Did you know that 93% of people search for products and services on search engines before they make a purchase? A search marketing campaign can get your business in front of potential customers that are already searching for your products and services.
Building a campaign on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, finding the best performing keywords, and managing your campaign can be very expensive and time consuming. If you already have a SEM campaign or are thinking of launching one, here are some things you should avoid!
- Entering phone numbers in ad text
When building your ads, do not enter a phone number into the ad text, as it can cause the ad to get disapproved. Instead of placing the phone number in the ad text, use the call extension feature. This feature displays a clickable call button with your ad that entices people to call your business as they are searching.
- Using broad and unrelated keywords
Don’t use very broad keywords to attract any kind of traffic type to your website. Instead, keep it specific by using product or business-related keywords so that the traffic going to your website is relevant. Driving relevant traffic to your website increases your chance of conversion.
- Having unrealistic expectations
You must have realistic expectations with your campaign results. If you are spending $100 per month, think of how many customers that campaign will need to generate to get back your investment. If you sell a product for $50, and your campaign brings in 150 new visitors and 4 new customers, then it is considered a successful campaign because you have a higher return.
- Not using the analytic campaign reports
Check the analytic campaign reports to see how your campaign is performing once a week. SEM is not something that can be launched and never looked at again. By constantly looking at the campaign reports, you will be able to see what is working vs not working. You can then make changes to your campaign, like varying ad text to test new messaging, removing poor performing keywords and set a different landing page that is more engaging to visitors.
These tips can help you run an effective search marketing campaign that delivers excellent results. As a small business, you probably have a very busy schedule and you may not have enough time to put into your SEM campaign. There are solutions that can help you build and manage them for you, saving you time and money. If you would like a tool that builds, manages, and optimizes your campaign for you, look no further!
Our powerful tool will help you build your campaign in just a few easy steps, and will manage it all for you with our optimization engine. We manage your campaign on a daily basis to make sure that it delivers the best results by surfacing your best keywords and spreading your budget effectively. Your marketing will be put on autopilot while you focus on running your business! To get started, click here.
A few of us old-timers remember life before digital advertising. I didn’t start out in Pay Per Click.
In fact, it didn’t exist when I started working.
As human beings, we can’t help it. We fall victim to a fixed mindset: we approach new things with the frame of reference of the old things. Our frame of reference is like a security blanket.
As solo-preneurs or small business owners, this often means we apply the same mindset to digital media as with traditional advertising: newspaper, radio, outdoor signs, direct mail distribution.
This may not be a surprise, and I don’t expect it to be. Still, an overwhelming majority of business owners, solo-preneurs, still apply a traditional bias to their online efforts, which leads to poor performing campaigns.
Nearly every profession has its essential tools or equipment. A plumber has a his pipe wrench, an automotive repair shop uses diagnostic testers, and a writer has a computer. PPC is no different…
PPC has … a DIY online marketing tool designed for the complete novice in paid search advertising. It’s called SiteWit: start with free website analytics. Then use SiteWit step by step to launch search campaigns across Google, Bing and Yahoo. Maximize your search budget and advertise online with confidence by leveraging SiteWit’s automated management and optimization tools.
While it’s certainly feasible to manage PPC campaigns on your own by learning the online interfaces of Google and Bing/Yahoo, it takes a significant level of experience and knowledge to balance the spend and results. And why should you master this tedious craft if there is a tool which automates the process anyway? Who wants to to use a typewriter in this day of computers?
So, you could give yourself permission to screw up and learn the craft the hard way or …. use the right tool for the job!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people write off pay per click campaigns by saying “We already tried that … It didn’t work”. Before placing the blame on the search engine, and shifting money into direct mail or newspaper ads, take the time to reflect on why the campaign didn’t work.
As opposed to traditional advertising, campaigns don’t have a start date and an end date. Don’t expect sales to double the first week of December because you started a campaign mid-November. Don’t turn off a campaign after you’ve spent only $100 and haven’t seen any leads yet. Most marketers lack patience and shut down a campaign if they aren’t seeing results instantly.
You Need To Sustain A Budget
Just like you need to keep the gas tank of your car filled, you need to replenish the budget of your campaign. If your car is a small Chevy, you spend a modest amount on gas. If you decide to upgrade to an Audi because you need a vehicle to get to your destinations faster, surely, you’re anticipating spending twice the amount on gas and maintenance. The same applies to your campaign: just like you need to increase your budget on gas and maintenance of an Audi, you need to increase the advertising budget if you want to generate the anticipated results quicker.
Don’t think that you can just throw a few dollars into PPC to boost business while neglecting a mediocre site. Every week, I reach out to website owners providing recommendations to enhance the visibility of their contact information. Take a look at your website. Does it convey credibility, professionalism and trust? It does not matter how well you fine-tune your campaign: if your website has broken links, unresponsive buttons, grammar mistakes, pages loading slowly, you will lose many potential customers.
Paid search marketing does not operate in a bubble. Most visitors to your site will research your products via several other channels before deciding to return to your site to purchase or contact you. Many factors will impact the effectiveness of your campaign regardless of your budget and the quality of your website: do you have negative reviews online which visitors may find while researching? is your business seasonal for your industry? is your activity so recent that you do not have an established reputation mentioning your service? Before you declare PPC a waste of time and money, take the time to determine why the campaign didn’t meet your expectations.
What happens once your visitors click on your ad and they arrive on a page not finding what you promised?
They “bounce” off your site, you loose a sales-lead, and you pay for the cost of the click. No amount of Google AdWords $100 free advertising credits is going to change bad marketing habits. It probably sounds like I’m having a go at you, I’m not. I’m simply sharing the most common (and costly) mistake 98% of new advertisers are doing.
There are 2 pillars to a successful Pay Per Click Advertising Campaign: Message Match and Landing Page
If the message on your ad does not resonate immediately with the headline of your landing page, your campaign will under-perform and your page will have a high “bounce rate.”
Keep The Promise: Follow through on your ad’s statement: Your visitor should make a seamless connection as you lead them from an engaging and enticing ad to a rewarding landing page which should do the heavy lifting and convert your visitors into leads and customers. Below is an example of an ad matching the headline and messaging of the landing page (because you’re reading the SiteWit blog, you would never send ppc traffic to your home page, right?) The benefits of developing good marketing habits by applying pillars 1 and 2 are: 1. Your campaign is more likely to be successful because visitors are instantly reaffirmed that they can get what the ad stated. 2. Because you are providing your visitors with a better experience, the “bounce rate” will be reduced. Search engines do take note, and this does contribute to lowering your cost per click. 3. Less work for Brigitte because I don’t have to work on so many ads to get you off to a flying start!
At SiteWit, each Google AdWords Certified Advisor has a focus and excels in an area to deliver the best results for your company. Drawing on our respective experience with small business owners across a multitude of business landscapes, we collectively agree that the one single piece of advice we would give to businesses is:
Never start a marketing campaign without a dedicated landing page!
We know what you’re thinking … “What’s wrong with using my home page?”
99% of business owners use their home page as the landing page of their PPC ads.
Admit it, you’re doing it wrong.
The landing page should never be your homepage!
Your home page has a general purpose. It speaks to your overall brand and company values, its founders, mission statement, etc. It can have links to encourage exploration of your website to discover more about you, read your blog, view your testimonials etc….
A landing page, on the other hand, is exclusively dedicated to 1 campaign objective and serves 1 purpose only: Generating leads
It should be immediately clear what you’re supposed to do on this page. Therefore, to avoid distracting the visitor and keep him focused on your call to action, remove the navigation bar and any links from the landing page.
Below is an example of an excellent landing page
This landing Page design is reprinted with permission from Emmy Jonassen of Indie Game Girl.
In the field of advertising, the golden rule is putting yourself in your prospects’ shoes by thinking like them. If consumers are searching for a product or service like yours, which words or phrases would they type into their favorite search engine?
The most frequent (and costly) mistake is choosing keywords that you use yourself on a daily basis, or which you think are logically associated with your product. Try to let go of your own perspective and be mindful of the jargon and core industry-specific terms you use with your colleagues, vendors and staff. Your potential customer has no clue about your “second skin” the environment in which you live and breathe.
For example, at SiteWit we use the word “conversion” among colleagues to refer to a “sales lead” (a visitor who completed the desired action on the landing page such as a purchase, a free trial, a sign-up for membership).
While the internet marketing world refers to “conversions”, for the small business owner trying to launch his service, the appropriate word is simply “customer”. So, the delivery of the messaging, whether verbal or in written form, is strategic to your success.
If you found an article on our blog titled “Tips to Increase PPC Conversions ” you may not want to read it. This is understandable as such a title is indicative of an article targeting readers interested in more complex strategies to rocket their sales.
However, if our article was titled “How to Rocket Your Sales Using Paid Search Advertising”, you might feel comfortable with the title and feel inclined to read it. So, the key is to understand what words will resonate with your potential customers and entice them to take the desired next step.
To illustrate my point, let’s use this ad I saw recently written by a provider of software solutions:
This technical jumble required me to research the acronym SaaS, what it does, and whom it is intended for. After the necessary research, I learn that Software as a Service (SaaS) allows small online retailers to open functional online stores with a minimum expense. However, if you were viewing this ad from your perspective as a potential customer, would you be inclined to spend time to research what the advertiser is offering?
So, good choices of keywords for this ad would be: “Shopping cart software” “e-commerce solutions for small business” “tracking online transactions” “e-commerce software for small business” “integrating mail-order” “managing online subscriptions” “automating billing for online business” “tracking online orders and payments” ….
Here are 2 improved versions of the ad:
So, don’t try to shove your geek-speak about your product or service on your customers by picking the keywords you think they should use to find you. That never works in advertising. You can educate them as to why you’re different, and why they should care once they have arrived on your site.
Imagine a life in a world of perfect landing pages. All you have to do is get visitors to click on your ad and ~ poof ~ once they arrive on your landing page, they become customers.
That’s a dreamland scenario. Let’s get back to reality. Approximately 5% of visitors take the intended action once they arrive on the landing page of a PPC ad.
So, what stops 95% of visitors from becoming customers once they arrive on the landing page of your ad?
The reasons why visitors might take some action when they land on your landing page are as varied as the people who land there. If you want your visitor to take the desired action (newsletter sign-up, sales lead, purchase), you should consider the following:
- Solve a Need – What Can You Do?
As long as consumers have problems, they will always search for solutions. First-time visitors want to know how you have solved problems for others and are overwhelmed with the amount of choice on a daily basis. In our age of constant distraction, attention spans are short, so you have only a few seconds to get noticed. If it is not quickly obvious on your landing page that your offer will solve their need, your visitors will leave. So, to grab your visitors’ attention, start by solving a need. Then clearly demonstrate the benefits they will get from your offer. The more value they perceive, the more likely they are to remain on your site and take some action.
- Build Instant Trust – Who Are You?
Don’t take for granted that first-time visitors to your site know exactly what your business is about. First time visitors may like your offer, but they have trust and confidence issues because they don’t know you. To establish trust, use symbols that are familiar to them, such as a BBB or Angie’s List logo. Reassure visitors by displaying customer reviews or testimonials. Testimonials will act as a “risk-reliever” and might encourage a visitor to contact you for an estimate or more information.
- Remove Any Doubts!
Errors on a Web site can crush a visitor’s confidence in a flash. Examples of such errors are spelling mistakes, broken links, error messages, etc… Also, take care to notify visitors how you will handle their personal information. Will it be tracked? Will their payment information be stored? Is your site secure? Ease their fears by including a clearly identifiable privacy statement.
- Show Them The Way
It could be a button to take the user to the next page, a form to fill to issue a coupon, a box to sign up for a membership. Use a call to action to engage your visitor or to guide him to where you think they should be heading.
We get it … You loaded up your new campaign, it all looks good, so you rush over to the Google or Bing search page and type in a keyword, waiting eagerly to see your own ad show up. Voilà! there
it is for everyone to see!
You know what? Don’t do that.
By performing searches that trigger your ad, you’ll accumulate impressions (how often your ad is shown) without clicks, which can prevent your ad from appearing as often as it should.
Why? Based on how many clicks your campaign can afford in a day, your ad will participate in only a percentage of searches. So if your small business’s budget can only afford to access 7% of the available traffic in a day, do you really want to waste an impression on yourself?
While you may see your ad, a potential customer who searches for it 30 seconds later may not get the chance! So, when your ad is triggered, you want it be triggered by a customer.
Also, if you repeatedly look for your own ad using Google but never click on it, you might stop seeing it entirely. That’s because Google will stop showing you Ads which it thinks you aren’t interested in.
The fact that you don’t see your ad at some specific instant during the day doesn’t mean it’s not active. If your goal is to measure the impact of your Ad and view website traffic, you may view its performance from your SiteWit account. As always, SiteWit is delighted to explain that jumble of information to facilitate your success in today’s marketplace.
You’ve decided to enter the exciting world of paid search
Congratulations, you are on the road to creating a more successful business. However, in order to succeed in the world of paid search, careful planning of your campaign structure and analyzation of its progress are required.
The structure of your campaign should reflect the overall goals of your business so the campaign will give you the best possible return on investment. The campaign should have very relevant keywords to your business, compelling ad copy and a well designed-landing page. There should also be some sort of bid optimization to make the most out of your budget. SiteWit and it’s automated bidding engine can help with that. Keep tabs on your campaign because if it’s neglected, the ads and keywords can become disconnected with the goals of the business and lead to a less than optimal return.
Analyzing keywords and their performance will allow you to see what’s working, what can be nixed, and give you insight on how to save on your average cost-per-click. This knowledge can help you foreshadow trends-to-be and stay ahead of the game. Thorough analysis of keywords metrics and stats can go a long way. Knowing which keywords perform best in terms of conversions is important in developing new keywords that are closely related to that keyword, and shutting down keywords irrelevant to that keyword.
Another thing business owners need to be aware of is the difference in search engine. Google and Bing have a wide variety of different users and your campaign will perform differently based on which engine you use. Google has a much higher search volume but has higher competition and tends to have a higher cost-per-click. Bing and Yahoo have a lower search volume but there tends to be less competition and in turn a lower cost-per-click.
“You get out what you put in,” rings true in the world of paid search advertising
Careful analysis of keywords, using bid optimization to maximize ROI, and constantly working on the structure of your campaign will lead to positive results and getting the most out of your advertising budget. SiteWit is here to help, and our team of professionals can guide you in every step of the way to having the best performing campaign and maximizing your ROI.
And if you haven’t already done so, go to www.sitewit.com to open an account now and get your free analytics!
Photo by Tsahi
In the “Age of information”, paid search ads are the billboards of the future.
With paid search ads, you can drive relevant traffic to your website from major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo in order to increase conversions and grow your business. Paid search ads are listed above organic search results and are typically the first three results. They are also all the ads that you see on the right-hand side of the search results. Companies are paying for clicks to these ads and they are seen when searchers are looking for something that is relevant to that advertiser’s website. Organic search is free and results are listed below the first three paid search ads. Paid search ads are shown based on the keyword that triggered them and Organic results are based on relevancy to the search phrase.
Now, the big question you may ask as a business owner is whether or not paid search is right for you? The simple answer is yes because paid search will help your company be found by people looking for what you have to offer and be one of the first results potential customers see. The ability to generate sales leads through paid search will give you a huge edge on your competition and make the customer interaction better since you are offering them what they’re looking for. Assuming you are confident in your products and your business, paid search will aid you in turning the kind of profits you want. When it comes to the internet and potential customers, you have to think in terms of “quality vs. quantity” or both.
Paid search delivers quality traffic to your site and, depending on how much you’re spending, it can deliver it in quantity.
Bottom line: paid search is so effective because it puts you in front of an audience that wants what you have. Paid search is looking to be the future of advertising and the new way a business sees growth. Paid search is something that you as a business owner can use to give yourself an edge on competition, driving relevant traffic to your site and increase sales leads. In the “Age of Information” getting listed on paid search is simply a no-brainer to any business owner.
And if you haven’t already done so, go to www.sitewit.com to open an account now and get your free analytics!