Pay per click advertising is one of the few mediums that can bring thousands of visitors to your website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
But, if it were as easy as picking apples from a tree, then all small businesses would be rich and successful. It can be challenging, it takes attention to detail, and constant tweaking to maximize your results.
Let's define pay per click (PPC) first to make sure we are on the same page. PPC is a form of online advertising used to direct traffic to websites, in which a company pays a publisher whenever users click on their ad.
PPC cost can vary anywhere from 25 cents per click to over $25 per click. The actual cost of pay per click advertising varies widely depending on where you are advertising and what you are advertising.
Some verticals are extremely competitive and the more competitive they are, generally, the higher the PPC costs can be. Having said that, there are a few things you can do to help manage your costs.
Setting a daily budget will maximize your exposure each day. Without a limit, the publishing platform you are using will just keep serving your ads.
There have been plenty of small business owners shocked to see they racked up a large bill because they did not set any types of limits on their spending.
You must monitor your campaigns. PPC is not something you set up once and leave alone. You need to constantly analyze what is happening with your campaigns.
What's working? What's not? Which leads me to...
Constantly AB test your campaigns to find out what is working. The little minute tweaks you make to improve your ads will make a huge difference in the performance of your ads. The better your ads perform, the lower your PPC costs will be.
Pay per click advertising can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be.
For beginners, it is great to start small and expand as you gain confidence and skill. Take the time to master the in's and out's of pay per click advertising to achieve your goals.
PPC allows you to reach a target market almost instantly. With the targeting options on most PPC advertising platforms, you can serve your ads to a very specific audience you know is most likely to respond to what you are offering.
This can be incredibly powerful.
It's not uncommon for many of us to assume our product will sell just because we have a trending product, a nice looking website, and a seemingly impeccable marketing campaign.
With PPC you can test your assumptions to see if people are actually interested.
Pay per click advertising can be used to boost your digital marketing strategy in a number of ways.
You can test keywords you are considering for SEO to see how they perform first. The last thing you want to do is spend your time optimizing for a keyword that doesn't perform. If you haven't spent much time on your SEO yet, check out this article for some SEO basics.
You can use PPC to drive traffic to your content marketing, which can significantly help grow your list of followers.
The ways you can use PPC to boost your other digital marketing efforts are only limited by your imagination.
What is Remarketing? See the illustration below.
PPC allows you to easily remarket to people who have already expressed some interest in your business by visiting your website. You can stay top of mind and be there when that person is ready to buy.
Google AdWords is the most popular type of search advertising. It enables small businesses to create ads on its search engine and its properties.
With Google search ads you can target people who are ready to buy and create immediate sales for your business.
Here's an example of a search ad for Harry & David. It showed up when I searched for "Christmas gifts".
Display Ads are PPC campaigns that include banners, text ads, image and video ads, and audio clips. These ads appear on websites and can be fine-tuned to display for a very specific targeted audience.
Social media advertising is advertising via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. In general (not always), social media advertising is not a great way to generate immediate sales like search advertising.
However, it's a great way to introduce people to what your business does and how you can help them. Next time you are on Facebook pay attention to the ads you see.
Many of them aren't trying to get you to buy right now (just like the sample below). Instead, they are asking you to opt-in to something. When I clicked on the ad below I went to a landing page that asked for my email address. Once that business has your email address they can "nurture" you and encourage you to support their business at a future point in time.
I touched on this one above. Remarketing can be a very effective way to help your brand stay top of mind and engage people who have already expressed an interest in your business.
Remarketing can get pretty tricky, it will be well worth your time to learn some of the remarketing dos and donts.
Don't we all love the saying "the bigger, the better"? It is not always the case though. In terms of pay per click advertising, you should avoid using terms that are too broad.
Make sure you target a specific audience so your ads are relevant and of interest. If you try to target everyone your conversion rates will be abysmal and your ad costs will be much higher than they should be.
It could have been a hundred times easier if we were all in a single timezone right? But this is nothing but wishful thinking. Thanks to automated rules, small business owners don't need to stay up all night to run a pay-per-click campaign.
"The bigger, the better" is again not always true, especially when you run your small business marketing via digital methods like pay per click advertising.
Track your budget in simple ways like creating a Google sheet with formulas and tags. Setting spending limits per campaign or by the day will also help you keep the reins on your spending.
A promise is a promise. Many campaigns fail to deliver efficiently because the landing page is either, not working or different from what the ad shows.
Clickbait ads always frustrate people, so you better link a landing page that is relevant to your ad and speaks to the visitor quickly.
It is very important for small businesses to target a specific geographical location to maximize the return on investment (ROI).
Imagine launching a pay per click campaign to customers in Asia when your business is in the United States. Pay careful attention to who you are targeting with your ads.
Never underestimate the power of a call-to-action in your PPC advertising. A simple "Buy Now" or "Subscribe Here" CTA can make a huge difference in your campaign.
This one is more specific to Google Adwords, but it's really important. The words you target in your PPC campaigns can be just as important as the keywords you don't.
Negative keywords ensure your ads aren't being shown to the wrong people. For example, if one of your target keywords is "website design" you probably don't want people that searched for "free website design". In this case, I'd make "free" one of my negative keywords to eliminate people who want something for free!
We just covered a lot of ground, but I've given you a high-level overview of pay per click advertising, how much it costs, the benefits, the types, and common mistakes.
I know you can use at least some of these tips to immediately improve your PPC efforts.
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Tim Fitzpatrick is the President & Founder of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we create marketing systems to help small businesses achieve simple, sustainable growth. We’re the bridge between where you are and where you want to be.