Thursday, August 30, 2007

7 Steps to setting up your pay per click advertising campaign

Pay-per-click is a competitive process somewhere is searching Google or Yahoo for what you sell. And unless your website is optimized to get a listing at the top of search results, there’s a chance they will buy from your competitors instead. So there’s always going to be people who choose to use dirty tactics rather than having to pay the higher bid prices. Whether you should join in with this idea is something your company must decide, as the best dark tactics also have some of the biggest risks.

Here are 7 easy steps to get your first pay per click advert up and running:

1. Decide what you want to achieve

Having a goal for your pay per click advertising is vital, and stops you frittering your money away. You may be keen to sell things from your website, or capture the information of people that visit for future marketing, such as email newsletters.

Beware of using PPC adverts just to “drive traffic” to your website. When people click adverts they are looking to solve a problem or make a purchase. You might as well use that intent to generate revenue for yourself… leave the ego boost of a big expensive website with lots of traffic (but no direct revenue) to the big boys with their deep pockets.

2. Sign up

While several search engines run pay per click, you should concentrate on the ones that attract the majority of the traffic in the UK – Google and Yahoo! It’s very easy to sign up for Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing.

Both often run promotions where new advertisers can get free adverts when they sign up for the first time. These offers are an excellent way to find out if PPC can work for you, without risking any of your own cash. At present, when you sign up to Yahoo Search Marketing you get £60 of free credit on your pay per click account.

3. Set a budget

Not only is pay per click one of the fairest advertising models, because you only pay for clicks, but you also have full control over your budget. You can set a daily, weekly or monthly ceiling. When that budget has been spent, your advert automatically stops appearing.

When you first try pay per click, you should set a tight budget and stick to it. In general, PPC is scalable: so if you spent £50 and get £500 revenue, it’s likely you’ll get about £1,000 revenue from £100 spent.

4. Use lots of search keywords and phrases

With pay per click, you are effectively bidding money to get your advert shown when people search for specific terms. Think about what you sell, and all of the different things people might type into a search engine to find it. Ask friends who aren’t connected with your business what they would type. Remember, your buyers may not use standard industry terms – that’s an opportunity for you.

When you’ve picked a load of search words and phrases, pick some more! You almost can’t have too many. The PPC systems will help you estimate how many people search for the terms you have picked, and over time they will measure how many clicks you get for each term.

Read Choosing keywords for your pay-per-click campaign for a detailed guide on selecting successful keywords and phrases for your pay per click campaign.

5. Build ads for each product or service

Once you have chosen your search words, you should now write adverts for each product or service you sell. Be as specific as you can, and use trademarks of your products where possible, especially when they are well known.

Pay per click adverts are very short, forcing you to get to the point quickly. Another great feature of PPC is that you can write lots of different adverts, and the system will work out for you which one performs better (and will use that advert more often). To help you to write powerful pay per click adverts we have a specific guide on How to write a killer pay-per-click advert.

6. Build landing pages

If someone clicks your pay per click advert for a red widget, the worst thing you can do is send them to the home page of your site and make them search again for red widgets. Most people will just hit the back button.

Ensure that every PPC advert goes directly to a landing page. That should either be full details of the product itself, or a specific landing page you have built just for people clicking on your advert.

7. Track results and keep tweaking

The way pay per click advertising systems are built, makes it easy for you to track exactly what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have to spend long to get the most out of the system. Get into the habit of checking your results once a week, and tweaking. Don’t touch anything that works – instead change everything that isn’t performing. Over a number of weeks you will build a collection of powerful PPC adverts and search terms that could help to generate significant revenue for your website.

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