Volume 43, Issue 4 - April 2008

Online Bylines

Increase Profits with Paid Online Advertising 
by Scott Orth

How would you like the ability to change your advertising strategy on the fly? Decide a promotion should be extended or cancelled with little effort? Enter new markets or change your entire marketing message with a snap? You can do all of this and more with Pay-per-Click advertising. 

Found at the top and to the right of most major search engine results pages, Pay-per-Click (or PPC) is, by far, the most popular form of online advertising today. Named for its basic function, you pay the search engine a fee each time someone clicks on your ad. 

Costs are determined by ad-quality and highest bidder. To be positioned above your competition you need superior ad-quality (determined by search engines), and bid a higher per-click fee. No matter how high you bid, you only pay one cent above the next highest bidder (on top search engines). 

Programs are available to give you a hand, but if you’d like to try this on your own, I recommend starting with a Google Adwords account at www.adwords.google.com

The foundation of an effective campaign strategy includes: search term (or keyword) selection; ad copy (title and description); landing page; and tracking success.

Search Terms
The search terms you choose should be directly related to your products and services. So what is your business? Flat glass? Auto glass? Custom glass? Collision? A mix of these, or more? Each of these categories will have their own respective set of search terms. To locate terms easily, I recommend using the free keyword tool in your Google Adwords account. 

As you build your plan, you’ll want to separate terms into categories. For instance, if you offer auto and flat glass, create a category for each. When you’re building your Google campaign you’ll have the opportunity to break these down further. 

Creating Ad Copy
Once your term list is gathered and you’ve segmented them into appropriate categories, it’s time to build the ad copy, or marketing message. Effective ad copy is clear and concise, action oriented and descriptive of your products or services. Each engine offers varying, but limited, space for ad copy.

Most engines now offer the ability to list numerous versions of ad copy so you can test which works best to drive business. You can also modify or add a new marketing message anytime.

So what should your ad copy say? There isn’t a perfect recipe for everyone. The key is to build multiple versions of ad copy and test which ones drive the most success.

Landing Page
A landing page is the page on your site to which you send your visitors. For an effective PPC strategy, you want to send visitors to the page most closely related to their search query (typically not the home page).

For instance, if someone searches for “custom shower doors,” send them to a page about custom shower doors only, not commercial glass, auto glass or any other product or service you might offer.

Each page on your site should also have a clear call-to-action to drive the visitor to the next step. This might be a phone number, a free quote offer or some other element that entices the visitor to contact you or interact with your business.

Tracking Success
Proper analytics (or tracking) should be installed as it is critical for a successful PPC campaign. For ease and cost savings, I recommend Google Analytics at www.google.com/analytics. Also be prepared to install tracking code from each of the PPC search engines.

Analytics programs give you insight into how all visitors use your site. A primary purpose of analytics is to understand the difference between advertisements that drive traffic to your site, and those that drive new business. For instance, one search term may drive significant traffic, but cost you $100 to gain a new customer. Another term may drive less traffic, but cost only $20 for a new customer.

Understanding how to find the “right” search terms and ad campaigns will save money on poor performing ads, while allocating more funds to campaigns that drive revenues and increase profits. 

To learn more about Pay-per-Click, join GTS in May for its free Pay-per-Click educational webinar. Find out more and sign up at www.gtswebinars.com

Scott Orth is the director of Internet marketing services at GTS in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at scotto@gtsservices.com. Mr. Orth’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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