On Grow Traffic I very often write about what it’s like being a freelance seo consultant but as a search marketer (as well as an online marketer) I have a much broader understanding of the scope of internet marketing as a whole and I sometimes don’t shout enough about the amount of PPC management I’ve done in my time, including managing several campaigns with budgets in excess of £80k a month.
PPC (or Pay Per Click) is one of the two main tools in a search marketers arsenal, and normally I advise clients to be using PPC as well as SEO to help get their products found. A lot of people that I speak to have tried PPC and failed at it miserably, they therefore think that SEO is the only way for them and unfortunately they end up finding that’s a costly way to market themselves as well.
Most campaigns fail due to poor targeting and the creation of really boring ad copy that is either bland or simply just like everyone elses, this leads to a kind of camouflage. Below I’ll give you some tips about managing your PPC campaign – however there is no substitute for getting someone with experience in (which is where I can help – I realise there’s quite a few people reading my blog in the US so if you’re in the States it’s been suggested to me that these guys do great a PPC management service).
How to pick keywords for a PPC campaign
You’ve got to make sure you select the right keywords for you (there’s a good post of picking the right keywords here). Begin by thinking not about the words you know, but about the types of words and phrases the audience is likely to be looking for – I always use the example of the debt management company that sells IVAs and DMPs – they spent 10s of thousands of pounds competing on these terms for very limited returns when the audience simply wanted help to go bankrupt or wanted bankruptcy advice – simply because this is the terminology they public know about this subject.
There are various things to think about, such as are you audience mainly men or women, do they live in specific geographic locations and is the product or service one that people are going to search for locally.
It’s pretty easy to write down a guide to your target audience, that way you’ll be able to refer back to it from time to time and you be can be sure you’re on the right track.
Should I make my AdGroups really specific?
In the past I’ve always had the best results from making sure the AdGroups and Campaigns are really, really specific – if you’re going to set up an AdGroup only include 4 to 6 keywords to start off – if you’re starting to think of more keywords then you should add in more keywords. More importantly for small businesses broader keywords are more expediencies because they are targeted by a lot of people as well as the national brands that can afford to use their profits to increase the barriers to entry into the market for smaller players. For example a big player might target the keyword “TV” whereas a smaller player would be better advised to target something like “52 inch LCD coloiur Television”. There will be less traffic of course but hopefully it would convert better and cost your less.
Making the above phrase more specific by adding the geographic locations you specialise in could be another way to reduce your spend whilst increasing the chance you’ll get some local footfall or appointments.
Also – as well as the keywords you should also be able to better target landing pages and AdVariations to increase the conversion rate of the site.
Advice on Monitoring A PPC Campaign
The most important thing to know about PPC is you should monitor it regularly to work out what’s happening with the campaign. I also believe that by logging in to the campaign regularly Google knows that you are putting more effort into the campaign and I believe this will give you an advantage over your competitors.
Also it’s worth saying that no PPC campaign is ever going to be perfect, there are always going to be things you can do to improve the campaign so make sure you are checking what keywords are actually driving traffic, adding new campaigns and AdGroups and generally optimizing the account for better performance.
Also – something that’s not often thought about by newbies – when you are monitoring your own PPC campaign you also need to monitor your competitions PPC because your account doesn’t operate in a vacuum and the actions of your rivals with directly impact on the success of your own campaign.
Most PPC campaign managers will give you some great reports on your campaign and it’s worth saying if you’re setting this campaign up fresh then you’ll be able to speak to someone from Google for the first couple of weeks and I’d suggest taking advantage of this service wherever possible.
Read as much as you can – you will make mistakes but keep going
This is only 3 brief points – each one of the above points could be broken out and drilled down into further so I’m not going to pretend this is anything more than a very brief overview. You are going to make mistakes – that’s ok, just read more and get on with it!