Pay Per Click Advertising – easier than you think?
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So, you are thinking of ways to expand and grow your business and have likely heard of PPC – Pay Per Click Advertising – but may be wondering exactly what it is. Perhaps you’ve read a little deeper but are still left asking yourself if PPC is right for your business, how to get started with it and, crucially, how much investment you should put towards it. Read on for a short introduction to PPC and how SMEs can get started.
Despite the levels of jargon involve, pay per click advertising can be as simple as it sounds:
• Set up a campaign
• Show your advert to a relevant audience
• Pay every time someone clicks on that advert
• Monitor the leads/sales that come from it
You probably see PPC ads every time you open your laptop or jump on your computer. They are usually the results at the top of the page when we Google something. These are simply PPC adverts set up on the Google Adwords platform and with a little bit of smart marketing, you can be the best and first result for searches relevant to your business – key for driving traffic to your website.
We’re sure small business owners reading this are thinking about how much you could learn just by doing and are eager to get your adverts up and running. Before you do, the following tips could help save you wasted time, wasted money and wasted energy.
DEFINE YOUR GOALS
You should know what the aim of your campaign is before you ever pay for your first click. Are you looking to get as many people and clicks to your website as possible or do you want to maximise the amount of sales generated? You would want to use different strategies depending on what goals you have.
If you are just getting started with PPC advertising we would always suggest starting small. You can start seeing results on PPC platforms by spending as little as £5 a day and you can learn a lot whilst doing it. It will take some time to get to grips with whichever platform/s you choose and no matter how much you learn in advance, mistakes will always be made, so you might as well keep them small.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Imagine for a moment that you are a customer looking for exactly your product or service. Ask yourself these questions:
• Where do I spend my time online?
• What type of things do I search for on Google, Bing or any other search engine?
• What type of Linkedin connections do I have?
• What blogs do I read?
Asking yourself these simple questions will help you get into the mindset of the audience you wish to advertise to and give you ideas about the most appropriate place to find them. It will also help you write ad copy that will speak to your audience and generate the best results.
KNOW YOUR NEGATIVES
This is strongly related to the two points above but is something that many advertisers never consider. If you are running adverts on the Adwords or Bing platform, try to bear in mind particular search terms and phrases people may use that could cause them to be served your ad, when they are actually unlikely to be your target audience. For instance, someone searching “golf 2018” may be served ads for the latest Volkswagen, when they are actually interested in this year’s sporting events. Most major platforms allow you to exclude certain audiences who might end up seeing your ad but are unlikely to be interested in what you are offering.
This is one of the key things to do in order to reduce wasted budget and lower your cost per click (CPC).
PRACTICE USING THE PLATFORM
Although each PPC platform offers generally the same thing, they can vary greatly when it comes to setting up, adjusting and tracking campaigns.
Make sure that you get to know all the technical terms used on the platform, where the data is displayed (there can be a lot!) and how to tell if a campaign is performing well.
Adwords is perhaps the most popular PPC platform around. The platform is built for local businesses with small budgets or global corporations looking to spend millions a year. That is why they have made it so easy to create an account and start running your adverts.
Why not google ‘Adwords’ now and check out the first result from Google (which just so happens to be a pay per click ad running on their platform!). Make sure you download and practice using Adwords Editor if you sign up, it will save you a lot of time as you start launching more campaigns. Also they are always offering promotions and free credit for new advertisers so be on the look out for those.
In our opinion, Bing Ads is one of the most overlooked PPC platforms. Whilst everyone is raving about the leads or sales they generate through Google Adwords, they often don’t realise that they could be getting just as many results at a fraction of the cost on Bing.
With less advertisers to compete with, the cost per click (CPC) you might pay could be substantially lower than what you would pay on Google and offers equally relevant audiences searching for the keywords you might want to bid on.
As any successful networker will know, Linkedin is a great place for creating, maintaining and developing business relationships. Usually this is reserved to those that you meet in person or who are in some way connected to your social circle but with their PPC platform you can reach relevant, targeted professionals who might be interested in your product or service.
We would strongly recommend reading up on landing pages and A/B split testing. These are elements of your website you can change and experiment with to increase the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns. This is a whole other article in and of itself but is something that can turn a good advertiser into a great one.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Although success in PPC can be found easily once you know how, it does take time. There is always the option of hiring an expert to manage your online advertising but we would strongly recommend further reading on PPC best practices yourself, giving you a good idea of exactly what to ask for and an understanding of what is being done to your campaigns.
This is by no means an exhaustive guide, but hopefully this quick summary of all things PPC has given you enough information to get you started. Two tools we would recommend to help you get begin making the most of your campaigns right away are SEMrush and Similar Web. They are great for reviewing your own performance and also getting an idea of what PPC approaches are working for your competitors.