PPC campaigns through Google AdWords can help drive traffic to your website as part of an inbound marketing program and a good SEM (search engine marketing) plan. PPC, or pay-per-click, is exactly what it says: You specify the amount you’re willing to pay for each visitor who searches on your keywords, sees your ad, and then clicks through to your website from your ad. You choose the keywords and create the ad, then sit back and watch the visitors roll in. Sounds simple, right?
Maybe not. Without some planning and research, your campaign might not generate many sales because you’re choosing the wrong keywords, you don’t have a compelling call to action, or you’re targeting the wrong area. Worse, you might pay for a lot of clicks without much return on your investment. Here are a few basic concepts for beginners to keep in mind as you plan a Google AdWords campaign.
1. Be smart about keywords.
Google AdWords offers a great, free tool in Keyword Planner for brainstorming keywords. It helps you choose the keywords your potential customers use to find you. But make sure you don’t cast too large a net. You don’t want users clicking on your ads if you’re not offering what they’re really searching for. This could happen when you use the default broad match keyword, or when you don’t use negative keywords. You’ll increase the number of clicks (which you have to pay for!) but not necessarily your sales.
Need a concrete example? Let’s say you exclusively sell wool socks. So “wool socks” makes a great keyword. But “socks” by itself is too broad, and might attract people looking for silk or cotton socks—they might click, but not buy. To filter out those users, you might use “silk” or “cotton” as negative keywords.
2. Make a landing page the focus of your campaign.
So you’ve got a user to click on your ad for fancy merino wool socks in exciting designer colors. Awesome! But what happens when she clicks through to your home page and doesn’t see any mention of the merino wool socks she wanted? Again, you’re on the hook for the click without getting a sale.
Here’s where a specific landing page campaign can really help. It’s a page focused exclusively on a product, a service, a sale, or event with a specific call-to-action for your visitor. (“Download our brochure.” “Schedule a free consultation.” “Buy two pairs of merino wool socks and get one free.”) A landing page used with a PPC campaign makes it convenient for your visitors to take the action you want them to take.
3. Location, location, location.
Really think about your target audience. Who are they? More importantly, where are they? AdWords lets you drill down in amazing detail when it comes to geotargeting your audience. This is especially critical for local businesses. You can narrow down to specific states or zip codes, or set up a radius around a location. You can expand to nearby areas, or exclude areas altogether. With geotargeting, you won’t waste money on clicks from users outside your target area. Don’t just accept the default choices—spend some time thinking about your potential customers. Be sure to make sure you have your campaign settings set to “Search network – all features”. This allows you to have the advanced option for users IN your targeted locations set. Otherwise Google will serve your ads to people fantasizing about your location who are halfway around the world.
These are just some basics to get you thinking about a PPC campaign through AdWords. There are many other options for PPC advertising, and much more to learn about AdWords itself. It’s a great DIY option for businesses wading into SEM…but it’s okay to realize when you’re over your head.
Experienced experts (like BlueTreeDigital) can help steer you in the right direction and help you plan an effective campaign. No matter whether you plan your own AdWords campaign or seek help, we like to help small businesses get informed about marketing options.