerly Webmasters). With these two elementary tools, you will be able to discover the terms which customers are using to land on your site.

Another way to get around this is to use third party software, apps and sites. Utilizing a combination of free and paid tools, you can not only find popular keywords for your site, but also terms that your competitors are aiming at.

There’s also another way. Make a list of terms that people would use before actual query, then a list of real query terms, and finally, a column in which you will put popular post-query terms. Take following for instance:

Where to get (pre) – brown leather moccasins (base query) – in Malibu, CA (post)

The above illustrates how you should proceed with your research. A 4x4x4 combination can yield 64 potential keywords. Neat isn’t it?

But Wait

There is probably one more thing you need to know about keywords. There’s a term ‘negative keywords’, and it’s real.

Negative keywords mean part of the query that isn’t remotely connected to what you are offering. Like someone, landing on your site for coverage when you offer smartphones only. If 30 out of 100 visitors are landing on your homepage with a query of ‘smartphone coverage’, you have can bet 30 percent are not going to convert, because you don’t have what they came looking for.

Simply, those are 30 wasted clicks.

With that taken care of, let’s deal with the elephant in the room:

Can you execute PPC yourself?

We know the more you read above paragraphs, the more this question bugs you. Is it possible to execute a PPC campaign in-house? If yes, will it work? If not? When to know your company needs a trained PPC manager.

The first thing to understand here is that if your product or service isn’t PPC-compatible, then it’s best not to head down this road at all. But if it is, it is very much possible to do the campaign yourself. If you’ve followed the steps we’ve listed, you should now be able to decide whether or not PPC is the right venture.

Should you do it yourself?

Now, there’s a difference between ‘can you’ and ‘should you’. You can repair the engine of your own car, teach your kids instead of sending them to school, cut your own hair or even tailor your own clothes – but that doesn’t mean you should.

You can probably take it on but the first obstruction you will encounter is budget. Compare the salary of in-house professional, plus setup cost, plus the learning curve with third party solution. Outsourced service is almost always the winner in terms of funds.

But let’s assume you’ve found the courage to do it yourself. Now what?

We will be honest here, possibility is certain but success is conditional. To cut the chase, you can manage it yourself if:

  • You are confident your product/ service is PPC compatible
  • You know all the ins and outs of PPC
  • You or your PPC team is up to date with all the best practices of ever-evolving PPC
  • You can devote good amount of time and effort in learning and implementing PPC

Ready to take it on?

There are at least a dozen problems you will face if you take it on yourself. We have mentioned them in the end, but if you are still firm on doing it yourself, here’s what you will have to do.

1. Carefully analyze your return on investment.

Don’t do it if what you are getting is less than what you are investing.

2. Never let tiniest bit of data slip through your fingers.

Data is going to be important here. You will need to optimize your keywords and your landing pages you can target effectively and convert at a better rate. Prefer intuition or emotion over data only if you have a death-wish for your business.  Metrics include:

  • Click through rate or CTR – How many of your impressions converts into clicks
  • Conversion rate – How many of clickers request information or buy the product
  • Cost Per Click – Cost incurred per click
  • Cost Per Conversion – Cost incurred per successful conversion. This indicates whether your campaign is at a gain or loss.
  • Quality Score – The other crucial half that goes hand in hand with your bid. The product of the QS with the bid determines overall quality. QS is inversely proportional to bid price, meaning the better your ad, relevance and landing page, the less you will have to pay for a better spot. Improve QS to lower conversion costs.

3. Optimize each Landing Page.

Remember, homage and landing page are two different things. Furthermore, if you have more niches to serve, design more than one landing page and optimize all of them according to niche. Ideally, a bunch of similar keywords should lead to same page. Optimized landing page plus optimized keywords plus great and relevant ad design equals success.

Bottom line: attract only desired audience with keywords, ad and landing pages optimization.

4. Optimize each Landing Page.

This is your final step in customer identification and targeting. Once the relevant audience is sorted out, pick the keywords that targets can relate with. The words your audience normally uses should be your aim. You will have to put in more effort in keyword planning tools and in thought process if you wish to discover keyword combinations that work the best. The golden rule is to think like a customer – then give the customer what he really wants.

Hurdles in Self Managed PPC

Maybe you have the talent, the mind, the expertise, the time and the resources to smoothly manage your PPC campaign. However, there are some pitfalls which you should be aware of. Despite everything in your favor, you are still likely to fail if you:

  • Haven’t clearly defined your goals
  • Haven’t optimized landing pages according to goals
  • Aren’t attracting relevant audience
  • Have failed to optimize conversion
  • Do not know how to optimize bids
  • Aren’t optimizing your keywords
  • Aren’t taking note of negative keywords
  • Do not know how to up your Quality Score.
  • Aren’t tracking your campaign’s progress
  • Aren’t data mining or learning form the mined data
  • Give up early in long-term campaigns
  • Aren’t staying up to date with latest policies of search engines and other PPC mediums

Final Words

Many firms have gone in the books as an inspirational case study, but the chance of becoming a part of history books is always greater in case of a mismanaged campaign.

If you are ready to head this road, get started with your PPC campaign to maximize your awareness and returns but if you are still uncertain about some pieces, or if you are unsure of outsourcing it because someone you know didn’t benefit much from PPC, seek advice from professional PPC managers.

Contact us today for professional advice on PPC and all other forms of digital marketing.

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