Online Advertising: Paid Search is the Sugar Buzz of Online Marketing

Target MarketingEvery business wants to grow their business and become more successful.

Online marketing offers many new channels for finding and growing potential new customers or clients—from 2.0 websites, email marketing, and video to social networks, micro-blogging, RSS channels and applications. Any and all of these may be part of your online marketing plan. But if you rely on a company website to showcase your services, an e-commerce site to sell your products, or you just want to be found, period, search engines are still king.

So… if you want to drive some quality traffic – FAST – you should consider focusing on folks who are searching for you.

We are big believers in having a fully optimized, or Google-friendly website. Another approach that works much faster involves Pay-Per-Click advertising. We like to call it the sugar buzz of online marketing tactics.

Pay-Per-Click, or PPC, is an advertising model used on search engines, advertising networks, and content website/blogs, where advertisers only pay when a user actually clicks on an ad to visit a specific landing page on an advertiser’s website

This form of search engine marketing requires advertisers to bid on keywords they expect a target market will use as search terms when looking for a product or service. You are bidding to have your ad appear in the “sponsored listings” section of search engines like Google or Yahoo. You’ll pay for each click on these ads to your site.

Here’s our over-SimplifiedSolutions process:

The Search Engines

Yes, Google has 75% of the traffic. That is hard to ignore. But there are many others like Yahoo, Bing (Microsoft’s latest), and Ask.com, plus several specialized and local engines as well. Because there may be less advertiser competition for keywords, some of these engines can actually cost less and be quite efficient. Using a combination of search engine and PPC programs can help you achieve your goals in a more cost effective manner and deliver better ROI.

Ad campaigns

When we develop PPC campaigns, we start by looking at the specific products or services our clients want to promote. You may be offering multiple products. If this is the case, we suggest multiple campaigns or groups. For example, you would have one campaign for your video production services and another for website development. The more focused the ad campaign the better.

Converting on Your Website

Instead of a PPC ad linking to your home page, it should link to a “landing” page that best fits the searcher’s description . For example, if you are selling tax services, make sure they land on the tax service page versus a page that lists all your accounting services. Make it simple for them to make the connection. You also might want to include an offer to incent purchase or a strong call to action. Always include your phone number and email contact link on EVERY page. Google Analytics code should be added to each page and order confirmation to track results.

Keywords are Key

It’s not about how you want to be found, it about how the searcher finds you. If you want to be successful in PPC, you must let the keyword research and analysis tell you which terms are most relevant and produce effective searches for your services or products. The words you may think represent your business may not be the same terms searchers use. And guess what? Everyone wants the main terms so they cost more and in some categories like “insurance,” a lot more. Maybe niche phases will suit you better. Or choose longer tailed phrases. Here’s a cheesy example: Instead of cheese, you are selling cheese platters… or gourmet cheese platters… or European gourmet cheese platters… with delivery … in Chicago… South Loop. You might actually be surprised what word combinations and phrases people use to search when they are browsing versus buying.

Bidding for Placement

This is pretty simple. The most popular words and phrases cost the most. And the higher you want your ad to appear, the higher the bid price. Bids can change on daily basis. The key is to find a mix of popular and niche words to keep your cost-per-click at a reasonable rate. Bids on Google are higher than some of the other search engines, so we recommend a mix of ad platforms to average out your bid prices.

Text Ad Copy

To create campaigns, we start by going wide. It is best to create multiple text ads per group to see which will perform best before we narrow it down. We are always experimenting. PPC text ads limit your characters (25 for the headline and 35 each for the next two lines), so think about using keywords liberally in the copy that match specific searches. PPC copy techniques are not the same as traditional print. One golden rule: Do not think of PPC as a branding tool; it’s not. It’s all about the searcher’s needs.

Kicking Off the Campaign

We start by putting some conversion goals in place for the type of behavior we want to measure, i.e. contact by email, sign-ups for your newsletters, virtual tours taken, pages visited, products sold via e-commerce, etc. As the campaign kicks off we set base performance measurements and bids for each campaign. Then several times a week we monitor how the ads, keywords and bids are performing against each other. By comparing effectiveness and efficiency of each of these key factors we can make adjustments to optimize performance. It’s an on-going process. Our goal is to have a reasonable cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPI) measured against a reasonable cost-per-acquisition (CPA). This is all based on your particular business model.

Budgeting for Success

One tool we use to set budgets is “spying” on how much your competition is spending. We usually set daily budgets, not to be exceeded. So if you budget $500 for month for your ads to run Monday though Friday, and the cost per click is $2 to be in the fourth position, we would set a daily budget of $30 per day. Over a month that can drive 250 high quality clicks. Leads or sales can vary by product group and how successful your “landing” pages are in converting. Budgets can ranges from $500 to $10,000 per month. Start slow and build upon success.

The Bottom Line

PPC is not the only way to drive traffic to your website, but it is one of the most measurable forms of online marketing. And if you need some action fast, PPC can be extremely effective for driving traffic, leads, and sales for growing your business online. It’s more of a science than an art so consider hiring an agency that has paid search experience to deliver better results.

For more information on paid search advertising, contact Tom Casale or Bill Kamper at info@simplifiedsolutions.biz or call 312-886-7669.


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