When I first thought about writing an article on PPC (Pay Per Click) search engine marketing, I really hesitated until I had some success in this area – and I will tell you right now, it has taken me a few months to be able to publish this piece! But in the last few weeks, I have been able to more than double my return on investment as I experimented with sending targeted paid traffic to several of my websites.
Can I suddenly turn this into millions? No. Is it encouraging and am I on the right track? You bet.
Here’s my secret :: there is no secret to success with PPC marketing. Even my mentor who is currently grossing $25,000 a month will tell you there are no easy answers and that what works for him may not work for you.
Step 1 :: Have a good offer
This is the easy part. You can either promote your own products, or someone else’s products via affiliate marketing. But whatever it is, you’ll do better with an offer that is legitimate and high quality.
Surprisingly, I’ve even had good luck sending PPC traffic to specific blog posts, so even those of you with only blogging experience can make more from your websites than you are currently making on just organic traffic to your site.
Step 2 :: Have a good landing page
A landing page is where you will send the people from the search engines to hopefully buy your offer. This is where things get a bit tricky and a LOT of experimentation is in order. But here’s what I’ve learned from my best landing pages:
- Don’t leak your traffic
This means that the only things on the page are links to buy, or to sign up for something requiring the visitor to give you their email address. This isn’t the place for links to free resources or irrelevant ads.
- Do make the page EASY to understand in under three seconds
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of information. It does mean that you need to let your visitor know why they are there and convince them to read more :: fast.
- For intangible products, the higher the price point, the longer the page should be
You will need to sell, sell, sell on this page if you are pushing anything priced higher than $30-$40. This doesn’t apply to higher priced consumer goods, especially if the visitor knows what they are looking for. An example would be a certain brand and model of a laptop – all you want is a buy now button with a features list.
- Make the sale fast and easy
If your visitor has to go through 5 pages to just get to your shopping cart, you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Step 3 :: Set up your PPC campaign
Although Google is easiest, it’s also the most expensive. But all paid search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN Adcenter, Enhance and Search123) follow the same basic premise:
- Build a keyword list
- Write your text ads
- Set your bidding budget
Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what works here. Two people selling the same product and bidding on the same keyword might have a very different conversion ratio based on the landing page and text ad that is written. So although it is a risk to perhaps lose a little money in your testing phase, once you get it right, you can put your campaign on auto-pilot and let it make money for you (checking periodically, of course!).
A few more tips for success:
- Try at least 5 different text ads, and add one or two every few days. Search engines will automatically rotate your ads to help you determine which ones get the most clicks – drop the ones that underperform.
- Bid on very highly targeted keywords – which still could mean hundreds. Include common misspellings and know the editorial guidelines of the search engine. “Blog Hosting” and “Hosting Blog” are considered the same with Yahoo, different with Google.
- Do a lot of keyword research – Google has an excellent free tool in their AdWords system, plus Aaron Wall has some excellent free keyword resources.
- For serious keyword research, I can’t recommend KeyCompete.com
more highly – it tracks and pulls competitor keywords for you.
- Test, test, test – have I made this point abundantly clear yet?!
Most search engines have some kind of free coupon to get started – here’s a few of them to give your PPC campaign a low-cost kick-start:
Technically, these offers require anywhere between $5 and $50 to get started, so aren’t exactly free. Combined though, they offer $300 worth of PPC (Pay Per Click) and text link advertising for $125.
Yahoo! Sponsored Search $5 for $25 worth of clicks
Yahoo Sponsored Search is second only to Google’s power – and Yahoo’s paid ads appear on a wide network of big sites, including CNN and AltaVista. They also have an extremely helpful user-interface and a how-to section.
Enhance Interactive $50 for $75 worth of clicks
Enhance Interactive is a niche search engine marketing company that serves ads for a variety of sites, including Dogpile, VeriSign, OpenList.com and MyZip.com. They also have testimonials from big players such as BizRate and HotWire, as well as some advertising alternatives such as paid inclusion (flat fee guaranteed inclusion in search results).
Although some companies require a minimum of up to $.10 bid per click, Enhance has a very low $.03 minimum bid per click. So the money spent with smaller search engines can potentially go much farther than with the big players.
Search123 $50 for $70 worth of clicks
According to the Search 123 site, their visitors come from portal pages, a Spanish language network, niche content sites and some branded search directories. They also are unique in that they offer free account set-up, keyword research and expansion, and account management and optimization services. None of the other search engine marketing companies do that!
Google and MSN Adcenter are infamously vague and inconsistent with their coupon offers – I suggest just hunting around on the internet in the hopes that you can uncover a deal from them that is unexpired.
PPC is not for everyone – but for anyone who is making money off of their website, it’s really a must to at least test it out. You don’t want to be leaving money on the table!