7 simple search strategies for your PPC campaign

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If you’re a search newbie and want to quickly learn the ropes of the Pay Per Click (PPC) world then using Google Adwords and a tracking program like Analytics will be quite useful. These tools, coupled with a little Excel spreadsheet savvy, can go a long way in managing a new campaign.

Here are a few strategies to keep in mind when launching a brand new PPC campaign:

1. Start with Google:
Your friends may weave a yarn about Yahoo!/Bing ads but the truth of the matter is that those platforms are only semi-popular at best in the US and parts of Asia. The truth is that Google commands the lion’s share of the search traffic globally and learnings from this can be applied reasonably to other advertising programs.

2. Set specific goals:
Even before you start running paid search ads, ask yourself: “What purpose is my website trying to achieve?’ ‘Why did my company make this website?’ Then ask yourself: “What do I want this campaign to achieve?”And “How will I measure these goals?” Your goal could be email signups, registrations or (most likely) converting clicks directly to orders and sales.

3. Set specific economic targets:
Once you’ve actually determined what you’re advertising for, you need to determine what you’re willing to pay for the traffic that is going to achieve those goals. What you’re willing to pay is largely dependent on your product. If, for example, your product is a chocolate bar priced at US$10, my opinion is that you don’t want to have to pay more than US$1 in advertising costs to sell it — that is a 10 percent cost of sale. Now think about your product: how much is it worth? Typically you don’t want to pay more than 10% of its price to get it sold so aim for this when you’re looking for a results benchmark for your campaign.

One way to easily work this all out is to know what the cost-per-click is and the conversion rate of your site. For example:The keyword “dark chocolate” has a CPC of 10 cents. Your conversion rate of your site is 10 percent — meaning 1 out of every 10 people who visit your site buy chocolate. So for every ten clicks, you get 1 customer. 10 clicks will cost you US$1, so every customer from the keyword “dark chocolate” should cost US$1.

4. Think about Brand:
Brand keywords are cheaper and have higher CTRs (Click Through Rates) than non-brand or product keywords. It’s important to remember that whilst customers who are searching on your brand probably already know about you, the high CTR means a huge discount on that click and also a Quality Score boost for your campaign. Remember that Quality Score is largely affected (up to 66 percent) by CTR so getting them high is key. If you apply the economic results formula you’ll find that brand terms will far exceed those economic results because they make it easier for customers to find you, shop,and place an order online.

5. Choose your product keywords wisely:
The most expensive keyword in the search game is “insurance” and it’s a terrible word, not only because of the product’s connotations, but also because it’s so non-descript. We don’t know what kind of insurance the users are looking for, meaning we can’t show them targeted ads nor can we send them to targeted landing pages in order to convert. When it comes to product keywords, descriptors like “cheap” and “car” are really good when matched with general terms like “insurance”.

Conversely, when you’re creating your terms, remember that search is a pull advertising mechanism, which means people ask for advertising messages to be shown to them. This means you’ve got to use common descriptors — you can’t bid on the keyword ‘supercalafragalisticexpialidocious car insurance’ and expect people to search for it.

6. Users click on value ads:
Product and service guarantees, online discounts and quick turnarounds entice people to click on your ad and convert. Make sure you use all of the space you have for your ad, it’s a balance between being punchy and using all of your space. Saying too little can work against you.

7. And finally:
If this is all becoming a bit much in terms of scale but the traffic you’re driving is still significant and exceeds your economic expectations perhaps it’s time to outsource to the experts.

Image: GTL
Image 2: Wordstream

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