An introduction to Pay-Per-Click: Planning Your Campaign

The ultimate goal for any online business is to appear on the 1st page of the search engine results pages (SERPS), essentially giving you free advertising.  But if you have a new business, it can easily take up to a year to organically reach page 1, even with good SEO. That’s why you’ll need to invest in pay-per-click advertising (Google Adwords) to get your first customers.  


PPC can be a highly effective advertising tool but only with the right planning and preparation. The first step before signing up to adwords and creating your ad campaign is figuring out what your objective is. 


What do you hope to achieve from running this ad campaign? “I just want more sales!” I hear you cry. Sure, we all do, but certain products or services require a bit more marketing finesse.




1. What’s Your Goal?


  • Sales / Purchases
  • Lead generation
  • Email sign-ups
  • User registrations
  • Increase brand awareness 


It’s highly likely that your business will have more than one goal from this list, for example you might want to generate immediate sales but also get email sign-ups from those people who are interested in your product/service but aren’t quite ready to buy.  


Let’s suppose you run an online marketing service and want to generate immediate sales but also want to get email signups to build brand awareness, boost acquisitions and increase conversions.  In this case you will want to run two separate campaigns – each specifically tailored to their goals.




When you consider that 95% of your visitors will not make a purchase when they visit your site for the first time, it demonstrates the value of nurturing a relationship of trust. That means acquiring a visitor’s email, usually in exchange for something such as a free e-book or download.  This method is called a ‘lead magnet’ (a.k.a. opt-in bribe) that marketers use to obtain email addresses and then feed potential customers with bi-weekly emails full of useful content.


The crucial point here is NOT to combine 2 or more objectives into one campaign – you’ll just end up confusing the visitor.  


Now that you’ve decided on your primary objective, you need to make sure your site is optimised for visitors.  Pay-per-click advertising is not cheap so you need to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck. Getting people to click on your google ads is the easy part – getting them to signup/purchase/register is another thing entirely.  


2. Deliver What You Promise


We’ve all been there – clicked on an advert that promised something of value, spent 30 seconds trying to find it and then gave up.  Whether it’s a free e-book on social media marketing or a discount on a product – as a vendor you need to deliver what your advert promised, and make it immediately clear.  That means having a single call-to-action button with concise link text such as ‘download e-book’ or ‘shop now’ rather than the vague and oft-used ‘click here’ or ‘more info’.  


If you want to have multiple call-to-action buttons on your homepage, make sure they all have the same link text and go to the same destination.  Having lots of buttons doing different things will create confusion and uncertainty – not ideal. 


3. Create Landing Pages


Landing pages are standalone pages that a visitor arrives on when they click your ad.  They differ from homepages because they don’t have all of the menus and sidebars but rather a clean, simplified design with a focussed objective.  Landing pages are considered to be an indispensable part of any online marketing campaign and are proven to increase conversions dramatically. 


Does this mean you have to invest a ton of money creating new pages, on top of all the pay-per-click costs?  Luckily not.  Instapage is a service that lets you create landing pages for your online marketing campaigns with ease and offers features such as A/B Testing, multiple campaign management, easy page building, and a lot more.  There’s even a free version that won’t give you all the features but it’s enough to get you started.


Check out this Instapage article to learn more about landing pages.




4.Test Your Site


It sounds like an obvious one, but testing your site is more than just placing a trial order or checking if the subscription process works.  You need to think about not only the devices been used by your visitors but also the browsers.  What works perfectly on a PC running Chrome may not work on a Mac running Firefox, or an ipad running safari.  Remember, each click is costing you a lot of money so you can’t afford to have visitors bounce from your site due to technical reasons.




Let’s recap the 4 most important things when planning your PPC campaign:


  • Set your goals. Figure out what your objective is and work around that.
  • Deliver what you promise. Make sure the ‘offer’ is immediately obvious.
  • Create landing pages. This focussed, uncluttered design will boost conversions.
  • Test your site. Make sure everything works on all the most popular devices and browsers.


Next Steps in your Pay-Per-Click Campaign


Planning your campaign is only the first step in the process of pay-per-click marketing.  There are many more aspects to consider such as:


  • Setting up your Adwords account
  • Keyword planning
  • Writing an effective Adwords ad
  • Installing  Google Analytics
  • Conversion tracking
  • Increasing click-through-rates


Check out this handy step-by-step guide to learn more about all the elements of a successful pay-per-click campaign.


We hope you found this introduction to pay-per-click advertising useful.  Please share via the buttons below and sign up to our newsletter to get more WordPress tools, tips and tricks.

John Scarman
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