There’s a saying that goes back a long, long time. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
It’s applicable in so many ways, but today I’d like to apply it to Pay-Per-Click advertising. I’ve stated many times that I’m confident enough in PPC that I’d be willing to stake my personal and professional reputation on it – when it’s done right. Let’s talk about what that looks like.
Before We Get Started:
With VERY few exceptions, I would not have you get our theme confused with “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” Just like it’s worthwhile for your customers to hire you to solve their problems, I would recommend that you hire someone to handle PPC advertising for you. It’s not a “set it and forget it” sort of platform. It needs daily maintenance and management, which is not necessarily entrepreneur-friendly. You have a lot more important things to worry about, so it’s worth handing off to an expert that can focus on it.
What “PPC Done Right” Looks Like
Pay-Per-Click advertising on all platforms (Google AdWords, Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Doubleclick, etc.) is a very complicated and intricate practice that’s not easily mastered or maintained. It takes a very specialized skill set to appropriately organize and execute campaigns.
In order for PPC to be done right it needs the following elements to be dialed in:
- An appropriate budget
- Impression Share
- Conversion Tracking
I’ll touch on the first two today and the last three next week.
A Good Budget
I recently wrote about how to come up with an appropriate PPC budget. While I think that explanation is pretty good, let’s take another look at it.
Say you’re wanting to grow your business by 1 job a day. You know you usually have the capacity, so you’re just looking to expand a little bit. At an average cost per click of $6.00 (which is very low for some markets), every time someone clicks on one of your ads, you’ll average in cost at about $6.00. If one out of every 5 clicks turns into a job (average call per click rate is 1 in 4), then that means you’ll pay $30.00 to get a job every day. Multiply that out by 22 working days a month and you’re looking at a budget of about $660.
I’d venture to say that if you’re not willing to spend at LEAST that amount on PPC, you’re probably not going to get much return. If you’re only willing to spend $10 per day, that amount probably won’t last you long. A daily budget of $10 means that you would likely only get 2 clicks in a day (at $6 per click), which means you’d go 2.5 days of clicks before getting a job.
This is where calculating impression share with your vendor comes in.
PPC is a complex and time-consuming practice, but it’s worth doing. Those that aren’t are going to struggle to keep up with competition.
- Find a trustworthy vendor to run your PPC campaigns and get them off your plate.
- Figure out your budget based on your business needs. If you need help, schedule a call with me to get one established.
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I get questions from business owners all the time saying, “I’m budgeting $1,200 per month in PPC. Should I spend more than that?”
The answer is usually “It depends on your impression share.”
Impression share is the percentage of times your ad is shown out of how many times your ad could have shown. For instance, if there are 1,000 applicable searches for “carpet cleaning” in my area and I show up 350 times, that’s a 35% impression share.
Now, is a 35% impression share good or bad? Well, that also depends. Ideally, I would want your business to show up as often as your budget will allow. Meaning, if you live in a smaller market with little competition and have the ability to show up 90%+ of the time, go for it! Otherwise, if your budget only allows you to have a 45-50% impression share, have your vendor do as much as they can to analyze peak performance criteria for your ads to maximize your budget.
Impression share gives you a great insight into your campaign performance and is something you should be asking your vendor about on a regular basis.
What Can Happen
Since impression share serves as a barometer for how you’re keeping up with your competition, it’s a useful tool to know when something’s going wrong.
Let me paint you a picture.
Suppose you’re watching your impression share to keep an eye out and it takes a sudden nosedive.
That could be due to a new competitor coming into town with a HUGE marketing budget (maybe someone with a palindrome for a brand). They start spending inordinate amounts of money on PPC and drown you out.
You and your vendor now have some research to do in order to figure out what your next move is. Do you increase your budget? Do you stay at your current budget and just try to ride it out, hoping that they’ll run out of money? (They will eventually.) Or you can go Braveheart on them. Your choice.
It’s pretty easy to see how knowing and understanding your Impression Share can be a game-changing factor in your business.
- Ask your vendor what your impression share is. They should be able to find it for you.
- Analyze where you’d like to be vs where you can afford to be and formulate a plan with your vendor to make that a reality.
- Keep an eye on your Impression Share to know where your competition is.
You know that phrase “barking up the wrong tree”? I feel like a lot of business owners take that approach with PPC. They choose a shotgun approach to advertising instead of focusing in on talking to the people who are actively interested and have the highest likelihood of becoming a customer.
Here’s what I mean. PPC is an amazing tool in that you can get very granular with your settings on various campaigns. You can target customers based on location, the search they’re making, the device they’re using, the time of day, or even their gender (if Google can detect it).
What I would do is target locations (zip codes, more likely than not) where I know I have interested customers that can afford my services. I would also be willing to pay more for a click from a customer on a mobile device because I have a higher likelihood of getting a phone call from that customer.
In fact, a recent development from Google is the advent of what’s called a “call-only ad.” These ads do just what they sound like – they get the customer on the phone immediately. It might cost you a little extra every time someone clicks on one, but wouldn’t you be willing to pay another dollar to increase your chances of getting a booked job?
Another aspect of targeting is “keyword” or “topical” targeting. When you start advertising, you have the option of doing a blanket bid for all things you want to show up for. It would treat all bids from carpet cleaning to carpet dyeing the same, which you can understand is not optimal. Instead, you can target customers by what they’re searching for. Example: If you have a customer that’s searching for something along the lines of “pet urine removal”, you should probably be willing to pay more for that type of customer because you know you can make good money on that job. You should consider bidding higher on other high-ticket services too.
Of all the metrics you should learn about when it comes to PPC (and as a non-vendor, I wouldn’t expect you to learn a ton of them), Click-Through-Rate (CTR) is in my top 3.
CTR is a result of dividing the number of clicks you’ve received by the number of impressions you earned. If your ad showed up 100 times and you got clicked on 3 times, you have a 3% CTR.
The reason it’s important for you to learn about it is because CTR is primarily an indicator of how good your ad/offer is. An ad with a high CTR is more likely to be shown by Google than one with a poor CTR. It’s also an indicator of how relevant your ad is to what people are searching for.
Ideally, your CTR for most ads should be between 3-5% on popular searches. On searches that are less common, you can expect a much higher CTR on a well-written ad.
In general, CTR is a number to focus on with your vendor for different search topics to always work on improving your ads.
Pay-Per-Click done right gives you the ability to talk directly to people who are actively looking for your services. You wouldn’t ignore a phone call. Why ignore what makes the phone ring?
- Write out characteristics of your ideal customer and what they’d search for.
- Work with your vendor to come up with targeting options that fit your needs based on location, device, search terms, and other information.
- Ask your vendor about your current CTR to see how they’re doing on ad content. Ask them to share some ads with you and think about whether or not you’d click on it.
As always, if you have any questions about your PPC advertising, feel free to get in touch and get input. My door (phone) is always open.