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8 Paid Search Marketing Tips for Beginners

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In order to be competitive you need to be found online at the top of the search results. If you are in a very competitive industry or don't have time to wait for SEO to propel your business to the top of the organic search results then you need to consider a pay per click campaign. PPC advertising can position your company at the top of the search results almost instantly.

If you are new to pay per click advertising and want to learn more about how it can help your business then continue reading. I have put together eight basic tips to help you grasp PPC advertising.

1. Understand How PPC Works

The results that are shown at the very top and on the right sidebar of the search results are considered paid search ads. When you set up a pay per click campaign and create ads they are displayed in these positions as long as your bids are high enough to get impressions for your ads. You are bidding against other companies for the top positions, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ads.

The highest bidders are served at the top positions and they are likely to receive the highest click volume. The advantage of PPC is that you can literally attract instant website traffic as long as you have a competitive bid strategy. Look at the example below to see where the paid search results show up in the search results.

2014-08-02-PPCsearchresults.png

2. Have Defined Conversion Goals

Before you set up a pay per click campaign you need to have well defined conversion goals. What do you want to accomplish? What action do you want visitors to take when they land on your website? Some common conversion goals include completing lead capture forms, gaining newsletter subscribers, receiving phone calls, or completing an online purchase. Having predetermined conversion goals allows you to select the appropriate keywords and create ad copy around the goals.

3. Select Your PPC Platform

There are several platforms that offer pay per click advertising, with the most popular being Google, the Yahoo! Bing network, and Facebook. There are benefits and disadvantages with all, so it is important to pick one that will suit your needs the best.

Google has the highest search volume, but you will pay a premium for the clicks. The Yahoo! Bing network has a lower average cost per click, but not nearly the same search volume that Google does. Facebook offers very precise targeting options, but the users are not actively searching for the products or services being offered. It is always best to test multiple platforms, or consult with a pay per click management company to determine the best plan.

4. Perform Detailed Keyword Research

Your keyword selection will either make your PPC campaign a winner or a loser, so it is important that you spend time identifying the best keywords according to your defined conversion goals. With PPC you want to target buyer keywords and not just general keywords that will end up costing you money without delivering results.

For example, if you are selling blue widgets you would want to target keywords such as "buy blue widgets" or "buy blue widgets online" instead of a generic term like "blue widgets," as the generic term can end up costing more per click and just deliver information seekers to your website. You want to target traffic that is looking to convert.

5. Determine Your PPC Budget

This is where some reverse engineering comes into play. You need to identify what your ideal customer acquisition cost is. If you are selling a product that nets your business a $500 profit and you anticipate converting 1 out of every 50 visitors then even at a $5 cost per click it will still result in a 100% ROI.

You will need to play with some numbers to determine a starting budget, and then adjust from there. The great thing about PPC is that you can constantly optimize the campaign to improve the performance. There is a steep learning curve, hence the reason many businesses prefer to work with a PPC agency from the start.

6. Create Compelling Ad Copy

Your ad needs to grab the attention of the individual performing the search. Just because you have high bids and your ads are showing up on top it doesn't mean that they will automatically receive clicks. Your ad title as well as the description and display URL should all include the keyword that brought the individual to your ad. This is why it is so important to create very targeted ad groups. Create several versions and eliminate the ones that perform well and allocate more of the budget to those ads that are resulting in conversions.

7. Make Sure Your Landing Pages Are Relevant

You need to make sure that your landing pages are highly relevant to the ad copy that delivered the visitor. Many companies create great ad copy and target the right keywords but they simply send the visitor to their home page or a landing page that isn't relevant to the ad that was clicked on.

If you are advertising a specific product in your ad then make sure the person clicking on the ad is brought to a landing page that offers that same exact product and allows them to quickly make a purchase or inquiry. Sending them to general pages will not help your conversion rate at all.

8. Continue to Test & Optimize

PPC advertising requires constant testing and optimization to keep the campaign performing. This isn't something you can set up once and then just let it run on autopilot. You will need to constantly test different ad copy, keywords, bidding strategies, and landing pages in order to keep the campaign turning a ROI. It is a full time job to run the PPC campaign.

Use these tips to dive into pay per click advertising, and remember it is something that requires your constant attention. If you don't have time to properly manage the campaign you will want to consider having a PPC management company handle the campaign. This allows you to devote your time to running your business while the PPC professionals handle your paid search marketing.

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