GUEST BLOG: Guy Levine shares five ways to make PPC profitable

PPC or pay-per-plick advertising is the process of choosing key search words you believe potential new clients will use to search for your products or services and to show them an advert. These normally appear on the right hand side of the search results.

PPC has some distinct differences over search engine optimisation. The main one is that you have to pay per click. However, managed well, it can become a fast, manageable and dependable source of new enquires. Here are five strategies to ensure you maximise your return on digital.

1.       Decide on the outcome of your most required action before you start the campaign. Many companies fail at PPC because they don't really know what they want it to do, and commit the cardinal sin of just pointing the adverts to their website homepage. If you are looking to generate leads, make sure the web page that searches will arrive at contains strong calls to action, visible telephone numbers, a contact form and a bribe - something that will make them give you their contact details. It could be a free trial, new brochure or a 'how to' document.

2.       Once you know what you want the searcher to do, think about the keywords people will type in to search for your product or service. The first step is to always think about this logically before any extra tools are used. Often the more generic keywords (e.g. photography) have more people looking but are less likely to convert than more specific keywords (e.g. landscape photography course). Once you have your key list, use a tool like the Google Keyword Tool to generate more variations and combinations you might not have thought of.

3.       Now you have your most required action and keywords people use, it's time to write your adverts. Adverts should always be written in three's. Google has the ability to rotate lots of adverts across all the people who search on your keywords, telling you which advert gets more clicks. They don't charge any more for this option but it allows vital testing in order to maximise the profit of a campaign. If you have conversion tracking enabled, Google will tell you which advert costs the least amount of money to generate a conversion, which brings me to my next point.

4.       Google in particular has a vast amount of reporting tools which will really help to reduce wastage and increase results of a campaign. My favourite is conversion tracking. You are able to tell Google what a conversion is on your website. It might be the completion of a contact form, or the sale of a product - Google will tell you how many clicks (and therefore cost) to complete one action. If you then look at your key metrics you may see that certain keywords/adverts cost more than the price of the product to sell, in which case you would delete that keyword/advert.

5.       My last tip is a blinder. Google have released a feature called Remarketing. This feature allows you to specify an action on your website, such as 'download a brochure'. If the browser does not download the brochure you can supply a set of adverts which will 'follow' the searcher around the internet for a set period of time. For ecommerce companies, this means if people don't buy the product they added to their basket, you can show adverts for that product as they browse around the internet. The conversion rate can often triple when using this feature.

As you might have noticed, my article is pretty Google biased, but currently Google is the main source of search traffic, so for entrepreneurs this has to be a focus for us.

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