Last week, Kaitlyn started a series of posts about her suggestions for New Year’s resolutions marketers should have for SEO, inspiring me to consider the same idea for the PPC side. And unlike most New Year’s resolutions of painful diets or extreme workouts, these resolutions should be absolutely achievable. What should marketers absolutely resolve to do in 2011 to improve their PPC performance? Here’s my top five PPC resolutions every marketer should make in 2011:
1. Dig Deeper with Keywords.
Many marketers think that keyword development is only a one-time or occasional undertaking with PPC. Not so! Back in 2008, Google estimated that 20-25% of the queries entered every day in the search engine haven’t been used in the last six months. That’s a lot! And in some ways, it’s no wonder. Think about how fast the jargon in your own industry evolves and changes.
But not only does industry jargon change over time, but search query combinations evolve. Over time, searchers have started entering more keywords into a query phrase, with the average searcher today using three or more words in a search phrase. Combine that with the statistic that 70% of search queries have no exact match keywords, and you’ll find a whole new world of opportunity.
Remember: the more keywords you have simply increases your potential visibility in pay per click advertising, since you only pay for the ad when a click occurs. Impressions are free.
2. Use Match Types to Your Advantage.
This is one of the most common mistakes I see from marketers — not using all three (and now really four) match types to their advantage. Keyword match types help you to often pay a lower price per click when your keyword phrase meets one of the match criteria. So instead of paying highly inflated broad match prices, you may pay a much lower price with exact match, which often has less competition than the ubiquitous broad match version.
3. Implement Better ROI Tracking.
Another major problem I’ve seen with PPC advertisers: not tracking conversion down to the actual sale. This is generally more of a challenge for lead generation marketers, where the sale doesn’t occur until long after the initial PPC conversion takes place. But tracking down to the sale is possible, given the right parameters, and is essential to really understanding the return on investment (ROI) of your PPC campaigns.
First, you need a backend CRM system in place, like Salesforce.com. The CRM system’s job is to track leads and sales over time. As leads from PPC evolve to sales, the data is recorded in the CRM system. Depending on the length of your sales cycle, take a snapshot and find out what percentage of your PPC-generated leads become sales and what the value of those sales ends up being. This will tell you your true ROI from PPC.
4. Create Custom Landing Pages for Campaigns.
I feel like a broken record when I talk about the importance of using landing pages with your PPC campaigns, but I just can’t stress this point enough. Landing pages are key to higher conversion rates, so if you want higher conversions, you need landing pages! Always remember to include a call to action, such as a form, on your landing page. Try to minimize extraneous content and focus on the key message from the PPC campaign itself.
5. Test and Test Again. Then Test Some More.
Landing pages just aren’t enough, and, like keywords, you shouldn’t just set them up and forget about them. Why be satisfied with just any conversion rate? Why not tweak and test to find the very BEST conversion rate you can get? Landing page testing, in particular, helps do that. I highly recommend Google Website Optimizer for testing. It’s free and easy to set up tests.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there, marketers, and let’s make it happen in 2011! No excuses now…