“We tried PPC. It didn’t work for us.”
We get that a lot – we really do. And we understand. It seems like the easiest thing in the world. Just set up a campaign (they even have Adwords Express to walk you through it), set up a budget and a credit card, and watch the customers roll in.
But it doesn’t work that way. We’re not saying SOMETIMES it doesn’t work that way. We’re not saying USUALLY it doesn’t work that way. We are saying it NEVER, EVER works that way. Let’s talk about why first, and then we can talk about how crucial is to your business nowadays.
The reason it never works that way is one word: targeting. There are a lot of different kinds of targeting – but let’s cover the big ones:
Keyphrases – This is by far the top offender. You start by picking keyphrases around your business. Let’s say you sell beef jerky online for example. You might pick phrases like beef jerky, spicy beef jerky, teriyaki beef jerky, gourmet beef jerky, etc. Those would be natural choices. But the reality is that those are going to have high competition, which means they will be expensive, and likely not convert into customers at a huge rate. So you are likely to burn through your whole budget, and not get enough sales to cover the cost – to say nothing of making money.
So the right thing to do is to look for long-tail keyphrases. Instead of “Teriyaki beef jerky”, maybe you try “Asian flavored beef jerky”. Instead of “gourmet beef jerky” you try “gourmet beef jerky on a budget”. Those phrases absolutely will get less traffic – way less. But if someone types it, and find you, your chances for conversion go up fivefold at least.
Geotargeting – A lot of businesses are area specific, so geotargeting is obvious. No restaurant, dentist, shoe store or automotive garage wants to advertise to people who are too far away. But what about businesses that are NOT location specific? Is there value in using geotargeting on those?
You bet your sweet teriyaki beef jerky there is.
How about we do some research using some industry tools to find out where some of our target phrases might be most popular. Turns out Louisville, Kentucky is the winner. So we set our targeting to just the Louisville area (Adwords lets you do it by radius, everything in the city itself, or even by the boundaries defined by the good people who do the Neilsen TV ratings), and focus ALL of our budget there. Turns out those Louisvillians LOVE their beef jerky. You get a higher conversion rate, which means more money.
Negatives – This is the one most people don’t even understand, let alone utilize – and it’s so simple. Using the Search Queries function in Adwords, you can see all of the actual PHRASES that people are typing to find you. You go in to check this list for the jerky business, and you see one that is typed a lot – beef jerky recipes. No problem, right? It’s more visitors to your site, and once they see the incredible products you have, they’ll be dropping money on you nonstop. Right? Right?
If someone typed “beef jerky recipes” into Google and saw your ad, they came there looking for RECIPES. They want to make their own. They are going to see you are only selling, that there are no recipes, and run – not walk – to the back button. Problem is – you paid for them to be there. They used your budget to find out it wasn’t what they wanted. How to fix? Easy. Add “recipes” as a negative keyphrase. Now anytime a user has the word recipes (or recipe – Google is smart that way), your ads won’t even be shown.
Those are the basics. There are literally dozens of other methods to target, and a hundred more to optimize bids, ads, timing, landing pages and calls to action that will make your PPC campaign sing.
Last question: why do I NEED to do this? 2 reasons:
1. When done right, it just becomes about simple math. Once you get things tuned to where you are actually making money – you will make it consistently. That is incredibly powerful. If I told you that if you gave me $5, I would give you $10 back, what would your next question be? Maybe “OK! How about if I give you $5,000? Will you give me $10,000 back?” If they answer is yes, you are heading to the bank. You can do the same thing with PPC. Just up the budget until the traffic runs out. Then start doing the same thing with other keyphrases.
2. It influences other marketing efforts – namely SEO and Social Media. You use the things you learn from an effective PPC campaign to focus your SEO targets (so you can get that same traffic you are paying for now for FREE) and pushing to social media channels for better engagement and even paid campaigns there.
Sorry folks – but in a world where competition is fierce to get your products in front of customers, you can’t afford NOT to do PPC.