So, you’ve got the PPC campaign thing down — or do you?
Here, you’ll find:
- What makes a PPC campaign successful
- Ways to determine your PPC campaign goals
- How to pick the right keywords
- Why campaign tracking is crucial
These days, having an established PPC campaign isn’t enough. You need one that converts. That usually means a set-it-and-forget-it strategy simply won’t cut it.
ROI should be the driving force behind every aspect of designing, launching, and monitoring your PPC campaign. Not sure where to begin? Keep reading.
1. Determine your goals
Most marketing pros are familiar with the acronym SMART goals — that is, ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. This type of goal setting can be highly effective, no matter your company size or industry.
Applying this mindset to your PPC campaign can help you zero in on what you want to accomplish — maybe it’s more sales, market expansion, the desired CPA, more precise persona targeting, more effective lead nourishment, or something else. Whatever your goal, it should be centered around overall ROI as well as year-over-year growth.
2. Identify the right keywords
Having the right keywords is crucial for a campaign’s success. Now that you’ve determined your goals, it’s time to identify the keywords you want to leverage for this particular PPC campaign. These could include the services you offer, the products you sell, or phrases customers use in connection to your business.
Pro tip: Having a clear understanding of your target persona (or personas) will help you develop a list of high-performing keywords.
Create a list of keywords by pulling your own search query data or using a keyword tool like SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner. Add in factors like longtail and negative keywords, then work to identify those that are highly relevant but not highly competitive.
3. Expand on those keywords
Before checking “keywords” off the list, it’s a good idea to expand your list of keywords to make sure there aren’t any important words and phrases you’re missing out on.
You can do this in a few ways: by analyzing your competitors and seeing what keywords they’re leveraging, looking into your target audience’s search behavior to uncover more keywords, and using a keyword tool to see if there are any suggested keywords you haven’t included. For even more inspiration, you can look into a service like Answer the Public that aggregates questions people ask around different keywords, giving you more insight into their search motivations.
4. Prioritize your chosen keywords
As your campaign progresses, you’ll start to get a better idea about which keywords are top performers and which can be cut.
Because the frequent iterating and optimizing of these campaigns can be time-consuming, those without the expertise or bandwidth often turn to a digital marketing agency that can manage these types of campaigns on an ongoing basis.
5. Categorize your keywords
Keywords can fall into many categories: high-intent, branded, and feature-specific, just to name a few. A great way to stay organized and make sure you’re covering all your bases is by breaking up keywords into thematic Ad Groups.
You can group your keywords into the categories above, or by things like funnel stage, persona, service, and intent. Put your keywords into different categories based on the type of advertisements they create.
The eventual goal is to establish and track different types of ads based on the type of keywords. Basically, this ensures your ads directly relate to the search being made.
6. Set up ads
There’s no shortage of advice to be found about the best ways to set up PPC ads. But through our years of experience, we’ve narrowed it down and found that there are a few key facets to creating ads that convert.
- Keeping ads short, catchy, and relevant
- Having a consistent look and message from ad to landing page
- Leveraging ad extensions
- Targeting based on location
- Taking advantage of remarketing when applicable
- A/B testing
Pro tip: If you’re unfamiliar with the technicalities of ad management, your chosen ad platform or platforms should have step-by-step instructions for setting up your ads and their corresponding keywords.
7. Think about context and content
When planning your ad copy, be mindful of where the ads will be placed. With display ads, for example, it makes sense to keep the ad copy relevant to the content of the sites where they’ll appear — if you know what those sites will be.
That’s where the Google Display Network’s keyword contextual targeting comes in. As a more advanced and efficient way to choose the sites to place display ads on, this method allows you to create a list of keywords so your ad can be more closely matched to pages with similar context and content. Essentially, this lets you better target the sites where your display ad would show up.
8. Determine the desired action for conversion
A “conversion” isn’t defined the same way across the board. Different industries and campaigns will have different definitions of what action they consider to be a conversion.
This could mean:
- A submitted form
- A completed sale
- A demo or consultation request
- A downloaded piece of content
- An email subscription
No matter your conversion type, it can be measured by tracking the number of people that perform the measurable task once they reach your landing page. During the planning process, think about the desired action you want your potential customers to perform, then make it easy for them to do so.
9. Design optimized landing pages
We’ve highlighted 12 key ways to boost landing page conversions before.
Some of those ways include:
- A strong call to action (CTA)
- A special offer
- An easy way to share
- A mobile-friendly experience
Effective ads get people to your landing pages. From there, you’ve got to have a strong landing page poised to turn clicks into conversions.
10. Set up a means of tracking
Spoiler alert: Establishing a new campaign is just the beginning.
From there, you’ve got to have the means to test, track, and adjust your initial plan in order to achieve an optimal ROI. That means taking the time to pull reports, analyze the data, and pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in your campaign so you can iterate accordingly. By following the steps outlined above, however, you’ll be set up to see all that effort turn into a well-executed campaign that converts.
Creating a successful ROI-driven PPC campaign takes time and effort. Luckily, that’s exactly what we do — request a consultation to learn more about how we can help you get the results you deserve.
This post was originally published in August 2014 and was updated in October 2019.