As we covered in our recent piece on what pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is and how it works, there’s little doubt that it can be a very powerful form of web-based advertising. It could get you instant results that you could only dream of when depending on search engine optimisation (SEO) alone – but there’s also a chance of it being an unhelpful drain on your marketing budget.
As for which of those categories PPC is likely to fall into for your business, this depends on a range of factors, including your business’s circumstances, ambitions and how it uses PPC. So, let’s take a look at some of the issues that will govern whether PPC is the right route for your organisation.
Could you end up paying a lot per click, for little return?
This type of marketing may be based on only having to pay once someone clicks on your advert, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a serious risk of running up heavy expenditure.
After all, various factors will affect the amount that you pay per click. These include the competitiveness of your industry, how much competition there is for your chosen search terms, the standard of your adverts and destination pages, and how much you’re prepared to spend on each click.
It’s therefore really important if you’re interested in using PPC, to know what you’re doing – or more specifically, what your goal will be for your PPC campaign. For example, if your primary goal is to boost brand awareness with your campaign, PPC will likely serve you well, especially given that users don’t even necessarily need to click on your ad for awareness to be generated – they just need to see it.
This is not to suggest that PPC will always be ineffective when greater revenue generation is your main priority for your advertising efforts. This does heighten the importance, though, of having a good-quality website – and in particular, compelling landing pages, which are the pages that your visitors will land on when they click on your PPC ads.
Keywords will be central to your PPC success or failure
If you are to get clicks and conversions – in other words, visitors becoming buyers or taking some other form of action – out of your business’s PPC efforts, you’ll need to put a huge emphasis on thorough research into the keywords that you use for your ads.
All too often, especially when it comes to the most competitive markets such as insurance, financial services or estate agents and property, local firms waste money by focusing too much on overly broad and general keywords. It is these keywords, after all, that are especially popular, which will drive up the price you pay for them… and as they’re imprecise, they’re frequently ineffective at reaching the customers that small businesses most urgently need to reach.
If your firm markets landlord insurance, for instance, you could end up burning through a lot of money, with few concrete results, if you simply target the term ‘landlord insurance’. Go for more specific, locally-oriented and longer (long-tail) phrases like ‘landlord buildings insurance in Leicester’ or ‘rent guarantee insurance in Rugby’, and you’ll be able to target searchers who have those specific requirements. This, in turn, could maximise your chances of both winning the keyword for a good price and generating some serious enquiries and sales.
Your landing pages will need to be up to scratch
So, we’ve established that you’ll need to put some serious effort into your keyword research if PPC is to prove to be the right choice for your company. But PPC could also be an unproductive exercise for you if your landing pages don’t engage visitors.
PPC may be all about getting prospective customers to land on your website’s pages – but after that, it’s up to your landing pages to work their magic. In much the same way as an attractive window display or alluring sign above the door won’t help to make a high-street shop successful if the interior is a disorganised and off-putting mess, PPC probably won’t get results for your business if your landing pages provide visitors with a less-than-satisfactory experience.
A high bounce rate – which refers to a high proportion of visitors to a page leaving within seconds – is the worst possible thing that can occur when you’re running a PPC campaign. This is because it leaves you paying for each click, but not having any new customers or sales to show for it.
Your landing pages, therefore, need to show the incoming user the content that they expected to see when clicking on your ad. But a compelling call to action (CTA) also matters a lot. Your landing page’s CTA is the instruction that it gives to visitors to actually carry out the action you want them to carry out, such as “sign up for our newsletter” or “register for our free trial today”. Again, these should be present if PPC is to prove a worthwhile investment for your business.
So… is PPC right for my business?
There’s no question that when used well, PPC can be great for reaching those spots SEO can’t reach – or at least, not reach very quickly. PPC is renowned for the swift results that it can enable brands to attain, although SEO is still invaluable for cultivating long-term leads.
Carefully craft your landing pages to appeal to those clicking on PPC ads, though, while making use of well-researched, specific long-tail phrases, and your business will have a good chance of getting great outcomes from its involvement in PPC advertising.