Five clear steps before getting started
Many people think starting a PPC campaign is as easy as opening up a Google, Yahoo!, and Bing ad center account, writing some quick ads and then watching the clicks and dollars roll in.
Were it only so simple.
Although PPC campaigns do give you results faster than a SEO campaign, starting a PPC campaign does require some up-front work on your part. You’ll want to use the following checklist to ensure you have everything needed to make a smooth PPC transition.
1. Determine your budget.
If you’re spending less than $500 a month, you might want to consider a single search engine such as Google or Bing. Why is that? Spreading such a relatively low budget across three search engines won’t give you enough bang for your buck.
Generally speaking, we recommend a minimum spend of greater than $500 per month in order to get the most out of a campaign, particularly one that relies on more than one search engine to generate traffic.
2. Read the manual.
Whether you use one, two or all three, each search engine ad center comes chock full of tutorials and how-to’s. Block out a few hours and bone up on how each one works. You’ll save yourself time and money down the road.
3. Make your keyword list.
I’ve covered this topic already – here and here. Once you have your keyword list in hand, separate similar keywords into ad groups. DO NOT do this on the fly – as in trying to do this step within the ad center interface. You’re setting yourself up for failure. We recommend you sketch out your ad groups using old-fashioned technology – a piece of paper and a pencil, or the less old fashion way using an Excel spreadsheet.
4. Write your ad copy and landing pages together.
Don’t make the mistake of writing out your ads within the ad center interface. One, you can’t catch typos this way, and two, if you’re writing ads on the fly like this, they won’t be as effective. It’s better to write first and final drafts of your ads in Word so you can catch type-o’s and spend time considering your ad copy. You also want to make sure the landing page that the ad links to will reflect both the ad copy you’re writing and the keywords you’re bidding on within a given group. Ensuring concordance between ad copy, keyword bids and landing page copy is the best way to get successful outcomes.
If you can afford it, pay a copywriter or direct marketer to help you write ad copy that compels people to take action and have this person write your landing page copy, too. Also ask him or her for variations on themes, which you can then test to see which ad / landing page generates the best conversions.
5. Keep track of results.
We’ve found that many small companies set up a PPC campaign and then forget about it. (Usually this is because the business owner or marketer is so strapped for time.) Make a date in your calendar to check your campaign results regularly – whether once a day for time-sensitive campaigns, or once a week for on-going ads.
Follow this efficient check list and you'll be up-and-running in no time.
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