Any business of any size in any industry can benefit from using PPC… if it has the right elements in place.
Fortunately, the foundational elements for PPC are sound business fundamentals as well. Therefore, prioritizing them will both lay the ground work for your paid search efforts, and strengthen your business overall.
Products/Services to Sell
It may sound obvious that you need something to sell before you can do online advertising, but it’s a nuanced point that many store owners don’t quite grasp. Having PPC-ready offerings requires more than just uploading some product names, images, and basic descriptions on your website.
Each offering should include a unique description and multiple images from different angles. Ideally, images should also be zoomable, or at least enlargeable, to give consumers a closer look. These components give the shopping experience a more “in-person” feel to bridge the gap between online and traditional retail shopping. Product-related content should always be optimized for the search engines and serve as compelling sales information.
Additionally, each product should reiterate your business’s value proposition to engage consumers. Shoppers should be able to identify how each offering solves a problem or does something better than your competitors. This will become their motivation for purchasing.
Your value proposition can also justify your pricing but it shouldn’t be the only basis that you use for pricing. Prices should be strategically set to drive revenue for the specific features and benefits that your products offer. Before launching your website or releasing new offerings, take the time to do thorough pricing research with your target demographic and across the competitive landscape.
Remember that individual products don’t stand alone – they’re weaved into the fabric of your overall offerings. So, while having one really great product is a wonderful start, it’s only one input into the equation. That main product needs product variations and complementary products to help sell it. Having a large selection won’t necessarily keep shoppers around, but the inverse is often true. Having a selection that’s too limited will often drive visitors away. That’s not to say that you need to carry a plethora of options, but it does mean that you need to give your audience enough options that they don’t feel like they need to go elsewhere to find something that fits their specifics needs. The right number of offerings can vary by industry, but the goal should always be pleasing the customer.
A lot of small business owners will declare that they have a “basic website.” There’s certainly nothing wrong with having simple, straight-forward website (in fact, that’s really the goal) but the term “basic” is often used to cover over the holes in a low-budget website. Regardless of the complexity of it’s a design, a website should always be complete enough to offer a full visitor experience. This means including important items like Contact Us and FAQ pages as well as using calls-to-action to move traffic around the site effectively. According to Kissmetrics, approximately 96% of the visitors to your site aren’t ready to buy yet, which means that your website needs to do the work to convert these visitors into buyers.
In late 2015, Google released that mobile search volume surpassed desktop search volume for the first time, making it a top priority across most verticals. The mobile experience on your website should also offer an uncomplicated experience for visitors so that they can browse your site and convert on mobile devices. A seamless cross-platform experience will both enhance your brand image and increase conversions regardless of which channel is generating the traffic.
Additionally, the conversion goal on your website should be intuitive, un-cluttered, and most of all, functional. That’s why you should be testing your Checkout page, appointment scheduler, or Request a Quote page regularly to identify any issues across browsers and devices. It doesn’t make sense to pay for traffic to your site if consumers can’t complete a purchase or book an appointment when they get there.
Knowing Your Numbers
Understanding your numbers is just good business sense. It’s also critical for making well-informed PPC account management decisions. Metrics like margin and average order value (AOV) determine how much you can afford to bid on your keywords, what a sustainable cost-per-conversion is, and what your target return on ad spend (ROAS) should be. These figures can also help you to determine which kinds of discounts and promotions you can run in conjunction with your PPC advertising to aid in cross-channel attribution identification.
Any marketing campaign should begin with clearly defined goals. Goals can be revenue-related (increasing sales volume, conversion rates, appointment bookings, AOV, etc.) or lead-related (increasing phone calls, requests for quotes, etc.) but, either way, they must be outlined in advance. These objectives will drive every strategic decision that you make and provide a framework for analyzing data.
Proper goals should also be unambiguous. Anchoring goals with specific figures and timeframes gives them legitimacy. For instance, “increasing profits” isn’t very clear because it doesn’t include a firm number or deadline. However, “Increasing profits by 5% over the next 6 months” is the kind of clear goal that will give you a measuring stick for evaluating success.
Remember, goals don’t need to be set in stone either. Goals can change as your business grows and gains a better understanding of its challenges, limitations, and position in the industry. Like anything else related to your business, you need to be flexible when it comes to setting and resetting strategic goals.
Once you have these elements in place, you’ll have the foundation needed to be successful with PPC! If you’d like some help launching and managing your paid search campaigns, we’d love to help! We have 10+ years of experience managing local and national PPC campaigns for clients.
We’re excited to share our industry insights with you and answer any questions that you have related to starting PPC for the first time (or restarting it after a long break). If you have any questions that aren’t covered here, please contact us – we’d be happy to answer them for you!
Stay tuned for the upcoming articles in our “PPC for Beginners” blog series:
- What Does Success Look Like?
- How Much Should you Spend?
- Can it Replace SEO?
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, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!