Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) promises instant traffic to your website. Within minutes you can have thousands of targeted eyeballs looking at your ad and targeted traffic clicking through to your landing page.
The ideal is like perpetual motion. You spend $1 in advertising and get back $2 or $5 or even $10 in profit. Who wouldn't spend $10,000 in advertising dollars if they knew they'd get $20,000 back for $10,000 profit?
That is the lure of pay per click advertising, and many people do make an incredible full time income from it. Beware though. These full time and profitable PPC marketers are experts. They've read the books, they've done the testing, they've been through the learning curve, and most likely they own some pretty powerful (and sometimes nasty) software to get the best from PPC. There are pitfalls, and it's easy to lose money on PPC and to ultimately give up disillusioned and poorer.
So what can you do, as a small business owner, to harness the power of PPC without getting burnt?
I can just give you an overview here. If you want to use pay per click advertising, you need to read one of the excellent e-books on the subject.
This picture shows Adword ads for the search term "dog training". Note the highlighted words.
The pay per click advertising concept is easy. You have a small advertisement that's shown on a search engine results page when someone does a search using a keyword you've selected, or it can be shown on a relevant website if you want.
When someone clicks on the ad they are taken to a landing page that could be on a merchant's site that you are affiliated with, or it can be on your own website.
You only pay when someone clicks on the ad. The cost per click can be anywhere from one cent to $25 or more. It depends on the profitability of the niche you're advertising in, what other advertisers are prepared to pay, and what PPC program you're using.
Do a search on Google for almost anything and on the right side of the page you'll see “Sponsored Links”. They are pay per click ads.
There are a number of PPC programs you can use. Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Microsoft Adcenter are the three most important. I've only used Google AdWords so that's all I'll talk about here, though some of the hints will apply to any PPC program.
You need massive amounts of keywords for pay per click advertising. Brainstorm keywords for your niche, use keyword tools, ask friends and family what keywords they would use. Think about misspellings, plurals, alternative phrases, and even brand names and models.
Popular keywords in popular niches are going to be expensive to bid on, but with large keyword lists you can usually find cheaper alternatives so instead of paying maybe $2 per click you get away with ten cents a click.
You often need to use negative keywords in your pay per click advertising campaigns. For example, if you're selling a body-building e-course, you don't want people looking for free information to click on your ad, so you'd use “free” as a negative keyword. Then if anyone uses “free” in their search term your ad won't be triggered.
You can choose a broad match for your keywords, a phrase match or an exact match. Broad match triggers your ad if all the words from your keyphrase occur in the ad in any order, even with extra words. A phrase match will trigger the advertisement if the phrase is in the ad even with extra words. An exact match has to be exact.
For the key phrase beginners weight lifting
free weight lifting ebook for beginners is a broad match
free beginners weight lifting ebook is a phrase match
When you're getting started with AdWords, a phrase match with negative keywords or an exact match is the safest way to go.
Write ads after you've done keyword research so you know what keywords to use. The purpose of the ad is to get targeted clicks to your landing page, not to sell the product.
Try to use your keyword in the title and ad text because they are highlighted when the ad is displayed, (see the ads above) plus Google will see the ad as more relevant and the cost per click will be lower. When you're writing your ad think about what will appeal to your ideal customer.
Remember that with pay per click advertising every click costs you money, so write the ad to weed out the merely curious.
Write a different ad for each keyword group.
Google is concerned that its users have a good user experience, being able to find relevant information easily. To do that, Google gives ads a quality score depending on the relevance of the ad, the keywords, and the landing page. If Google doesn't like the quality, your ads will cost more per click, and they quickly become unprofitable.
In a pay per click advertising campaign with AdWords, keywords are put into ad groups. In a campaign to sell weight lifting e-courses, one ad group may have keywords for “beginners weight lifting”, another may be for “womens weight lifting”.
Ads are written with the keywords in mind. The two ad groups mentioned don't just have different keywords, they have different ads as well. They may have very similar wording, but one will have “beginner's weight lifting” in the ad, the other “women's weight lifting”.
When someone clicks on your ad, the landing page they go to needs to follow through from the ad. Don't send someone from your “beginners weight lifting” ad to a generic page about body building, or you'll have a much lower chance of making a sale. Send them to a page about beginners weight lifting.
Also, if you send visitors to your home page or a generic body building page, Google will give your ad a lower quality score and charge you more per click.
Google gives you the chance to split test your ads. You can run two ads at the same time in an adgroup and compare their click through rates. Run them for about 100 clicks and then change the ad that has the lowest click through rate. Keep comparing and keep improving.
Example of split testing ads
Split testing is very powerful, and it's essential to having a profitable ad campaign.
Your Google pay per click advertising can be set to only show in a particular geographic area. If you're a locksmith in Brisbane, Australia, you don't want your locksmithing ads to show in Sydney, London, or New York. They could cost you a bundle, with no chance of making money from them.
If you're a car transport business, you could set the ads to show in all the states you service.
You don't need to worry about being sent broke overnight. Google lets you set a maximum amount to be spent per day on your campaign, and a maximum for each ad group and keyword.
If you want to make money from your pay per click advertising, you have to track results. You need to know how much you're spending, how much you're making, your click through rates, how individual ads and keywords are performing, and more. You need to be able to ditch the unprofitable ads, or even better, turn them into profitable ones.
It can be expensive having your ad in the number one position, and it really isn't necessary. You can make more money with your ad in a lower position such as number 3 to 8. Number 1 costs more per click, and it can get more curiosity clicks.
If you're like me and live outside of the USA when you check the AdWords ads you'll see ones targeted to your country. If your ads are targeting the USA that can give you a false idea of the competition. If you access the internet via a proxy server you can see the USA ads.
Just do a search on free proxy server to find one.
should go to
the Google AdWords site and read their tips.
Whole books have been written about making money with pay per click ads. Whether you want to use ads to get more business for your off-line business or make an on-line fortune, you need to read at least one of them. They are written by PPC marketers with much more experience and knowledge than me.
I have GoogleCash which is a regular mine of information, and Perry Marshall's "The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords" is considered one of the best AdWords guides around. These are both excellent.
You can also find out more about pay per click search engines at HowIPromoteMyWebsite.com