How to make effective PPC campaigns

PPC, you may have heard the term being thrown around in conversation from time to time and as a business you may been approached and asked to invest in PPC for the benefits it can have for you.

PPC can have a number of benefits for businesses, that is correct. However, you need to make sure that PPC is one component of a more comprehensive overall strategy built up of further marketing tools. PPC may come across as easy to execute, but it’s the planning, strategy and key research that makes the difference between an effective and ineffective PPC campaign. 

So, let’s start from the beginning. PPC stands for Pay Per Click and is often referred to as Google advertising, search engine advertising or paid search. PPC ads appear on Google above the organic search results for maximum paid exposure. 

Here are a few reasons why we would recommend a PPC campaign:

  1. It drives immediate results. 
  2. It gives you the first look. 
  3. It pulls in quality traffic. 
  4. It will dramatically boost your website traffic. 
  5. PPC traffic increases lead conversion rates.

Make sure your website is fast and easy to use

Every business wants their website to deliver a great user experience, regardless of their industry. A website that delights new or returning customers is likely to perform better than one that does not. The most crucial point to remember is that today’s buyers are impatient and when they get to a website that takes forever to load, they won’t stick around for long. 

The people who are researching your products or services online right now don’t have the patience to sit and wait when they have plenty of other options to click on in the form of your competitors.

Your website speed reflects how quickly a website responds to a web request, which can affect your SEO negatively. 

What slows down my website speed?

Websites can get weighed down by a lot of unnecessary features that your potential customers may never use, but here are a few for you to look out for. 

  1. Server performance – Your website loads from the ground up. When someone clicks on your site it is like turning on the engine of a car. Now how old and reliable is this car? Once clicked, your browser sends a ping to your server asking for all the information to load your website. Now this is where things can slow down. If your server’s performance is poor, it will take longer to respond – and no matter how quick everything else is, a slow server equals a slow start. 
  2. Lots of traffic – First of all, if you are experiencing a lot of traffic, this is great but eventually it will cause your website to slow down. This again links back to your server. It’s a bit like queuing in a shop. The more people in the shop, the slower you get served. 
  3. Extra-large images – You may have the dial-up tone etched in your brain, along with the nostalgia that comes with it. However, obviously things have improved since broadband but the general rule of large images still applies. Your server will carry content, text and images. Large, heavy items take long to carry to their destination. A large image is going to take a long time to load which makes the file format important. Make sure you are using JPG, PNG and GIF formats. Heavy formats like TIFF and BMP are going to take huge chunks of your load time – so avoid them!
  4. Too many plugins – If you are running WordPress, you will have a lot of plugins behind the scenes, doing what they do best. Each plugin has its own file request that means more weight to carry. If you’re running a lot of plugins, it’s going to slow things down. Ask yourself which ones are necessary and have a clear out. 

Decide what you are selling

Once you have ensured that your website is performing well and has a good all-round user experience, it’s time to decide what you’re going to promote through paid advertising. This needs to be a specific product or service. For example, if we advertised “printing services” people will find this for anything between wanting to print some homework out to large-scale commercial print copies. It is vital to the success of your campaign that you have a defined and specific product or service that you are advertising, so that you can properly target the audience you are wanting to reach out to.

Create visually pleasing landing pages

Again, no matter what your business services is or what category the products you sell come under, it is always wise to create visually pleasing landing pages that will convert leads. 

“A picture is worth a thousand words”

Humans respond to visual content faster than you might imagine; visuals make information clearer to the reader more than text alone. That’s why it is important to use visuals that are relevant and compelling to your target audience. 

We would advise not using stock photos, instead take photographs of your team and add some personality to your visuals. A great landing page starts with great visuals. The right images and videos on landing pages can help persuade visitors to act on the call to action you are leading them to. A great image helps tell the story, explain your information and create a personal connection with your visitors. Think about your brand colours and how these can impact your landing page. Research shows that colours are a big influence on psychology; appropriate colour palettes improve the user interface and help guide the behaviour of a user which can all link back to your CTA. But remember, landing pages are meant to be easy to use and quick to understand. Therefore, we would recommend keeping your layout and design minimalistic. A simplistic design can help manage the page flow and the process of scanning 

Decide on keywords to rank for

“Keywords” can be a daunting thing to handle, but it doesn’t have to be. There is a whole host of tools out there to help you find the perfect set of keywords for your advertisement. We find that the best tool for this is Google’s own Keyword Planner. 

After signing up to Google Ads, visit the keyword planner page and click “Discover new keywords”. Here you are given a search bar into which you can input up to 10 keywords that you believe will be most descriptive or beneficial to define your services or products. You can remove keywords from the search at any time to be replaced with a new one, so you are only limited to 10 keywords per search but not in total.

For example, we will be promoting a car hire company via Google Adwords. You can see the keywords that we have inputted and how they rank below.

After searching for your keywords, you are presented with a table – as above. This gives you critical insights into how each keyword performs, such as how many people search it per month, how much competition you will have to rank that keyword against, and how much you are likely to pay per click.

As you can see in the table above “car hire centre” gets between 0 and 10 searches per month, so we know that it wouldn’t be worthwhile using this keyword and this is why the research is so important.

By clicking on a title at the top of the table, you can sort the data ascending-descending or vice versa for that row. This is particularly helpful for finding out what relevant keywords get searched for frequently, which keywords will cost the most and which have the most/least competition. For many campaigns, it will be a case of finding a fine balance between search volume and cost per click (CPC) – this will vary depending on who and what is being advertised

Create the campaign

Once you have decided which keywords will work best for you, it is time to head over to Google Adwords and set up your advert. Luckily, Google has made the process of creating an advert much more defined and easier to follow over the last few years, so we will skip ahead to where it gets a little complicated.

After selecting where and when you want the advert to be displayed, you will be met with this screen. Here you describe exactly what you are selling and can see how it will be displayed via the ever-helpful ad preview pane on the right. It’s important to be as descriptive as possible (within the character limitations set by Google), this is to make sure your potential customers know exactly what they can expect to see when they click to avoid disappointment and a fast return to their search. Remember that every time someone clicks this advert you will be paying for this, so it is essential you make the viewer aware of exactly what is on the other side.

Finally, you will be asked to set a budget – these aren’t set in stone, they may be slightly higher or slightly lower each day but they will never go above the monthly max. You can pause the campaign at any time and just pay what you have spent if you feel it is not working out right for you.

Continued development

Once you have created and approved the advert, it will be put under review – this can take anywhere from a few minutes to a full day. It’s important to keep an eye on it, because once it automatically goes live, Google will suggest some keywords it believes may help you. These are more often than not, pretty far out. For example, if we run the above advert, Adwords will also show for “Media Village”, “printing”, “graphic design” etc – some of which would not be beneficial to what the advert is trying to promote. You can counteract this by clicking “Search Phrases” and enabling/disabling search phrases. Make sure to keep an eye on this daily as Google will keep adding keywords and phrases to this list – some may be beneficial, and others not so much. It’s important to keep on top of this to prevent you paying for keyword clicks which are not relevant to your advert.

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