Six Things That Turn PPC Ads Into Advertising That Pays

By Carl Weiss
When you think about it, it’s amazing that the bulk of Google’s revenue is derived from Pay-Per-
Click (PPC) advertising. I say that because many small business owners whom I speak to, who have used PPC ads, are dissatisfied with their results.  It’s not that they aren’t appreciative of the fact that PPC can generate a Page One position for their business.  It’s more that using PPC does just that and little else.  Generating a click doesn’t mean generating a lead or a sale.  It simply means generating a click, every one of which erodes your ad budget.  While some clicks will generate leads, others are spurious at best and some are just your competition spending your money. We aren't anti-PPC. In fact, we've provided many clients with successful PPC campaigns that resulted in excellent ROI. So, before you decide to declare your PPC ads DOA, there are six things you should consider. Let's start with the Ads you create.

#1: Fine Tuning Your Ad Campaign Can Really Make a Big Difference

English: licence google adwords Fran├žais : lic...
English: licence google adwords Fran├žais : licence google adwords (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the things that many neophyte PPC advertisers don’t realize is there are a number of ways to fine-tune their campaign.  AdWords, along with most every other PPC engine, will leave the pipe wide open unless you specify otherwise.  This means that you need to determine when, where, and how often your ads are displayed.  If you aren’t the kind of business that offers 24-hour service, why run your ads all night long?  This is especially true if your product lends itself to personal interaction on the phone. Simply by specifying you only want your ads to be displayed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. will literally cut the burn in half.  If you don’t sell your products or services worldwide (or in every state in the U.S. for that matter), you need to tune your campaign to specify its geographic scope.  Keyword selection is also important.  Not only is it vital to choose the keywords and phrases that best describe your business’ products and services, you also need to add negative keywords to exclude your ad being displayed for similar keywords that will generate browsers as opposed to buyers. One last note on key words: It's important that you have enough traffic for the words you've chosen. If no one is searching for your key phrase, you won't generate enough traffic to make any sales.

#2: Being Number One Isn’t Best, it's Third Best
Courtesy of  shop.mlbadges.com

Other than failing to test and measure your keywords effectiveness, the second biggest blunder that any PPC advertisers can make is to insist on being the number one result.  In the first place, since all PPC advertising is based on an auction, jumping right to the head of the line only assures you're going to pay top dollar for every click you receive.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to generate the most results.  Far from it, since you'lll burn up your ad budget the fastest this way.  All that shooting for the top slot means you run the risk of creating a bidding war that you can’t win. 

What we aim for is position number three for our clients that use PPC.  The third from the top means that your ad will still display at the top of Google.  It also means that your limited advertising budget will go further before your ad reaches your daily limit and goes dark.  


#3: A/B Testing is a Must, Not a Luxury
If you really want to get the biggest bang for the buck, you need to spend more time working on your message and offer, and less time worrying about being atop the pile.  In fact, a world-class, text-based ad can help you generate more clicks in the number three spot than a weaker ad can at the top of the page.  Since PPC ads are the only thing online that requires you to be more succinct than Twitter, this means less is definitely more.

The key to maximizing results is to thoroughly understand the demographic and psychographic profile of your ideal customer.  What age brackets do you wish to target?  Which income brackets are representative of your ideal prospects?  Where do your ideal prospects shop?  Knowing these factors will not only help you hone your ad to a fine edge, but it will also aid you in selecting the best keywords and phrases from which to campaign. 
Courtesy of breezi.com

Once you have a complete profile of your ideal prospects, then it’s time to create the ads that are designed to appeal to this group.  That’s right, I said ads.  The beauty of working online is that every click can be tracked.  In order to maximize your results in any PPC environment, you want to design and test a number of different ads.  What sounds good on paper may quickly prove to be next to useless in the fast-paced world of the Internet.  Unlike print ads that are fixed in stone for a set amount of time, online ads are immediatley adjustable.  Within a few days of launching any PPC campaign, you should be able to determine which ads are pulling their weight and what ads need to be either tweaked or pulled out of rotation altogether.  You should also do the same for your keywords, as well as the networks upon which your ads are displayed.

Unless you intend to shred a mountain of money in your initial attempts to locate and appeal to your ideal prospects, all of the steps above must be accomplished before your campaign is activated and the first click is produced.

#4: Strong Offers Rule, Weak Offers Burn Money

It never ceases to amaze me when a business try to get a visitor to their landing page to cough up
Courtesy of http://www.iictinsurance.com/
their private contact information with a weak offer. Sometime there's no offer at all, as if in today's untrusting Internet environment a person would just hand over their contact information when they don't know or trust you. If you want people to fill out your contact form, you have to entice them with an offer that is at least perceived as valuable. It doesn’t have to have a direct monetary value. It can be a white paper, eBook or even a list of information. However, it has to have real, perceived value or it's a no-go from the get-go. If you're trying to buy customers (a la Brad Sugars) because your product or service provides recurring revenue, via renewals or refills, then giving them a big fat discount up front can make a lot of sense.


#5: Prospects Are Looking for a Happy Landing

Unlike in aviation, where it is said that any landing you can walk away from is a good one, poor Internet landings will just burn money.  If you want to have a high probability of converting clicks into cash you need to look at the place you intend prospects to land.  The single biggest mistake advertisers make is to send the prospect to their homepage.  Your homepage is designed to showcase your business, not to create new customers.  As a general rule, it’s too busy.  It offers too many choices to prospects. It wasn’t designed with the express purpose of dangling the bait and reeling in the fish.  In short, if you send a prospect to your homepage you have just reduced your ROI by as much as 90%.

Just like your ad, your landing page needs to be customized to funnel the prospect through the buying process with the least amount of speed bumps to accepting your offer.  It needs to contain a short series of selling lures that will make your landing page stickier.  In short order, you need to answer the following questions:
Courtesy of www.appszoom.com

     1.      What need or desire are you trying to fulfill?
     2.      How does your offer remedy a problem or ease a pain?
     3.      How does your offer stack up to the competition’s offer?
     4.      What counteroffer are you promoting in case the fish doesn’t take the bait?

The best way to crystalize the process is to take a look at your existing landing page.  From a visual standpoint, what catches the eye?  Are you wasting valuable real estate above the fold with nebulous graphics or fancy Flash cells that do little to entice the prospect into taking action?  What type of funnel have you created to limit the prospects’ choices and lead him or her inexorably to agreeing with your marketing message and taking the bait?  How much sales resistance is your offer likely to cause and how does your copy address  that resistance? 

Make sure the landing page provides a focused, professional and unclutter look. Don't leave out any elements that will give the visitor the warm and fuzzies to build trust. I'm talking about an easy-to-find phone number and street address. Maybe even a map to your physical location. Testimonials and Unique Selling P (USP) videos are very important, along with actual copies of real written testimonials. You have to give the visitor a reason to believe and trust you, verses the thousands of competitors that are shouting, "We are the best, and buy from us!"The more you can create this trust, the greater the chance you can win the day.

#6: Do You Fumble the Ball on The One-Yard Line

Houston Texans' Arian Foster fumbles while bei...
Houston Texans' Arian Foster fumbles while being tackled by Dallas Cowboys' Keith Brooking, Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer. Reliant Stadium. Houston, Tx. Sept. 26 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So you have made a successful pitch and have generated a lead. Bravo! Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet.  The secret of turning leads into sales without running yourself to the ground is to use a drip marketing program.  While most business owners feel that they can kick up their feet and relax once the lead or initial sale is in the bag, I disagree.  All you have done is taken back a tiny amount of ground for a battle that was hard-fought.  If you really want to maximize the ROI of any online marketing campaign, you need to craft a multi-touch drip marketing plan that reaches out and touches a prospect no fewer than ten times a year.

If you want to enhance your return, I suggest sending buyers a monthly online newsletter that keeps them apprised of your growing business.  Feel free to include an offer at the bottom of each newsletter.  This tactic not only is a cagey way to dangle an offer in front of a prospect, it is also a way to keep your business top- of-mind.  If you really want to generate maximum return on every dollar invested, this technique is truly gold-plated.

While many business people lament the sometimes uneven results achieved when they employ PPC ads, the best way to turn clicks into cash is to up the ante and make sure you aren’t robbing yourself blind by failing to fine tune your campaign.

In this article, I talked about six important elements of a Paid-Per-Click campaign that leads to success. I discussed the importance of choosing the right keywords, word selection via A/B testing, PPC ad placement, position, evaluating the strength of your offer, the importance of building landing pages that are trustworthy, and maintaining an ongoing touch marketing campaign.

If you'd like to read more articles like this one, check out "Making Pay Per Click Pay Big Dividends" and "Is it Still Possible to Make Money Online?", or enter Pay Per Click or PPC in the Search box at the top of this blog. If you found this article useful, please feel free to share and repost it. As always, I welcome hearing from you in the Comments section below. Until next time, keep working the web to win. 

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “Drones or robots” in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.



Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.

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