Selling Successfully Online

Have a Structured Approach to Adjust and Test Things in the Light of the Numbers.

The overall performance of your PPC campaign will be determined by the number of times your ads are displayed for which keywords and against which competition. Also making an impact is the position on the page the ad appears; the percentage of times that customers click on your ad and your success at converting those clicks to sales. The key to improvement is to try alternatives around each factor, testing one variable at a time. You should assess the variation in conversion rates for different keywords and seek to understand the reason for this variation – is it due to the level of intent of the keywords, the design of the landing page or the product price and details? You should then focus your search engine marketing on keywords which attract visitors that actually convert to sales. Review high volume keywords more frequently. Let the competition make themselves poor and Google rich. Consider not bidding on the most competitive keywords, as this may well increase your profitability, but beware if this gives competitors economies of scale that you then can’t achieve. PPC advertising can acquire customers, but as your name will be put in front of many browsers who don’t click through, it could also improve your branding. If this is important, take it into account when assessing the cost versus benefit. You might prioritise some more keywords for SEO if PPC is too competitive and expensive. If you are already high, then you can bid lower. Using the information that has been covered up until this point, you need to be highly pro-active in running your campaign. Delete keywords with poor or zero click-through to avoid dragging down overall CTRs.

88 Watch Out For Click Fraud.

Around 10% of clicks can be fraudulent. These are clicks on your ads with no intention to buy. People can also run searches that display their competitor’s ads and then NOT click on them, while their own ads are disabled, thus reducing the competitors quality score due to lower CTR. You should get any complaints in within 60 days. You can get a report from Google on what they have filtered as invalid. You can choose to exclude chosen IP addresses so you can stop competitors clicking on your ads. You can set up benchmark data and if this starts getting exceeded, then present this to the search engines for investigation. Google says that they investigate all cases of fraud.

89 Spend Aggressively When It’s Working.

Once you can see that your PPC strategy is working, then make hay while the sun shines. If you have found a winning formula, others will be along shortly to learn from your success. So grow rapidly while you can and make sure that you get the most advantage.

90 Respond To Competition.

Because of the nature of PPC advertising, where cost is largely dependent on competitor activity, it’s important to monitor the competition. Relative to them, you may have less advantageous terms if you are smaller due to the relative cost of management of campaigns, lower lifetime values and lack of agency kick-backs. One approach is to look at both PPC and SEO campaigns together to maximise the results that you wish to get. For instance, you might focus your SEO efforts solely on high traffic keywords where the cost of PPC bidding is very high, then focus PPC efforts on less popular terms where there is a better return on investment.

91 Protect Your Own Brand.

If people search on your brand, you need to protect it by advertising yourself on it, or by other means. You might also choose to advertise on competitors’ brands. Keep up-to-date to ensure you are using the latest methods to protect your brand.

92 Consider Content Networks.

In addition to advertising on search pages, you can advertise on the ’Content network‘ so that ads show up on third party sites affiliated with the search provider. As an example, see ’Ads by Google’ scattered around the site: www.davechaffey.com. It’s well worth distinguishing between content and search advertising as they have different characteristics. Note that Google will display your ads on its content network unless you explicitly opt out. You should generally bid lower and display different ads for content networks, probably being more provocative as people aren’t explicitly searching when your ads are displayed. You should possibly promote your brand. e. g. “Actinic for ecommerce” as if it doesn’t get clicked, you may still get some benefits. Always use site exclusions to avoid wasted ads. For content networks, ads are normally displayed next to content relevant to your keywords. Google is the dominant player and people rightly consider advertising on Google first. However, sometimes you can get great results by focusing on a smaller part of the market, accessed through one of Google’s competitors such as Yahoo or Bing (Microsoft). The advertising network Miva displays ads on The Sun and Dennis publishing websites which is pretty significant for some sectors.

93 Consider All The Search Engines.

Details of all of the ad programs are at Google (http://adwords.google.com), Yahoo! (http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com) and Microsoft (http://adcenter.microsoft.com) and for Ask (www.ask.com). Help can be found at http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/rc/srch/mt_hiw.php

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