Digital advertising - and particularly search engine marketing - has grown significantly over just the last 10 years. With so many investment management firms investing in this medium, it is worth looking at what goes into a successful pay-per-click (PPC) strategy.
Before you begin placing ads on Google's search engine, it requires a considerable amount of research into what your clients and prospects are searching for in order to find your business. A useful process can look like this:
Brainstorm a list of keywords that represent what people are searching into google to find your product.
Tip: use Google Search Console for this, and click on the performance report to find out exactly what people are typing to find your organisation.
Next, use a keyword tools program - such as Google Adwords Planner or SEMrush - to find out data regarding search volumes, trends and the cost per click (CPC).
Tip: This cost varies by industry, so it's good practice to have a 'max cost per click' which helps avoid overspending on advertising. Additionally, keywords with higher search volumes tend to have a higher CPC than keywords with a low search volume.
After conducting research, start with 'keyword grouping' by creating collection of relevant keywords. This way you can use specific groups to create content targeted for multiple search terms. Moreover, the more concise and relevant the ad groups are, the easier it is to measure their performance and rearrange your targeted keyword groups if needed.
Tip: when creating a first PPC campaign, it may be useful to include negative keywords, which is essentially a way of telling Google what you don't want your ads to show for. These are keywords that have user intent and invite clicks that are an immediate bounce and no conversion. It ultimately saves money on wasted clicks.
Google's AdWords limits the number of characters to use when creating CPC ads, which means the strategising of content becomes even more important. It is marketers' challenge to remain focused on writing interesting content that stands out above other ads and draws the viewer in.
Some consider this as the most important part of running a PPC campaign, as the content that the customer is going to see first will either entice or push them away from your website. It is good practice to build your ad around the following elements:
- Keywords: this is how clients will find your ad, but make sure they fit into your ad and are not just placed there for search results.
- Personalisation: by tailoring content to a specific target audience, based on their behaviour or demographics, make ads more persuasive and will result in higher click-through rates.
- Believability: do not underestimate consumers - they can tell when an offer looks too good to be true, and they will take their money to someone they feel is more credible; therefore, always make content believable.
Research suggests that 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalised.
Create an enticing landing page
Unlike organic search where Google selects links based on search queries, paid search allows you to choose where to direct visitors, making the landing page extremely important. This should:
- Contain strong, persuasive content with a clear conversion point, i.e. a phone number or a link to ecommerce.
- Visual assets to keep the consumer engaged, so they continue reading and doesn't click straight off the page.
Review / Measurement
You should constantly be reviewing and measuring the impact of your PPC campaign. Focus the attention on the quality score, as it is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages and will be to determine cost per click. By monitoring quality scores daily. It ensures you are aware of dramatic changes early on. If left untouched, it can lead to a much higher CPC, ruining the chances of a successful return on investment.
Conversion is key
The main focus of your PPC campaign is conversions. If you are generating loads of clicks, but minimal conversions, it usually means something is wrong. You may either be attracting the wrong audience, or your landing page copy is not enticing enough to keep the audience engaged.
Overall, PPC campaigns require a lot of work, research and continuous monitoring for demonstrable success. However, if these elements are in place and the aforementioned criteria included in the planning stage, a PPC campaign can be a very powerful tool in a marketer's kit.