All small business owners want to grow their businesses and become more successful. The best way is to attract new customers. However, without the advertising budget of a large multi-national corporation, finding these new customers can be difficult. So how can you find consumers interested in your product or service and grow your business without a significant investment?
One option is to take the traditional route and advertise in your local yellow pages or on search engines such as Google® or Yahoo!®. A more timely and cost-effective approach involves Pay Per Click advertising. Take a look at the benefits of Pay Per Click advertising and how integrating this strategy into your business plan can let you quickly and economically grow your business.
What Is Pay Per Click?
Pay-Per-Click, or PPC as it is commonly referred to, is an advertising model used on search engines, advertising networks, and content Web sites or blogs, whereadvertisers only pay when a user actually clicks on an ad to visit the advertiser’s Web site.
Pay Per Click advertising is a form of search engine marketing requiring advertisers to bid on keywords they expect a target market will use as search terms when looking for a product or service. Using this technique, you pay to have your site appear in the “sponsored listings” section of search engines like Google® or Yahoo!®. You’ll pay for each click that you get through these ads, hence the name “Pay Per Click.”
Why Pay Per Click?
PPC is a powerful tool for improving your Web site’s presence and building your customer base. Research has shown that yellow pages ads are not as effective as online advertising. A recent study by Piper Jaffray & Co. entitled, “The New eCommerce Decade: The Age of Micro Targeting,” indicated that the average Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) for search was $8.50, considerably lower than the CPA for the yellow pages ($20). Using online advertising techniques, like Pay Per Click, is an effective way to drive more targeted leads to your Web site from Internet search engines.
PPC should be part of a larger online marketing plan that includes several ways to increase the visibility of your Web site and therefore drive more traffic to your business.
How does PPC differ from other online marketing efforts like SEO?
Pay Per Click advertising involves buying keywords you believe your customers will be using to find your products or services. Pay Per Click is a fast-acting strategy that can frequently yield increased traffic in less than a month. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), on the other hand, is the process of optimizing a Web site to receive traffic from natural search results. ”Natural” or ”organic“ results are non-paid results the search engine believes is the best match to the query.
SEO involves adding content and keywords to your Web site and increasing links to other sites in order to increase the number of times your site appears via search engines like Google® and Yahoo!®. Search engine optimization is an ongoing process that can take more that six months to yield increased traffic to your site.
SEO requires you to keep your Web site’s content fresh to entice search engines to visit often. It requires you to adjust your approach to bring new visitors to your site through testing. The best way to keep your site interesting for users and search engines is to update your Web content often with keyword-dense articles, while acquiring links from Web sites in your industry. SEO is a long term strategy that takes planning and significant commitment.
In comparison, Pay Per Click offers a quick and effective way to increase hits in less than a month. The best long-term promotional strategy for your Web site is to consider using both paid and non-paid techniques. This way, you can see the quick results from the paid search campaigns while you wait for your search engine optimization results to grow. Over time, you can continue to supplement your SEO with Pay Per Click campaigns when needed. The two together offer maximum results without great expense – the ultimate combination desired by every business.
Pay Per Click Advertising Pros and Cons
The major benefit of PPC is that it can be operational within minutes of setup. You can actually drive traffic to your Web site in the same hour that you open a PPC account – it’s that fast! Another benefit is that you pay only when someone clicks on your ad – you don’t pay per impression like most traditional forms of advertising. Here’s a quick run down of the pros and cons of PPC:
· Calculation – PPC is easily measured. Marketers are able to get raw numbers within seconds. Return on investment (ROI) and cost per acquisition (CPA) are easier to calculate than for traditional print and broadcast advertising.
Cost – You only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
Speed – Everything about PPC is done quickly. The campaign can be running in less than a day.
Timing – You can set up your ads to only run when you want them to.
Targeted – You can easily tap your target audience by using the proper keywords and ad copy.
Expense – A PPC campaign can be expensive it if isn’t monitored correctly.
Click Fraud – There is always the risk of getting unethical clicks.
Learning Curve – It takes time to optimize for the keywords that convert users to customers.
Why should I pay someone to manage my PPC campaigns?
Pay Per Click advertising campaigns require extensive management and oversight in order to maximize your return on investment. Therefore, your business may choose to hire an employee to monitor and/or review the campaign on a daily basis. While this is manageable for some companies, others do not have the resources. Hiring an outside firm to oversee the campaign allows you to make the most of your budget without increasing your overhead.
Benefits of hiring a company to manage your PPC campaign
There are two main benefits of having an outside company manage your PPC campaign:
It is prudent to manage your campaign at a minimum of once a week for testing, oversight, and adjustments. Many outside firms even oversee the campaign on a daily basis. Using a company to monitor your campaign can free up your limited resources and get professional results at the same time.
Outside firms have expertise with PPC campaigns. Not only do you get the benefit of professional insight, but they can provide you with feedback and reporting on how your campaign is performing, which allows you to maximize your investment.
What should I expect from my provider?
Investing the time and money to hire an outside firm should yield better results, but selecting a professional for the management of your Pay Per Click campaign can seem daunting. Following these important guidelines will help make your decision simpler and ensure the best outcome.
First, it’s important to hire PPC account managers who are experts in their field, are Google® certified, and use cutting edge technology that will allow them to monitor your PPC campaign 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These experts should continually be testing and evaluating your PPC ads to ensure you continue improving click rates over time.
Second, your consultant should be able to provide references and show examples of successful campaigns they have managed. Optimizing online marketing results is truly an exercise in trial and error. The experience a professional consultant has will translate to the smoother launch and operation of your program.
A professional firm will be able to generate more business for your company from multiple sources including targeted clicks, telephones calls, emails, and form submissions. The consultant should be able to tell you which sources of traffic convert the most visitors into consumers. When hiring a provider, it’s important to ask them if they have a multi-dimensional plan for your PPC campaign – more than just targeted clicks.
The PPC consultant needs to be able to take care of all the details of your campaign so you can focus on running your business. The consultant should provide all oversight for the campaign to protect against unnecessary expenses or even click fraud. This kind of expertise allows you to focus on your core strengths while maximizing the investment in your campaign.
Finally, make sure your provider has strong reporting tools so you can track the progress and success of your campaign. The provider should be able to customize these reports to fit your company’s needs.
As a small business owner, you can’t afford to ignore new and profitable ways to increase your business. Pay Per Click is a simple, cost-effective and quickly implemented strategy that lets you grow your business when you need to. It does not take months or years to implement, does not require in-house expertise or incur enormous overhead. A Pay Per Click campaign, when managed correctly, offers a winning strategy for any online marketing plan.
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