Pay-per-click marketing, or PPC, is a way for you to get new visitors to your website. Even if you don't know how PPC works, you've probably experienced PPC ads. They appear at the top of most search results, and as a sidebar on many results pages. They can be a great addition to your online marketing, whether you manage campaigns yourself or work with an experienced PPC agency to manage campaigns for you.

If you don't know your CPC from your CTR, it can be helpful to find out a little bit about what pay per click marketing is, how it works, and how you can use it to reach new customers for your business.

What is PPC?

Pay Per Click marketing is exactly what it sounds like. It's advertising where you pay each time a user clicks on your ad.

In traditional advertising, such as a newspaper ad or billboard, you pay one fee to run your ad for a certain amount of time. It might be seen by thousands of people or it might be seen by one person. Either way, you pay up front for the location.

In PPC advertising, however, you only pay when the customer click through to your site. This makes it a much more cost effective marketing tool than many traditional ways of advertising. You can get a big impact from a relatively low budget.

What PPC sites are available?

Each of the major search engines offers their own PPC marketing program. However, the biggest player in the PPC game is Google.

Google's PPC platform, called AdWords, is the most well known PPC provider and the largest. As the largest search engine, it offers advertisers the largest market for their pay per click ads.

While this can mean great exposure for your site through PPC, it also means you may have strong competition. After all, Google limits how many paid results it shows on each page of search engine results. This means that you'll need to create targeted campaigns and ads that are strong, relevant, and utilize the right keywords.

How much does PPC cost?

PPC can be a great value way of advertising your site. When you set up a pay per click advertising campaign, you also set your budget and how much you want to spend each time somebody clicks on your link.

This means that a PPC campaign can be set up for a very low cost. However, the larger your budget, the more your ad will be shown and the bigger impact it will have on your overall website traffic.

Setting a budget for a PPC campaign can be tricky. When you work with an experienced pay-per-click agency, you benefit from their greater knowledge of how to balance the budget and reach of your ads.

What can PPC do for your business?

Pay per click helps your link get seen by your target audience. It can go hand in hand with a search engine optimization campaign, in which you get to the top of a search engine results page through improvements to your site. With PPC, though, you can target a specific audience.

By appearing above and beside the normal search results, your site is given a visual priority over the other results. This can help give your site the feel of authority. By establishing an AdWords campaign, you may help you overall ranking in Google search results, too.

The biggest benefit of PPC is that you are getting a very targeted audience to visit your site. This makes pay per click advertising an ideal choice when you have a specific product, service, or event that you want to tell people about.

How does PPC work?

To set up a pay per click campaign, you need to have an account with the PPC platform. In Google's PPC platform, AdWords, this is a fairly simple, straightforward process.

Once you have an account set up, you create a campaign and advertisements. You also set a budget for your ad, and how much you are willing to pay for each click. This is your cost per click, or CPC. You can also set the duration of the ad.

One important element of setting up a PPC campaign is choosing keywords. Much like in search engine optimization, keywords are the words and phrases that a search engine user would enter in the search bar.

By setting your PPC keywords, you are telling AdWords which searches your ad should appear in. The keywords you choose can have a big impact on the success of your ad, so it's important to research things like search volume and competition.

When a user searches for your target keyword, the search engine runs an auction for the advertising slots on the results page. This takes into account your maximum bid and your quality score. A quality score is determined based on your relevance, trust, and reliability, much like an overall search engine ranking is based on these elements.

This means that you may not show up in every search for your keywords. You will get more exposure for a lower cost per click when you choose the right keywords. By targeting the right keywords, you will get a higher click through rate, or CTR. The more people click on your ad, the better your ad will perform. This is because those clicks can serve as endorsements of your ad, telling the search engine that your ad gave them what they were looking for in their search.

Targeting the right keywords for your campaign will also help boost your conversion rate. After all, you don't simply want people to go to your site; you want them to become paying customers.

Getting help with PPC

When done right, pay-per-click marketing can be a cost effective way of reaching a new online audience. However, if it isn't properly set up or managed, it can leave you spending a lot of money without seeing much return.

By working with a PPC agency, you get the assurance that your campaign is being properly set up and managed. You get the benefit of the agency's experience in knowing what works and what doesn't.

Start to finish service

Whether you are new to PPC or want to improve an existing PPC campaign, an agency can help. If you are just starting out, an agency can help you set up accounts with the major search engine PPC platforms.

In most cases, the focus will be placed on the Google PPC platform, AdWords, as this draws on the search engine giant's traffic. Other search engines, such as Bing, also have PPC platforms, and an agency can help you determine how to use these, too.

Understanding your needs

Once your accounts are set up, the first big part of any PPC campaign should be research. A pay per click agency will work with you to find out who you want to target, as well as what you want to advertise.

With this information, it is possible to research keywords for the PPC campaign, the ads your competitors are running, and your current website performance. Understanding the existing situation will help with future analysis of how your ad has performed.

Part of this understanding is knowing your budget and how much you are able to spend on the campaign and each click. The budget for a PPC campaign is set as an overall amount. You also set a bid for individual clicks. This tells the PPC platform how much you are willing to spend on each click, and how your total budget should be divided.

Setting up a campaign

With your goals in mind, a PPC agency will help you set up a campaign and the ads within it. This includes setting the budget and the targeted keywords.

When setting your keywords, you have some additional options. AdWords allows you to dictate whether you want your ad to appear only if the search term is an exact match to your keywords, or a more general match. You can also set negative keywords, which can keep your ad from appearing in certain searches.

Knowing how to set up your keywords is an important skill, and one that a PPC agency will be able to bring to the table. Remember that you can change your keywords throughout your campaign, too.

Writing ads and creating landing pages

Within each campaign will be individual ads. These are the headlines, text, and links that show up in a user's search engine results. Crafting an attention grabbing and effective ad can be a challenge. An agency will be able to work with you to write an ad that does what you want it to do.

There is limited space available in each ad, so the text you choose is important. It should include a headline, a call to action, and a link. This is what will give the user the information that will convince them that your site has what they are looking for in their search.

The ad is only half of the puzzle, though. You also need a great landing page for people to go to when they click on your ad. A landing page is the page on your website that a user arrives at when they click the link in your ad.

While you can set your main homepage as a landing page, it can be much more effective to have individual landing pages for each campaign. This can also help you monitor traffic to your site from the ad.

Analyzing success

The final part of any good pay-per-click campaign is analysis. While you might be able to gauge things like increased traffic and sales, it is also important to look at exactly how your ads are performing.

Part of a PPC agency's service will be to analyze and adjust your campaigns. You might have some keywords that aren't performing as well as others, or some ads that just aren't getting the clicks they should. A PPC agency will be able to spot these low performing elements and, using the same type of research performed at the start of your campaign, adjust them for better performance.

How can PPC be a part of your marketing?

Pay per click can be a great part of your overall marketing plan. Whether you have a new website or one that has been online for years, PPC can help drive new customers to it.

If you already have a traditional marketing plan, you might wonder whether PPC is necessary. The short answer is yes! Pay-per-click marketing is a fantastic addition to traditional marketing methods because it allows you to target a specific audience and bring them directly to your website.

This ability to bring somebody who is already interested in your product or service (an interest demonstrated by the fact that they are searching for it), means PPC is an extremely effective marketing tool. Unlike traditional marketing, there is no need for the potential customer to type in a web address or remember your name when they're next at a computer. They can find you simply by clicking the link at the top of their search results page.

PPC is also a great addition to any SEO work you may be doing on your website. Search engine optimization requires you to figure out which search keywords you want to target. By joining your SEO campaign with a PPC campaign, you can firmly establish yourself as an authority site for the keywords as you increase traffic to your site.

Is PPC right for your business?

PPC isn't for everyone or every business, particularly if your campaigns and budgets aren't set up properly. Because you are paying every time a user clicks on your ad, you can quickly use up your budget, particularly if you have a low budget and a high per-click bid.

This is why a lot of businesses have had a negative experience with PPC. They have found themselves in a bidding war, nudging up how much they are willing to pay for each click, and using up their whole PPC budget very quickly.

Other businesses may have had problems with PPC because they have chosen the wrong keywords. When the wrong keywords are chosen, you might get clicks through from your ad that don't convert to paying customers. This uses your marketing budget without any return.

Analysis makes a big difference

While there are potential pitfalls in PPC marketing, they shouldn't scare you away from what can be an incredibly useful tool in your marketing arsenal. All of the pitfalls of PPC can be managed with one thing - analysis.

Setting up a PPC marketing campaign for your business is something that requires research, monitoring, and analysis. This includes finding the right keywords, keeping track of performance, and analyzing what should be changed.

Just like traditional marketing, you need to see a return on your investment. If you paid for a billboard and found that you weren't getting any new business from it, you would think about why it wasn't working. Was it in the right location? Was the content the problem?

Analyzing performance of a PPC campaign can be tricky if you aren't familiar with it. This is where many businesses find that a PPC service is particularly helpful. Using the experience and expertise of the PPC agency allows you to have a better understanding of your ad performance, as well as strategies for improving performance.

The benefits of PPC

While PPC can present challenges, most businesses will find that the benefits far outweigh any potential problems. With the ability to adjust and improve your campaign as it goes on, pay per click marketing offers your business the chance to get the best possible results.

By setting a budget, you can always be certain that you won't overspend on PPC advertising. A PPC platform will stick to the budget you have set, and the price per click you have set.

Pay per click also gives you the ability to adjust your campaign targets. For example, if you are holding a three-day weekend sale, you can have your ads focus on this for the days leading up to it and over that weekend. You can set the ad to stop running when the sale ends. This gives you much more control over your advertising than, for example, a weekly newspaper.

This control over campaigns and ads is something that many businesses love about pay per click advertising. It makes it a very fluid part of your overall marketing plan, and one that you can adjust quickly and easily.

Getting started with PPC

Pay per click can be a dynamic and useful addition to your marketing plans. It offers the benefit of both long and short term results, something that is often missing from marketing strategies.

Whether you are looking to improve your existing pay-per-click efforts or are considering PPC for the first time, working with an agency can help you get the best results. Using keyword research, competition analysis, and ad optimization, you can get the most from your PPC budget, whether it's large or small.


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