Pay-Per-Click (PPC), or paid, advertising can be an extremely powerful marketing technique. It revolutionized the world in the early 90’s and it’s still doing so today. The beauty and the power of Pay-Per-Click marketing is that while you still get exposure (impressions) when someone searches a select keyword or keyword phrase that you choose, you don’t have to actually pay for anything unless someone clicks on your ad. That means, if you play your cards correctly and use proper PPC strategies, you’re only getting visitors who are targeted and who have expressed an interest in your product or service. That means no more throwing thousands of dollars into huge billboards that have no guaranteed results! Imagine that! The problem with PPC is that it actually takes some skill to manipulate and to provide great results. You can’t go blindly into this field, or you can end up spending a huge chunk of cash, with little or no results, in a short period of time. Time and time again we’ve had customers come to us asking for help with their PPC campaigns because of poor click-through-rates, no conversions, too big of a budget, bad ad copy, and more. If you’re looking to ramp up your PPC campaign, and want to try it on your own, watch out for these 5 common PPC mistakes.
ALL TRAFFIC GOES TO YOUR HOME PAGE – Sometimes it can make sense to drive traffic to your home page, depending on where your calls to action are and what content is present there. The best thing to do is to create pages that are specifically targeted for certain types of ads. Those pages should contain the keyword or keyword phrases you are targeting, and should have a clear call to action. Landing pages, or jump pages, are not acceptable in Google’s eyes. Instead, create a page within your website that makes sense to drive traffic to for each vertical you’re attacking. For example, if you are in the Dog Sitting, Pet Grooming, and Homemade Dog Treats business, it can be confusing for someone to go from an ad about Homemade Dog Treats right to your homepage. You’ve got an enormously short amount of time to keep your audience’s attention, so confusion is something you can’t afford. If they have to spend too much time searching for 1) if you really provide the product/service they need 2) how to get the product/service they need, then you’ll see a huge bounce rate (in layman’s terms, bounce rate is the rate of people who land on your site and then immediately hit the back button). Not good! You’ve now paid for a click and have nothing to show for it, simply because you were too lazy to send them to a targeted Homemade Dog Treats page within your site.
THINKING YOU KNOW IT ALL – This is a mistake that drives professional marketers crazy! We will tell you time and time again…you don’t know your market, you don’t know what they want, and you don’t know what they’re searching. Simply because you came up with a business model, even if you did do some market research, does not qualify you to make decisions based on your assumptions of the customers’ wants and needs. We all know what happens when we assume, right? Instead, let the customers (in this case, the data) speak for itself. For example, in the scenario we used above, you might think a great keyword phrase is “local dog grooming”, but might find that the conversion rate for “groomers for dogs” is 3 times better. Let the data lead the way.
FIRST POSITION ENVY – Alright, we know competition is intrinsic in all of us, but you’ve got to knock off your first position envy when it comes to PAID advertising. Let that worry rest in your SEO efforts instead, since it’s free. Studies have actually shown that ads in position 1 peform poorly when compared with ads in positions 2-4. First is not always better. If you can achieve positions 2-4, be satisfied with that…just make sure your conversion rate is good. Test the waters. Does your conversion rate go up if you increase your bid to get on position 3 from 4? GREAT! What happens when you go from 3 to 2? Does it drop? Watch the statistics and work with them, but again, don’t worry about being first.
NO GEO-TARGETING – This is a huge mistake for local businesses. Never leave your PPC campaign open to everywhere, or even the U.S. only, if you don’t have a way to supply business to those markets. If you’ve got an e-commerce store, GREAT! Go for it! If you’re a local nail salon, you have got to start applying geo-targeting to your campaign. Limit the area in which your ads are shown to your specific territory.
SINGLE, BROAD MATCHED KEYWORDS – These are just a bad idea altogether. If you’re in the cookie business, you may think “cookies” is an applicable keyword. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you used this keyword, anyone could type in anything that contains the word “cookie” and it would be irrelevant to your business about 99% of the time. Think about it…does “cookie cutters” help you sell cookies? I don’t think so. This will drive up your impressions, thereby decreasing your overall campaign’s click-through rate, which will force Google to increase your first page bid minimum. Instead, start out with long-tail keywords that are phrase or exact match. For example, a phrase-matched keyword like “buy cookies online” is much more targeted than the broad keyword “cookie”.Google+