There are good reasons why many webmasters and website owners choose to pay for visitors to their website as opposed to the involved and often grueling method of search engine optimization. Improper SEO may not only waste time and resources, there is never a guarantee that what your site is optimized for will result in actual sales or conversions.
How You Know if Pay Per Click is Right for You
The single biggest mistake most PPC advertisers make is paying a higher amount for visitors than they can afford. Pay per click search engines are ideal to generate traffic if you already know what it costs to generate one sale or conversion. By not going over their predetermined amount, advertisers can dramatically increase the likelihood of their websites' success.
High-End Pay Per Click is Not Right For You if
There are millions of websites online but only a small percentage of these sites can benefit from the traffic that high-end PPC resources such as Google Adwords or Overture provide. When it comes to generating conversions from the top-tier of PPC's, low profit margin categories of business (members of affiliate programs for example) would do well to avoid higher priced bid for placement search engines (as bid prices are often too high) and focus on 2nd tier pay per click services or vertical portals working on a bid for placement model.
How to Choose A PPC That is Right For Your Campaign
When choosing a PPC campaign for your website, take into account not only bid prices, but traffic volume, customer service and account management tools.
Check Bid Prices
A significant mistake that novice PPC advertisers make is to jump immediately into the largest advertising networks, namely Google Adwords and Overture. While these PPC's certainly have the most extensive reach, bid prices per visitor are higher than any other network and can easily drain your account before even one visitor converts. Check bid prices before signing on anywhere and match as closely as possible to what you have determined you can pay for each website visitor.
Inquire about Customer Service
No thanks to their size, larger PPC's usually have much less attentive customer service (unless you are one of the larger advertisers - this means spending $10,000 a month or more). Many second tier PPC's pride themselves on their attentive customer service. Always ask your PPC company if they can help advise you before and during your campaign to ensure the highest ROI.
Investigate the "Reach"
Bid for placement search engines (PPC) are simply advertising networks that help you spread your message to their users. As some PPC networks have greater access to more users, it is important to investigate the reach not only of their own network but the network size of their partners. When speaking with sales or customer representatives ask for a list of their partners.
Top Tips for Success with PPC
There have been many small business website owners who have lost their proverbial shirts with bid for placement advertising. Case study after case study has shown that the reason that most fail with PPC is a lack of understanding on how to maximize the bid for placement model to their advantage across various networks simultaneously. Here are a few tips to make the most of an online advertising campaign using a PPC methodology:
1) PPC success resides in your titles and descriptions:
Well-written titles and descriptions can make or break a PPC advertising campaign the same way they affect traditional search return listings. The most important thing to keep in mind when writing titles and descriptions is that you are not only speaking directly to the searcher, you have an obligation to explain your product or service so that it either elicits a positive response sufficient enough to motivate them to click or discourage them from clicking altogether if what you are offering is not what they are actually looking for. When writing titles and descriptions, focus on the specifics of what that user will find at your site, i.e. special deals or discounts, signup information for a newsletter, registration for an e-book, etc.
2) Use Specific Terms for Specific Pages
By bidding on specific terms related to your business and directing visitors to specific pages which represent those terms, conversion rates on this practice increase dramatically. Imagine conducting a search and finding a great title and description but then having to go through hundreds of page to locate the information. When "landing pages" are created which offer information on what the surfer originally searched for, chances are that they will take the action you want them to, whether it be signing up for a newsletter or purchasing a product. A common rule of thumb is to have no more than fifty terms per page that you are promoting on a PPC.
3) Be Passive or Aggressive, but be something.
Most PPC advertisers are either passive PPC players or aggressive marketers. The secret behind PPC marketing is that these networks' partner with other networks to display advertisers' advertisements. So the higher you bid on a PPC, the better placement you will receive on network/partner sites. Bidding in this manner makes you an aggressive PPC marketer and the advantages are many and include - more traffic and more exposure to target markets.
If a small website (or one of a low profit-margin category of business) decides that the traffic that each PPC network alone provides is sufficient, managers of the campaign must be aware of their bid amounts (overbidding or underbidding) as well as what can afford to pay for each visitor. Usually the top four positions are where most of the traffic is received from - the highest percentage of total clicks (thanks to partner networks). The number of clicks in your account will usually decrease incrementally based on your bid.
PPC advertising has proven to be a productive method of generating traffic (and more importantly) sales or conversions for many webmasters and web site owners. If you are thinking about trying your hand at pay per click, make sure to use the tips outlined in this article and ask others PPC advertisers if they have any advice!