For those who don’t know, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a method by which you pay a certain amount to have advertisements appear at the top and side of search engines, designed at helping to create traffic through to your website and generate sales.
If you are a newly formed business looking to generate added traffic, PPC can be a great way to do this. However, if you are to embark on PPC advertising, you need to make sure you know exactly how it works and what you’re doing. A few wrong steps could end up costing you a substantial amount of money with very little return.
PPC works entirely around keywords and phrases that you believe people will enter into search engine queries. You can broaden this to include wide searches such as similar or related phrases, increasing the overall level of traffic and awareness. When selecting keywords for your PPC ads you need to look at not only which will bring through the best levels of traffic, but which are most applicable to your business or website. If you bid on keywords purely because they are high traffic sources, people are going to land on your site and find that it has absolutely nothing to do with what they were initially searching for. This is going to cause a cause a high bounce rate, but more importantly it’s going to mean people are clicking on your link, which costs you money, without you getting anything in return. Once you have determined what keywords you wish to use the next step is the bidding process.
PPC bidding works similar to how it would on an auction site such as eBay, the person who bids the most gets the best value for money. While you will all be able to use a keyword you are bidding on, the amount you bid will determine how high up the search engine rankings your advert appears.
Ideally, you want to be in the position that you see above, at the very top of a search engine or at the very least within the top 2. This means that as soon as a user searches for a particular keyword, your ad is going to be the first thing they see. Not only will this result in a lot more clicks, but it will give your businesses added exposure. However, like I said this all comes down to money. When bidding on keywords you will enter the amount you wish to pay per click. This means that every time someone clicks on your advert to go through to your website, you will be charged that set amount. If they don’t click, you don’t pay. As it is a bidding process, you are going to find that the top spots for some of the more popular keywords related to your website are going to cost you a substantial amount of money as some of the biggest names in your industry will also be bidding on them. This cost may be a bit too much for you to spend until your business grows to the point where it is profitable to do so.
If your bid isn’t within the top 2 or 3, your adverts will appear down the right hand side of the search engine. While it will mean much less traffic and impressions, you may find that it is much more cost-effective for your business due to your relatively new start.
When running using PPC advertising, it’s absolutely vital to put spending limits on each of your campaigns. If you don’t, it’s just going to run and run and rack up quite a large bill at the end. There are two limits you can set; the maximum cost per click you wish to have and the maximum daily spend for each campaign. As an overview, a campaign is a grouping that contains a certain number of keywords which then have adverts inside them. For example, if you have each advert set at a maximum cost per click of 25p and the campaign daily limit at £5, it means that at a maximum you are going to spend for that campaign is £5 per day and generate roughly around 20 clicks through the adverts it contains.
This just makes the whole campaign much easier to manage and safe from any potential money pitfalls. If you find that you are missing out on potential clicks due to the budget being too low, you can simply raise the limit to account for the lost clicks. That way you are ensuring that you aren’t wasting money.
Once you’ve set up your campaigns you then need to monitor them on a regular basis to ensure that they are all providing you with the cost-effective return that you require. As a whole, this will come down to your overall cost per conversion. Within your various PPC platforms, whether it’s Adwords or Bing, you will be able to set what you deem a conversion to be. For most businesses this will be when a transaction takes place on the site in the form of a sale. If you find that your cost per conversion is higher than you expect, it will usually be down to something on your website putting the customer off from purchasing once they arrive on the site. This may mean changing the landing page URL on the advert or altering the page to increase its conversion rate. If the clicks you are generating for the campaign are low or non-existent, this will be an indication that the adverts aren’t doing the required job of bringing people through to your website. This could be due to the text which you have entered into the advert not being enticing though, the keywords you are using or the position of the advert based on the amount you’ve bid.
Constantly looking at these various factors will allow to tinker with your overall campaign, slowly making them more optimised to bring you a greater level of traffic and ultimately more sales.
This article was written by John Johnston. John is part of the marketing team for Workwear Express, the leading supplier of printed t-shirts, staff uniforms and personalised clothing in the UK and across Europe.