The ABCs of Maximizing Your PPC Performance

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The ABCs of Maximizing Your PPC Performance
The ABCs of Maximizing Your PPC Performance

Pay-per -click (PPC) marketing gives you brand exposure opportunities on major search engines and millions of websites across the internet via banner ads. It's a great resource for small business owners to build their brand strength and generate new leads from their online prospects. However, it can be a complicated process. I want to show you a few things you can do to build an effective foundation that maximizes your PPC performance—the ABCs, if you will:

Ad extensions:

Google offers PPC marketers six ad extensions that help to communicate important marketing information without adding to the ad's character limit. PPC ads don't have a lot of room for copy, so this is a great resource to present a full marketing message in few words.

The ad extensions are:

1. Location: Shows prospects your address as a link to a Google Maps display where they can see a visual and get directions.

2. Products: Shows products featured on your Google Merchant account and their prices.

3. Sitelinks: Displays multiple pages from your website so you have more opportunities to grab searching prospects' interest.

4. Phone number: Shows your phone number beneath your ad. For mobile searchers this is a click-to-call number, which makes it very easy for them to get in touch.

5. Social media: Displays the number of +1s your Google+ page has. Showing off a good-sized social media following builds credibility with prospects.

6. Seller rating: Presents prospects with the rating your customers have given you. This is risk-free though, because Google only displays the rating if it is four or five stars.

Be consistent throughout the PPC process:

Your PPC process should follow three steps:

1. Use your ad to get prospects' attention and convince them to click.

2. Use a landing page to further engage prospects.

3. Use a special offer at the end of your landing page to convince prospects to fill out a contact form.

Once you have their contact information, they're a freshly generated lead for you to follow up with until they become a customer. But in order for this process to be effective and reach its lead generating potential, you have to maintain consistency throughout. The risk of inconsistency in this process is losing prospects' attention along the way. If your landing page looks different than your image ad or if your landing page discusses a different topic than your text ads (or is generic like a homepage), your prospects are going to make any of three conclusions:

1. They will think they were directed to the wrong website and leave immediately.

2. They will think your company is disorganized and unprofessional and leave immediately.

3. They will think the ad was a scam, and (you guessed it!) leave immediately.

You get the picture. You want to build trust in your company with each step. If the process is be cohesive and fluid, your prospects feel engaged throughout.

Call response optimization:

A great way to maximize your PPC advertising ROI is to optimize your ads for call responses. Generating phone calls from your ads can actually be better than getting clicks because you have to pay when a prospect clicks on your ad. When they call you, you don't pay a thing. You just got a free lead. Your PPC investment really pays off when you're getting those free leads as well as the paid ones you get through your landing pages.

Optimizing your ads for phone responses is a two step process:

Step 1. Add your phone number to all text and image ads. After all, they can't call you if you don't give them your number.

Step 2. Restrict your ads' display hours to your own business hours so that your phone responses are handled by a real person. You'll generally generate more income from your call-in leads that way.

Divide keywords into niche groups:

One of the most important things you can do for your PPC performance is organize your keywords into specific niche groups. For instance, a jeweler places keywords like “jewelry cleaning” and “jewelry maintenance” into one group, and keywords like “jewelry repair” and “jewelry modification” into another group. Then, there are other groups for selling specific types of jewelry. Having specific niche groups allows you to create extremely relevant ads for the prospects searching for those keywords. Your ads appear custom made for their situation, so you get their attention and engage their interest more naturally.

Dividing your keywords also helps you achieve a high Google quality score. Google rates ads based on how helpful it thinks they will be to their users. Google makes judgments based on two parameters:

1. How relevant the ad is to the user's search query.

2. How many clicks the ad is already generating.

A high quality score has major perks. You get better ad positioning, which means the best real estate on websites for image ads, and higher ranking for search ads. Organizing your keywords can do wonders for your PPC advertising. It helps in every way.

Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm PostcardMania. Joy began PostcardMania in 1998, with nothing but a phone and a computer. Find Joy on Google+.

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