Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be an effective and affordable way for a small business to attract new customers and drive sales. But with so many elements to consider when launching a PPC ad campaign, it’s easy for inexperienced business owners to make mistakes. Here are seven of the most common PPC advertising errors. Are you making any of them?
- Launching a campaign without a goal. As with any type of advertising, a successful PPC ad campaign starts with a specific, measurable goal. ("Getting more traffic to our website" doesn’t cut it.) Know which audience you want to attract, what you want them to do and what you want them to buy. Working with a PPC expert can help you identify your goals and develop a customized advertising plan.
- Choosing the wrong keywords. Ideally, you want to find keywords that a lot of people are searching for, and without a lot of competition. However, many small business owners choose overly general keywords. These tend to be expensive and ineffective. Google Keyword Planner can help you choose the best keywords for your purposes. Using long-tail keywords (that is, more specific keyword phrases) generally costs less and can also boost your conversion rate by delivering viewers who are searching for exactly what you sell.
- Sending users to a weak landing page (or the wrong landing page). When users click on your PPC ad, they should go to a landing page specifically relevant to the ad. For instance, if your e-commerce website sells shoes and you’re advertising men’s dress shoes, don't send them to the website homepage or the page for all styles of men's shoes. Your landing page should have a clear call to action so consumers know exactly what to do.
- Not using negative keywords. Negative keywords are a great way to fine-tune the results of your ads by narrowing down who sees them. For instance, if you are marketing a men's dress shoes sale, negative keywords could include women's dress shoes.
- Spending too much. Popular keywords can cost a lot of money because there's so much competition for them. This is where long-tail keywords come in handy. Set a PPC budget based on your ROI. Keep in mind that it's not necessary for your ad to come up tops in the search results to get clicks.
- Focusing on website traffic instead of conversions. It's easy to get excited about a PPC ad that boosts your website traffic—but traffic doesn't really matter unless those customers actually buy something. You can use Google AdWords and Google Analytics to track conversions and see which ads are drive customer actions and sales. A PPC service that offers detailed reporting can help.
- Not testing your ads. Once you create a PPC ad, your work is far from done. It's important to test different headlines, offers and body copy. Spend some time every week monitoring your PPC ads and fine-tuning them. A few tweaks to the offer, adding or removing keywords, or adding negative keywords can make all the difference in your ad’s success.