Pay-Per-Click advertising enables anybody with a website to get targeted visitors to their sales pages. It is a good way for new websites to attract sales from the outset.
But a word of warning - if you don't set up your campaign properly you risk losing far more money than you will make in sales.
The key is to start small. Run a mini ad campaign and see how it works. Keep on testing it and gradually your results will improve.
Since we are talking about mini PPC ad campaign, it would be sensible to set our goals around the number of conversions we're aiming for and so we need to understand how much that is likely to cost us in PPC advertising terms.
If, for example, you spend $200 per month on your PPC ad campaign, you will need to get four sales to break even on a product that makes you $50 per sale. If your sales page converts targeted PPC traffic at a ratio of 2%, you would need to get 200 visitors to your site from your PPC ads to stand any chance of getting four sales. These figures show you that on a $200 PPC budget your maximum cost per click (CPC) should be $1. So, when bidding for keywords, do not go over the $1-per-click limit.
This is a crucial discipline if you are to avoid losing a lot of money on PPC, and it is based on the assumption that your ads are well targeted and that your sales page conversion rate is accurately assessed.
When you know what works, you can remove the limit. But at the outset, when you have not tested anything, stay within the constraints of your budget.
Find a few well-targeted keyword phrases that draw a fair amount of searches, and are priced within the CPC limit you set for the campaign. The less traffic a keyword phrase generates, the cheaper it will be, but make sure it is also more precisely targeted to the product you are offering. There is no point choosing cheap keywords if you are not going to choose tightly focused ones.
Another tip for advertisers on a budget is, check how much cheaper it is to get your ad placed third rather than first or second. You'll save money when you bid and can still hope to get a good flow of traffic to your site.
Publish a number of different versions of your PPC ad so that you can compare your results and rewrite the one that attracts fewest clicks. Use Google's free conversion tracking tool to measure your results.
Once Google Adwords has built up sufficient statistical data they will show the ad with the best click through rate (CTR) more often than the others.
The landing page you direct your PPC traffic to will make or break your PPC campaign. This is where split-testing comes into play. Set up two PPC campaigns for each product or service you want to sell. Point each campaign to a slightly different version of your landing page. Make one part of the second landing page different from the first and measure the results to find out which page converts more PPC traffic into sales over a couple of months or so.
Once you have a clear winner, make that your standard page and run another test on some other aspect of the landing page. If you keep on doing that your results will continue to improve over time.
Success in PPC campaigns is based on testing and if necessary, changing every aspect of your campaign, whether it is the keywords, the amount you pay per click, the ad copy, or various features of the landing pages. But whatever you do, be sure to stay within your spending limit until you are sure you can make money with your pay-per-click campaign.