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9 Things to Keep in Mind About Pay-Per-Click

Submitawebsite manages Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns for a variety of clients, from retail establishments to service companies and and real estate agents. Whatever the enterprise, there are some good general tips on running a PPC campaign and getting the results you are looking for.

1. You don’t have to spend the maximum recommended budget. Pay-Per-Click engines like Google AdWords and MSN AdCenter will show your ad for a fraction of the day if you do not commit to the full daily budget. However, you can choose the time of day that your ads run, and Google will shuffle your ad in and out of its listings throughout the day until your daily budget is met through clicks. Therefore, if Google recommends spending $100 per day and you only have $10 per day in your budget, you will appear one out of every ten times your keyword phrases are searched. Many sites on the internet make good money with limited PPC budgets, and it is a common strategy to start small and funnel profits into the next month’s marketing budget until you are able to buy full exposure.

2. Use negative matching. If you have a keyword phrase that is associated with irrelevant searches, make sure to filter out those words in your ad group. For example, if you sell new cabinets, and your keyword is “kitchen cabinet,” then you want to make sure the words “refacing” “refinishing” and “repair” are represented as negative keywords by adding “-refacing, -refinishing, -repair” in the list of keywords (see your individual search engine for details on how this is done)

3. Be wary of Content Matching. Content Network Matching is a way of showing your ad next to online text that contains your keywords. The original idea behind this feature was to place your ad near relevant articles about your product or services. However, Content Match is exploited by millions of pages across the internet that are designed to get people to click on your ad, since the content host gets a percentage of the ad revenue. If you did not physically turn off “content match” when you set up your pay-per-click campaign, then you are likely losing money on the content match service. In almost every case, you only want to serve up your ad to people who are actively looking for your product or service. There are very few cases where content match results in a worthwhile conversion rate.

4. Google lets you put a phone number in your AdWords Ad. If you have sales people who answer the phone, you can save the cost of a click (often as high as $5) with a well placed phone number.

5. Local Pay-Per-Click does not always work. Yahoo’s local model mostly shows results on its “local” tab which is not used by many web searchers. Google’s local match works when Google is able to identify your IP address (the location of your computer network) as being in a defined area. Some internet services give addresses that are thousands of miles away from the town you are in, so not all of your customers will see your “local” ad. A way to get around this is to set up a separate Google campaign with national exposure that uses keywords naming every city, town, and community in your service area. For example, if you are selling real estate in Los Angeles, you would buy the phrase “real estate” in a local campaign, and then buy the phrase “Los Angeles Real Estate” in a national campaign.

5. For your PPC campaign to work, you need to make sure customers are landing on web pages that are relevant and easy to navigate. If a customer does not see what they are looking for immediately, they will click the “back” button on their browser and look at the next site. It may take a few weeks and quite a few dollars to fine tune your pages and keywords until you get the response rate you are looking for. Many successful retail PPC sites also have phone numbers prominently located at the top of every page. Often a customer will ask a simple question and then complete a sale online. Even if you do not want constant phone traffic, it is very helpful to run a phone number on your site for a limited time in order to find out what your customers are looking for. You can use the results to redefine your ads in major PPC engines.

6. You should also write your ads for the customers you DON’T want. Some customers are looking for items that are cheaper than what you sell, and others are looking for an item that is defined with similar keywords. By adding the price of your product in the ad copy you can weed out customers looking for “cheap” items. By the same token, if you sell cheap items, you can safe yourself the click cost of someone looking for the premium alternative. An easy way to incorporate “customer filtering” into your copy is to look at your keywords and think of the web surfer that you do not think will want your products. For example, if you are selling one brand of car stereo, make sure that you have the brand name in the ad text. If you only market a service to new clients, make sure “new clients only” is part of the text as well. About 5% of web surfers will click on the first ad in the list, no matter what the text, but it is still possible to save thousands of dollars in click costs every year by making sure that you are proactively reaching the customers that matter to you most.

7. Not all PPC results in sales or conversions. There are some business models that do not respond well to pay-per-click. If the customer is going to be spending thousands of dollars on a product or service, they may want to see a physical sample of what they will be buying. When you are setting up a campaign, you should ask yourself who your competitors are and how they reach their customers.

8. Your competitors may be losing money on their PPC campaigns. Some companies use Pay Per Click in the same way they use a billboard, which is to build a brand. Others lose money on the initial sale but add the customer to a catalog or mailing list that will pay out over time. Some competitors may believe that if they are always in the #1 position on the search engines, they will make money eventually. Others are spending venture capital money with the belief that they will be profitable in 3 years if they build a customer base now. Finally, some sites are affiliates of a major site, and make a commission when a customer (or “lead”) makes a purchase through the main site. Affiliates are notorious for over-bidding, burning out, and getting replaced in the listings by new affiliates who also expect to “get rich” selling the exact same product that 20 other people are selling online. There are many major companies that set up affiliate programs because they know the affiliate will be spending all the marketing dollars while competing with other people selling the same items. In many cases, your competition may be driving up the bid price for some phrases to an extent that it is impossible for anyone to make money from a sale or conversion.

Whatever you are selling or featuring online through Pay-Per-Click, you should have a strategy that gets you the best return in the shortest amount of time. If you have software that allows you to monitor how your customers use your site when they land on it, you can quickly refine the site and PPC campaign until you get the conversion rate you are looking for. Often the difference between a profitable campaign and an unprofitable one lies in picking the right phrases, ads, and landing pages for your potential customers

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