PPC, or pay-per-click, is one of the most commonly referred to method of paid search advertising. This is also known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM). PPC describes the activity where businesses pay a certain monetary amount each time someone clicks on their advertisement. These paid advertisements are generated and managed through ad platforms such as Google AdWords and Bing Ads.
How Does PPC Work?
PPC or Pay-Per-Click is an effective and popular way to quickly gain search presence and acquire online traffic. It works through advertisers bidding on the keywords they wish to rank for in Google AdWords or Bing Ads. The more value a keyword possesses, the higher the bidding price will be to rank for a top position in search results.
However, not every advertisement is created equal because not every PPC campaign guarantees a high return on investment or low cost per acquisition. In order to run a successful and profitable PPC campaign, we need to focus on the winning components that go into building an effective online advertisement.
11 PPC Campaign Strategies to Master SEM Paid Search
Strategy #1: Optimize Ad Content Messaging
Two of the most critical pieces of a PPC ad are its content and messaging. In AdWords and Bing Ads, you are only given a certain amount of text for the title and two lines of description. So every word counts.
For example, in Google AdWords, the title traditionally gets 25 characters. In line one and two of the description, you are only allowed 35 characters per line. This limits your options quite significantly. Therefore, word choice becomes the key factor which determines the success of an ad campaign.
*Google AdWords Update: On May 24th, 2016 Google announced a revolutionary change by allowing advertisers to extend the character count on their ads. In return, you get 2 headlines each with a 30-characters limit followed by a description line with an 80-characters limit. Stayed tuned and anticipate Google AdWords to make this awesome change soon.
(Source: Google AdWords)
A good SEM advertiser will consistently test the verbiages of an ad and try to obtain the best click through rate.
3 Tips to Follow When Choosing Effective PPC Verbiage
- Use clear and concise words that are easy to understand and tell customers exactly what is your product or service. Avoid overuse of jargons or abbreviations that can cause confusion. Make it a good habit to always double check spelling and capitalization.
- Use actionable words such as "Buy now", "sign-up today", and "call us today". These are word choices that encourage a user to take a specific action while your advertisement is still fresh in their memory.
- Use emotional appeal that coincides with your audience’s feelings. Don’t worry, it does not require mind-reading abilities. However, it is smart to base your ad strategies on data gathered from client past behaviors, interactions, and preferences.
Strategy #2: Create a Call-to-Action Statement
Create call-to-action ad messages by identifying customer’s needs, wants, and pain points. Your ad message should fulfill a demand, or offer a solution towards a common problem.
Plan your advertisement with these 2 questions in mind:
- How to add value to your ad statement?
- What can you offer to customers after they clicked through the ad?
Try to create incentives for viewers to click on your ad. Make it a good reason for a potential customer to choose your business over your competitors. Enticing perks always help.
3 Examples of PPC Ad Messages with Call-to-action Statements
- "Sign up today and receive a free consultation"
- "Sign up now to start your 30-day free trial"
- "Join today & receive a complimentary gift"
Strategy #3: Utilize Product Level Ads
Utilize Google Product Level Ads (PLAs) for product-based e-commerce websites.
Product Level Ads allow you to show the image of a product plus item information such as price and shipping.
Instead of creating individual ads for groups of keywords using AdWords, Google PLA only needs a product feed and a budget to start running ads.
Product Level ads are displayed separately from the text ads. They come up in search queries through Google Partner Search websites and Google Shopping search results. This gives your product double the exposure because both the PLAs and text ads can come up within the same search query.
Learn more about how Google Product Level Ads benefit your e-commerce business from Google.
Strategy #4: Plan Strategic Pricing
Plan your PPC ad with an attractive price tag for the right customers. On a Product Level Ad (PLA), you can test out the best pricing strategy for any market segment by promoting the best sales price for the ad content.
This gives visitors a better picture of your price competitively and an idea of whether your product is within their budget range. This can help your business to precisely target niche markets, and at the same time put your marketing budget to more effective use.
2 Examples of PPC Ads with Price Points
- "… Starting at only $9.99"
- "… Subscribe for only $14.99 per month"
Now what does adding a price point has to do with precision targeting budgeting? If your PPC ad receives a large volume of clicks without converting them into revenue, you are not targeting the right customers. If you know what price point drives the most sales, incorporate it into the ad content to increase conversion.
Strategy #5: Research Competitor Ad Content
Differentiate your advertisements from the competition can save you marketing dollars by avoiding unnecessary price wars. Type a related keyword about your business into Google, and check out how your competitors are advertising.
Are they running a big sale for the upcoming holidays? Are you losing business to their new promotions? At the least, some inspirations can be drawn from learning about what your competitors are up to.
Use handy online marketing tools such as SEMRush and SearchMetrics to research out competitor’s ad content and their recent PPC campaigns. Understanding competitor campaign strategies can help you better identify your own unique advantages. Keep them in mind when designing verbiage of your ad content.
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Strategy #6: Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
Advanced keyword research tools such as SEMRush and SearchMetrics allow you to research high-value long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are short phrases made up of three or more words. Customers who use long-tail keywords to search tend to be more exact in what they want. This means there is a higher chance of conversion when visitors are looking for something specific.
Long-tail keywords help you avoid high-cost keywords everyone is fighting after. Instead, focus on keyword phrases that can enhance the unique value proposition of your advertisement. With the right keywords, you can improve quality and conversion of ads while keeping cost down.
Try researching the right long-tail keywords that fit your business below.
Strategy #7: Add Sitelinks to Branded Keywords
Within AdWords and Bing Ads, sitelinks allow you to add up to 4 additional URLs and keywords to display below your original ad content. Adding sitelinks to branded keyword ads can increase opportunities of receiving clicks. Sitelinks can provide visitors with a more in depth view of what your website has to offer.
Use sitelinks to target additional supporting pages about the product or service you are promotion. You can also link to other categories or related product pages to gain more page views.
The cost of each click to the sitelink is the same CPC (Cost-Per-Click) rate you have selected for keywords. So when a Sitelink is clicked, you will be charged at the CPC rate you have set for this advertisement.
For example, if you were selling branded sunglasses your AdWords sitelinks can include links to:
- Luxury Sunglasses
- Sunglasses Guide
- We are Price Matching
- Sunglasses Under $40
In the example above, we are showing an ad from a national retailer with 4 related sitelinks. It offers a price match incentive; runs holiday promotes, and targets customers looking for high-end merchandise.
Strategy #8: Enhance Ad Copywriting
Mind your ad formatting, layout, and aesthetics. It is very important to look good. What visitors see in your ads could be their very first impression of your business.
Think about encounters you have had with online ads. Have you ever run across an advertisement with tiny words jammed together that is hard on the eyes? Or have you ever seen an ad that is just all over the place with its content? They instantly turn visitors off.
Plan your ads with a balance of text and visual. Sometimes less might be more when it comes to designing in limited space. Follow Google PPC Ad Policies to make your ad stand out in a good way without being an eyesore.
3 Ways to Improve PPC Ad Copywriting
- Avoid symbols and inconsistent capitalization. Please don’t do this: >>$CliCk hEre to BUY!!$<<...
- If there is an image in the ad, the selling point is in that picture. All images should be visibly and legibly presented. Utilize design tools (there are many free ones out there) to help you create quality visuals.
- Leave appropriate white space. Having white space actually brings more focus to the main object and accentuates ad content.
Strategy #9: Run A/B Testing on a PPC Ad
Running a PPC campaign can become expensive. CPC (cost-per-clicks) can quickly rack up to significant amounts of marketing dollars. It is crucial to check and test your campaigns regularly and make sure you are not overspending or losing out on potential conversions.
A/B Testing is a great way to identify the best marketing strategies and test ad messaging for effectiveness. You can test one element or keyword at a time and observe what works. Continuously test your ad statements until you find the version that brings forward the most conversions.
3 Statement Categories to A/B Test with for better Click Through Rate
1. Absolute Statement:
- 100% money back guarantee
- Guaranteed results in 30 days or full refund
- Voted #1 nationwide
- 1st to offer an exclusive new line
- Buy one get one free
2. Comparative Statement:
- Bigger savings
- Better results in 10 days
- Faster shipping
- Easier application
3. Statistical Statement:
- 20% off
- 33% more
- 4x stronger
- 24/7 available
Strategy #10: Build Converting Landing Pages
Horary! Your PPC ad works wonders and brought in traffic to your website. So now you must capture those leads and convert them into sales. If you have been aggressive in PPC marketing, you’ve probably spent a good amount of money to run PPC Campaigns. To make sure these marketing dollars don’t go to waste, improve PPC conversion rate with adequate landing page support.
A landing page is a page that your advertisement directs visitors to. It should display relevant content as to what your ad message states.
Landing pages serve the important purpose of sales conversion. Make sure the products and information on the landing page correlate to what you are offering in your ads. Remember, there is a better chance at retaining customers with meaningful and honest advertising.
3 Helpful Tips to Improve Landing Page Support
- Match Ad message keywords within landing page headings. It helps visitors to recall the ad copy and ultimately capture more on-page conversion opportunities. Google will index keywords in the landing page to help with organic ranking. It is a cost effective way to improve long-term search marketing.
- A/B test landing page elements for optimal conversions. Change out a text link with a button. Include a how-to video. Switch out the layout, move module positions or change the theme colors. These are components you should continuously test for on a landing page to improve conversion. Use A/B testing software such as Optimizely to make the process easy.
- Call-to-action with landing page content. Encourage visitors to take action with a call-to-action. A call-to-action is something that stimulates visitor response. It can be a link, a button or a banner. It should be to-the-point and interesting enough to grab attention.
Strategy #11: Every Online Review Counts
Make sure your business always has a good reputation in major review websites like Shopper Approved, Trustpilot, Resellerratings, and Google Trusted Stores. Your average rating best out of 5 stars will be shown within ads in Google.
So if your business only has a 2-star rating, expect visitors to frown and skip your ad. Although you may not manipulate customers for online reviews, you can encourage satisfied customers to share their positive experience online.
2 Tips to Gain More Positive Online Reviews
- Make it simple and easy for customers to leave reviews. Include links in your thank you emails or put them on your website. When you make the instruction easy to follow, customers will be more willing to leave reviews.
- Follow up with email reminders. If you’ve asked customers for reviews and they have not gotten back to you, send them a follow-up reminder. Provide links within the email for easy access, and do not spam their inbox.
A Bonus Tip: Bring on the Customer Service
Here is something to consider. If you have an awesome customer service department or sales team, you can add a phone number in the PPC ad. Include it within the title or the description of the ad to allow a call-in.
In addition, if your business relies heavily on one-on-one service, include your phone number at visible places on the website. For example, put it in the navigation, footer, or call-to-action modules to capture more opportunities. With a live representative doing sales and answering questions, you have better chances of conversion.
Earning that Click
If you can capture an audience by fulfilling their needs, you will earn more than just a click for your business in the long run. Ultimately, paid search marketing goes beyond advertising strategies. Refer to our complete Search Engine Marketing (SEM) guide to learn the fundamentals of SEM.