Paid Search marketing is a great way to attract targeted leads to your website, almost instantly, by displaying your adverts to people who are shopping online for products and services.
Many companies in different sectors use Google Adwords or other forms of paid search marketing, with great success. However for every business we come across that achieves a good return from their PPC advertising, we see several that don’t. Why is that? Well, PPC is a much more complex process to manage than it may appear at the outset. Setting up a campaign is quite straight forward, but without the correct configuration, ongoing monitoring and refinement, it’s quite possible to rack up a lot of “click-spend” without much to show for it.
In many ways, running PPC campaigns for online retail business is easier to manage than it can be for businesses that don’t sell online, because everything is measurable and the data available will allow you to fine-tune your campaigns to get the best return – but only if you work the data.
Here are a few pointers for online retailers getting started with PPC advertising:
Do your homework! If you’re selling your own brand products, you need to work out what people are likely to search for when they’re looking for a product like yours. If you’re selling branded products, bear in mind that people often search for the exact product they’re looking for. You need to be aware of the different ways people could describe the product, and also any product codes that they may have found during their research, so you can target people searching for specific products.
Branded products are very price sensitive and a typical shopper will look at several websites to compare prices before buying. You need to benchmark against competitors on a regular basis to ensure that your pricing is competitive. If there are some products where you can’t compete effectively on price – don’t target them for PPC. Focus on the most competitively priced products as a priority, then you can try to cross-sell to your other products once you have a potential buyer on your website.
When people click on your ad, they will go through to a page on your website. One of the common mistakes website owners make is to send all searchers to their home page. This is a bad idea for many reasons, but the most obvious one is that if the potential customer can’t see what they’re looking for straight away, they’re quite likely to escape from your website and look somewhere else.
Make sure your ads link directly to the page containing the product(s) which directly relate to the search term used.
Ad Groups and Ad wordings
One of the great advantages of PPC advertising is the facility to present a compelling advert which relates well to the term being searched for. The better your ad, the more people will want to click on it. Start by sorting your keywords into logical groups (known as adgroups in Google PPC) of related keywords.
There are various more sophisticated techniques you can use to display targeted ads to potential customers, which are beyond the scope of this article.
Know your numbers!
This is fundamental to making a profit from PPC. If you connect your PPC account to your website analytics, you will be able to see exactly where your click-spend went and also where the sales came from. You can see how much you had to spend on clicks in order to get a sale, so you can use this information to refine your bidding strategy, to ensure that you only make sales at a profit. There’s no point selling an item for £50, with a profit margin of £20, if it cost you £25 in click fees to make the sale.
This is not an exhaustive guide to managing PPC – just a quick run-though of some of the key points to start with – and these are things we know that many website owners don’t pay enough attention to.
In most cases, it’s better to use the services of specialists who know how to get the best out of your paid advertising and can ensure that they allocate time on a regular basis to managing and improving the campaigns to maximise your ROI, leaving you to do what you do best – fulfill the sales that you make through your website!
Good luck with your online selling and if you need help in managing PPC, you can read more about our PPC management services here.