Strategies for a Successful Paid Search Campaign

First off, let’s take a step back and understand people’s behavior online.

Every minute there are 70 new website domains registered on the World Wide Web, adding to the millions of websites that already exist. This rate of websites being created makes it impossible for anyone to keep up with all of the information available. Tools like search engines were created to simplify this massive amount of data by using a complex algorithm that rank these millions of websites and consolidate them into a short list on a single page. Search engines fund this service by allowing businesses to purchase advertising on these search engine results pages (SERP). This advertising is known as Paid Search.

Paid Search is a marketing tactic that involves placing an advertisement for when, and only when, a user searches a specific keyword and clicks on the advertisement. That last part is what differentiates this kind of advertising from other forms of advertisements online, such as banner placements on websites. Most other advertising, up until Paid Search, was cost by impression or CPM for short. Paid Search is billed only after a user clicks on the ad. This is known as a cost per click, CPC for short. The distinction, although subtle, means that businesses like yours are only paying if a prospect or customer not only sees your advertisement, but is engaged enough to interact with it by clicking the hyperlink.

An important aspect of online marketing, and Paid Search, is to understand the purchase funnel. There are many versions of this model but it basically breaks down to 1) Awareness, 2) Opinion, 3) Consideration, 4) Preference, and 5) Purchase. Awareness means that users are just researching and seeing if they have a need and Purchase means they’ve made their decision and are ready to buy. When shopping for products online, people consistently use search engines regardless of their stage in the funnel. However, it is believed that users will modify their search queries depending on their stage. For example, if a user is just starting a search to buy a new printer they’ll likely type “printer” into a search engine like Google and click “Search.” Only after some research, and as they move their way down the funnel, do they modify their query to something like “all in one inkjet printers,” and then likely adding a brand name.

Paid Search strategies can now be crafted off of these concepts and understanding of the model. If you want to affect the future purchase decision at the very beginning, and have a large budget, it would be valuable for a business to bid on broad keywords such as “printer,” “printer copier,” “inkjet printer”, “printing,” etc. It’s important to note that these keywords have a large volume of visitors but are highly competitive, very expensive, and likely have a low conversion rate as they are more in the Awareness or Opinion stage. Another strategy would be to target very specific Long Tail keyword phrases that are searched less often, but are further down the purchase funnel. Targeting keywords such as “wireless all in one laser printer for mac” will likely be less expensive, less competitive, and have a higher conversion rate. Targeting many of Long Tail keywords can add up to a significant revenue stream while building an online presence.

Most small and medium size businesses don’t have the budget to pay upwards of $18 per click for keywords such as “printer.” Therefore, a more targeted approach that aims at specific Long Tail keywords would develop into a successful strategy. To further optimize Paid Search, campaigns can be limited down to other factors such as mobile or desktop device, keyword match (broad, phrase, or exact), geography (X miles from Zip Code), time of day and day of week, and languages. Campaigns should also intentionally direct users to the appropriate page based on their keyword. If someone clicks on an ad shown for “laser printer toner cartridge red”, it should go directly to the page related to that keyword. Landing Pages that focus on one call-to-action, encouraging a user to make a phone call, order a product online, or download a whitepaper are a great best practice. Limit the amount of options users have and they’re more likely to complete the designed action.

To get started with Paid Search, businesses can create a small campaign with Google AdWords or Bing Search Advertising. Build a list of a very targeted keywords and add destination URLs to the appropriate product pages. Add some more advanced targeting and set a small budget. All online advertising should be based on a foundation of testing. Try campaigns for a product, a product category, an industry, a brand, etc. Keep testing, keep learning, and you’ll likely find digital campaigns like Paid Search a valuable marketing tactic.

Inbound Marketing Guide [Infographic]

I wanted to share this fantastic and easy to understand infographic I came across outlining the Inbound Marketing Process. It was created by an agency in Wallingford, CT called Impact Branding & Design. According to their website, Impact Branding & Design is a “Creative team of inbound marketing professionals which develops and executes highly effective online marketing campaigns.”

The Inbound Marketing Process infographic can be found on their original blog post here.
I’ve outlined their 6 step process in the infographic below.

Step 1: Develop a successful marketing strategy

Determine the purpose of your marketing by establishing clear goals, objectives, and challenges. Without a marketing strategy you won’t be able to optimize and measure your inbound marketing efforts.

Marketing is an investment in the growth of your business, not an expense – Impact Branding & Design

Step 2: Create & maintain a powerful website

A website is a tool for your customers and prospects to interact with your brand and content. This tool should add value to the experience of doing business with you. Basic website principles go a long way: Easy to navigate, professional appearance, search engine friendly, mobile ready, easy to update.

An effective website is the hub of all your online marketing and lead generation – Impact Branding & Design

Step 3: Generate more traffic

Promote your thought leadership through a blog, social media, SEO, and PPC.

  • “A blog gets you 55% more traffic!”
  • “400% more indexed pages are produced by blogging”
  • “Nearly 2/3 of U.S. internet users regularly use a social network”
  • “20% of monthly Google searches are for local businesses”

Step 4: Convert traffic to leads

Leverage your website in order to get the visitor’s information and start your sales process. You can’t do business with an anonymous web browser. Also, visitors providing their information should get a fair exchange. Give them something of value in order to collect their email and information. Solve a problem for them and start the relationship right off.

Step 5: Convert leads to sales

Leverage marketing automation tools to identify your high value leads and route them to your sales force. If your budget can support it, set up a system such as Eloqua.com, Hubspot, or Marketo (to name only a few) and connect to your customer relationship database (CRM). Score them, segment them, and send targeted and thoughtful communications.

Step 6: Measure everything

You can’t optimize if you don’t track the right numbers. Figure out how well you’re doing by measuring every step of the process. Utilize your website analytics, your media purchasing data, your social media metrics, and your sales conversion rates. Close the loop by determining your return on investment (ROI) and focus on spending your dollars in the right places.


Now, below is the infographic:

Get Started with Pay-Per-Click Advertising

In the world of online marketing, pay-per-click campaigns are an advertising medium that marketers use on a regular basis. This method of marketing can provide a number of benefits to webmasters that you can’t find elsewhere. If you haven’t considered getting involved with this strategy, there are two advantages for using pay-per-click advertising. Before we get into these two advantages of this medium, lets explore what PPC is.

What is Pay-Per-Click?

Pay-per-click is a marketing method that is primarily offered by search engines like Google. With this strategy, you sign-up for an account as an advertiser and then create an ad campaign. You come up with an ad, a link to your site and keywords that trigger the ad. You set the amount that you are willing to pay for each click on your ad. Then when someone types in a keyword that you have listed in your campaign, your ad will show up in the advertising section of the search engine results. If someone clicks on the ad, they are taken to your website. You then pay a fee for each person who clicks on one of the ads.

1) Pay-per-click works with your branding strategy by increasing traffic

One way that you could effectively use pay-per-click marketing is to increase the overall traffic to your website. Pay-per-click marketing can be a highly effective way to bring targeted traffic to your site. Depending on the niche that you are targeting, it may not be that expensive to get visitors to your site. The best part is that the people who come to your site from these ad campaigns are actively seeking what you have to offer. This means that you’re not just throwing money away to get people to your site who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer. This makes it more likely that you will be able to increase sales or conversions. However, the positive takeaway you can count on is the brand awareness associated with starting a pay per click campaign.

2) Pay-per-click is effective for conversion testing that increase sales

Another advantage when it comes to taking advantage of pay-per-click marketing is to use the traffic to test your regular site pages or sales pages. If you are building a new site, it probably doesn’t have much weight with the search engines yet. This makes it difficult to get any traffic to the site. Without traffic, it can be difficult to tell if what you are doing is actually working or even something that people will purchase. By purchasing some traffic for the site with pay-per-click marketing, you can get a lot of people there quickly, so you can see if your design actually works and whether your market is actively seeking to purchase your product or service.

Something Important To Consider

When it comes to using pay-per-click marketing, you can definitely get results quickly. However, you have to be careful that you don’t spend too much money with this technique. If you set your daily budget too high, you could end up paying a very big bill for all of the traffic that you get. Make sure and set a spending daily spending limit to your campaign. And remember, Google may go above that limit in any given day but it will offset the over spending less in another given day. Google does this in order to try and maximize your click through ratio.