03 Jun Four ways to maximize PPC performance
By Joy Gendusa, CEO of Postcard Mania, a direct marketing firm
Google Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising can be a great addition to your small business marketing arsenal. It allows you to build brand awareness and generate leads by displaying targeted ads to prospects on any of the millions of websites within the Google Display Network. However, it can be a complicated process. There are 4 ways that you can maximize the benefits of PPC marketing to build business growth.
Let’s take a look at them…
1. Organize campaigns into niche keyword groups
Relevance is critical for PPC ads. You need to put your ads in front of quality prospects, the ones who are already looking for what you offer. A dentist can’t display his ads to internet users searching for home remodelers and expect a good response. They have no interest in scheduling a dental check-up, because it’s irrelevant to their current predicament. To show your ads to relevant prospects you have to find out what your ideal prospects are searching for in Google. For the dentist, these would be keywords like “dental cleaning”, “professional teeth whitening”, etc. Once you find all the popular keywords you need to organize all the related keyword phrases into specialty niche groups. This allows you to create more specific ads that are highly relevant to each prospect group.
Organizing keywords into niche groups accomplishes two tasks:
– It makes your ads more specific and relevant.
– It increases your click-through rate.
These two effects are also the determining factors in the Quality Score Google gives your ad campaign. Your Quality Score is intended to measure how useful your ad is to those you are targeting. If your ads are relevant and attracting lots of clicks, they’ll get a high Quality Score. High Quality Scores mean better ad positioning, and a lower cost per click rate. So you are paying less, and getting more prominent advertising real estate. That’s two big marketing wins generated simply from your ability to organize your keywords.
2. Maintain consistency in every aspect of your PPC campaign
Another way to build a great Quality Score is by maintaining consistency throughout your PPC advertising process. The ad process basically follows 3 steps: 1) Your ad is created to catch the prospect’s attention and convince them to click, 2) Your landing page is created to further engage the prospect’s interest and build trust with them, and 3) A special offer is presented as an incentive for prospect’s to fill out a contact form. A landing page is simply a single-purpose webpage designed specifically for each ad campaign to encourage a prospect to fill out a contact form. Once you have their contact information you can include them in your ongoing marketing efforts to turn them into a customer.
So, what does it mean to be consistent throughout your PPC advertising process? It simply means each aspect of the prospect’s experience from clicking on the ad to filling out the form should be a continuous, flowing process. It shouldn’t look like three steps. It should lead them gradually through. The image ad’s appearance should be cohesive with the look of the landing page. The landing page copy should continue discussing the topic the text ad introduced and expand on it with trust-building information, like convincing data or testimonials. Finally the special offer should be related to the topic the ad introduced and the landing page reinforced.
Let’s look at an example:
A photography business creates an ad targeted at prospects who typed “family portrait photographers” into Google. The ad headline reads, “Professional Family Portraits”. Then, the landing page starts out saying, “Looking to get a professional family portrait done? Check out what our customers have said about our photographers’ work.” The rest of the landing page features some positive testimonials from past family portrait customers and images of the work. Next, they present an offer of 10% off their family portraits if the prospect fills out the contact form. The campaign follows a single, cohesive message and keeps the prospect engaged throughout. This is the kind of flowing process that builds trust and credibility with each new step.
Inconsistency in your PPC ad process is dangerous, because it causes a disconnect with the prospect. If they arrive on a landing page that either looks different or discusses a different topic than the ad they clicked on, they are confused and think something is wrong. They can conclude the ad was some kind of scam. They could think they were directed to the wrong site. They could also simply conclude that your business is disorganized or unprofessional. These are all major blows to your marketing, and cause your PPC campaigns to fail.
3. Optimize Your Ads for Phone Responses
If your business can benefit from phone responses, you can take steps to optimize your ads to generate calls. There is basically two ways to do this: 1) Make sure your phone number is included in all text ads and is featured in large digits on your image ads, and 2) Adjust your display times to only your business hours. The first one is pretty self-explanatory. Your prospects can’t call you if you don’t give them your number. The second ensures that your prospects call when you have a receptionist available to speak with them. People prefer being connected to a real person, as opposed to an automated system or a voicemail, so limiting your display times gives you a better chance of turning the caller into a customer. You can adjust what time of day your ads are displayed, as well as which days of the week.
The greatest part about optimizing for phone responses is the calls you receive are FREE leads. You only get charged when a prospect clicks on one of your ads. If they see your number and call, you don’t pay a cent. These call-in leads are generally easier to turn into customers anyway, as opposed to an online form lead, so this is a great use of PPC marketing.
4. Use Ad Extensions
One downside of PPC text ads is the character limit. You only get about 35 characters per line, sometimes less to communicate your marketing message. You really need more than that. That’s why Ad Extensions are such a great option. Google lets you choose from 6 categories of extensions, which each serve a useful marketing purpose, and make the character limit less of a problem.
Here are the 6 extensions…
– Location Extension? If you have a brick and mortar location, this extension gives your address to prospects below your ad. They can also click on the address to get directions from Google Maps.
– Product Extension? This extension is great for product driven industries. It allows you to show pictures and prices of the products you have in your Google Merchant profile.
– SiteLink Extension? This extension lets you present multiple sites underneath your ad. You can show pages like Products, Services, About Us, Contact Us, etc. This gives you more opportunities to engage the interest of prospects.
– Phone Number Extension? Almost 50% of consumer-related internet searches come from a mobile device. This extension makes it easy for those mobile prospects to get in contact with you. It simply adds a click-to-call phone number beneath your ad.
– Social Media Extension? Do you have a large social media following on Google Plus? This extension lets you show off the number of +1s on your page to build credibility with prospects.
6. Seller Rating Extension? This extension displays a rating beneath your ad. Your customers can rate their experience out of 5 stars. Don’t worry though! Google only shows your rating if it is 4 stars or above, so there’s no risk.
These 4 methods are the foundation to bringing in big results with your PPC marketing. Try them out and start maximizing the potential of your PPC advertising.
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About Joy Gendusa:
Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm, PostcardMania. Joy began PostcardMania in 1998, with nothing but a phone and a computer, never taking a dime of investment capital. Joy originally started PostcardMania as a full-service postcard marketing company helping clients create turn-key marketing campaigns with graphic design, printing, mailing list acquisition and mailing services. Since then, PostcardMania has expanded to offer its clients more services including website and landing page design and development, email marketing and full marketing evaluations — all while continuing to educate clients with free marketing advice.
In 2012, PostcardMania reached almost $44 million in annual revenue and the company now employs more than 195 people, prints 4 million and mails 2 million postcards each week, and has more than 53,000 customers in over 350 industries. Please visit www.postcardmania.com for more information. Find Joy on Google+.