Pay-Per-Click is an effective way to bring visitors to your website. But is it the right strategy? Is it the only strategy? What is the right mix of PPC and what other strategies should my business be utilizing?
Whether or not PPC is a good fit depends largely on how you use it. Think of the decision to use PPC like a decision to sail across the ocean. How good will your experience be? All else being equal, it depends on your boat! Every boat floats (at least for a while), but you will have a significantly different experience if you try cross the Atlantic in a Boston Whaler than you will in a luxury cruise liner. In this example, your boat is the format of your ad, its relevance, and the quality of your landing page. Low quality boats will sink. You’ll be sea-sick from day one. You will regret the decision. High quality cruise liners will delight. It’s like being on vacation. High fives all around!
Left: PPC without a robust inbound strategy: looks like fun at first but painful after the first 10 miles. Right: PPC with a robust inbound strategy: service with a smile!
Want the big picture in 8 minutes? Here is a great video from Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist, on the design behind Google’s AdWords:
So is PPC the right strategy for my business? Why or why not? Great question! As Simon Sinek likes to say, always Start With Why!
Why use PPC: Like any other marketing strategy, PPC, used correctly, has the potential to increase sales, customer base, market share, and margin. If done right it can help your business grow!
How to do it right: two things are required to do PPC right. First, minimize your costswith Google. Second, convert the visitors you get from ads into high quality leads or customers.
Minimizing costs: Google AdWords takes into consideration two principal factors when it charges you for PPC, your bid quality and your ad quality.
Bid quality is what you’re willing to pay to place your ad at the top of the list. All else being equal, higher bids get higher placement. The thing is, all else isn’t equal - not even close. Nor do you actually pay the price you bid. It gets wildly adjusted based on your competition’s bid price, your own ad quality, and the ad quality of your competitors.
Ad quality plays a huge role in adjusting the price you actually pay and on your ranking amongst the PPC players. Google considers user click through rates at your website, advertising relevance to the keywords you’re competing for, and ad formats (information that is useful to the searcher like telephone numbers). More good information for users means more people will use the Google search engine. Ads that cater to this reality are treated favorably by Google. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Converting visitors: So you paid for PPC, brought a bunch of visitors to your website, now what? The whole effort is an exercise in futility unless you make conversions! That is where a robust inbound strategy will pay huge dividends. You want searchers to land on pages aimed to convert. Do the ads target the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey? If so then you want to direct traffic to landing pages designed to get contact data. Do the ads target the decision stage? If so then you want to direct traffic to landing pages designed to close deals. Make use of the money you’re spending on PPC. Without a robust inbound strategy to take advantage of new visitors, PPC is a waste of money. With it, it’s golden!
Making the decision to integrate PPC within your greater marketing campaign is not enough. Minimizing costs and incorporating an inbound strategy to convert visitors into leads are the corollary efforts required to really benefit from PPC. Otherwise, your marketing budget will not be working as hard for your business as it could be, and your ocean adventure may turn into an ocean fiasco.