As a small business owner in the digital age, you are always looking for new ways to increase your revenue. There are many solutions available on the Internet that can provide a healthy ROI. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is one of the most effective advertising solutions you can use for your business.

The concept of PPC is quite simple. You make an ad, people see your ad and click on it (hopefully), and then you pay. You pay every time someone clicks your ad. But if no one sees your ad, no one clicks on your ad. It’s no secret that the top position gets the most clicks, so advertisers are constantly bidding for the top position. If you want to be on top, you have to pay more to be up there.

Sounds simple right?

Well, the implementation can be much more challenging and time consuming than you realize.

Which PPC Platform is Right For You?

While there are quite a few PPC platforms to consider, Google AdWords is the most popular place to start due to the high volume of people who use Google and due to Google’s ability to drive targeted traffic. Targeted traffic means that the most relevant potential users of your product or service will see your ad.

Every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay. This is the essence of Pay Per Click. In general, the more competitive the search term, the more expensive the clicks. This is because Google AdWords is essentially an auction-based system where advertisers compete with one another for ad space.

Not only that, Google AdWords tends to be a bit more expensive per click when compared with other PPC platforms and for good reason. Not only does Google enjoy more traffic than virtually every other website in the world, Google provides you a wide array of analytics and other tools to help you manage and analyze the results of your campaign.

What About Display Banner Advertising?

Banner ads can also be a great way to deliver targeted traffic to your website. There are a wide variety of outlets when it comes to online ad space. Choosing the right place for your ad – websites that are relevant to your audience – will have a big impact on the success of your campaign. The design of the ad is also a very important factor in attracting clicks. To increase conversion rates, you need to write good ad content and offer an engaging design. Unless you have design skills, you should hire a professional to design your banners, which can increase the cost of your campaign overall, but is worth the cost.

If you decide to forego banner ads, Google AdWords offers a way for you to run text-only ads on their network. This feature may be worth exploring and you can add image ads later if you decide to. Most ad platforms have their own analytics and some are more robust than others. While platform-specific analytics data is important, business owners should rely more heavily on their onsite analytics to determine ROI.

Should You Manage Your Own PPC Account?

Most business owners are looking for ways to save on expenses, so at first glance it may make sense to tackle the task of managing your own PPC campaign. This has the potential to be a costly mistake in the long run.

The search software provider Wordstream found that small businesses waste nearly 25% of their ad spend each month due to strategic errors in managing their PPC campaigns.
Would you fix your own car when it’s broken? Would you replace your own roof on your home if it needed it? If you had the skills and were so inclined to do these things you might.

What is more likely is that you would hire a professional that knows the ins and outs of that trade because then you know the job will be done right. PPC is no different. Companies that offer pay per click campaign management services are specialists. There are several nuances to effectively managing a pay per click campaign. These skills not only take time to master, they take time to implement. Time that you as a business owner simply do not have.

One example of this is Google’s Quality Score (QS). Depending on how well written and relevant your keywords, ads, and landing pages are, Google will assign a QS to your ad. This will also be a factor in determining your Cost Per Click (CPC), which is how much you pay when someone clicks on your ad. Maybe you fancy yourself a good writer. But are you willing to risk your meager writing skills in the competitive world of online advertising? Best to leave it to the pros that know how to optimize your ad for the best results.

If you decide that you want to write your ad copy yourself, get some tips from the pros. The folks at VerticalResponse put together some great tips on how to write a winning pay per click ad and LunaMetrics crated a handy call-to-action cheat sheet which lists strong action words and their character counts to help you keep your ads under the character limits imposed by ad networks such as AdWords.

Where Are The Results?

Investing your hard earned money back into your business can be nerve wracking. You need to be sure every dime spent is a dime you are getting back and then some. With some forms of traditional advertising, this can be difficult to track. Fortunately, with the way pay per click advertising works, conversion tracking is easy.

You have access to a suite of analytics services that will tell you how many people look at your ad, how many people click on your ad, and if they go on to make a purchase on your website.

One quick and simple way to track purchases is by simply tracking the “Thank You” page that your customers see after making a purchase. You can see reports in real time on how all your hard earned money is being spent as well as how much money is coming in as a result.

How You Can Get The Best Results

You should be regularly split testing different ads. By tracking which ads give the best results, you can make sure you are always getting the best return on your investment. Split testing works by displaying different versions of an ad simultaneously to different people. Analytics will show over time, which ads are performing best.

Retargeting is another technique you should consider using. After a potential customer visits your website, Google can track and identify that user on other websites in order to present them with your ads in an effort to encourage them to return to your site. This is useful because it provides a way for you to advertise to visitors of your website that may not have made a purchase.

There is also call tracking, which is becoming very popular with experts running PPC or other online marketing campaigns. Many businesses use online advertising not only to make sales on their website, but also to drive traffic to their websites for the purposes of making a sale offline. A customer will see your ad for your product or service, visit your website, then call you to make a purchase, instead of doing it on your website.

Call tracking services assign each of your visitors a unique phone number for their session so you can easily track where your call-in customers are coming from. This technique requires a pool of phone numbers that can automatically be assigned by the ad code but also continually get recycled so as to not need a large volume of numbers. Call data gives you even further metrics to track your ROI from your PPC campaign.

The Most Important Factors For Success

There are many other factors that go into successfully implementing a PPC campaign. The main factors being the ad platform, content and design of the ad, and even the time of day that the ad is running. Of all the ad platforms out there, Google AdWords can give you the most targeted traffic simply because there are so many people using Google. It makes your ads more likely to reach the audience by targeting people who are actively searching to purchase your product or service.

That brings us to keyword research and knowing how to make the right keyword choices. It is extremely important to go after buyer keywords, which are phrases that show intent to purchase.

A lot of people searching on Google are looking for information, but that’s not going to result in a sale for you. You should also avoid using phrases that contain the word “free” in it. People searching for free stuff will rarely buy from you. If you target the people that are actively looking to buy something, your ads will convert into sales at a better ratio.

Time of day is also an important and often overlooked factor. What time of day is your ideal customer using their computer? If you are looking to market your product to a localized audience, this question might be an easy one for you to answer. If you are nationwide or even worldwide, it can be a bit more challenging. Ad scheduling (also know as day parting) is a method of displaying ads at certain times of day.

Ad scheduling is great for maximizing efficiency, especially for businesses with limited budget. It’s also useful for targeting customers during business hours while employees are in the office, which is important for businesses that generate many sales through phone calls.

When designing your ads, you need a relevant title and a small amount of information that will catch people’s attention and make them want to click on your ad. You should also consider providing a special offer in your ad if you can, because it provides incentive to potential customers and it’s a great way to stand out from competitors. Create customized, relevant content that is constantly evolving to better engage your potential customers.

Tools That Can Help You Get Better Results

There are a variety of tools you can use to help with your PPC campaign. Some of the more popular tools have many different functions while others focus on one or a few aspects of PPC management.

Keyword research is the most important aspect for a successful PPC campaign. So naturally, many software tools provide information about keywords. Knowing the search volume and competition for a keyword ahead of time can be invaluable. Another great feature is being able to see what keywords your competitors are using and how successful they are.

There are other tools that allow you to easily manage your bids based on a certain set of rules or certain conversion metrics.Also, the major search engines such as Google and Bing, provide lots of helpful videos and other information about how to increase your revenue while lowering your cost per acquisition. Check out  Google’s Adwords Help Center and Bing’s Ad Courses for training materials.

The Best Tools Around

Here are some common tools that you can use to set up your PPC campaigns. The data provided by these tools are only rough estimates, but it is adequate enough at estimating search volume, competitiveness and budget to get you started. From there you can test and modify your campaigns based on their performance.

  • SEMRush – This nifty research tool analyzes your competitors in paid advertising and organic search results. They provide data on keywords such as quality score, volume and ranking data.
  • SpyFu – SpyFu is similar to SEMRush but they have different features and data. They provide useful data such as what keywords your competitors are ranking for, estimated costs to run certain keywords, estimated click-through rates, keyword difficulty and how much money a competitors is estimated as spending on their paid campaigns.
  • HitWise – Gives you insight into your competition by showing what keywords provide the most traffic for competing websites
  • SEOBook’s A/B Split Test Calculator – This is a simple tool designed to quickly test the potential results from split testing your ads.
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner – The keyword planner helps you brainstorm relevant keywords and provides data to make it easier to determine their potential for success. The traffic estimator provides data on the top ad position such as estimated number of clicks and bid prices.
  • Google AdWords Editor – This downloadable tool from Google is available on Mac or PC. You can import multiple accounts, edit your campaigns offline and then upload changes. The power editor lets you edit one keyword or even hundreds of keywords at a time.

Did You Make The Right Choice?

Bottom line, there is no magic bullet to success in the digital advertising world. It is like being in a vast ocean of endless choices, possibilities and potential outcomes. But this is not an ocean you have to navigate alone. Finding the right PPC management professional will mean the difference between riding the wave of success and sinking in the quagmire of missed chances and lost opportunities.