How to Get the Best Bang For Your PPC Buck

by Martin Malden

Previously I’ve touched on a simple market research approach and some marketing channels for promoting your website.

Now I’ll look in more detail at one of the channels I referred to and explore some ways to maximize your investment. Another channel next time.

First off let’s recognize that in Marketing, as in everything, you get what you pay for.

But while you should expect to pay more for better quality promotions, there are plenty of ways to minimize that premium and maximize your return on investment.  

So let’s look Pay Per Click (PPC).

PPC campaigns can be a very quick way of getting targeted traffic to your site, but they can also be extremely expensive!

To minimize your cost and maximize your return you need to keep your PPC campaigns optimized. That means keeping focused and staying relevant.

Here are some ways to do that:

1) Research your keywords carefully.

If you’re using Adwords and already have a Google account you can do this with the Keyword Tool. If you’re not you can use the external keyword tool – find it here.

If you use the Keyword tool from within your Google account you can get estimated cost per click prices, and a range of other metrics that are very useful for planning your campaign. It’s an extremely powerful tool.

Yahoo also has its own keyword tool, with similar functionality, that you can access from within your YSM account.

You need to be looking for keywords that have low competition, a low estimated cost per click and are totally relevant to your product.

While keywords that get a high number of searches are ideal, don’t put all your focus on them. They’ll likely be the most expensive and they probably have the most advertiser competition.

Remember: traffic is not important. It’s targeted traffic that you want.

I’d rather have 20 visitors to my site, one of whom buys something, than 200 visitors – none of whom buys a bean.  Especially if I’m paying for the visitors through a PPC campaign!

So look for keywords with a balance of low advertiser competition, a high number of searches (it probably won’t be all that high, but that’s OK) and a low price.

Above all, make sure they’re relevant to your product – that’s the most important factor!

2) Keep your keywords focused.

Avoid the temptation to spread your net as wide as possible by using hundreds of keywords. Stay below 20. On some of my campaigns I use as few as 6.

In both Google and Yahoo you can subdivide your campaigns into Ad Groups. Ad Groups are where you create advertisements and keywords that are closely related to each other.

For example, if you’re selling a product that enables you to pay off your mortgage quickly you might have an Ad Group based around the keywords ‘reduce mortgage’ and another one based around the keywords ‘pay off mortgage’.

Each of these Ad Groups would contain their own Ads and Keywords, both of which need to be tightly focused on their respective variations.

3) Keep your ads focused.

Make sure that your primary keywords appear in your ad title and your ad description.

There needs to be a direct link through from your keywords, to your ads and through to your landing page – that’s what I mean by the term ‘relevant’.

So if you have an Ad Group that’s based around the keywords ‘pay off’, all the search terms you choose for this Ad Group should contain those words. And they should also appear in your Ad description, your ad text and on your landing page.

4) Keep your landing page focused.

Make sure your primary keywords appear in your META title tag, your H1 tag, your H2 tag (if you use one) and your introductory paragraph. They should also appear sprinkled throughout your copy, but don’t use them so often that it reads unnaturally.

So to summarise:

  • Choose cost-effective keywords.
  • Don’t use too many keywords – aim for a few and keep them tightly focused.
  • Keep your Ad Groups tightly focused.
  • Keep your landing pages tightly focused.

Also, if you’re doing this for the first time set a very low daily limit and only raise it as you become more comfortable. Start slow and up the pace as you get to know what you’re doing.

Next time we’ll look at some ways to optimize your PPC campaigns and get rid of unprofitable keywords – important steps in maximizing your return on investment.

If you’re looking for more advanced training on Adwords in particular, but PPC in general, you should check out Wealthy Affiliate – it’s where I learnt about PPC and I’ve written a short review here.

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