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Don't make this a hard-and-fast rule, though. While your initial,
direct profit from your PPC campaign may disappoint, you might be
acquiring loyal customers.
Going back to my bicycle shop example: At this point, I'm ready to
cancel my PPC account and never look back. But I dig a bit deeper,
and notice that customers acquired from the PPC campaign spend
another $800 each, per year, on higher-margin items that deliver an
average profit of $200 per sale - I'm getting loyal, long-term
business. That changes the picture significantly:
.6% * 200 * $70.00 = $252.00
Suddenly, my PPC campaign is a narrow but definite success. I'm
earning $52.00 per month.
If you can't get this kind of precision, pay close attention to your
metrics over time: If your sales, leads or other desired visitor
actions increased right after you began your pay-per-click campaign,
chances are you're on the right track.
But if you're selling a product or service, I strongly recommend
that you invest the time and energy to collect this data and crunch
the numbers - it will pay off in the long run.
Find Niche Keywords
A lot of folks aim their ads at the broadest possible terms, such as
'dresses', or 'bike parts', or 'search engine optimization'. Since
the broader terms get far more searches, it's a strong temptation -
with a big disadvantage. Since everyone bids on the broad terms, the
cost per click is generally quite high. And the chances of a
conversion, even if someone clicks on your ad, is lower.
Focus instead on narrow, focused keywords: 'Bridesmaids dresses',
'road racing tires' or 'Seattle search engine optimization'. These
terms will cost less, and searchers who use them will be far more
likely to buy.
Google, Overture and most other PPC services will show you estimated
cost per click and searches per day for keyphrases - use these tools
to test for the best focus, cost and clickthru combination.
Good Writing: Don't Ignore It
Most pay-per-click advertising requires that you write a very short
descriptive phrase about your service. Don't underestimate the
importance of this phrase - make sure, at a minimum, that your
grammar, spelling and overall language is correct and appropriate
for your audience. Also verify that your language adheres to the
rules enforced by the pay-per-click service - Google, for example,
won't allow ads with superlatives ('the best', 'the greatest',
etc.), with repeated keywords, or with excessive capitalization.
Play to Come In... Third
Don't pay for a #1 spot, unless you have a good reason.
Most pay-per-click engines require that you place in the top 3 to
get placement throughout their distribution network. For example, a
top three ranking on Adwords will get you placement on AOLSearch and
NYTimes.com, and a top three ranking on Overture will get you
placement on MSN Search and Yahoo.