One of the best things about being in business for yourself these days is that there are so many ways to get your message out - and, even better, many of them are very affordable. Of course everyone is talking about digital media right now, and for good reason – when done right, it is an amazing tool for branding and sales alike.
But you may have noticed that I said “when done right.” That’s because when it’s done wrong, any marketing medium –especially digital marketing – can easily and instantly become a big waste of time and money.
As small businesspeople, we can ill afford that.
Example: When I tried my first pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, my goal was to get meeting planners to hire me to speak at their events. So I posted a Google ad aimed at people looking for a “small business speaker.” You can imagine my surprise then, when a week later, I checked in on my ad and found that I had dropped $485 on people looking for Bose speakers for their offices. (i.e. a “small business speaker.”) I had to learn the lesson the hard way, but the good news is that once I figured out how to master pay-per-click ads, they became a nice profit center for me. They can do the same for you.
The real beauty of PPC is that you only pay for warm leads. In other words, only when people are intrigued enough by your headline to click on the ad. No more ‘cast-a-wide-net-and-hope-the-right-person-sees-the-ad’ for you!
Here are 7 tips to help you get your PPC profit center started:
1. Make a budget: With Google PPC ads you set a daily, weekly, or monthly budget and you also set an amount you are willing to pay per click. The more you are willing to pay per click, the higher your ad will likely show up on a particular search result. (Google doesn’t guarantee a high result with a high bid, but for all practical purposes, it’s the key ingredient in the formula.) If you are bidding to dominate popular phrases, expect to pay much more per click than if you are bidding on terms searched less often.
Your cost per click could be a nickel, or it could be five bucks or more. So that’s why you need to set a budget and stick to it.
2. Choose your keywords and phrases carefully: Keywords are the phrases that people search for and are what leads to your ad showing up. You may think you know what words and phrases people will use that best apply to you, but best to be sure. Google’s AdWords tool and a site like Wordtracker will help you determine what terms people are searching for.
3. Test: Another beautiful thing about PPC is that, as opposed to traditional advertising, you can instantly see what ads, products, and headlines pull the most traffic. By testing different permutations, you can figure out the combination that works best fairly quickly.
4. Niche and grow rich: The more you can refine your ads and the pages that they target, the better. For example, a jewelry business might want to make one set of ads for “jewelry repair,” another for “jewelry cleaning, “and yet another for “wedding bands.” You are far more likely to get the right person to see the ad if you do this because, among other reasons, Google will automatically place your ad based upon its perceived relevancy to the search query. Someone looking to get their ring cleaned would not likely search for just “jewelry”, but instead would search for “jewelry cleaning.” See? The more niche, the better.
5. Give people a reason to click on your ad: Remember that “free” and “sale” are still the most powerful words in advertising, be it radio, TV, Google or Facebook. By giving people a reason to take action now – “15% off this week only” – you will get more people to click over to your site.
6. Have a clear call to action: What do you want people to do when they get to your landing page? They could buy your product or subscribe to your newsletter or download your e-book or . . . . You have to make it clear once they get there what they should do.
7. Think like a novice: What would someone who doesn’t know you, your site, your business, or your product think when they see your PPC ad and when they surf over to your site? That is what you must keep uppermost in your mind.
Now, anybody need a small business speaker?
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. 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. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.