Managing your pay per click business performance requires these activities:
Strategy and planning to drive clicks, conversion and lead generation:
Keyword or market segment selection
Proper ad copy
Presentation of value proposition for targeted markets
Best costumer acquisition or contact practices
Monitoring and reporting on progress of campaign
1. Achieving Business Objectives
Why are you initiating this type of advertising program? Is it clear what your objectives are, how to achieve those business objectives and what success looks like? Clarity on these questions will help to limit risk and ensure the chances of achieving business success.
Determining Business Objectives for Pay per click search engine advertising
Search engine advertising or more specifically pay-per click (PPC) advertising can drive targeted traffic to your web site on through a pay-for performance model. Pay per click search engine advertising can fulfill three major objectives:
Driving targeted visitors to your web site
Defined campaigns – The ability to purchase traffic and translate that into leads with little start-up costs makes PPC search engines the perfect means to use on short run campaigns. Other benefits include:
the ability to turn the traffic off once a particular campaign is finished,
calculating return-on-investment through defined reporting mechanisms
generating traffic without substantial web site modification, if any
Potential market trials – If you are unsure about some potential market segments and want to investigate the ability to generate leads out of that market at low cost then pay per click advertising may be a good web marketing initiative to experiment with. Remember, that you are targeting a particular keyword or market segment, but you can also target within the market segment by tailoring your ad (title and description)… it’s advertising after all. Summary benefits include:
Low cost targeted advertising trial
Many customer targeting options
Ability to decide term and cost of advertising
Visitor Gap or Supplementary traffic generation - Your web site attracts a defined visitor demographic or profile and is based on the content you have in your web site. Your visitor demographic may or may not be meeting your current web or business objectives. Pay per click may provide a means of fulfilling those objectives by providing the means of attracting a different demographic or visitor.
Stop Gap Traffic Generation – You have committed to a natural web positioning initiative, however implementation and search engine registration are months away from completion. To many companies, this waiting period is unacceptable for business development. Pay per click advertising may provide a stop gap means for traffic generation in the interim.
Market research for customer conversion
Pay per click is a cost effective means of limiting risk through evaluation market segment conversion (simply, it is a means of determining how significant extraneous or new markets are for your organization). The business success equation:
Business Success = Market Demand x Market Conversion – Competition
To achieve business success we must know market demand. Information on market demand can be gathered from various online sources including our own proprietary database of search engine searches. These databases constitute the business intelligence of consumer behavior and can be used to gauge Market Demand. However, it is not enough to be armed with Market Demand information, since an educated guess about how to distribute marketing budgets across each market segment must still be made.
Market conversion data can be derived from pay per click search engine advertising. Of course, proper management of the search engine advertising campaign must be done to achieve a maximum # of impressions to normalize across each market segment category. Furthermore, conversion parameters should be defined to determine the criteria for campaign success
Lastly, a competitive analysis will help to gauge the relative difficulty of penetrating a particular market segment.
Besides lead generation, an added benefit to pay per click (PPC) is branding. Since the premise of PPC advertising initiatives is to pay for the visitor conversion, the impressions are therefore a freebie. With every impression your brand realizes the benefit of brand impression. For example, you can position your company with larger well known brands and even though you don’t get a click, your brand will still be noticed – brand impression. If you get a click then you benefit from brand association to the product or service that was being searched for (ie. A search engine visitor searches for car and clicks on the Ford web site, therefore, Ford = car; a complete brand association).
2. Choosing the Right Keywords (Market segmentation)
Should I use “market segmentation” or “market segmentation software”…. “fashion” or “leather jacket” … “furniture” or “chaise lounge chair” … “marketing service” or “marketing services”? Once your business objectives are defined, choosing the right keywords will set the foundation for the search engine advertising program. It’s all about market segmentation. Market segmentation is the selection of groups of people who will be most receptive to a product and be most likely to purchase or inquire about your offering.
Pay per Click Keyword Selection (Market Segmentation)
One of the keys to successful pay per click marketing begins with the keywords you use. Starting with our Keyword Market Research, identify the right keywords which resonate with your target markets.
Not only is this a matter of choosing the right keywords, but it is critical that you understand market segmentation and appropriately target the keywords. There is a fine balance to be established between developing a PPC campaign that is too broad and too narrowly focused:
Too broad: You’ll pay for lots of clicks with very little conversion of visitors to customers – little or no ROI
Too narrow: You’ll miss potential customers and convertible visitors. You won’t pay much, but you’ll risk being dropped (i.e. Google AdWords).
Internet users are becoming more experienced at searching and now tend to use longer, more specific search strings. You can use this to your advantage as well because the more specific the string, the lower the bid price is likely to be. This will also reduce your expenses for clicks and result in a higher qualified visitor, increasing your conversion chances.
Understand the similarities and differences in the way different pay-per-click search engines qualify and establish keyword placements and rankings. Ideally a good PPC program takes advantage of several providers (i.e. Google and Overture) to maximize user/visitor conversion, playing the strengths and weaknesses of each against each other. This results in maximum ROI for your campaign.
3. Customer Sales Cycle Conversion
Now that you have a potential customer’s attention and have brought that individual into your sphere of influence, can you now turn that person into a paying customer? Remember any visitor driven from a pay per click advertising campaign is no longer an anonymous visitor. This visitor now has a profile, having searched for a particular product or service based on an associated keyword, clicked on a compelling ad or proposition and now is in your web site. Are you providing the proper value propositions based on their customer profile to generate a lead? Is your web site contextualized to every customer segment that you are targeting?
Sales Cycle Conversion or Lead Generation
Getting a search engine user to click on your pay per click link is just the start of the battle to gain a customer. As the saying goes, “That and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee.”
You have just paid for a targeted search engine referral to your web site. Will you be able to maintain their interest and finally convert the visitor into a customer? Does your web site address their specific needs? How much investment does that visitor have to make in your web site before finding the information they are looking for?
First, where does that click take them? Does it go to your home page or does it take them to product information or does it take them to an inquiry or form page to capture information for a call back, or a page supported by an analytics program that can track visitor data or start visitor interaction? Most web sites are built to address the general needs of their customers or potential customers. However, web personalization can serve to increase the conversion rate of web visitors by decreasing their time investment of searching for the information they need, and by emulating that 1-1 relationship required to influence their buying decision.
There are numerous online selling systems that help to identify the anonymous web visitor and help to personalize any page that a visitor may land on. These customer relationship management systems work on business rules and general customer behavior patterning, but can be costly. An alternative solution, at least for search engine advertising, where you can control where you drive visitor traffic is to create landing or ghost pages. Landing pages can be tailored to contain your value proposition, additional information and links pertaining to the search engine ad they originated from and various ways that a visitor can contact your company. A pay-per-click interaction should be so powerful that the visitor and that page are the only two things that matter at the moment of the click.
4. PPC Campaign Management
Campaign management is an ongoing process that is dependant on competition and on the pay per click process itself, which is based on a bidding system. Bids can fluctuate on a minute, hourly or daily interval and therefore the position or visibility of your advertising. It is important to manage and optimize against these fluctuations to maintain a solid campaign plan.
Pay per click campaigns are not something you can simply set up and forget until your budget runs out.
A PPC campaign is conducted in a highly competitive auction environment. Remember the reason you’re here – you know certain keywords are valuable and you want to be among the first choices for users. You’re not alone and you can pretty well be assured that whatever you’re willing to pay for a click, someone will be willing to pay more.
Each day there are competitors appearing in the auction and others packing it in. Where the bid price you set might have been too low yesterday, it might be too high tomorrow depending on the competition.
Daily management and sometimes even constant management may be required to ensure that you are able to achieve a Top Three listing placement and to manage your bids. One way this can be done is bid price monitoring.
For example, your two main competitors are already running pay-per-click campaigns for the same keywords you want. Competitor One is willing to pay 75 cents for the first listing position and Competitor Two is willing to pay 45 cents which gives him second position. With proper monitoring, you can identify the opportunity to slip into second place, paying a slight premium over Competitor Two, but without having to spend as much as Competitor One to achieve virtually the same visibility. Maintaining this position requires ongoing monitoring and the agility to respond to changes in your competitors’ tactics.
Pay per click (PPC) Comparisons
You have determined you want a pay per click or cost-per-click campaign; you have determined how much of your marketing budget to devote to it; and you have an idea of the keywords you want to use and know the target user/visitor you are trying to reach.
Where to go depends on many things including the process, reach and target search engines. To get an idea of some considerations, here’s a look at the three top dogs – Google AdWords, Overture Pay-for-Performance and LookSmart:
Speed & Ease of Set-Up
Instant. You set up your account online and within minutes, your ad appears in the search results.
There are two options - Express & Self-Serve* - With Express, it will be 3 business days. With Self-Serve, it will be 3-5 business days.
After you complete the online form, you will be notified of your status within 5 business days. Then it can still take several days to appear in the LookSmart listings. If your submission is rejected you have 30 days to resubmit after you have made the necessary adjustments to your site or you can submit a different URL.
$5 & then you're billed monthly after the clicks have been delivered.
Express - $199*
Self-Serve - Free
You must also submit a $50 refundable deposit that will be applied to clicks.
Consideration to be listed is $49 (not refundable). You must also pay a $45 refundable deposit to be applied to clicks.
Type of Listing
You appear as a Sponsor listing on the right-hand side of search results. Your ad is ranked based on the price you bid & your click through rate (CTR - the number of times your ad is clicked divided by the number of times your ad is shown).
Search results are listed in order of bid amount for each keyword.
Search results are displayed in order of relevance to the particular keywords. Everyone pays a flat fee, so you have to be relevant to list high.
You specify a maximum bid for each keyword and you are never charged more than a penny more than the next bidder.
You bid how much you will pay for each keyword. Minimum bid is 10 cents.
Each click is a flat fee of 15 cents.
AOL (USA) & Sympatico.ca. You can opt-out of appearing on the sponsor pages.
MSN, Yahoo!, Netscape, Alta Vista & Lycos/Hot Bot + thousands of other smaller engines and directories. Note: You will only appear in the big directory partners sponsored listings if your bid is in the top 3.
MSN, About, Alta Vista, Netscape + thousands of other smaller engines and directories.
Accept Affiliate Links?
Yes, but you must identify yourself as an affiliate in your ad.
Not likely – your site must have original content that you own and must not redirect to another URL
Not likely - your site must have original content and must not redirect to another URL
Easy to Change Details?
All automated online. Changes are in effect within minutes
All changes made online. They must be approved first, but this is done within a couple of hours.
You must submit a change request and there is a fee.
5. PPC Reporting
Tracking your PPC click-through rateand conversion ratesare required for measuring the efficacy of your PPC marketing initiatives. This will also help to determine the return on investment of the marketing campaign and whether to maintain, augment or cancel the initiative. Furthermore, as an added value, the information gathered can help to determine the relative value of customer conversion for each market segment for the purpose of natural positioning.
Knowing how your pay-per-click campaign is performing is crucial not only to its success but to your entire marketing strategy.
Over time, we’ll determine your conversion rate – visitor/lead/customer – of your program and make the appropriate modifications to maintain or increase the conversion rate.
We can also compare your lead generation and click-through data to modify natural/free search engine positioning submissions to increase your overall search engine optimization efforts.
Furthermore, the data gathered on the pay-per-click campaign can be used to improve the success of traditional marketing programs to make sure they resonate with potential customers (i.e. mail campaigns, advertising, in-store displays, etc.
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Ref: Salient Marketing PPC Marketing http://www.salientmarketing.com/marketing/ppc/pay-per-click-management.html Go