PPC is a major investment, so you want to get the most out of every valuable dollar you spend. You’re paying for every person who clicks on your ads – whether they convert to buyers or not – so there are a lot of different variables that come into play and influence your ROI. Here’s a look at the six pillars of PPC success.
It’s impossible to implement a pay-per-click campaign without some planning. You have to give at least some thought to your target keywords, bid rates, and daily spend. You have to decide which landing page to direct your traffic to, and you have to write ad copy that attracts attention. You have to choose whether to use ad extensions, and whether they’re worth paying for. If you’re even thinking about entering into something this involved without planning it all out in advance, you’re out of your mind.
Beyond this, however, you should also be setting goals for your campaigns. A positive ROI (return-on-investment) is always a good thing, but you also have to consider your cost per acquisition: How much investment does it require to earn each new customer? When it comes to PPC, you don’t just have to plan; you have to plan to plan. That means you have to set up a periodic review and analysis and refine and revamp your campaign to continuously improve results.
2. Competitive Analysis
Competitive analysis is another essential pillar of PPC success. Competition plays heavily into every aspect of pay-per-click, including your cost per click, the viability of bidding on competitive brand names, whether your own brand name is being tapped into by competition, whether your offers are comparable (ideally, better) than your competition, and whether your landing pages far outshine your competitors’ or look shoddy in comparison.
For this reason, a deep competitive analysis, and ongoing competitive analysis, should be a staple for PPC advertisers. Because advertisers are constantly changing up their creative and their campaign approach, ongoing monitoring is the only way to stay at the head of the pack.
3. Buyer Personas
Who will be clicking on your ads? If you can’t answer this question, you have some serious work to do. You can’t create a targeted, effective ad campaign if you can’t describe the target customer. What makes your ideal consumer tick? What drives him? What keeps her up at night? What are her interests? The more closely you can define your ideal customer, the more targeted your campaigns.
One important thing to note: It’s far too easy for a company to say their ideal customer is “anyone” and that their products and services are useful to “everyone.” Create five or 10 distinct buyer personas if you want, but do create buyer personas with a clear, defined personality and profile. But remember that for each buyer persona, you should have a customized campaign.
Now that you have buyer personas, you can effectively target your PPC campaigns. Again, each target consumer should have a customized campaign. These buyer segments may have distinct keyword groups. Think about the variety of buyers that shop at Hallmark on occasion. A daughter looking for a Father’s Day card isn’t searching for “anniversary gifts” or “cards for teachers.”
Targeting goes far beyond this, however. You need to target your landing pages to relevant search terms, target your ads to relevant keywords, and target your offers to specific groups, as well. You might also target campaigns based on whether your target consumer is a repeat buyer or brand-new visitor. Targeting, like the other pillars of PPC success, is an ongoing process.
So how do you keep tabs on all these ongoing processes? With analytics, of course. Analytics are like report cards for your digital marketing campaigns. The AdWords dashboard provides robust performance metrics for PPC campaigns, and Google Analytics can be used to define goals and monitor your consumers through multiple marketing channels for deeper insights into where they’re being introduced to your company and which touch points are most successful as the final push to convert the visitor.
There are easily thousands of analytics apps and tools, so it’s up to you to find those that work best for your company. Heat map analysis, for instance, creates a visualization of the path of the visitor’s eyes when viewing a landing page or website. This provides valuable insight into whether your call-to-action buttons are placed prominently enough, whether visitors are paying enough attention to key selling points, and other details that can help you refine your marketing efforts. Once you get the hang of the many analytics options, ongoing analysis isn’t a chore – it’s an enjoyable habit.