Countless articles have been written on the best way to manage a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. A recurring theme we hear is, ‘what defines a successful campaign?’. Part of our secret recipe for success in PPC includes these four essential components:
Selection of the Right Keywords
The first step to beginning a pay-per-click campaign is deciding what keywords you want to bid on. Thus it is logical that this is also the first important component of a successful campaign. Obviously you can’t bid on all the potential keywords that might be related to your industry. Even if your marketing budget would allow it, you could be wasting your time and money on the majority of terms that are not directly related to your business.
Selecting the right keywords will involve carefully determining the terms that potential customers will be using to find your company. Often a large chunk of these keywords can be determined just by brainstorming by yourself or with coworkers. Often however it is useful to use surveys to question existing customers about what terms they used to find your company or what terms they looked for before finding your company. It is also useful in many cases to get the insight of pay-per-click marketing companies since keyword selection is a big part of what they do every day. Just remember to critically evaluate the source of the information whether that information is coming from you, a coworker, customer, or marketer.
Selecting the Right Bids for Keywords
Determine the appropriate bid to use for the keywords that you have selected. The unfortunate reality is that if you are just starting out in pay-per-click marketing there’s a good chance that there is already fierce competition for the best keywords. Choosing the right bid for your keywords is going to be fundamental for your ultimate success or failure.
You must carefully consider your existing marketing and advertising budget for the pay-per-click campaign. If your bids are too low you are likely to fail to win any of the keywords. On the other hand if you bid too high you can easily exceed your budget or wind up paying more for the customer than his or her business actually brings in in revenue. You should also consider what the “fight” over a keyword is worth. Is your budget dollar better spent securing a slightly less high profile keyword that may nevertheless still prove very lucrative?
Designing and Using Landing Pages
Too many companies simply route all customers to their homepages and leave it at that. In some instances for certain types of generic keywords that may be acceptable. However, very often all that strategy will accomplish is to cost your company the money it spends on getting the click only to immediately lose the customer when they get confused, bored, and overwhelmed by your site and go back to Google to check out your competitor’s site.
One of the main components of a successful pay-per-click campaign is designing and using the best landing page for a given keyword. If your customer searched for a particular product or service in the keyword, then why not have them routed directly to a corresponding page designed and targeted specifically for that product or service? If they searched for a certain piece of information then link them directly to the page that gives them that information and make it prominent and easy to find. This strategy will increase your conversion rate and make your webpages more “sticky.”
Monitoring Progress with Analytics
The trouble with all efforts for keyword selection, bidding, and landing page strategies is that until you actually implement the plan it is all just theory. Once your pay-per-click campaign is up and running it is essential that you monitor its success with some type of analytics. Google itself provides some excellent analytics solutions and useful standalone options as well as options built into other products and services also exist.
Regardless of what analytics service you use, it is essential that you use some type of analytics so that you will know what is working and what isn’t working. Obviously once you have that information you can make changes as necessary to optimize your campaign, cutting out the waste and maximizing the good.
These four basic components are the foundation of every good pay-per-click campaign. In-depth articles and books have been written on each of these topics alone and the information provided here is only a starting point. The Refinery is experienced in pay-per-click campaigns and marketing strategies and we are always eager to help our customers develop a campaign that will work for their particular company.