Happy New Year everyone!
In the 4th quarter of last year we began getting more than the usual amount of contact from companies interested in trying pay per click – whether for the first time or after a less-than-successful previous attempt. This increased interest is not terribly surprising given a number of B2B studies finding that search marketing is the biggest area for projected increase in spending in 2010.
More than a few of these potential new PPC advertisers are unsure where to start and an equally high number of current advertisers that come to us for a tune-up are in the same position – they don’t really know if PPC is a good marketing tactic for them.
I like hearing from these people because they’re smart. The potential new advertisers are smart not to jump into pay-per-click advertising just because everyone else seems to be doing it or planning to do it.
The current advertisers who want a tune up are smart because they aren’t content to let things run as they have been. They want to be sure this is the best way to spend their marketing resources.
Because we’re gotten so many of these questions lately, I thought you might be interested in hearing something about how we evaluate an advertiser’s potential. It’s something every marketer should do before starting a campaign or hiring an agency.
Three important variables
Over the years we’ve figured out there are three variables that strongly affect how successful PPC will be for you. These all seem obvious now but it took a while of puzzling over our own campaigns and those of others before we could turn it into a process.
The first of these variables is search volume.
There must be enough of your potential prospects looking for you. This isn’t quite as straightforward as it may seem. The volume of searches must be high enough to provide visibility opportunities for you and your competitors. As a new advertiser – or one with a low quality score – you will fight an uphill battle just to get your ads seen.
Search volume is a no brainer for some types of advertisers – those with broader appeal; but for true niche marketers, it can be a real challenge.
The second variable is cost.
You must be able to purchase clicks at a low enough cost to be economically sound. This is relative, of course. Someone who is selling a $25,000 software product can obviously afford to pay more for clicks than someone who is selling a $50 web app. The costs of certain keywords don’t necessarily match what you’re able to pay. For some marketers it is just prohibitively high.
The third variable is the ability to convert clicks into customers – or at least sales opportunities.
It doesn’t matter how cheap clicks are if you don’t get any new business out of it. This doesn’t happen by accident. You have to convince both Google and your prospects you have something they want or need. As the market gets more competitive and other advertisers get smarter, this gets trickier and trickier to prove.
Am I trying to talk you out of pay-per-click advertising? No way. I’m just encouraging you to go into it with your eyes open, be aware that success is not a given, and be willing to tinker with you campaign constantly – or hire someone to do it for you.
If you’re willing to spend some time on it, it’s possible to predict how well your campaign will perform for you in terms of number and cost of prospects, customers or whatever you are seeking.
For anyone who is struggling to decide if pay-per-click advertising will work for them, we’re just finishing up a special report that offers nine questions to ask and answer. It will be available soon – and for free. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.
Meanwhile, contact me if you have any questions about this important topic.