Practical Ecommerce

Paid Search Advertising: Four Steps for Success

Paid search advertising has proven to be effective for many online businesses. In fact, paid search campaigns account for nearly 45 percent of the global online advertising expenditures, and for good reason. Not only does pay-per-click advertising allow advertisers to spend as much or as little as they like, but the ads can also garner benefits for a business quickly. Whether it be targeting a specific audience or creating mass brand awareness, paid search provides a means of doing it all. However, it’s important to evaluate your paid search campaigns in order to ensure that your business is getting the most for its marketing dollar. I’ve listed below four steps you’ll want to follow.

Determine Your Campaign Goals

Whether you’re currently running a paid search campaign or have one that’s still in the planning stages, it’s vital to establish your campaign goals. What kind of performance metrics are you hoping to achieve? Is it increasing revenue and leads, building brand awareness or getting people to your site? Having this pre-determined will make it easier for you to design, measure and optimize a paid search campaign to help your business achieve its overarching objective.

Target Your Campaign

There are several ways to ensure that your target audience is being reached and your budget is being utilized efficiently. First, look at the keywords you are using. Are these the same keywords your audience is using to find you online? For example, if you are an online shoe retailer, choosing a generic term like “shoes” is likely to land you in a jumble amongst your competitors and yield costly, often unqualified, clicks. Choosing a more targeted term will likely result in less competition, a more targeted search result and lower acquisition costs. You can use geographic targeting as well. If you’re a car detailing business in Columbus, Ohio, you may want to choose a term like “Columbus Car Detailing.” Having someone in San Francisco see your ad will do you no good if they’re too far away to use your services.

Integration Is Key

Paid search campaigns are extremely effective in creating brand awareness. Even though someone may not click on your ad, the fact that your business name showed up prominently on the SERP (search engine results page) is familiarizing the consumer with your brand. Paid and natural search have a symbiotic relationship. Having both a paid and natural search campaign coexisting increases the overall reach of your campaign while also providing brand reinforcement.

Constantly Measure and Optimize Campaigns

Measuring and optimizing your paid search campaign throughout its duration is critical. This allows you to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and determine what changes need to be made in order to reach your campaign goals. Maybe it’s a keyword that’s not securing any results. Or maybe it’s time to reconsider your current campaign’s landing page. Whatever it may be, this can be a time consuming task.

With proper planning and management, paid search can reap great rewards for your business. Determining your campaign goals, target audience, and continuously measuring and optimizing are essential steps in running a successful paid search campaign.

Lisa Wehr

Lisa Wehr

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. glenn August 10, 2009 Reply

    One of the often overlooked aspects of PPC is its synergistic effect on SEO. Pay per click campaigns provide a fast and powerful way of discovering and testing new keywords. These new found nuggets can then be applied to SEO. This can be especially important in local markets when competing against national/regional companies for highly competitive phrases.

  2. Balint Hamvas August 12, 2009 Reply

    Good summary on SEM. One thing to add: just as in case of natural search, being relevant is key. And we need to be relevant all the way through the funnel: it is not enough to write good ad texts, having correlating landing pages plays a vital role in maximizing your ROI.