The thin line between PPC success and failure is your PPC strategy or lack of the same thereof. Here are a few actionable tips to create a good strategy. 65% percent of customers will click on Google ads when they are shopping online. Bad news content bloggers… this is why ads have been showing in the top three positions on Google.
This also explains why every marketer wants a piece of the pie that is PPC (wiki). However, without a good PPC strategy, you will not gain traction and in fact, the guy who chose to go for SEO can beat you. You need to plan carefully. Here, we will look at a few killer ideas for great ad marketing strategy. And yes, it is much more than just keywords.
Step-by-step development of PPC strategy
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The initial assessment for PPC strategy
If you are a marketer and a client who wants PPC comes, you have to do a situational assessment before you jump into the pool with both feet.
First, you need to know the business inside out, its history too. For example, you need to know whether they have used PPC before. If yes, did it succeed? If not, you have to find out why it failed. You need to know the status of the business, and the status of the industry that the business is in.
Secondly, you need to analyze the competition carefully. This can take some time, but it is absolutely necessary. The analysis will reveal what the competition is doing in their PPC campaigns, their message and the keywords that they are using. Only after looking at the competition can you guess how much resources and effort you need to direct to that account.
If your client already had a Google Ads account (formerly AdWords), you need to do a thorough audit on the account too. You want to see whether the actions performed on the account are well aligned with the business objectives.
If they are not, you should find out what you need to tweak to align them. It can be hard, nasty work, but it will help you to reveal all the weaknesses and the strengths so that you can know what you are dealing with.
Create a good policy for account management
You have audited your client’s account. You have seen its strengths, weaknesses, how well it is aligned to the company’s goals. Now, the next thing in your PPC strategy is to create a policy on how you are going to manage the account.
Who does what and when do they do it? How often should the milestones be reviewed? These are just some of the things that should be included in a good policy. Bring every stakeholder aboard so that you can all start on the same page.
The policy also designates the key drivers. For example, you have to decide what will be the profit driver, the growth driver and so on. That way, when checking the results, you can know what brought what. For example, it will be easy to know how PPC performed as compared to paid search.
Actually, a policy for account management is like having a strategy, or a small strategy within a strategy. There are so many things to do, and most of them are repetitive. With a good grasp of common practices that you can use to run a PPC account, the job should not be too hard.
If you do not have a policy for the PPC account management, you will be doing things on a trial and error basis. This is not the right way to work because there is money at stake. Thus, every action that you take with the account must lead to the achievement of the big picture and that is getting many clicks and eventually, many conversions.
Account management policy gives you a framework or guideline for the kind of work that you need to do. Without this framework, you will not be able to measure the results against the volume of the work that you have put in. In other words, it is like navigating blindly, without knowing whether you are headed in the right direction.
Thorough keyword research
Ok, we know this one should be in the policy/framework, but then, it is such a big factor determining success. That is why we had to give it its own space. Some people may argue that this is more of a technique than a strategy, but hey, it can be both.
The success of PPC strategy starts with thorough research. You need to know everything about the pay per click campaign.
So, what do you consider most in the keyword research stage? It must be customer-centric research. You want to find out what your target customers are looking for, and how they are looking for it. By how we mean what keywords and search phrases they are using.
Think deeply about any key phrase that customers might use to find your products. List it all down. If you target the wrong keyword, you will just spend money without seeing any ROI.
What are your targeted customers using – desktop, tablet or smartphone? When do they go online most? What are their demographics? See? You have to be meticulous. You can’t leave anything to chance or luck.
Develop a plan for action
You must have a plan for the entire campaign. This plan must document what is going to happen when, and how it will happen. You must have a plan of action on how you will beat the biggest challenges that the business faces.
In the action plan, you have to define what will be the lead driver. For example, if the business is looking for more customers, then what you need to put first on the plan is paid search. What we are saying is that you have to define the challenges the business has been facing and the actions that you will take to counter those challenges.
Some businesses just need more brand recognition, others need to expand and others need a lot of remarketing action. Whatever your business needs, be sure to include it in the action plan. If you have not tried Microsoft Advertising before (formerly Bing ads), this is the time to include them in the plan. They may be low in volume (search per month), but hey, every click counts in a PPC campaign.
This strategy can help you outrank that company that is always number one for a certain keyword. Outranking Share means the number of times, or by which percentage your ad outranks that of the competitor. This is not an easy feat in any way, but it is not impossible.
The good thing with using this strategy is that you isolate the main competitor for a certain keyword and then you invest a huge chunk of your resources to beat them. You will be able to amend your bids guided by competitors’ ranking on the keyword, auction insights, how often you would like to rank ahead of the competition.
It takes some time to set everything up with this strategy. It can take even up to 7 days to see some good results, so you need to be patient.
Also called Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, this is a strategy designed to help you know the visitors that have shown interest in your website and retarget them. What this means is that if your data shows that a certain customer bought a certain item on your site, you can remarket to them again, this time with a related product. This strategy even works for people who have browsed on products on your site without buying anything.
Location Bid Adjustments
This is a very important strategy for a marketer looking to drive customers to a local store in a given location. You can try allocating more resources for bids that are shown users in that location. You should, of course, take time to find out how certain geographic areas are doing. The data that you collect is going to tell you where you should increase or decrease the bids for certain geographic locations.
For you to use this strategy, you must have some conversions over the last 30 days, for some history. Google Ads is going to use the conversion data from this time. The strategy helps you to set a targeted Cost per Conversion at the start. Google Ads will then reduce or increase your bids accordingly to reach the set Cost per Conversion target.
Try new channels for traffic
With the internet reach growing at a prolific rate, there will always be a new channel that you ought to try. Most marketers just think about Bing and Google and for a good reason too. However, channels such as Pinterest and Instagram can bring you high quality, converting traffic.
By May 2019, Pinterest had 291 million users. That is a goldmine for you to try for some targeted traffic. You may also want to try running something on Quora, which has 326 million users. These may not be conventional sources of traffic, but to a marketer, any legit traffic is good.
Try leveraging other traffic channels such as Twitter. You can use it for launching new products. With billions of users, there must be some traffic to be had. However, specifically target the younger channels such as Quora, Pinterest, and others since competition is a bit lower.
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That is it for how to develop a PPC strategy that works. Pay close attention to the action plan and the keyword research. Step back a bit and review your milestones from time to time so that you can know when it is time to adjust your strategy.
This article is written by Lorenzo Gutierrez. He is from the Central Coast of California. He works with small businesses up to publicly traded corporations helping them to grow their revenue online. When not marketing Lorenzo likes to go to the beach or hang out with his dog.
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