You’ve decided pay per click advertising can help your business. You are not alone: PPC can benefit many businesses looking to put their products or services on the front page of a Google search and see immediate results and traffic to their websites.

And consider this: if you’re not bidding on your product or brand name, your more savvy competitors probably are, directing consumers away from your site and to theirs.

A well-executed PPC campaign can be done without paying too much for each click to your site and yield a high ROI. But what most people don’t know is that if you rush your preparation efforts and launch a PPC campaign without much thought, you’ll be wasting money.

To avoid throwing cash out of the window and into the hands of the $373 billion monster that is Google, here are some things to consider.

Understand PPC Strategy

A considerable amount of time is spent managing and conducting tests during a PPC campaign. If an account is launched and no maintenance is done, you may find out that you’re spending half of your budget on a broad keyword that is bringing irrelevant traffic. Digital marketers test and optimize to give you the most bang for your buck.

Here are a few testing strategies commonly used:

  • A/B Testing Text Ads: Marketers will launch multiple text ads at once to determine the top performer over time. After a top performer is chosen, we test again with a new set of ads to continue to reach new highs.
  •  Bid Optimizations:If your keywords are competitive, you won’t want to drain your budget by overspending for a click. For this reason, marketers try to find the perfect balance that gives you a good ad position for a good price. Since bids are directly related to ad position, you may want to change a bid depending on your goals, including impressions and the volume and quality of clicks.
  • Broad to Specific Accounts: It makes sense to use keywords that are broad in scope at the start of a campaign, allowing you to collect data and determine what keywords and text ads are performing. As the campaign progresses, you can narrow the score and relevance of keywords to more precisely target consumers.

PPC can be complex, so it’s important to clarify your goals and understand the metrics and budget you need to launch an effective campaign. Many aspects of PPC can be customized to deliver the most value if you do it right.

Is your website ready?

Make sure your website is optimized to take advantage of the increased traffic an effective PPC will produce, making sure the consumers you are directing there perform an action. This is usually done with a landing page – a dedicated paid traffic web page that can’t normally be reached by organic users.  Landing pages should be educational and have either a submission form or phone number for users to allow you to connect with them. Your goal with a landing page is to form a relationship with the consumer, building enough interest and trust for them to give you the kind of information (email address, address, phone number) that will help continue moving them down the sales funnel.

Complement PPC with other digital tactics

PPC is not always a stand-alone effort. Depending on your business, you may want to pair PPC with other marketing efforts.  For example, if you have a unique offering that may not always be commonly searched or if your industry is extremely competitive, running PPC along with some other form of digital advertising may be right for you. Programmatic display ads and Facebook display ads are hyper-targeted and may be great for drawing consumers into the top of the sales funnel, whereas PPC might be better for consumers at the bottom of the funnel who are more ready to make a purchase. SEO efforts should also be implemented, as studies show upwards of 90% of users click organic listings over paid listings.

A display ad plants the seed in the minds of consumers but it may be at a later time, when they do a Google search and click on your ad, that consumers are more likely ready to buy.

Know what you want from a campaign.

As powerful as it can be, PPC is the not the panacea for all marketing objectives. For example, if you are looking to elevate awareness, there are other marketing tactics that will drive brand lift more effectively.  But if you’re looking to increase your web traffic and engage the consumer at the bottom of the sales funnel, PPC will work when done right.