With a new year come new opportunities. It is also a good time to start looking forward to making 2011 more profitable. Here are ten steps to take for the new year to accelerate your pay-per-click advertising efforts.
10. Create After-Holiday Sales
As we move into the new year, there are still shoppers searching for great after holiday deals. Take advantage of this by setting up post-holiday sales to clear out extra inventory. Set up “after holiday” PPC ads and coupon codes to drive sales and clean out your warehouse.
9. Reassess Your After-Holiday Budget
Many business owners opt to scale back their holiday budgets considerably in the first quarter. While it does make sense to take a careful look at your budget, don’t automatically cut it. Take a look at trends for the first quarter last year (2010), and see where your sales continued to be strong after the holidays. Review what was successful during the holiday season, and see where there are opportunities to grow business into the new year. There are still searchers and shoppers in January.
8. Have an Expert Audit Your Account
Is your account fit and healthy? Or could it use a personal trainer in 2011? Find out with the help of an expert audit. Your PPC account performance can depend largely on many structural factors. Are your campaigns broken down correctly? Are your ad groups focused? Are your ads being tested frequently for performance? Are your keywords capturing the most qualified traffic? An expert team can answer all these questions and give your account the direction it needs to be successful in the new year.
7. Enable Revenue Tracking
Any expert team will tell you that the single most important metric retailers should track within their PPC accounts is revenue. Make sure that you set up conversion and revenue tracking within your PPC account. The ability to make informed decisions about the performance of your account, and deciding what changes can be made to maximize efficiency while minimizing costs becomes much easier when you have the actual performance data. Don’t spend another year in the dark. Determine where your opportunities are and take advantage of them in the new year.
6. Set Up Sitelinks
This is the year to take advantage of the exciting new traffic-driving ad extensions that Google AdWords offers. However, make sure that you are using them in the most efficient ways. Sitelinks are a terrific way to drive interested searchers to specific areas of your site. We suggest adding Sitelinks to the most general campaigns in your account. If added to longtail keyword ad groups, they can be distracting. But when you set up Sitelinks on your site brand campaign or your most general term campaigns you can turn a searcher who was, for example, looking for “Equine Products” into a buyer, after he or she clicks on your Sitelink for “English Saddles.”
5. Spruce Up Your Google Product Feed
Do you have a data feed created for Google Product Search? Is it current? If not, your PPC account isn’t doing all the work it could be for you. Make sure your product feed is set up, with images, and classified correctly with product types and brands. How does this affect PPC? Check out our next resolution.
4. Enable Product Extension and Product Listing Ads
Some of the most exciting developments from AdWords this year have been the addition of Product Extensions and Product Listing Ads. In order to compete in 2011, you’re going to want to take advantage of these new ad types. To take advantage of them, you’ll need a current data feed for Google Product Search. Product Extensions will display your ad with a plus box that customers can click on to see actual products and prices from your site. Product Listing Ads will target specific search types and then automatically display a relevant product from your feed in the top right hand corner of search results pages.
3. Analyze and Act on 2010 Data
Now is the time to take a look at what was effective in 2010. Determine what has potential for 2011, and what needs to be reassessed. We suggest that you take time to look at your yearly and monthly sales, pull search query reports, and take stock of emerging trends. As you get a picture of what search terms really drove traffic and conversions in 2010, try running some of those terms through Google Insights. This can give you an idea of what new related terms are taking off for 2011, and where they are most successful. You can react to the data you find by building out new keywords within successful campaigns, and adding or updating your geo-targeting to go after the markets that have the most interest in your products.
2. Refresh Your Ads for the New Year
Maybe your ads just aren’t as current and attractive to searchers as they used to be. Perhaps they could use a improvement for 2011. Help the ads perform better in the New Year by reviewing the ad verbiage with high click through and conversion rates for 2010 and revamping under-performing ads to be more in line with your winners. Make sure your ads include a call to action and high value propositions that speak to your market. Run through your ads and make sure that the destination URLs are set correctly, especially if you re-designed or changed anything on your site in 2010. Increase the ability of your display URLs with product or ad-specific extras.
1. Out with the Old
Sometimes it’s just time to say goodbye. Look through your account, harden your heart, be ruthless and kill off keywords, ad groups, and campaigns that haven’t treated you right in 2010. This is a whole new year, and it’s time to make your PPC account lean and profitable. And that means no dead weight. Let go of old, underperforming campaigns and look forward to the exciting new opportunities available to your business in the new year.
Follow through with these 10 resolutions in the first quarter of 2011, and you will — I predict — set yourself up for success.