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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Whether you've been using AdWords for years or have never even heard of pay-per-click advertising (PPC), know that it's an essential part of any Integrated marketing program.  I recently provided some of my most valuable pay-per-click advertising secrets on an interview with Jonathan Taylor and Russell Portwood at Blog Talk Radio (listen here).  During the interview we discussed how to get started with Google AdWords and some valuable secrets for making money online.

If you're not running any campaigns on Google AdWords, I suggest that you open an account.  The beauty of PPC advertising is that you only pay when an individual clicks on one of your ads.  You might have tried PPC in the past and generated a lot of clicks but no conversions.  Perhaps you tried it for a short while and found it too complicated to manage.  I know how you feel...

The Long PPC Road
When I started in Internet marketing, pay-per-click was just coming on to the scene.  The premise was great, only paying for an action, but the results weren't so good.  Over time, as the tracking become more sophisticated and the quality of analytics improved, results started to improve.  I've spent over 5 years making small distinctions in pay-per-click advertising campaigns that have dramatically improved my results.

Many people believe that to get quality traffic you need to spend a ton of money or always be in the #1 paid position.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Some of my highest converting keywords cost the least.  Additionally, and here's a free tip, I often get higher conversions when my ad shows in positions 3 - 6.  I find that prospects clicking in the 'sweet spot' are more buying oriented than just doing research.

To be effective with PPC, you need to run a number of campaigns on your own.  I attended at least half a dozen workshops on pay-per-click advertising and spent close to $1,000 on so called PPC courses only to find that there wasn't a lot of "new" information designed to improve the effectiveness of my campaigns.  What I learned through trial and error was certainly more valuable.  Always seek hands-on experience if you wish to be success.

PPC Made Simple
In a couple of months, I'll be sharing everything I know about PPC advertising in my next book, "PPC Made Simple."  Until then, I wanted to share a few tips you can use right away to start improving campaign performance.

1.  Set a budget of $10 - $20/day.  It doesn't take much to determine if a particular type of PPC campaign is going to be profitable.  Start with a small budget to generate clicks and watch your campaign closely.  Usually, for around $100 you can determine whether or not you'll be successful.

2.  Do your keyword research.  Start with the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to find frequently searched upon terms.  In addition, do some competitive research using any one of dozens of tools that reveal what terms your competitors are bidding on.  Once you've compiled a list, focus on buying keywords.  Use the Microsoft Commercial Intent tool to optimize your keyword list.

3.  Use a tool like the Google AdWords Editor to help manage your campaigns. The tool costs nothing and can help you stay on top of the performance of your campaign.  Additionally, you can easily manage multiple campaigns simultaneously.

4.  Use the AdWords Dashboard.  As usual, Google AdWords comes with it's own resources for evaluating campaign effectiveness.  Learn the value of your AdWords dashboard.  This gives you information about your click-through-rate, cost per click, and overall campaign metrics.  The more you understand the data being provided, the more effective you can make your campaign.

5.  Implement Google Conversion Tracking.  When you implement conversion tracking, you can quickly and easily see which keywords and ads drive sales.  This is the most important aspect of any PPC effort and essential for long term success.  If you know which keyword/ad combination is most effective, you can optimize your PPC budget.

These are just a few tips to help you improve the performance of your pay-per-click marketing campaigns.  Again, it's essential that you start using Google AdWords in order to learn how to implement successful campaigns.  Even though you may have four or five campaigns that don't generate a favorable return, one profitable campaign can more than make up for it.

Once you launch your campaign, utilize the metrics provided by Google to refine and improve your campaign.  By learning the ins and outs of pay-per-click advertising you are improving your overall knowledge of Internet marketing and finding new ways to promote your products or services.  In addition to generating sales, PPC is a great tool for lead generation as well.


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