There is no doubt advertising has evolved a lot in the past decade, with advertisers increasingly moving from print to electronic media. It’s not hard to understand why. The beauty of a pay-per-click campaign is that, unlike a print campaign, you only pay for the ads when people who see it like it enough to click on it and that in turn means that you are typically paying less for more qualified leads. Paying less for better leads? Yes, that is hard to beat.
Here is how you can join the pay-per-click party:
1. Brainstorm: There are two types of pay-per-click ad campaigns. The first is a branding campaign that simply gets your business’s name out there. The second, and likely the type you are interested in, is the one that gets people to buy now. Most pay-per-click campaigns are intended to create an immediate sale.
2. Choose the right outlet: Different online sources have different strengths and weaknesses. Google ads may reach a different audience than, say, Facebook ads. Here are your main options:
- Google Adwords
- Microsoft adCenter
- Yahoo Search Marketing
Your campaign may use only one, or it may take several of these sources to accomplish your goals. Determining the one you need is simply a matter of deciding which platform can best reach your target market and how much you want to spend.
3. Budget: Advertising and marketing is an ongoing process. The Small Business Administration suggests that you earmark 2 percent of your gross sales toward advertising. Others suggest 5 percent. Either way, the important thing is to make a commitment and earmark your chosen percentage of gross sales for ongoing advertising and marketing.
What you don’t want to do is spend too much of your ad budget on your first pay-per-click campaign until you know, 1) what you are doing and 2) if your ad pulls. Set a reasonable budget to test and evaluate the results.
When you create your ad campaign on the platform (s) of your choice, there will be a place to set your budget. Let’s say you want to do a one month test for $1,000.Fill in that amount and then refine it, to say, $33 a day for 30 days. Once your ad has been clicked on a certain day enough to where it adds up to $33, the ad will disappear until the next day. This lets you really control your budget and your test.
4. Figure out the ad: First, you must choose the keywords that you think people will most likely use when looking for whatever it is you are selling. Do your research – don’t just guess, Google has a good keyword selector tool for example.
After that, you need to figure out what your ad will say. As you typically only have room for a headline and a sentence, your ad has to very quickly and clearly use your keywords to explain what the value proposition is to the reader and why they should click the ad.
5. Create the ad: Creating a pay-per-click ad campaign is logistically easy:
- Go to the site of your choice and use the point-and-click design tool to create your ad.
- Target your exact audience. Your audience can be as large or small as you like, and as specific as you prefer, but the greater the reach, the more you will pay. Be sure that you focus the demographics for the ad so it is seen by those folks who are most relevant to your business; this is where the magic of pay-per-click comes in.
6. Test the ad: It is unwise to simply create an ad, check out, and come back two weeks later to see what happened. I once did a Google ad campaign, seeking people looking for a “small business speaker.” I ended up paying a lot of money for clicks from people looking for Bose speakers for their small office. As I said, test first.
7. Roll it out: Once you know you have a successful ad, go for it. Spend more and run it often. It should become your cash cow. An ad that pulls becomes a trusted friend; something you can rely on.
- As indicated, you will be asked to create a budget.
- Review your ad and budget and get started.
Have you used pay-for-click campaigns? What are your thoughts? Share your experience with the SBOC community below.
About Steve Strauss
Steve Strauss is one of the world’s leading small business experts. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. Steve is also the author of the Small Business Bible and his latest book is Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need. A popular media guest, Steve is a regular contributor to ABC News Now and frequently appears on television and radio. His business, The Strauss Group, creates unique, actionable, entertaining, and informative multi-media small business content.