The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library, and email lessons.
1. Use Landing Pages
One of the most common mistakes made by entrepreneurs new to PPC marketing is that they want to send all of their traffic to the homepage of their website. Just because it’s your homepage doesn’t mean that it will convert all the types of traffic that you generate. Creating specific landing pages for different categories of keywords is key to your success.
2. Split Test Landing Pages
Always split test certain landing pages to see which give you the best conversions and results. Try different colors, layouts, questions and images. You’ll be surprised how small aesthetic changes to a landing page can affect conversions. Keep optimizing until you have a winning landing page!
3. Hire an Expert
PPC is an important, but complex, part of most Web-based businesses. Managing the keywords you target and the types of ads you will display and updating your site’s landing pages to support your PPC campaign takes time. Before you invest your time in learning PPC, hire an expert. Prove the efficiency of ad campaigns before you bring this task “in-house.” You will save time, money and stress!
4. Utilize Exact-Match Keywords
Do some heavy research on the best keywords for your industry. Start small. Make sure that you change the keyword settings in your campaign to “exact match,” instead of the default “broad match,” when setting it up. This will prevent unwanted impressions of random strings of your keywords that, left unchecked, will burn through your budget real fast.
5. Focus on Your Product
Once you have a good product, invest in content marketing. Put out a free version or provide some giveaways, like best practices documents and PDFs. It’ll take a little bit longer to get the same exposure, but we’ve found that PPC is really expensive. It’s wasted on the people who aren’t typically the best users. Our best users never click on an ad.
6. Take Advantage of AdWords
Google usually gives out $100 AdWords credits to first-time advertisers. Use that credit to learn about PPC marketing and what PPC marketers do. This will allow you to have more intelligent conversations with a PPC marketer if you decide to hire someone. Or, if you go the internal route, you’ll have more intelligence about your business based on that $100 you “spent.”
7. Define Your Goals
State clearly what you expect from your PPC marketing campaigns. Define your goals and how you will measure results. Take your goals and measures to a proven SEO pro. It’s not something you should do yourself if you have no experience in PPC marketing. Hiring a pro will maximize the success of the campaign and ensure you’re targeting the right keywords to reach your goals.
8. Spend Wisely
First, use Google’s Keyword Tool to get the estimated cost per click on a sample of keywords you’ll likely use. Second, you should estimate a realistic conversion rate (2 percent is typical). Now, assume you’ll buy 1000 clicks. How much will that cost, based on the estimated CPC? With a 2 percent conversion rate, you’ll get 20 conversions. Divide the cost by 20 to decide if it’s profitable.
9. Target Effectively
PPC platforms range in their abilities to reach target markets. Before you begin spending funds on PPC marketing, make sure you understand the segmentation capabilities of platforms like Google, Facebook and others you’re considering. For example, Facebook enables targeting by marital status and age, whereas Google’s PPC platforms are based on keywords. These differences matter.
10. Think Creatively
You must think outside the box with PPC. Don’t go after the large competitor phrases that everyone searches. Instead, go after a large number of long-tail phrases like competitor names, industry-specific terms, and, of course, trending phrases that competitors might not have started bidding on yet.