1. Unclear Goals
The most common reason for PPC efforts to fall short is failing to properly define and plan your marketing goals. When I mention this to business owners inevitably some of them look at me like I’m crazy. “Obviously, my goals are to get more sales!” they’ll say in an exasperated tone. The problem with this kind of unclear goal is that it actually doesn’t really define what you’re trying to do at all.
You need firm, measurable goals in order to be successful. So if your goals are sales related, ask yourself what that actually means. Do you want to make 100 more sales a month? Do you want to increase sales conversion rates by 5%? Do you want to improve ROI (Return on Investment) by 20% regardless of sales numbers? Do you want to increase overall revenue by 10%?
Once you figure out what your goals are, you will be able to define the metrics you should be following to determine if your efforts are helping you to achieve these goals.
2. Skipping Conversion Tracking
Of course, having goals doesn’t mean much if you don’t have the data needed to determine whether or not you’re hitting them. Conversion tracking will allow you to assess your efforts and make good, data-driven decisions within your account.
Once you’ve made the decision that you need conversion tracking, then comes the task of setting it up. You can set up tracking in Google AdWords or in Google Analytics and both will walk you through the steps needed to ensure that it’s done correctly. If you want to verify that your tracking is working, you can do so by placing a test order. Remember, these tracking methods do not report real-time data, so always allow 24 hours before trying to test or troubleshoot.
3. Bidding on Broad Keywords
Using keywords that are too general or keywords that are set to broad-match can cause you to burn through your budget pretty quickly. Before you start investing in PPC, or scaling up your current efforts, make sure that the keywords you’re using are going to be a solid foundation to support this whole PPC house. Remember, your PPC efforts are only as good as the keywords that you use!
Often times new advertisers will cling onto the crummy broad keywords that they started out with because they’re afraid to move on to better, more sophisticated words. They want to keep pulling in the traffic that these types of words attract. Keep in mind though that unless your sole goal is brand awareness, this traffic isn’t going to help you get where you want to go on its own. You need to keep keywords active that are converting and pause keywords that are just acting like sponges and sucking up budget.
Another fear that advertisers have is that their accounts will become unmanageable if they build out their accounts out with too many keywords. They’re afraid of the size that comes along with adding in different match-types, misspellings, plurals, and other keyword variations. Don’t be afraid of this growth though! There are plenty of tools to help you out and PPC management services that you can utilize to take care of your account!
4. Creating Ads that aren’t Engaging
Ads have a big task ahead of them – they need to cut through the ad clutter from your competition, invoke a response from searchers, and work properly to get searchers to your site. It’s not enough to just convey the details of your products or promotions, you have to tell searchers why they should care and direct them to your site.
Creating engaging ads is the number one reason why companies bring in professionals to run their PPC. Ads need to be created, tested, updated, and retested over and over every time a new promotion is run or product is added. The most minor differences can have a big effect on ad performance, which is why I always say that you should A/B test headlines, body text, grammar, punctuation, display URLs, and destination URLs to find the winning combination!
5. Using the Wrong Landing Pages
Your keywords have depth and your ads have been thoroughly tested, so why is your PPC account in a slump? The last common mistake that advertisers make is sending traffic to the wrong page on their site.
Some advertisers just send all traffic to their homepage and hope that searchers will browse their site to find what they’re looking for. Other advertisers send traffic to a top-level category page that has some relevance to what they’re advertising. But both of these strategies miss the mark!
You want to land traffic on your site as close to what they are searching for as possible, otherwise most shoppers will just hit the back button and visit another site from the search results page. Structure your PPC efforts so that you can send searchers to the specific product or sub-category of products that they were looking for. Or better yet, create dedicated landing pages for each of your campaigns or ad groups. Design these pages to give searchers the information they’re looking for and take the next step to converting!
Now that you have a roadmap of the most common PPC issues, you can use this newfound knowledge to avoid making the same mistakes. If you want to increase your PPC results, contact us today for your Free AdWords Audit! We’ll take a look at your account and give you actionable tips on how to improve it!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!