Almost 70 percent of small business owners planned to start using a new advertising medium this year. That might sound familiar.
As you look forward to the next 12 months, you might be wondering what channels make sense for your business. There are plenty to choose from. Is social media marketing a good choice, or should you put more into your content marketing?
You might be wondering about a pay per click program. PPC campaigns are popular, but they can be pricey. How do they work and are they worth it?
This ultimate guide to PPC programs has the answers you’re looking for.
How Does a Pay Per Click Program Work?
The first question you likely have is about how PPC programs actually work. The answer is in the name.
These are the ads you see on many websites. Advertisers bid on ad slots. When a user clicks on the ad, the advertiser pays the bid amount.
Google Ads is the best-known PPC program. Advertisers bid on keywords. If they have the winning bid, then the ad will appear whenever someone searches for that term.
Refining a PPC Campaign
At first glance, PPC campaigns may seem a little on the basic side. Luckily, most programs provide you with plenty of controls to create targeted campaigns.
One of the first settings to refine is the exactness of keywords. In some cases, you may want to bid only on an exact word or phrase. In other cases, you may want your ad to run for searches that include a keyword or phrase.
This can change how often your ad runs and who sees it. If you choose the exact phrase “green running shoes,” then your ad will only appear to people who search for green running shoes. People who search for red or blue shoes won’t see your ad.
If you set your keywords to “running shoes,” then people searching for any color may see your ad.
Local search has been on the minds of marketers for some time now as well. More people are using mobile to search and surf. Mobile users search differently, often looking for businesses near them.
Local search often represents a great opportunity for small business owners. It’s especially helpful for those running PPC campaigns.
Suppose you’re a new lawyer setting up practice in town. You want to advertise your business using a PPC campaign. The legal industry is notorious for having some of the highest costs per click though.
Local search can help you get around those costs. You can limit the search to “personal injury lawyer Tacoma” or something similar. When people search for personal injury lawyers in your area, your ad will run.
You won’t end up competing for national keywords like “personal injury lawyer,” which can help you keep your costs down.
It also helps you target your audience more exactly. If your law practice is based in Washington state, you probably aren’t hoping to reach clients located in Washington, DC. The laws will be quite different, and you may not be able to serve people outside of your local area correctly.
Setting up an Audience
Another control you have with some PPC programs is audience settings. You can set up an audience based on the people most likely to buy your product or be interested in your service.
If you’re selling luxury cars, you may have a good idea of your average buyer. You can set your ad audience up to reach men who are between certain ages and live in your area. You might even be able to narrow the field more by targeting:
- Certain occupations
- Particular income brackets
- People who list cars as an interest on social media
Again, this helps you reach more of the people who are actually interested in your business.
The Benefits of PPC Programs
Now you might wonder what benefits PPC programs can offer your business.
The first major advantage has already been mentioned. They help you reach your audience. Local and audience settings help you reach the people who are most likely to be interested in your offer.
These people are more likely to click on an ad. Many people say they click ads, provided the ad is well-matched to their search. Keywords help you match your ads to what people are actually looking for.
These people become leads. They may eventually convert to customers for your business. PPC campaigns help you increase the number of people in your pipeline.
Another benefit of pay per click programs is less obvious. They can help you increase your brand visibility.
PPC ad programs run on many websites. If you join an ad network like those run by Facebook or Google, then your ad can appear on any of the websites in the network. This means you can reach the readership of any of these sites as well.
PPC campaigns can also support your search engine optimization efforts. It can be difficult to boost your organic search rankings to reach one of the top three spots on Google. Those are the spots that get the most traffic, though.
Your competitors are also aiming for those top spots. SEO is also constantly evolving. Even after you achieve a high rank, you need to stay on your toes to protect it.
If you’re not ranking high for certain search terms, a PPC campaign can be one way to be present on the first page. You may not be able to outrank your competitors, but you may be able to outbid them. Better keyword research can also help you zero in on what people are really searching for.
People may not click your ad, but they will see it. Most consumers can recall the name of a brand they’ve seen an ad for in the last week.
Developing Ads That Drive Clicks
Not all PPC ads are created equal. In fact, getting the winning bid in Google Ads doesn’t always mean you paid the highest price.
Google and other ad networks will assess your ad for quality. They want to serve high-quality ads to their users. People find products they want, and both the advertiser and Google benefit from ad clicks.
Quality over Quantity
Google’s quality score takes quality into account. It will grade the ad on relevance, as well as the quality of copy. Google also measures the quality of landing pages that ads direct to.
As an advertiser, you may think that means more work for you. It’s actually in your best interests too. A high-quality ad will drive clicks, and a helpful landing page will reward you with more leads and customers.
Keys to developing good PPC ads include writing compelling copy. You’ll also want to include high-quality images.
The format of PPC ads changes a little depending on what the ad is for. Some common types of PPC ads include:
- Text-based ads. These are the most common type of ad you’ll see.
- Shopping ads. These ads show relevant products.
- Static image ads. The image doesn’t change.
- Responsive ads. These ads use a variety of logos and images and optimize per device.
There are also more specific subsets, such as app download ads and local service ads. Some of these ads don’t operate on a pay per click model. Instead, you might pay per download or per lead.
Localized ads don’t include images. Responsive ads, on the other hand, require more images.
Budgeting for PPC
This is probably the biggest question for any business owner considering PPC ads. How much should you spend?
PPC campaigns can be quite cost-effective. A display ad campaign may cost you mere cents per click. Search can be somewhat more expensive.
What you’ll pay generally depends on your industry and the keywords you’re bidding on. As noted, the legal industry tends to have very high costs per click.
So, how much you put in your budget will depend on a few factors. Mid-sized businesses may pay thousands of dollars per month. Smaller businesses usually have smaller budgets.
The best pay per click advertising doesn’t have to cost much though. The right keywords, the right audience, and compelling copy make for effective campaigns.
Getting a Helping Hand with Pay Per Click Programs
If you’re still feeling unsure about PPC campaigns, then it might be time to call in a PPC advertising agency. They can help you design better campaigns and revise your PPC strategy.
A pay per click marketing agency may be able to help you find better keywords or write better copy. They can also help you discover your audience while keeping costs down.
Finally, they can help you track the success of your campaigns and tweak them for even better results.
Make Your Marketing Click
If you’ve thought about a pay per click program as part of your marketing, there’s no better time to start than now.
Looking for more great ideas to help you supercharge your business’s marketing? Schedule a consultation with the experts now. Your new marketing strategy is just a click away.