Digital Marketing 201: Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Beyond the Basics
by Matt D’Rion, Founder and CEO
I wrote this article for the businessperson who wants to move up a level in their digital marketing; someone who already understands the basics of websites and SEO, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising. I’m going to go beyond the typical “10 Reasons to…”-style blog and get into the meat and potatoes of generating sales with online marketing.
(If you’re not quite ready to move up to this level, I invite you to read our introductory article, “Digital Marketing 101 for Any Size Business.”)
A Brief Summary of PPC
You’ve probably heard a lot about pay-per-click advertising (PPC). The term refers to online advertising that invites a person to click on an ad for a product or service. That link takes them to a sales page or the advertiser’s website. PPC ads may appear in Google, Bing or Yahoo! search results, in Facebook or Instagram feeds and many other locations.
Each click costs the advertiser money. But that advertiser has a remarkable ability to select the characteristics of people who will be shown the ads, for example:
- Age range
- Parental status
- Children’s ages
- Household income
- Marital status
If you know the characteristics of your ideal customer, you can pre-select those characteristics and serve your ad to those most likely to buy.
Targeting Your Best Customers
Using these parameters, you can narrow the focus of your PPC ads. Here are some examples.
Example #1: Your store sells upscale furniture. You know that the upper age bracket of millennials are your best customers. You select married women (who usually spearhead these decisions) 30 to 40 years old with a high household income and college or university degree to view your ad.
Example #2: A company that sells baby clothes might select married women aged 20 to 35, with children aged three and under or women who’ve already shown interest in pregnancy topics. Both groups are likely to be interested in these ads.
PPC enables you to distribute your ads to a very closely defined region. Any business that relies on foot traffic or that normally caters to people in a limited area can benefit from geotargeting.
Example #1: A sandwich shop knows their clientele comes from the nearby industrial park and surrounding neighborhood. They set up their PPC ads to only go to a single zip code. In this way, they save money by avoiding people who are unlikely to come to their shop.
Example #2: A surfboard rental company in Malibu can maximize their investment in PPC by limiting their ads to people who live in coastal communities and those that have just arrived into the area for the day. Once nearby, Facebook knows it, and can start showing ads.
The Next Level: Remarketing
Incorporating remarketing into your PPC enables you to reach a whole new level of effectiveness. Remarketing is a way to connect with people who have already interacted with your company online in some way. They may have browsed your website, used your mobile app or started a purchase but then abandoned their cart. These people are definitely worth an investment of PPC funds to invite them to take further action.
Here are some of the ways remarketing can be used to appeal to that person the next time they are online, on social media or making a search:
The Content Hog: Did this person visit your blog and read one article after another? Offer them a consultation on your services.
The Cart Abandoner: They added products to their shopping cart and then fled. Offer them a special coupon to be used within 24 hours to motivate them to finish their purchase.
The Beginner: They purchased an inexpensive item or an introductory service. Let them know about higher-ticket items you have available and give them an incentive to check out your limited-time deals right now.
The Lurker: They were reading about your consulting services and seemed to focus on financial consulting. They left without requesting a callback. Make sure they are presented with PPC ads and offers for your financial consulting services.
Setting up your website for remarketing takes in-depth knowledge of PPC technology. Custom code has to be added to your website to make it work—and to track and prove conversions took place. Looking for a reputable digital marketing firm is recommended.
Add Split Testing for Greater Effectiveness
Split testing refers to the process of comparing two versions of an ad so you can see which one works better. (Claude Hopkins pioneered split testing which he details in his book, Scientific Advertising.)
With split testing, you can test:
- Calls to action
Examples: Run the same ad with two different headlines—pick the most successful one. Run the winning headline in two ads that are identical except for the color. Next, use the most successful color and headline but vary the offer. And so on. You end up with a winner that reaps the most rewards.
When PPC is done right, you get maximum recompense for minimum investment because you’re directing your dollars at people who are already interested in your products or services. But as you can see, it’s a complex process. It’s advisable to bring a professional digital marketing firm aboard for the fastest route to success.
We’d be happy to talk to you about enhancing your PPC advertising. Contact us through this form. We will be in touch shortly.