How to Get Customers by Using Pay Per Click Advertising
You heard right, “Pay per click”. PPC for short, it means exactly what you think it means – you pay for each click your ad receives.
Is it worth the cost? Well, PPC ads generally get top billing in search engine results, putting you front and centre in the spotlight.
Done well, PPC can yield massive benefits to your business, but there’s a few things you need to be aware of before you go frittering your money away on ads.
The Basics of PPC Marketing
Just like with anything new, there’s a fair amount of learning to be done before you just have at it, and PPC is no different. The dynamics of pay per click advertising is a little more involved than you might be prepared for, and it’s massively different from any other system of online advertising you might have heard of thus far.
PPC is available through social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, but by far the most popular method of PPC marketing is through Google Ads. Google Ads (previously named Google Adwords) is a PPC platform that directly ties into the Google search engine. What makes it so popular is the way it operates: the Google auction.
The Google Auction
When you think of an auction the first image to come to your mind might be that of the traditional cattle auctions, where hoards of people gather around while a heavyset man babbles rapidly, occasionally shouting a discernible figure or two before slamming down the gavel and exclaiming, “Sold!”
Most auctions, however, are much more tame, and the Google Auction is possibly the calmest – and fairest – of them all. The Google Auction is the process by which Google’s algorithm chooses which paid ads to display, and in what order.
How the Bidding Works
The Google Auction begins when a consumer enters a keyword or keyphrase (known as a “query”) into google and searches it. When the search button is pressed, the word or phrase essentially becomes the item that you and your competitors are “bidding” on.
Bidding happens automatically. Google calculates each adviser’s “Ad Rank”, which is the determining factor for where your ad will be placed amongst the paid ads in Google’s search results.
How Ad Rank is Calculated
Ad rank is what makes Google Ads an extremely equitable PPC option – it levels the playing field for those with a smaller budget.
Ad rank is calculated through your maximum bid and quality score. The maximum bid is the maximum amount of money you’re willing to pay for each click on your ad. Quality score is Google’s own ranking system that judges the relevance of your content to the query being bidded on, and how useful it will be to the web browser.
This means that someone with a larger budget, but mediocre, irrelevant content can find their ad ranked below someone with a smaller budget but impeccable content.
Costs of PPC Marketing
Now that we have a firm understanding of the basics of PPC marketing, we can get into what you’re probably most curious about – the cost. After all, as a small business, it’s only prudent to be concerned that the money you spend trying to promote your business will eat into the profit your business actually makes.
While a big budget definitely doesn’t hurt, we’ve already established that Google advertising is – as far as pay per click is concerned – a fairly level playing field. That being said, it’s always a good idea to maximise your ROI – and fortunately there’s a few ways to do this.
What to Consider for Google Ads
When looking into any form of online advertising, the first question to ask yourself is, do you have a dedicated budget for advertising? It’s wise to go over your finances before attempting to increase sales using PPC.
Check how much you might realistically be able to spend, or if you’d be better off with a more organic method of generating leads, you may want to enlist an SEO company.
If you do have a dedicated budget for advertising, then you now have three major considerations to look at when deciding how to allocate it: industry, customer lifecycle, and your competition.
As a rule, more competitive industries boast a higher CPC, or “Cost per Click”. The cost per click is how much you pay Google, each time someone clicks on your ad. Industries such as law, insurance, or mortgages have a much higher CPC than industries with less competitive bidding on the keywords.
The customer lifecycle is the term for a customer’s progress from interested spectator to devoted consumer.
For industries whose goods and services cost more, this can often lead to the customer doing more thorough research and weighing of options. This means that your link may get used more, increasing the amount of payments you make to Google relative to the sales you make. Meanwhile, cheaper items get bought more often and more quickly, but for less overall profit. It’s a delicate balancing act.
How viable is it for you to pay for ads? In competitive markets like law, you’re going to have a difficult time getting a spot during the auction, as it’s likely someone has the edge on you both in budget and quality rating.
Meanwhile, a high-quality start-up in a small industry may be exactly what the market was calling for. If that’s you, you could shoot to the top of the ratings simply by being a big fish in a small pond.
Getting Customers with PPC
So now you know what PPC is, how it works, and how to plan for it, but this article is about increasing sales using PPC.
A savvy PPC campaign can effectively direct customers where you need them to go. Assuming you’ve done your due diligence concerning market research, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Before starting with PPC, you should know what your audience is looking for, what keywords or phrases they use when searching, and what aesthetics drive them towards a page.
Once you have this information, you just need to understand the anatomy of Google ads, and the best practises involved when using PPC.
The Anatomy of a Google Ad
Google Ads include a URL, which will be at the top of the ad. This will be followed by a headline, which tells potential customers what the page is offering. This is followed by a small body of text that promotes and provides some small detail on the headline.
The copy for Google Ads has a highly limited number of characters that are permitted to be used. As a result, it’s important to be sharp and to the point.
Speak directly to your target persona, using words and language (phrasing and syntax) that will appeal to them. It’s important to match this language on your landing page, and make your offer appealing according to your market research.
It’s also a good idea to include your main keyword or phrase in the copy of your Google ad. If A/B tests on your copy prove positive, then it’s a safe bet to run this copy in your ads.
PPC is designed to put you at the top of Google, in exchange for payments to Google when your ad gets clicked. But once your ad gets clicked, where does it lead?
Landing pages are a standalone web page specifically for marketing or advertising. They usually offer some kind of promotional deal in exchange for membership or subscription to a business’s newsletter. It’s the landing page where you can get most of your conversions – in other words, turn those interested in your brand into purchasing customers.
Your landing page should feature a strong headline, with a clean design and layout that’s not cluttered with extraneous design features. Many successful landing pages have a simple form, or some other call to action that’s easy to act on.
Any copy on your landing paid should be very targeted and specific. Make sure to keep copy relevant – your customers clicked on your ad for a reason. Your ad made a promise, and your landing page has to fulfil it. Just like with copy, it’s important to put your landing page through A/B testing, otherwise your PPC campaigns will be a money pit.
Adjust Bids and Keywords Based on Performance
The danger of PPC marketing is that it’s easy to think that it’s a set-and-forget kind of deal. If you’ve done your A/B testing and launched your PPC campaign, it can be easy to think that your results are guaranteed.
It’s important to remember that projected results through testing are just that, projected. While they may be statistically sound, they don’t necessarily reflect the reaction of the entire public.
As a result, you have to keep an eye on your pay per click ad metrics. Google Ads is great for this as they provide easy to analyse data regarding your ad. You need to check these stats regularly, and if you’re consistently being out bid in the Google auction, perhaps you need to look at raising your maximum bid, or spending some time improving your quality score.
Likewise with your keywords or phrases. If you’re not appearing in search results for your chosen queries, then it may be possible that you didn’t accurately determine the queries your audience uses to search for your business. Make sure you’re always monitoring everything, otherwise your money is just going down the drain.
Google Adwords Management
Part of what makes Google Ads so popular is the sheer range of Google ads management that is offered by the company.
These include custom ad scheduling, where you can select a custom time of day for your ad to display. This reaps significant benefits as it ensures that your ad will only be displayed while your audience is active on the internet. This means that your costs will be reduced, as your ad won’t pop up in potentially unrelated searches resulting in you paying money for a click that ultimately leads nowhere.
You can also implement sitelink extensions, increasing the amount of physical space your ad takes up in the search engine results, thus making it more noticeable.
Customers using PPC through Google Ads are also able to monitor how many conversions are made by the pay per click ads, yielding information as to the efficacy of the campaign and potentially highlighting any weak points that may need to be rectified.
Google Adwords management also features something called “match types” – that is, you are able to stipulate to google how closely you want your ad to respond to queries. There are four match types, broad, modified broad, phrase, and exact match.
You can also stipulate “negative” keywords through Google Adwords management. Simply put, a negative keyword is one that you do not want to appear in the search in, and in many cases specifying these can be as important as specifying which searches you do want to be associated with.
The Wonderful World of PPC
PPC is a wonderful online advertising tool, but it must be treated with respect otherwise it has the ability to cut into profits if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s important to prepare accordingly, assess your budget, and remain aware of the myriad of ways that Google Adwords management allows you to control your advertisements.
Pay per click is an elegant solution to rapidly building an audience, but always remember, although implied by the phrase “pay per click”, not all issues can be fixed by throwing more money at it. The quality and relevance of your content is vastly important as well.
If you’re interested in pursuing online advertising through PPC campaigns, but don’t know where to start, you can contact First Page Digital here or call us on 1300 479 226.