Protecting Your Profits on Pay-Per-Click Engines

Written By: Catherine Seda

The 3 Common Mistakes Marketers Make

The plan in your head seems so simple: bid on keywords on pay-per-click (PPC) engines then watch your business skyrocket. Some marketers do achieve instant success. However, many are losing money because theyve got gaping holes in their PPC strategy. Dont overlook the basics.

Search engines such as Yahoo! and Google allow you to bid on keywords and drive visitors to your web site for a per-click fee. The Yahoo! Sponsored Search program has a $30 non-refundable deposit and a $0.10 per click minimum bid (and a $20 per month minimum spend). The Google AdWords program has a $5 account activation fee and a $0.01 per click minimum bid. For many PPC engines, the highest bid typically gets the highest position, and youll only be charged when someone clicks on your ad.

Just because it can take less than 15 minutes to set up a PPC campaign doesnt mean you should! Lets look at three common mistakes PPC advertisers make:

1. Choosing the Wrong Keywords

The wrong keywords deliver too much traffic that doesnt convert, or too few visitors to impact your bottom line. The trick is to choose highly-targeted keywords that are targeted, yet popular enough that youll get decent traffic without blowing your entire budget in 24 hours. If youre trying to get visitors to take action on your site, its mission critical to track your leads or sales at the keyword level. Without knowing which keywords did and did not perform, you wont be able to maximize your advertising profits.

2. Writing Ad Copy that Attracts Non-Buyers

Generic-sounding copy is terrible, especially for pay-per-click. Something like “we offer business solutions to help your company succeed” is so vague that its going to attract people who have no use for your company. Youll be paying for wasted clicks. A worse offense is to over-promote your offer which also attracts non-buyers; the word “free” has to be used carefully for this reason. Make your ad descriptive and compelling so potential customers know what youre selling and get ready to buy before they land on your site.

3. Using a Landing Page that Doesnt Sell

Do not, I repeat, do not send PPC traffic to your home page. Besides certain exceptions, its not the most relevant page for the users search query. The landing page you send visitors to, and the way its designed and written, determines if people stay or abandon your site. Design and test your landing pages for optimal conversions.

Successful pay-per-click campaigns start with careful consideration of the basics. New advertisers should take time to plan out their campaign while existing advertisers should optimize these basic ingredients. Protect your profits!

About The Author

Catherine Seda, author of Search Engine Advertising (New Riders, 2004), shares search engine marketing tips in her seminars and free e-zine at http://www.CatherineSeda.com.

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