Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) is a lot like a computer game. You learn the rules, boundaries, and strategies as you go along. However, for total PPC noobs, here is a quick tutorial to get you started.
How to Start the Game
You should always start with Google AdWords. This is the core of the PPC game. It is by far the easiest to learn and to excel at. It will also always be your bread and butter.
To use Google AdWords, you will need a Google account. By default, Google AdWords will send notifications to the Gmail Inbox of your Google account. If you want alerts about your PPC account sent to a different email, you can change where your account sends them under Account Administration.
Take the time to learn the Google AdWords interface. This video series is great. You can also look up specific questions in the massive Google Help Center.
How to Win
Unlike traditional advertising, where you pay for exposure to a broad base of people, with PPC you are paying only for the exposure to interested potential customers. Because of this, very specific, targeted campaigns are the most effective.
Ideally, because you are paying for each click, you want 100% of clicks to end in a sale. However, at the same time, you want as many people as possible who see your ad to click on it, because higher a higher Click Through Rate give you better rankings on most ad platforms. These two goals can sometimes be contradictory. To achieve both steps, do the following:
- Target very specific keywords. These can include keywords with geographic phrases if your company is geographically restricted. You don’t want to pay for clicks from Michigan if you only ship to locations in California.
- Use your ad copy to discourage irrelevant clickers. Don’t make your ad about how your website has informative content, make it about how your website sells products. This will help to filter out curiosity clicks.
That’s the basics. Here are some other tips:
- Use automatic bids to start. This will work best until you get a better feel of which ads need high bids and which don’t. However, to start you should also set your maximum per-click bid pretty high. High bids help build exposure and give your campaigns strong initial performance. Once you’ve built up a good click through rate, you can lower your maximum bid.
- Write high quality ad copy. Your Google Ads will stand on the strength of their text alone. If you have trouble coming up with fun, interesting selling points, continue hiring a freelance writer through Elance.
- Stand out, but don’t be obnoxious. Probably the single worst mistake you can make as an advertiser is to use flashing colors or annoying animations to try to attract the eye. Most people dislike ads that are annoying or clutter their pages.
Fortunately, there is a lot of other hints and tips out there. Get registered on a PPC forum and ask for advice. A lot of people are very successful at PPC and don’t mind sharing their strategies with newcomers. There are enough clicks out there for everyone.
Ryan Stephenson is the Paid Search Manager at TechWyse Internet Marketing. Prior to joining TechWyse he spearheaded paid search initiatives for Staples Canada. You can find more of writing pay per click musings at http://techwyse.com/blog