10 Steps to Reduce Costs and Increase PPC Conversions

/ / PPC
Please note: this article is over 13 years old. Information may be out of date.

Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a huge market, especially for new companies that have not yet established themselves in the organic search engine rankings. The downside is that PPC can be quite an exhausting and overwhelming task when it is really broken down. For the most part you can enter your keywords and create ad variations, but there is so much more to PPC than just that.

PPC

In these tough times you want to make sure your bottom line is at optimal conditions, and PPC can assist in these goals. Specified will be some tips and tricks to help you increase conversions and reduce costs. In essence, you want to persuade the buyer that you have the highest quality item for the lowest price compared to the competition.

  1. Research Competitors Ads - There is a wealth of free, valuable information out on the web waiting to be used. PPC ads are shown on most, if not all search engines and can give you some insight into how your competition is advertising and what ad text they are using. If you want to go deeper than this you can purchase tools that show you what your competitor's keywords are, what they are bidding, their ad text, and much more. With this information you will have a good starting point for your PPC ads.
  2. Explore Keyword Variations - It is imperative for any successful PPC campaign to search for keywords, look at competitor keywords, and use proper keyword matching. It is important to know what keyword matching is and understand the difference between broad, phrase, and exact keywords. Each has a different effect and using the wrong one can ruin your entire ad campaign. Broad match keywords allow your ad to show up on similar phrases and relevant variations. Phrase match keywords allow your ad to show up on searched that match the exact phrase exclusively. Exact match keywords means that your ad shows up for that exact phrase exclusively. Negative match keywords are used to prevent your ad from showing up on specific keywords.
  3. Focus on Low Cost Keywords - Overpriced keywords can cause a leakage in your PPC marketing budget. If you sell a product or service with a low profit margin then you need to do everything in your power to avoid high cost keywords. You cannot afford to pay $1 per click when your profit margin is only $0.75. Some keywords can cost over $5 a click! You do not want to spend this much unless your profit margin is large enough and you know you can compete with the competition. For the rest of us internet advertisers we want to look for highly searched keywords that are not overly priced. This can be done by looking at the competition. Do a search for your keyword in your desired search engine and look at how many paid, or sponsored, listings appear. The fewer, the better off you are.
  4. Avoid Hyper-Competitive Keywords - Keywords with a large search volume may be a viable keyword choice, but if the competition is too high it may not be the best choice, unless you have an extraordinary budget set in place. The greater the competition level for keywords, the more you will have to pay per click. There are tons, both free and paid that can show you a keywords competition level, monthly traffic, and cost per click. A reliable, free tool is Google's keyword tool. It is an effective medium for discovering profitable keywords that have not been tapped into yet.
  5. Make your Ads with Consumer Savings - People love to see words like sale, save discount, free, promo, buy 1 get 1 free, etc. when looking at paid search results. The more you use these words, the greater visibility your ad will have in the consumer's eyes. The bigger the savings, the more likely you are to obtain a click through and ultimately a conversion. Make sure to include good values, low prices, and timely promotions in all your ad groups. This is especially if you have a product or service that is being marketed to highly price sensitive shoppers.
  6. Be upfront with your Ads - I cannot stress this enough. This is the biggest mistake advertisers can make when placing participating in pay per click advertising. You do not want to lie, or fluff up your ads, in hopes of making more sales. This actually has the opposite effect, in which people will click through expecting what was outlined in the ad and come to see that it was false and misleading. This may get more clicks in organic rankings, but it will still result in an extraordinarily high bounce rate. They will leave the site in frustration that you mislead to them to your site, and you lost money for the cost of a click. Now image this happening on a daily basis for months at a time. How much wasted money can there be before someone steps in and says, "STOP, you are doing this in the complete wrong way!" You need to be upfront and honest to prevent excessive click from searchers expecting something else.
  7. Make your Ad Groups Targeted to the Landing Page - To get the best quality score for your PPC ads you will want to make sure the keywords and the ad text relate to one another. You also want to make sure the landing page, where the searcher is taken when clicking on your link, is highly related to your keywords and ad text. This will get you the best results and ensure searchers do not get taken to the wrong page. Do not bunch all your campaigns together; rather separate them into appropriate categories. Then create pages on your website specifically designed for PPC users to land on. You should not send PPC ads to your home page, but rather have targeted landing pages specifically designed for each PPC campaign. These pages should have a call to action inducting the searcher to perform some sort of action that is beneficial to your business, whether it be a email address, or an actual sale. Your end goal is to have the user do something. This will reduce the bounce back rate and increase the chances of converting leads into sales.
  8. Review and Analyze your Ads Performance Overtime - This seems obvious, but so many people do not take the time to sit down and really analyze each campaign to see what is succeeding and what is leaking money. Once this is discovered you will want to fix the problem ads and leave the successful ads be. This seems so obvious, but is not done often enough. I encourage reviewing your pay per click campaign once a day. If this is too much, then at least 2-3 times a week. This is your money and you do not want to see it wasted with no returns.
  9. Refine your Ad groups to Focus on High Performers - After you have run your PPC campaigns for a few weeks you can analyze the results and see what the top performers and failures are. To make sure this is an accurate representation make sure to use many different ad variations and have them set to rotate evenly at first. This will give you an idea of what selling points are working and which are draining your funds. Look at cost per conversion and make sure this does not exceed your profit margin. If so stop the ad or make some major modifications to it. If an ad group has a low cost per conversion keep this running and let it rake in the money. Refining your ads should be done on a regular basis to avoid failing campaigns and focus more on successful campaigns.
  10. Look at the Bottom line - Conversions are king for PPC, just like content is king for organic rankings. If you are doing all of the above and still are not converting sales then it may be time to take a step back and contact a professional to review your campaign and look for any flaws. If you do not have the budget to do this, then pause your ads and just focus on refining one at a time. This will ensure you do not use your entire budget and can spend more time figuring out why you are not succeeding. Once you figure out why one campaign is failing it is much easier to spot other trouble campaigns.
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About The Author

Brandon Leibowitz is a professional search engine optimization consultant. His knowledge is extremely valuable in this area of expertise.

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