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.