With so many companies swarming the World Wide Web with their products, how can you and your products and services stand out?
Your ready answer would most likely be effective marketing. But how? How can you catch the eye of a surfer skimming carelessly through web pages? How can you keep the attention of a typical website reader who spends no more than 30 seconds to read any given article online? How can you garner sales online?
One marketing technique is to be listed in search engines - but again, with thousands of companies offering the same products and services as you, how can your scream for attention be heard?
One technique is pay per click advertising, or PPC. You write out and place an advertisement in a search engine, list yourself under keywords of your choosing, and bid on the placement of your ads. This narrows your field to the people who are actively searching for your products and services.
If someone finds the ad and clicks it, that person goes to your website, and you pay the bid price. As a rule, the higher you bid, the higher your ad goes in the list of search results for a certain keyword, and the more people will go to your site.
PPC can be used to widen your reach, but it can be very expensive, especially if people click your ad only out of curiosity, or if you bid on more keywords than your budget can handle. However, PPC can get you customers and increase your profits. If done well, it can earn you money.
Here are five tips to get the most out of PPC.
Get Ten Specific Keywords. If you are a company specializing in exercise equipment, don't select "exercise equipment" or "gym" as your keywords. Chances are, there will be hundreds of thousands of other bidders waiting to jump on those same keywords. Be specific. Try "treadmill" or "stationary bike." Select a maximum of ten words, just to test the waters and see how your potential customers respond.
If the first ten keywords succeed in getting you a larger market, then research additional keywords which are not as specific. However, if your first try yields less than satisfactory results, then try another set of keywords if you can still afford it.
Write Your Ads but Write the Truth. Most ad writers will broadcast their wares as being the be-all and cure all of all ills and pains. If they do this, web users will click on their ads and storm the site. This is well and good if the product or service will live up to the ad's promise - but what if it doesn't? A customer clicks, you pay, but the customer doesn't buy. You lose.
Write a succinct but accurate ad that doesn't sue vague language. Avoid using words such as "free," "low cost," "extremely effective," and "cheap." Tailor your ads to fit the keyword, and if you can, include your prices on the ads. This way, you will get a buyer who is ready and willing to purchase your product or service.
Budget Your Bid. It's tempting to go all out and set your prices, especially if you think your product will sell. But what if it won't? Set a monthly budget of about $100 for your bids, and bid just right - bid too high and you will run out of money, bid too low and your ads won't show up.
Even if you believe in your product, keep within bid budget, and do not get into bidding wars, especially with another advertiser who has a much larger budget than you. Don't waste your time thinking about your bids. Instead, invest your time in designing what your ad is linked to, which brings us to:
Make Your Site a Professional One. The standard rules of web design apply. Check your web/blog content for spelling and grammatical errors. Update your web content regularly. Fix any broken links and images. Design your website/blog so that it will be easy to navigate and load, so do not use Flash animation, as this will slow down your buyers' browsers. Link your ads to the exact place on your site where your product or service appears.
Know When to Stop. PPC ad campaigns can lead more buyers to you, but take care to check profit against spending. If you have already spent double your advertising budget, but have had little or no sales, consider dropping your campaign. You can also measure your progress in clicks. A total of 300 clicks is average for any ad. If your ad has reached 300 clicks and you have made no sales yet, then terminate your PPC project.
Equally as important as knowing when to stop is knowing that all is not yet lost and you can still go on. Running a web-based business means investing time, money, and effort, so keep your PPC up and running as long as you are raking money in. PPC, after all, may first mean pay-per-click, but, if you're successful, can soon mean Profiting Perfectly in Cash.
About the author: Cliff Posey, owner of CRP Marketing, owns and operates
Cl.iff has also operated several other successful web businesses including Love Song Cards and Radio Career Consultants.