Planning Your Pay Per Click Marketing Campaign

As with any other online marketing technique, you need to set goals and objectives for your pay per click (PPC) campaigns. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are you interested in introducing your site (branding it)?

  • Are you competing for sales on specific goods?

  • Are you trying to capture the interest of prospects researching major purchases so that they visit your store? Or are you selling retail online?

  • How does PPC fit into your overall marketing plan, including offline activities?

If you’re an e-tailer (a business selling retail goods online), coordinate your PPC program with merchandising activities continuously to promote your specials, seasonal offers, clearance sales, and new products.

For most businesses, a PPC program is a matter of trial and error. Produce and test multiple iterations of your ads until you find the combination of ad content and search terms that produces the best results. Consequently, a PPC campaign also requires a time commitment to set up and monitor, especially in its early stages — or if it becomes large and complex. Do you have the time?

If you have a limited budget, pause your campaign occasionally and narrow your geographic reach, rather than run it evenly over time and place. In most cases, you gain better visibility and more click-throughs from qualified prospects if you spend more money over a shorter period than if you spend a little bit of money all the time.

Use your PPC budget only when it will do you the most good, such as when

  • You first launch your site for greater visibility and branding.

  • You're waiting to get out of the Google sandbox, for link campaigns to kick in, or for search engines to spider new pages.

  • You add important new products, services, content, or features to your site.

  • You can’t reach first-page traction in natural search results for a particular keyword.

  • You’re trying to reach prospects in a targeted geographical area.

  • You can identify the demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach.

  • Your target audience is online during certain hours. (Consult your traffic statistics.)

  • Seasonal campaigns are tied to holiday giving (especially in December, February, and May) or to key points in your own annual sales cycle.

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