Stop Losing Money on Your PPC Search Engine Marketing Campaigns
By John Wood
A pay-per-click-or PPC-search engine marketing campaign can be a beautiful thing.
I mean think about it. You reach targeted traffic that is already searching for what you’re promoting. Each prospect pre-qualifies himself by doing a search using keywords related to your product. And you only have to pay when someone actually clicks your ad and goes to your site.
It’s seems like a can’t-lose proposition.
And yet, companies lose money on their PPC search engine marketing campaigns all the time. The reason is that there are a lot of different components and variables that can affect your PPC campaign’s success.
If you have a PPC campaign that is underperforming or losing money, don’t despair. There are a number of tweaks and adjustments you can make to put your PPC search engine marketing back on track toward profitability.
Here are ten questions to ask yourself that can help you find where the trouble is and get it fixed fast.
Has your research been extensive enough? When it comes to PPC campaigns, keyword research is crucial. You’ve got to dig beyond the obvious keywords and phrases to come up with combinations that strike the right balance between relevance, competition, and price per click.
Are you ignoring your “long-tail keywords”? Long-tail keywords are very specific-usually they’re made up of three or four or more words. And usually they indicate you’ve got a serious buyer on your hands. But if you’re not using long-tail keywords in your PPC campaign, you’re missing out on a lot of people ready to make purchases… people who could take your campaign from a loser to a winner.
Think about it this way. Who do you think is more likely to buy? Someone searching for “boats” or someone searching for “used power boats Maine.” Sure,
not as many people search for the second phrase, but those who do are more targeted and further along in the buying process. That means a lower cost
per click and if your landing page is doing its job, a higher conversion rate.
Are your PPC ad and your landing page working together?
If there’s no continuity between your PPC ad and your landing page, you’ll have a high bounce rate on the people that do click through. Make sure your
prospect instantly knows that the page he’s landed on has the information he’s seeking. For instance, if your key phrase is “rare Civil War gold
coins,” you should make sure to use that phrase both in your PPC ad and somewhere prominent on your landing page.
Does your ad stand out?
With all the competition for clicks, your ad has to stand out from the pack. Figure out what makes your product or service unique, and weave that into
the ad and landing page.
Are you bidding too much per click?
If you set your bid per key phrase too high, chances are you’ll be paying more than you have to for each click. This is one of those areas that you
should experiment with. Try lowering your bid per click and see what happens. Work to strike the right balance between price per click and the number
of clicks each keyword combination is projected to receive.
Are you using geography to your advantage?
In the PPC control panel you can select the geographical locations you want your ad to appear in. If your product makes more sense to sell locally, you
can set it to only show up for searchers based in the same city. Or if you don’t ship to Canada, you can configure your campaign so your ads don’t show
up on any Canadian search engine result pages.
Are you using Google’s content network?
When you create a PPC ad, it can appear under the “Sponsored Links” of the search engine results page or in the content network-ads on related sites
that have partnered with Google to display Google AdWords ads. The default setting for a Google PPC campaign is to place ads on both the search network
and the content network. But that might not be a good idea.
People who click your ad from a content network display are less likely to be targeted and actively looking for your product or service. That can equal
a higher cost per click and a lower conversion rate. So, you may want to set your campaign to use Google’s search network only.
Should you specify the time of day you want your ads to run?
Sometimes it makes sense to limit the hours your PPC ad runs. For instance, if you’re targeting business-to-business users, it seems smart to run your
ads only during business hours.
Are you using negative keywords? If you’re not, your campaign is suffering. Negative keywords allow you to eliminate some keywords from making your PPC ad appear on the search engine results page. For example, if your keyword is “cruise,” you might input “Tom” as a negative keyword so that your ad isn’t displayed to people searching for Tom Cruise instead of cruise vacations
Are you testing and refining, testing and refining? A PPC marketing campaign is not something you can set and forget. You have to test and adjust and test and adjust some more. Each time you adjust your ad, you have the chance to improve your profits. Keep at it and you can make your PPC campaign into a profit powerhouse.
A PPC search engine marketing campaign is a great business tool for generating leads, driving traffic, making sales, and building your brand. It takes time and effort to get the campaign right, though, so keep at it until you start making money.