Posted by: Kevin McNally
Inbound marketing has become increasingly more important as more and more businesses appear online. Its significance can be attributed to customers becoming increasingly more aware of what they want, and having all the information in the world at their fingertips to get it. This is why executing an inbound marketing strategy that targets specific customers is so important. Ad dollars can no longer be thrown around in hopes that somebody somewhere will bite. The most efficient way to reach your targeted customers online is through paid search.
Paid search is now often referred to as search engine marketing (SEM). The most common paid search activities being:
- Paid search advertising
- Paid search ads
- PPC (pay-per-click)
- CPC (cost-per-click)
Google Adwords is the biggest provider of paid search advertising in the form of PPC. The tips discussed in this article are primarily geared towards using their program as well as its similar rival - Bing ads, but these tips can help you with any paid search activity.
- Keyword research – the most essential first step in developing any strategy is research, it couldn’t be more beneficial than using it for your paid search campaign. This is where you will discover what search term is most used by the customers you are targeting. Find out which keywords convert well and consider expanding your search to reach the companion audience to those targeted keywords.
- Long-tail keywords – most people tend to only look at the one to three-word search term that is getting all the attention. While these search terms are valuable, they will also be very expensive to place an ad on. By using a bunch of long-term keywords (anywhere from four to seven-words) you not only get traffic from a more specific search term, but there will also be a lot less competition on these terms, which of course means they will cost less.
- Invest more in your best-performing keywords – monitor your ads to see which keyword is bringing you the most traffic. Instead of trying to increase exposure on the keywords that aren’t doing so hot, increase your bidding on the ones that are performing the best. This will get you more visibility on a keyword you are already converting on.
- Write good copy – this may seem like an obvious one, but it is something you see constantly overlooked. Don’t just write a couple of lines down and think it’s perfect. See what your competitors are doing, look at successful paid search campaigns and try to replicate them. There is a very small number of words you can use in ads on Google Adwords, so make every one of them count.
- Test variants of copy – test, test some more and repeat. Just because you think your copy is great doesn’t mean everybody else on the internet does. Run ads with only slight variances to pinpoint which words get the most clicks – you may be surprised by the results!
- Utilize your reviews – review extensions are a somewhat new feature on Google Adwords that is great for websites that have product or service reviews. This feature will allow a review summary to appear underneath your ad on search engines. This can be a powerful companion to the ad as it creates instant validity on what you are selling.
- Traffic coming from different devices – This could affect the way you write your ads. It’s important to know if a majority of your traffic is coming from mobile devices or desktop computers and you should be using the results to your advantage.
- It should complement your SEO efforts, not replace – so many businesses think they should concentrate all of their efforts on either SEO or SEM, this is not a good approach. While SEO takes time to build-up, SEM can be instant. Concentrating on both equally will lead to better results from both areas.
- Real-time message changing – things have a way of staying on the web and always being searchable, but not true with paid search! You can change your message to your audience instantly and can constantly be targeting a different group with a different message. That’s the beauty of targeted ads.
- Don’t be afraid to cut your losses – one of the biggest mistakes made in paid search is thinking the results will come eventually. This just isn’t the case. Trust the clicks and the data, don’t try to force an unsuccessful ad by dumping more money on it. Pause or even delete your lowest performers every so often and start again with a fresh idea.
Paid search is your answer to attracting targeted traffic to your website, but it has to be executed correctly. These tips will help you succeed. Make sure you are constantly monitoring the results and learning from them. You will have an optimized paid search campaign that will get you results in no time.