Can PPC be a short-term strategy (for a seasonal or short-term campaign) or does it need to be a long term strategy to get results?
A PPC campaign can be effective immediately. For example, we work with a hot tub company in Ottawa. We started their PPC campaign in the early spring and they had 843 visitors to their website from AdWords in the first 30 days of the campaign.
PPC does not need to be a long term campaign, but over time we can optimize a campaign, so it is improving steadily. Over time we gain valuable information that we use to improve results. For example, if the goal is more phone calls or form submissions, we can track which keywords are generating these and adjust the budget accordingly. For example the hot tub company had an increase in conversions of 27% in the second month of the campaign because of optimization.
How to know if you should outsource PPC or do it in-house; if outsourcing – what questions should you ask prospective vendors?
When to do it in-house:
There are three instances in which it is advisable to manage your PPC campaigns in-house.
- You have a small budget (less than $500/month)
- The campaign is straightforward (one city, one product/service)
- You have time to learn everything there is to know about PPC and monitor the campaign weekly or even daily
When to outsource:
If you are not computer/tech-savvy and you consistently have a budget above $500 per month, then outsourcing is recommended. More complex campaigns require more time investment, and you simply may not have time to manage an account and reach your goals. Time varies based on complexity. Small businesses may only need a few minutes a month for adjustments, while a large enterprise requires a full-time team devoted solely to PPC management.
If outsourcing, ask these questions:
- What kind of reporting will you offer? (track phone calls, set-up goals, etc.)
- Tell me about campaigns you currently manage
- Do you charge a flat fee or a percentage of spend? (our clients prefer a flat fee – some companies charge 50%-100% management fees – be careful)
- What can we expect in terms of cost per click, amount of leads, volume of traffic?
- How often do you make adjustments to the campaign? (in general it should be at least weekly)
- Do you outsource or manage it in-house? (in-house is generally better)
What are the biggest trends in paid search engine marketing?
- Using software like Call Rail to track phone calls and manage campaigns isn’t new, but it’s becoming increasingly popular for good reason.
- Bids by weather – Also known as Weather-Based Campaign Management, this is an effective resource for businesses with services with demand tied to the weather. For example, if you are a roofer you can add a bid enhancer so when it starts raining, you bid more for keywords because there is urgency. King Marketing recently published a case study on this very subject, highlighting a 500% increase on ROI from weather based-bids alone!
- Mobile marketing – Mobile websites have a significant impact on Quality Score, which affects your cost-per-click (CPC) and page position. This is becoming more and more important with each passing month, so make sure you have a mobile-friendly website.
- Google Shopping – Have you noticed images at the top of Google search results when you search for products? This is known as Google Shopping. This off-shot of AdWords is growing rapidly and can be set up even by small retailers. Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) tends to be lower because this is still new, so it’s wise to take advantage now.
- Retargeting – After prospects come to your website, you can track them by dropping a cookie in their browser and “following” them around with a digital billboard. Some people find this creepy, but it is effective and inexpensive – generally only 10% of what you pay for a Google Adwords campaign.
Overlooked PPC factors that can make or break your PPC campaign
- Focus on quality score – The higher your quality score, the less you pay per click and the higher your page position.
- Focus on relevance – Don’t bid on keywords that are not relevant to your business. For example if you are a private business school but you are targeting people looking for apprenticeships because you think they should consider business school, Google will make you pay a lot more per click than schools offering apprenticeships because you are not relevant.
- Have a good website – If your website is ugly, outdated, and unfriendly to users, Google will know and you will not get good results. This is a huge mistake – invest in a good website and it will may for itself many times over.
- Have a competitive budget – If your budget is $100/month and all your competitors are spending $500-1500/month, you will lose.
- Avoid the Display Network – This is a default setting that places your text ads on websites in Google’s Display Network. The cost per click is low, but the traffic tends not to convert. 95% of the time you should not use the display network if you are focusing on generating leads.