Search this Blog

Making Pay-Per-Click Payoff – Part I

By Hector Cisneros

Image courtesy Pixabay

When it comes to generating leads for a business, pay-per-click internet advertising is an effective means of finding prospects for many companies. However, many marketing managers have found is that they lack the skills needed to make pay-per-click profitable. Pay-per-click platforms abound, yet every search engine and social nets that offer this advertising vehicle require marketers to learn their proprietary system.  In this article we’ll teach you how to hedge your bets so pay-per-click pays off big for your business.

It all starts with research

Before you monetize any PPC platform, you first need to determine which ones will work best for your business.  To do that, you need to decide how much money you have in your budget.  The reason I say that is because if you’re looking to run ads on Google, you’ll need a much larger budget than if you’re planning to advertise on Facebook or Twitter. 

Google PPC is based on the auction model where he who bids highest gets the highest ad placement.  If you’ve ever searched Google PPC for keywords, you’ll soon come to realize that a single click can cost anywhere from $5-$100 depending on the keyword and how fiercely the competition wants to acquire it.  Without going into a lot of details, if you don’t have a monthly ad budget of at least $1,000, then Google PPC is probably not for you.

Even if you have a substantial budget, if you're planning to engage in pay-per-click advertising you need to start with a plan. You’ll first need to research and understand your unique selling proposition, your ideal customer profiles and the hot button keywords people enter when they search for products and services similar to yours. This means you need to take the time to analyze your customer base to determine why customers buy from you. Once you have an idea of which keywords customers enter in a relevant search for your products and services, you’ll need to research Google keywords that make sense for these.

You need to use the correct keywords to generate the correct results

Image courtesy Pixabay

The main reason some marketing managers throw in the towel after failing to make search engine PPC pay off is because they select the wrong keywords.  Realtors choose keywords like “real estate” which returns results that aren’t targeted enough to generate leads.  When using search engine PPC, the keyword is like a question and the landing page needs to be the perfect answer.  This means the best (and least expensive) keywords are the long-tailed kind.  For realtors this means a better keyword than “real estate” would be such phrases as “beachfront condos”, “waterfront properties,” or even a phrase that includes geographic information, such as “beachfront condos Jacksonville Beach Florida.”  Not only will long-tailed keywords and phrases help you home in on ideal prospects, they’ll keep you from shredding your advertising budget in short order.

Negative keywords are important too

Another way to stretch your PPC budget is by adding what are called negative keywords.  Negative keywords are used to instruct a search engine to exclude certain keywords and phrases that are similar to the ones you selected for your campaign. Negative keywords and phrases can also lower your cost and increase your ROI. If we continue to follow our previous example, a negative key phrase could be “history of real estate in Jacksonville Florida”

Ad Copy is real can make or break the deal

Ad copy is always extremely important. If your ad copy doesn’t motivate a person to click, winning a position means nothing. Your ad copy needs to include the keywords along with an exciting offer.  Remember, you’re paying per click, not per result.  If you want your campaign to generate results, you need to give prospects a reason to take the next step.  (Having a great ad and a lousy offer won’t make your cash register ring.)

What does the competitions ad copy look like?

One of the best ways to determine what offers work and which don’t is to scope the competition. If competitors advertise a similar product or service, you can learn a lot about what kind of offers work best.  Even if their position on the page is better than yours, you can generate more results if you can top their offer.  On the other hand, even if you’re on top of the page, if your offer is weaker than the competition, don’t be surprised if all you generate are clicks but few conversions.

Your Paid Position is important

Image courtesy Pixabay

While most novice PPC managers think the best slot in search is the top slot, the opposite is usually true.  Being number one on Google simply means you’re paying the most for the slot.  It doesn’t mean you’ll generate the best results.  After managing PPC campaigns for multiple clients for many years, I can tell you categorically that the first couple of paid positions in any search engine campaign aren’t worth the added cost-per-click. All that being number one or two does is drain your ad budget faster.  If you really want to maximize your ROI, the best slots to shoot for are three and four, especially if you have an irresistible offer.   Why pay retail if you can get traffic wholesale, right? 

AB testing is extremely important

One of the most common mistakes marketing managers make is not testing their ads to see how well they work. Often, they’ll take the time to come up with a concept, plug it into Google and assume this is the best they can do. The reality is the exact opposite. The only way to truly find out what works and what doesn’t in PPC advertising is to test and measure before you go all in.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve created several ads and tested them only to find the ad that I thought was a sure winner was beaten out by the ad I thought was going to be a weak performer. Sure, after you create and run PPC ads for a few years you’ll get good at it, but the best way to see which ad produces the best return on investment is to AB test them first.

The same ads will not always have the same results in a different medium

So far, we’ve been talking about search engine PPC. However, there are other pay-per-click venues out there from which to choose. There are social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter where you can run PPC ads for a fraction of the cost of search, such as. Just like the search engines, each of these platforms have different rules and regulations with which you’ll need to get familiar if you wish to advertise on social media. In Part 2, I’ll let you in on the secrets of making social networking PPC payoff in a big way.

Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for WSquared Media Group based in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on 
TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedIn, and YouTube. He is also the co-host of Blog Talk Radio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Carl Weiss make Working the Web to Win simple for every business. Hector is a syndicated writer for EzineOnline and is an active Blogger, (including ghost writing). He is a published author of two books, 60 Seconds to Success (on sale at Amazon and B&N) and Internet Marketing for the 21st Century, which you can get free by clicking on the link at