Thursday, January 10, 2008

How to Make Your Business "Click"

PPC stands for Pay Per Click - a popular advertising technique that I use quite frequently. PPC can be found on websites, advertising networks, and especially on search engines. PPC advertising involves sponsored links that are typically in the form of text ads. These ads are usually placed close to related search results. An advertiser like me pays a particular amount for each visitor who clicks on these links or banners. Advertisers, me among them, set up web pages that these visitors will land on and hopefully buy from.

In essence, PPC advertising is all about bidding for a high, or perhaps the leading position on search engine results and listings. We do this by buying or bidding on keyword phrases that are relevant to our products or services - the higher the bid, the higher the spot on the search results, the more the people will find the ad (and hopefully click on it) to go to our websites (this is why some people call it "keyword auctioning"). We pay the bidding price every time a visitor clicks through to our website. Note, that I do not recommend using the extended search network. I have found that PPC sites that are set up just to attract “clicks” do not return traffic that is of a very high quality.

PPC advertising is also known by the following names and variations:

* Pay per placement

* Pay per ranking

* Pay per position

* Cost per click (CPC)

* Pay per performance

PPC advertising is usually done with the following standard procedures:

1. Choosing (and setting up) an account with a PPC search engine.

2. Setting up a payment process (Credit Card) or depositing funds.

3. Creating a keyword list.

4. Bidding on the ad placement, including the search result words or phrases.

5. Writing out ad copy.

6. Setting up the 'landing pages' for our ads.

7. Placing the advertisement in the search engine.

The benefits to Pay Per Click advertising, make it an effective way of promoting a business 'on-line'. Some of these benefits are listed below:

1. Get launched immediately. PPC advertisements are implemented very quickly - they can go 'on-line' within an hour after winning the bid and paying for it.

2. Obtain specific, pre-qualified, and quality traffic. PPC provides you with quality, well-targeted traffic. Visitors are narrowed down into 'qualified' people who are actually looking for your specific products and/or services - those who are more likely to become a 'lead' (a convert) and complete a transaction (either by buying your product or subscribing to the service that you are offering.)

3. Widen your reach. PPC advertising provides additional traffic to your site, aside from the natural or "organic" traffic of search engines.

4. Track your investment. PPC advertising makes use of a tracking system that will determine exactly who comes to your website and what they do once they arrive - the length of their stay on the site and the number of pages (including the actual pages) that they view. These are valuable tools in determining statistics such as return on investment (ROI), acquisition cost-per-visitor, and conversion rates (the percentage of visitors who are converted into customers or leads).

Below are some important things to consider when planning on a pay per click campaign:

1. Know your product. Take an inventory of the product and/or services that you have to offer (before anything else).

2. Stay within the budget. Determine your daily or monthly budget; and stay with it. This means keeping your budget in mind, avoiding bidding wars if possible.

3. Bid correctly. Learn how to bid right - a bid that is too high can exhaust all of your money, while a bid that is too low can make you lose your spot.

4. Watch the bottom line. Measure your profit margin against your spending or expenses. Know when to stop or terminate your PPC program - if you are spending more on advertising than you are recouping on sales.

5. Find the right keywords. Decide which keyword phrases to bid for. Do some keyword research, either by actually looking at existing search terms or with the use of on-line keyword suggestion tools, to know which terms are most used when visitors are searching for items that are related to your business. Focus on specific keywords, not on general ones.

6. Write effective ads. A good PPC ad is one that can persuade and move a qualified searcher. There are several approaches to this:

* Discount offers

* Testimonials

* Celebrity/famous endorsers

* Money-back guarantees

* Free trials or sample offers

* Freebies - beware, you could end up with a lot of visitors who have no interest in ever becoming buyers!

* Reverse psychology

* Major benefits ("Lose weight")

* Direct instructions ("Click here")

7. Be careful that your ad is not misleading. You do not want to pay for visitors who have no intention of buying your product. I try to include the price to chase away those who are only looking for a freebie.

8. Maintain a professional-looking site. Your web content should be regularly updated and checked for spelling and grammatical errors. There should be no broken links or images. The website should be simple - designed in such a way that it will be easy for visitors to navigate and load. Include contact details to create a good impression among potential customers.

Done properly, PPC advertising can be an effective marketing tool that will maximize the return on your investment.

Good luck and great profits.

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