Paying for clicks: Does it work?
September 28, 2018
There are many ways to market your business online. Organic search is one: making sure your website turns up in search engine results by using the right keywords. Another option is paying to boost your rankings even further with ‘pay per click’ (PPC) advertising.
When you decide to take the paid route, you want to make sure you’re getting the best possible results for your investment. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to control that.
3 things you need for effective PPC ads
Effective PPC advertising depends on three things:
- Concrete goals. Know what you want from the ad so you can measure results. Do you want to increase sales of specific items? Do you want to get more people into your store? Are you trying to increase awareness about an issue? Be as clear as you can before you start.
- An attractive landing page. Your ad is probably going to direct people to your website, so you want to make sure they are landing on relevant content. If you want to increase sales of designer handbags, for example, you want people to come to a page that specifically features those products.
- Access to analytics. When you buy advertising through a search engine like Google, you automatically get access to analytics that show you how many times your ad has been clicked on, what search terms were used to make it pop up, and more. Often people run more than one ad so they can test if one performs better. Analytics let you fine-tune your approach. You should also have analytics built into your website so you can see what people do when they get there.
Managing your costs
To post a PPC ad, you need to decide two main things: which keywords you want your ad to show up for, and how much you want to spend per day on your ad. This is where you have control over your spending. The trick is to find the right balance – if you don’t spend enough, you may not get the results you want. If you spend too much, the results you get might not be worth it.
The good thing is you can change your settings, modify your ads, and try different keywords to get as close to the results you want as possible. Start by bidding on a lot of keywords and check daily to see which ones are working best, then refine your list to just those top ones.
Tips for effective PPC advertising
- Have a clear call to action in your ad like “buy now” or “book your appointment today”.
- Experiment. Many businesses do what’s called A/B testing, where they try two slightly different ads and see which one does better.
- Keep your website and any special landing pages focused and concise. You have between seven and 10 seconds to grab a visitor’s attention before they click away from your site.
Take an active approach
Online advertising can generate some pretty fast results, but even so, it’s not going to transform your business overnight. If you’re advertising to increase sales, you may see more clicks and traffic in a few days – before you actually start to see an upward trend in purchases. The key thing is to monitor constantly. Check your results. If you’re not getting clicks – or are getting a lot of them – with a specific ad or keyword, refocus.
There are also ways to bid on words that target specific market segments or occasions. If you sell fresh flowers, add “Mother’s Day”, “Valentine’s Day” or “birthday” to your ad, for example. You can even program your account so specific ads will run at certain times of the year – poinsettias for the holidays, for example
PPC is a highly cost-effective way to advertise if you are committed to managing it actively. With a good website, analytics program and willingness to learn, you’ll soon be creating dynamite ads and achieving your business goals.
And if you want to get the benefit of online advertising without having to take on the burden of managing results yourself, there are lots of firms that offer PPC advertising and management services. If you outsource that function, just be sure you set clear expectations about your spending and the kinds of results you’re after. Even if you aren’t managing your campaign directly, you will have to manage that relationship.