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Pay-per-click Advertising

Apr 14, 2009 12:00 PM, By Don Kreski

An alternative to optimizing your website?

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2. Drafting the advertisements. “A very common mistake that PPC advertisers make is using the same ad copy for every keyword,” Grant says. He explains that your ad must quickly and visually connect with potential clients.

“The easiest way to make that happen is to use the search phrase itself as your headline,” he says. The ads themselves are very short. “So there’s a bit of an art in giving just enough information to lure people to your site versus the eight or 10 other ads on the page.”

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There’s also a need to clarify your offerings. The phrase “sound system” can mean anything from a car stereo to a performing arts system. You don’t really want to pay for clicks from people looking for something other than what you offer.

3. Landing pages. Once you have an ad that will attract the right customers, it should link to a page that will grab their interest. “For the best results, you need to create custom landing pages for each of the most important terms you’re targeting,” Grant says.

A good landing page will make it extremely obvious what you’re offering.

“A lot of people link all their ads to their home page,” Grant says. “Instead, you want a page with the key term in your headline, a clear, concise explanation of what you offer, and links to other sections of your site that clients will want to visit. Remember: The goal is not just getting people to your website, but getting them to act once they’ve arrived.”

Common mistakes

Grant says that he sees a lot of confusion with budgeting, especially from people who set up their own PPC campaigns. “You really need to take the time to figure out all your options,” he says. “Otherwise, you’ll see the search engines take over some of the management process. For instance, they may lower your rankings to keep you from going over your daily budget.”

Smaller advertisers tend to spread themselves too thin. Since Google alone accounts for 60 percent to 70 percent of all searches, a good strategy is to start with Google, and then consider Yahoo and MSN only after you’ve built a successful Google campaign.

Regional marketers need to be aware of their geographic targeting options. “It’s not a perfect system, but you can set up your campaign so that people only within certain ZIP codes or at a given distance from your office will see your ad,” Grant says.

Some advertisers, though, are unwilling to spend enough money to get the results they need. “All recent studies have shown people spending more time searching for new vendors on the Internet than by any other means,” Grant says. “If you want to bring in more business, you have to make an investment in your website and in search-engine marketing—whether through pay per click, optimization, link programs, or all of these.”

In tough times, many companies cut back on marketing expenditures, but that can be a big mistake. Most marketing activities are far less costly per lead than paying someone to make cold calls. If you need more sales, you need to expand your marketing program, not cut back.

Don Kreski is a marketing consultant who works exclusively in the AV industry. You can reach him at

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