Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a great way to get visibility for your brand and direct traffic for your site. The premise is simple. You’ll place an ad with a company (usually something like Google, Bing, or Facebook), then pay a fixed price for each “click” that the ad generates. If you have a decent budget, you can practically guarantee meaningful traffic this way.
So, what do you need to get started?
Why PPC Ads?
Before you get started, you should contemplate whether a PPC ad campaign is the best approach for your company’s goals.
PPC ads have several advantages, such as:
- Guaranteed traffic. With PPC ads, you’ll only pay for each click you actually generate. Unlike content marketing and social media marketing, you won’t have to hope for traffic to be generated – you can practically guarantee it, as long as you’re willing to pay for it.
- Tight audience controls. Google, Facebook, Bing, and most other PPC platforms give you the power to target your audience very precisely, including the keywords they’re searching for, their demographic makeup, and even their personal interests. This can be crucial if you want a targeted approach.
- Opportunities for refinement. There are dozens of ways to get better at PPC ad management over time, from targeting better audiences to writing better copy. If you’re willing to put in the work, your return on investment (ROI) should climb accordingly.
However, there are also some drawbacks, such as relatively high costs in high-competition niches and limited control over formatting. If you want to be successful in the PPC world, you’ll need to find a way to play to its strengths and compensate for its weaknesses.
Getting Started With a PPC Campaign
Here’s what you’ll need before you can start a PPC campaign:
- An overall strategy. First, you need some kind of overall strategy in place. What is it that you’re trying to accomplish? Are you only interested in getting more people to your website or do you want to convert them from the moment they see your ad? If you’re interested in generating traffic, how are you going to get those visitors to take action once they’re on your site? Additionally, what kind of scale are you going to work with, and what are your long-term plans for development? You don’t need to answer all these questions in fine detail, but you should have an idea of what you want.
- A target audience. You also need to have a target audience in mind. Who are the people you want to bring to your website? What demographics are you targeting? Where do these people live and how do they think? What types of things are they going to search for?
- A competitive analysis. According to PPC.co, you’ll need to spend some time analyzing the PPC competition. Chances are, there are already dozens, or even hundreds of businesses just like yours competing for the keywords you’d like to target. How are you going to differentiate yourself? How are you going to contest their big budgets and widespread visibility? The better you know your competitors, the better you can prepare to overtake them.
- A budget. Your budget is going to play a massive role in how you structure and manage your campaign in the future. Bigger budgets can lead to greater visibility and more traffic – but if you’re not prepared for that surge in traffic, a bigger budget isn’t necessarily a “good” thing. How much are you willing to spend? And what are you really trying to accomplish?
- A platform in mind. Many digital platforms now offer PPC advertising in some form. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. For example, do you prefer the huge audience of Google or the inexpensive ads of Bing?
- A PPC account. When you’re ready to begin, you’ll need to open an Ads account with your platform of choice. This is usually both simple and free – since major platforms want you spending money on ads as quickly as possible.
- Keyword targets. Much of your success will depend on your ability to choose strong keywords, aligned with your target audience and (ideally) free from major competition. This is a research-intensive step of the process that rarely yields clear answers.
- Compelling ad copy. From there, you’ll be ready to start writing compelling ad copy. What can you say that will get your target customers to click this ad?
- A landing page capable of generating conversions. After clicking your PPC ad, your visitors are going to have to go somewhere. Usually, that’s a landing page that you’ve designed to welcome your new visitors. If your strategy is going to be successful, this landing page needs to be compelling. It needs to be informative, entertaining, and/or persuasive, ultimately driving your new visitors to convert. Without a good conversion optimization strategy in place, this can be difficult to pull off – and all that extra traffic from your PPC campaign won’t amount to much.
- A professional partner. Finally, it pays to have a professional partner. While it’s fully possible to start your own PPC ads account and place your first ads by yourself, you’re likely going to struggle to choose the right keywords and optimize your ad copy without experience. Consider hiring a PPC advertising agency or a freelancer to help you get started.
With all this prep work in place, you should have a good chance of generating strong results even in the early days of your campaign. However, if you want to keep those results consistent and improve your efficiency over time, you’ll need to remain adaptable. It’s important to thoroughly evaluate your progress, identifying the elements of your strategy that are succeeding and failing, then make adjustments to boost performance. That means changing your keywords, tweaking your ad copy, and possibly even changing your strategy from the ground up. The more flexible you are, the better long-term results you’re going to see.