In my first article for My Entrepreneur Magazine, I want to discuss pay per click (PPC) advertising. With a new business and website It takes time to build up organic search engine traffic which is at the whim of Google or Bing but you can get traffic instantly through PPC. However PPC can end up being very expensive so I want to outline 5 traps to avoid.
Drawing in traffic to your Web site takes time and a great strategy. This especially holds true when you’re using search engine optimization. What a lot of small business owners are finding to be quicker and just as effective are pay-per-click ads. By implementing PPC ads into your marketing campaign, you can target specific people at certain times of the day right away. While with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), you have to wait months before you get a chance to achieve a ranking that will allow your site to be found by visitors.
But this doesn’t mean you should choose one over the other. PPC ads can be highly effective for small businesses, especially those that are brick and mortar, since they can target local audiences. Just keep in mind that SEO is a part of building a successful PPC campaign. While you’re creating your strategy, make sure not to make these five common beginner mistakes.
1. Failing to Choose Keywords Based on Buyer Intent
Your first intention when you start searching for keywords to use for your PPC ads is to find all relevant keywords that have high search volumes. Unfortunately, search volume of a keyword alone isn’t going to ensure the profitability of that keyword. This is because it may not have a buyer intent behind it. If your buyers aren’t clicking on it, then your traffic won’t convert.
By this I mean that some keywords are entered when people are merely seeking information, gathering facts to learn more about a topic. Buyer keywords are used when the person is wanting to make a purchase and wants to for example find a precise item, product or service to purchase. If possible you want to target buyers keywords for PPC and leave the informational searching for organic traffic.
The search queries you choose (the keyword phrase people will type in to find your business) should be carefully thought out. Research will have to be performed to determine how your target buyers are finding your small business.
The keyword phrase should be quite specific. For example, if you see the key phrase “home insurance” and it has over 15,000 searches per month and costs $26 per click, this isn’t a good option. Home insurance is too generic. What would be better is “buy home insurance” or “home insurance quotes”, especially if they have a high search volume.
2. Not Eliminating Worthless Traffic Using a Negative Keyword List
This feature in your PPC campaign can and should be put to use. If your a local small business which sells handmade furniture, you may have people searching for DIY articles and videos about making handmade furniture. So you want to make sure that you eliminate those DIYers, since they aren’t looking to buy. You could eliminate keywords like “DIY”, “How to” and “video”. Controlling your traffic will ultimately enable you to control your PPC budget.
3. Sending Traffic to the Wrong Pages
When people click on your small business ad, where are they taken to? If you aren’t sending them to a landing page that will help them to convert into paying customers, then you need to rethink your strategy. A common mistake made by beginners is driving traffic to a home page or contact page. I personally hate businesses that send traffic to a home page. For example if you search for a particular pair of shoes and click on a PPC ad that uses the name of the shoes in the ad, you want to be taken straight to that product page. Getting taken to the home page and then having to search further on the website is very frustrating and many people will simply leave your website believing you haven’t actually got the product in question.
When someone clicks on your ad, they are interested in whatever it is your small business offers. The page they land on should help them find more information about your product or service and how to purchase, aka sealing the deal. Otherwise, you will have frustrated individuals leaving your site within seconds, sending your bounce rate soaring.
Your best bet is to create specific landing pages to use for your pay-per-click ad campaign. You can then offer special deals to the incoming traffic. The ads should also be related to the copy in your PPC ads. To do this, build a landing page for each and every offer you have.
4. Not A/B Testing Your Ads
You won’t know what works until you test it out. Guessing what you think will work and then failing is going to quickly deplete your PPC budget. A/B testing, also known as split testing, can be used to determine which ads perform the best. You simply create two or more slightly different variations of an ad and watch them for a few days or weeks.
What you should be paying attention to is the quality of the traffic, versus the quantity. It’s better to have a lower amount of converting traffic than a high amount of non-converting traffic.
An example would be to have one ad say “Save 25% on Bed Sheets” and another that says “Buy Bed Sheets 25% Off”.
5. Not Using a Strategy for Your PPC Budget
If the issue with your PPC campaign is that you’re running out of money too quickly, then there is an issue with your strategy. If your ads are only running half the day because the budget depletes before giving you the results you desire, then you will have to either raise your budget or use ad scheduling.
As a small business, you may struggle with the idea of increasing your budget, after all it’s the reason why you created that budget in the first place. If this is the case, you should look to using ad scheduling to help keep traffic coming in during the times of day your target buyers are shopping.
To determine this, you’re going to have to find out what time of day and which days of the week your buyers are converting. Using this as your schedule will help you to get more out of your campaign, without having to break your bank account.
Bonus Tips and Strategies
There are a few other ways you can get more out of your smaller budget:
- Divide your campaigns into ad groups and make them more specific with short lists of keywords
- Add a longer list of negative keywords
- Get rid of the high-cost keywords
- Use keyword match types that are more restrictive, like broad match or phrase match modify
Make Sure You Run a Successful PPC Campaign
When you own a small business, the goal of your PPC campaign is to drive in local traffic. Keep in mind that you should be using specific keywords that include the names of your city and surrounding cities. Tie in these five tips and you should be able to save your PPC campaign and your budget.
Dale Reardon has a law degree and has previously operated his own legal practice in partnership and established several tourism businesses, in historic areas of Hobart. This has given him valuable business experience in relation to business formation and development, and also involving business marketing, both online and offline.
The current venture for Dale and his wife, Jo, involves The Online Beginners Hub which brings together and shares the knowledge they have developed over many years in relation to business. This is what they wished they had when getting started for the first time.
Dale can be found on Twitter at @bizkickstarter and Pinterest at The Online Beginner’s Hub and currently offers for free: 100 Tips For Small Business Survival at Your Business Kickstart.