How to use PPC/Paid Search Advertising Most Effectively
There’s lots of debate in online marketing and search engine circles (even in general discussions down the pub, for that matter) about the best way of online marketing. SEO’s will always tell you that Natural Search is best; PPC Search Professionals will advocate that Pay Per Click is far more effective; Affiliate Marketing experts will advise that the Affiliate channel is the only way; the email marketing guys will shout that nothing works like email and so on.
The truth is that they all work really well but what YOU should use depends on what YOU want to achieve.
Depending on your objectives; products/services/industries/markets or segments; product lifecycle stage; different customer/target customer groups or such criteria, one or more of these online marketing activities is going to be best for you. The secret is selecting which!
Pay Per Click Search Advertising and how to use it most effectively
Because PPC is immediate, flexible, controllable, targeted, measurable and, in some cases, extremely cheap, it is ideally suited for certain situations. In these appropriate situations, PPC will give you a significantly higher return on your investment than literally ANY form of marketing and advertising, and I can more or less guarantee that.
We recommend that the 10 best uses of PPC are as follows:-
1.Starting out with a new website
When you first launch your website it is extremely difficult to get initial traffic. Google and the other search engines take time to index your pages, you have yet to start building any links, other webmasters can’t see your page rank, no word of mouth or recommendations have started to kick in, referral traffic doesn’t exist, you’re faced with spectre of the mythical Google Sandbox, and the list goes on.
If you launch your website at 10 o’clock, you can have traffic coming to your site at 10:00:01 with PPC. What’s more, with a correctly built, optimised and managed campaign you can be at the top of the search engines from day 1, minute 1. Even better with a good campaign, every single visitor that hits your site is looking for exactly what you do and is ready to buy.
2. Competition, around your name or in general
Just like when you’re starting out, if you have a common, generic or widely used name, e.g. ‘john smith’ or ‘flowers’ or ‘sarah palin’, it will be very difficult for you to achieve high search engine prominence. Which means if you’re marketing your business offline, people won’t be able to find you. Using PPC for this is an extremely important and very effective way of protecting your brand name and making sure your customers find you.
Similarly, sometimes it’s just not possible to get a top Google ranking for a particular term or would be prohibitively difficult. In these cases, if you need presence for that keyword phrase, then PPC is your option.
In search engine marketing you need to know the keywords that will be used by your customers, and the words that will attract them to your site and not those of your competitors. You also need to know which keywords deliver conversions, be that sales, leads, enquiries, downloads, etc., and which don’t. You also need to know if that keyword will bring lots of traffic or hardly any.
There’s no point in optimising for a particular keyword that no-one searches for or having descriptive text and titles that don’t drive people to your site.
Because PPC is so flexible, immediate and measurable you can test out any conceivable number of variations of keywords and phrases, titles, advertising messages, landing pages and so on.
You can then be sure that when you do start to optimise those important keywords, they will drive viable volumes of quality traffic that bring in business.
4. Low volume/high conversion search terms
Just as in the above, because Pay Per Click is flexible, instant and highly measurable, if you identify that a particular keyword phrase brings in a high level of conversions but has very low search volumes, you can assess whether it is more profitable just to run with PPC for that particular phrase.
5. Sales Push or Demand/Workload Control
Most businesses are limited by capacity but also have a minimum level of business they need to cover overheads. With a well run PPC campaign the moment you feel like you’re going to need some new business you can either turn on or turn up your PPC advertising volume and, lo and behold, in comes the business or at least targeted leads.
Once you’re reaching capacity and are worrying about how you can fulfil all your orders or work, simply turn off or reduce the PPC advertising volume.
Few advertising media can compare with the speed, immediacy, controllability and flexibility of PPC and I would say it is a superb tool for controlling your businesses work load.
6. Perishable Products/Services
If you grow Strawberries, offer coach tours, run seminars or sell Valentine’s Day gifts you have a very time specific offering and a limited window to sell your product or service. There’s no point in offering your Strawberries two weeks before they are ready and there’s little point in advertising valentine’s gifts on the 15th February or your seminar they day after you ran it.
Just like the above point, you can regulate your advertising according to demand so if you still have empty spaces on your seminar the week before you can promote heavily or you can cut back your advertising once your coach is nearly full.
7. Promotions/Special Offers
If you have a twice yearly sale, a one week promotion or a 10% off day, then PPC is highly effective. You can advertise whenever you need and pull the moment you stop the promotion. You can take your potential customer to the exact landing page that advertises your promotion or even multiple promotions. Your advertising is fresh, exciting and you’re not promoting something that finished 3 months ago.
8. Time Specific Advertising
If you offer next day delivery up to, say, 2 o’clock in the afternoon, then you don’t want to be promoting next day delivery at 2:30pm. With Pay Per Click Search Advertising you can time your adverts so that they appear from say 1am to 1:55pm each day so you never disappoint or mislead a customer or potential customer.
9. Geographic targeting
If you only sell to a local market you don’t want to be promoting your offer in India or to the Highlands of Scotland when you only service London. With the Geographic targeting options available on the main search engines you only need to advertise to the geographic area you cover, so your ads aren’t shown to people outside this area.
10. Short Term Campaigns
If your site is built around an event that is going to take place in 3 months time and then be over, PPC is really the only way you can effectively drive viable levels of traffic to your site. You can launch your campaign whenever you’re ready and then go like mad until you’re satisfied. As soon as the event’s over you can switch off your PPC campaign.
An intelligently used, highly targeted, optimised Pay Per Click Campaign is one of the best forms of internet marketing and when used appropriately is an invaluable weapon in your marketing armoury.
Peter Van Zelst is founder of Specialist Online Marketing, which runs an integrated online marketing service for small to medium sized UK organisations,using PPC, SEO, Email, Affiliate, Social Media and a number of other activities.