Monday, May 30, 2011

Making the Most Out of PPC Advertising

For those of you who are trying to do advertising on a budget the thought of entering a contract of paying a set monthly bill may not be the most appealing offer. An alternative, which has quickly risen up the ranks of popularity in the last few years, is Pay Per Click (PPC) or Cost Per Click (CPC) advertising.
An easy choice for individuals or smaller business, PPC advertising combines a manageable deposit account with the simplicity of text and smaller banner ads. The benefits of PPC are usually highlighted as being the quality of traffic that clicks on the links. As text ads and banner ads are nearly always product specific and not the easiest to spot on a website that could also be rife with big towers or things like Google Ads, the traffic that does eventually click on them is often extremely qualified, expressing a distinct interest in the offer.
Although, it's important to understand that PPC advertising isn't as simple as writing a quick sentence about your product and hoping someone clicks on it. As with any other forms of online advertising PPC takes a great deal of time and consideration and from content to context, everything needs to be thought out.
Here are some of the most important things to bear in mind if you're either thinking about starting up a PPC account, or if you're wondering why your PPC campaign isn't working.
Content and Keywords
As PPC campaigns can rely on search engines like Google or Bing for their traffic, the content of the ads is vital if you want your links to be found, let alone clicked. Using one of the numerous keyword tools that are around you'll be able to see which terms are most searched for around your product and how much competition you could be facing.
It's always a good idea to consort with a keyword checker as it'll give you a great foundation for your ad copy while helping you target the right audience - but it doesn't stop there.
Now you've got your keywords you'll need to pad around them, and here's where it can get tricky. There's a fine line between a persuasive ad and one that looks like spam. Remember that while a 'Free' offer might be a great thing, the word free has its own spammy connotations and you might find it to be a hindrance depending on the service you're trying to offer. By this, I mean, if you're advertising tech products in a tech environment then your audience is probably well practiced at spotting naff ads and may not be willing to put as much trust in your offer.
It's also important to reinforce your product. Of course this is dependant on the kind of ad you're running. You won't have as much flexibility if you've got a small text ad but if you can maximise your word count then do it. It can help to emphasis the quality of your product and describe it in as much detail as you can but don't swamp your audience with information.
Call to Action!
The other things that you should always include in your PPC ad is a call to action - without one you're audience isn't being given direction, they're not being told go to and buy your product or go and look at your website.
Using well placed and written 'direct language' can guide your audience to buying your product.
Considering Context
Now if you think you've got the perfect ad that maximises your keywords and gives your audience a call to action, then the next step is to find the right outlet.
Context is everything when it comes to advertising so it helps to think it through carefully and find a site that will give you an attentive audience. There's no point advertising your web hosting services on a website promoting lawnmowers, its just common sense and it certainly won't get you clicks and sales - and you'll end up paying for irrelevant clicks.
The easiest way to find the right advertising space is to use resources like forums or if you already have a site in mind then try and find reviews or talk to a member of the team so get an idea of things like site traffic and click through rates (CTR's).
Managing your PPC
Even after you think you've mastered all of the above, you'll never really get a representation of how good your ads are unless you manage your PPC campaign with an analytics tool. Something like a heat map would be a great help in seeing where your visitors go once they've visited your site via your ad.
Free tools like Google Analytics are easy to get your hands on and pretty simple to use. The best way to maximise them would be to run a couple of different ads at one time, try a mixture of the same ad on different sites, or use one site but maybe 2 different creatives/texts and see which combination of things is working for you.
If you put all of these points together then you should be well on your way to managing a well placed and well written PPC campaign. Naturally, getting the balance of keywords, text, creatives etc. can take time so don't be disheartened if you first, second, or even third and fourth campaigns don't quite pan out.
Remember that PPC is a way of getting targeted traffic in an environment that suits your budget so you can always be a little hesitant and opt for some low cost PPC's/CPC's to start with and build your way up from there.


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