Killer Tips for Better ROI (online campaign), via @davidmerzel’s BLOG


Interesting article regarding how to improve your ROI for Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is key to most online marketing campaigns today, and it’s often expensive and overwhelming.

Here are 10 tips to help improve your PPC campaign in hopes of a gaining a greater ROI and making the whole process more enjoyable and fruitful.


1. Run a Negative Campaign


No, the idea is not to openly bash your competitors through ad copy. Instead, utilize negative keywords, one of the most underused features offered for PPC campaigns. Negative keywords allow you to choose words that won’t trigger your ad. For example, if you are a new car salesman, place the word “used” on your negative list to target customers looking for a new vehicle. When used correctly and updated often, negative keywords help pare down your clickers to serious buyers and save your PPC dollars.


2. Location, Location, Location


Why have your ad viewed or, even worse, clicked by someone in Iowa when you only sell insurance in California? PPC dollars are wasted because unsophisticated users don’t focus their impressions by location. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo all offer geo-location features, which allow users to target their markets based on IP addresses, geo-specific keywords or both.


3. Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse


With so much competition, you need to differentiate your ad. Are you running a promotion? Is shipping free? Offer value and then capitalize on it with a call-to-action. Use terms like “Learn More” and “Free Download” to draw in customers. Encourage searchers to act and let them know what to expect on the other side of the click.


4. Be Dynamic


Dynamic keyword insertion allows you to create more relevant ad copy by placing the exact phrase searched into your ad. When the potential customer sees the exact term they searched, they are more likely to click. While dynamic keyword insertion is very useful and can increase your click through rate tremendously, it is not for the PPC novice. If poorly executed, dynamic keyword insertion can result in ads that appear unclear and irrelevant and can drain your budget quickly.


5. Utilize Long Tail Keywords


Long tail keywords are three-to-four-word phrases that are specific to your product. The reason this works is that visitors using very specific search phrases are often further along in the purchasing process and can result in a higher conversion rate. Someone looking for shoes might search for “boots,” and then have it narrowed down to “black knee-high boots” when she’s ready to buy. Another benefit to long tail keywords is their lack of popularity among PPC novices. With less people bidding on your keywords, your cost per click decreases. Add high intent words to your long tail, such as “buy,” “price” or even “where to buy,” in order to grab those on the verge of a purchase. If you are stumped and need long tail keyword suggestions, visit Wordstream.


6. This Is a Test


Don’t just set up a PPC campaign and hope for the best — proper testing and analysis are required. Metrics allow you to better understand your campaign and results, so set up A/B tests to track what works. Remember to test multiple ads simultaneously, but only allow for one variable at a time and run your tests long enough to gather proper data.


7. Timing Is Everything


In addition to geo-targeting, PPC campaigns allow for time targeting. Analyze your metrics to determine when your ads are at their highest conversion rate. If you are receiving hundreds of clicks at 3 am, but making no sales, restrict ad impressions during those hours to save your budget.


8. A Homepage Is Not a Landing Page


I repeat … a homepage is not a landing page. Don’t throw away all your hard work by sending targeted customers to a non-targeted homepage. Create a simple landing page that picks up right where your ad left off. Don’t lose your visitor — and potential sale — by confusing them with unnecessary content.


9. Get to Know Keyword Generators, but Not Too Well


Keyword generators prove helpful in getting you started when mining keywords. Some great tools are the Microsoft Advertising Intelligence and tools by Market Samurai. However, do not rely heavily on keyword generators — often a human touch is what you need to target that human searcher. You know how you typically search, so go with your instinct.

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