4 Ways to Save Money on Your Pay Per Click Campaign… Without Losing Profits
If we could find a way to measure such a thing, I'd venture an estimate that it takes somewhere around ten minutes for the average business owner or online marketer to find out that pay-per-click advertising can be a lot of fun... and about five minutes more to discover that it can be really expensive.
And therein lies the problem: one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to bring visitors and shoppers to your website also carries a potentially heavy price tag. With the current bids for some keywords on Google, Yahoo, and Bing running five and ten times what they did a few years ago, how can savvy marketers make any money?
The answer, as always, isn't in spending more, but spending better. Here are four sure-fire ways to cut your PPC costs without messing up the bottom line:
Choose more efficient keywords. While the tendency is always to gravitate towards the most popular keywords - the ones that generate tens of thousands of searches every day - many of these will end up killing your business twice: first by costing more, and then by being some of the least profitable. If you really want to improve your sales, ignore the biggest words and phrases (or at least don't concentrate on them exclusively), and focus your effort on the smaller, less-targeted, "long tail" searches that are more likely to turn into purchase orders.
Wondering where to find these more specific keywords and phrases? A talented search engine professional can help, but your own website is usually the best source of information. Simply use analytic software to find out what kinds of search terms are bringing people to your site already, and then use that data to construct a more efficient campaign.
Sacrifice the top positions. Lots of businesses like to aim for the top spots in paid search listings, and it's often a sound strategy - those are the ones that get the most notice, and the most hits. What many advertisers don't understand, however, is that there are several other ad positions, spread throughout the first and second pages, which typically offer a higher return on investment. They aren't clicked as often, but the customers they attract tend to be more serious than searchers who click on the first few out of habit.
The top spots on the paid search rankings cost a lot, but they don't always pull their weight when you consider the expense. Customers don't care what you're paying for their click, only what you reward them with after they do perform that click.
Write better ads. Does your pay-per-click ad give a searcher a truly compelling reason to visit your page? If it doesn't, then you're probably sabotaging your own Internet marketing efforts. There are only so many impressions - times your ad can be shown - available for any keyword. That means, no matter what position you're in or how much you're bidding, you'll never make the most of your chances if you don't have an offer that's immediately compelling to the people who see it.
Keep in mind, too, that good ads don't just attract the right customers, but repel the wrong ones. There's no value in bringing people to your site who can't use or afford what you sell, so write copy that speaks directly to your perfect customer and don't worry about impressing anyone else.
Improve your pages. One of the easiest ways to make more money from pay-per-click - and the one that almost no one ever thinks of - is by improving the pages your visitors arrive on. If your site converts twice as many people as it did before, then you've doubled your rate of return without changing a single thing in your ads, keywords, or bidding structure... and yet, most product pages are designed and written once, never to be changed again.
Avoid that trap by testing your pages against newer and different versions from time to time. Even a minor alteration here or there can sometimes have a big impact, and any improvement in your closing rate is likely to bring a healthy long-term increase in your bottom line.
Pay-per-click advertising can be incredibly expensive, but it can also be very profitable. The difference is all in how you approach it. Spend a fortune for the top spots and wait for the orders to come in, and you'll likely be disappointed; but treat it as you would any other investment - constantly studying your results and tweaking your offer - and you'll find that there's no faster or more reliable way to deliver customers to your virtual doorstep.