How to run a PPC campaign that won’t waste your money


Three quarters of people believe that paid ads make it easier for them to find information they are looking for, and a third are more likely to click on a paid ad that directly answers their question.

If SEO is the slow burn, long investment for big gains part of your content marketing, then PPC and paid ads are the rocket fuel that can accelerate your short term marketing results and start bringing money in quickly.

If you get it right.

Get it wrong, and your PPC campaign will quickly become a blackhole that sucks up your marketing budget and crushes any chance you had of making money from your campaign.

So, how do you run a successful PPC ad and make sure it makes you some money?


Research your customer

This one sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses struggle to answer this basic question: “Who are you trying to sell to?”

If you don’t know who your customer is, what their problems are, what things they need to be able to solve those problems, what information they need to get buy in for their ideas, and where they look for answers, how do you expect to get your marketing in front of them.

This research needs to be in-depth.

Ask your current customers.

After all, they bought from you. There must be a reason.

Ask people who came to you, but didn’t buy.

What put them off.

What were the main objections they had?

Look at reviews on online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay that are selling similar products to you.

What are people saying in the comments?

How about on Reddit?

All this is a goldmine of information for you.

Plus, you’ll pick up the language your customers use so you can replicate it and speak it in your own marketing.


Do your keyword research

As with most things in digital marketing, you need to build your PPC campaign around keywords that customers use when looking for products and services like yours.

Google needs these keywords to understand if your campaign or ads are relevant to searches being made.

If you don’t use them, you won’t appear for them.

The easiest way to start your keyword research is using the name of your product or service.

As an example: running shoes; garden furniture; SEO services.

These will give you a base for your keyword research.

Then, using a keyword planning tool like ahrefs, KWFinder, or Google AdWords, you can check the validity of your choices.

The main thing to look for are search volume (current volume and trend data) and Cost Per Click (CPC) – this is how much it will currently cost you every time someone clicks on your ad based on the current bid level.

The search volume will tell you how often the keyword is searched for – and whether it’s worth your time targeting it.

CPC will help when it comes to your budget.


Work out the search intent of your keywords

Once you’ve got your base keywords, you can do some organising and batch them into groups that will help you when it comes to planning.

You’ll have:

  • Your branded keywords – keywords that include your brand name
  • Competitor keywords – those keywords related to your competitors brand
  • Broad keywords – keywords about your product or service
  • Related keywords – keywords similar to your target keywords that you could also appear for

By taking this information, and understanding the search intent around each one, you’ll start to get an idea what kind of content to include in your paid ads based on the keyword you choose.

For instance, a broad keyword isn’t likely to have a high buying intent behind it.

However, someone searching for your brand will have a much higher buying intent, as will those searching for exact matches to specific searches.


Negative keywords

Just as you want to appear for relevant keywords, you don’t want to appear for irrelevant keywords that are similar to yours but won’t result in conversions.

The reason is simple.

Your ads will appear for searches which have nothing to do with you, and you’ll still be charged if someone clicks the ad.

Negative keywords are those which you don’t want your ads to appear in searches for, and is something you should have at the start of your campaign, and add to as you start to understand which keywords are resulting in conversions and which ones aren’t.


Set a budget

This is the area of your PPC campaign can quickly get away from you.

We talked about CPC earlier, and you really need to consider this when thinking about whether you can afford to go after particular keywords.

Make sure you set a max cost per click for any ad you create which you’re willing to pay.

This number should be based on the chances of converting on the keyword, and the ROI you expect to get by appearing for it.

You can work out your maximum CPC with some basic information:

  • Your typical profit per customer
  • The number of leads you need to generate to create a customer (conversion rate)


Competitor research

When you started your business you probably did some competitor research to see how you matched up to them, what they were doing for marketing etc.

Well, you should do the same for your PPC campaign.

First, check if your competitors are trying to rank for the same keyword as you.

If they’re not, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re targeting the wrong keyword.

But if lots of irrelevant domains are ranking for that word, you might want to go back to your research.


Focus on benefits with your ad copy

Here’s something you need to know for all of your marketing copy.

Your customers don’t care about your business, or product.

What they care about is what you, or it, will do for them.

So don’t tell your customers how great you are in your ad copy, find out what benefits they’re looking for, and focus your ads on those benefits.

Make your ad valuable to them – if they choose you they’ll get something beneficial.

Make it believable – an ad promising a 100000% increase in leads in 2 weeks isn’t believable to anyone. But 100% increase in a month is more believable so more likely to get clicks.

Include your keywords – remember, if your keywords aren’t in your paid ads, your ads won’t show up in searches for those keywords, so you won’t get any results.


Don’t forget the Call to Action

The thing with marketing copy, is that you need to tell people what you expect them to do once they’ve read your copy.

If you don’t, then they’ll assume there’s nothing else to do and they’ll move on.

The whole point of running a paid ad is to get people to click on it, so they go through to your landing page and eventually spend money with you.

So make sure you make it clear that you want people to click your ad with a CTA.


Create a landing page for conversions

So people have clicked your ad, now what?

Well now the real work begins.

You need to create a landing page that is built for getting conversions.

That means having an offer that matches the offer on your ad – people need to know immediately that they’ve landed on the right page.

Same with your ad copy, make your landing page copy relevant and focused on the needs of your customer.

Make the copy specific to your target audience.

You’ve targeted your ads specifically at people who will benefit, so make sure the copy on your landing page matches that.

Make sure any product descriptions clearly express the benefits to customers.

Use hi-res images to support product descriptions and make it obvious what you’re expecting people to do, and how to convert on the page.


Your PPC campaign is all about converting customers

Remember, your PPC campaign is all about making immediate profit for your business.

It’s not a slow burner like an SEO campaign where you want to see incremental increases in search ranking performance over time.

You want people to click your ad, and convert straight away.

So make sure your campaign is built around a single, easy to follow, value based conversion path.

That starts with creating a compelling ad, aimed at the right audience, which is followed by a targeted landing page with specific messaging for that audience which will leave them with no other choice than to buy from you.

If you fail to focus on your customers’ needs and getting conversions you’ll quickly find your PPC campaign budget dwindling with very little to show for it.


Get a PPC campaign audit

Have you done PPC campaigns before and got little or no return?

Want to have an expert analyse your current PPC activity and tell you where you’re going wrong?

Get in touch for an audit of your marketing and one of our PPC consultants can help you start achieving the results you’re after.

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