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Agile Computing: Article

Small Business PPC

Step by step guide to success

The search engines such as Google and Yahoo! provide millions of potential customers every year for most industries. Taking advantage of this is a must for any budding online business. But what if you just service a small local area? Can the search engines be of advantage to you?

Of course they can. And a great way to take advantage of that is Paid Placements or Pay Per Click advertising.
This way of using Pay Per Click ads below guarantees no wasted clicks and no wasted money. Just the people you’re wanting to see your ad and website, in just the right area.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Signing up for Pay Per Click accounts is easy. They obviously very deliberately make it that way. It’s best to just start with one account though and the mother of all pay per click facilities is Google Adwords. So sign up there and then start with Yahoo! and he others once you’ve gone through these steps here and become successful at it.

2. Choose your target market. You may only have one and that’s fine, you’re done. But if you have more than one you have to pick one and start there. For each additional target market you can go through this same process.

You must know who they are, in which areas they live, what their motives are and as much about them as you can.

3. Pick a product/service to solve their issues. Again, you may only have one product/service and that makes your job easy. If not, you’ll need to pick one of your products/services that fits this target markets needs.

4. Pick keywords. Ok, what are these people typing into the search engines to find you? Brainstorm and come up with as many as possible. We’ll narrow it down in a minute. Think up keywords for when they’re looking to buy (same examples for a plumber in Chicago might be ‘emergency plumber’ , ‘emergency plumber chicago’ or ‘fix water leaks’ or ‘fix water leaks chicago’ etc). In Search Engine Optimization, to get listed in the organic or free listings, you would also think up ‘informational’ searches as well such as ‘fixing a water leak’ and you then take them from that informational stage into a buying stage, or stay in their mind for when they want to buy in the future. With Pay Per Click you, well, do exactly that pay for every click so you want them to already be in the ‘buy’ stage of things.

5. Narrow it down to the top 3-6 keywords that are a great match.

6. Pick a landing page for this product. If you’ve started with your emergency plumbing service and want to run a campaign for it, there’s no use sending people to your home page that has all your services listed on it as well as a company biography etc. Sent hem straight to the emergency plumbing page of your site.
The general thing is that you need to have the right keyword, then match your ad to the keyword (we’ll get to that below) and match your landing page to that keyword and ad. So the searcher types in ‘emergency plumber chicago’, the results page come sup and your ad has a headline of ‘Emergency Plumber Chicago’ then the landing page has a headline of ‘Emergency Plumber Chicago’ because that’s exactly what they’re looking for.

7. After creating an account and going through these steps its time to create your first campaign. Start with keywords not placements then on the first page choose your target location. This is a great feature of pay per click, you can narrow it down to a target area very well and your ads will only show in that area. Choose just the area that you service.

8. Once you’ve picked your keywords and made a landing page for them it’s time to create an ad for this target market, product, set of keywords and landing page.

Your ad has 3 lines:

A headline: This should be very, very relevant to the keyword. For ‘emergency plumber chicago’ the best headline is...you guessed it “Emergency Plumber Chicago”. This grabs the attention of the searcher.
The first line below: this line should have a continuation of the headline and portray a benefit. In our example it might be “At Your Door Within 20 Minutes”. You have 35 characters in this line.

Second line below: this line is a call to action line. So something like “Or Your Money Back Call Now”

Next line: The next line displays your website address. Usually it’s best to simply list your home page here. The actual address they’re sent to is hidden and is called the destination address. This is where you put in “yourdomain name.com/emergencyservice” to send them to the landing page.

You’ll need to write an ad with the exact same headline as your keyword for each of your keywords. The headline is the only ting that needs to change. Match it exactly to each keyword.
What this does is get you more clicks and a higher Click Through Rate (discussed below).

9. Then in the next step in Adwords type in the set keyword you’ve chosen for this particular ad. You’ll need to repeat it with each keyword and ad. And, make sure you put your keyword with inverted commas. “emergency plumber”. This makes sure that you’re ad will only appear when this exact term is put in. If you didn’t do this your ad would also appear when someone typed in ‘emergency plumber jobs’ or ‘emergency plumber business for sale” etc.

10. Now it’s time to pony up. This aint free. To be near the high end of the listings in the paid placement section you need to have what's called a high click through rate (a high number out of every thousand people who see your ad, click on your ad, you will be greatly aiding this by doing the steps above) as well as bid high as well.

The reason the search engines want a high click through rate is to firstly provide relevant ads for their audience. Search engines are all about relevance and they want their users to have a good experience. The second reason is simply that they want the ads with a higher click through rate to be at the top so their ads get more clicks and they make more money. Fair enough.

The reason they put higher bidders at the top is even more obvious. To get near, or at, the top of the paid placement listngs you need both a high bid and a high CTR.

In this method you’ll need to start out bidding quite high. Have a look at your industry and it’s top bids and go just a little higher. Google will let you know if you’ve slipped off the first page, but you can check by simply typing in your keyword and having a look to see if you’re at the top.

What this strategy does is get you to the top of the list straight away. This, along with the steps above, in turn gets you a high CTR so over time you can lower your bids and stay at the top of the paid placements.

With this strategy you can pay far less than your competition and still be above them in the list as you’ll be getting such a high CTR. You may have to pony up some cash at the start but this is worth it in the long run.

11. Test, Refine, Test, Refine. This is one of the most important steps in pay per click advertising. Even the most experienced Internet marketer can’t predict exactly what to put in each ad for maximum effectiveness. You have to put your first campaign up, measure the results of it (all the stats you need are in Adwords), then improve upon it a little bit and test it again...and continually go through this process.

12. Repeat each step for each.

Pay Per Click advertising can be very effective, but without a knowledge of what to do you can waste a lot of money in a short amount of time. With these steps in hand you’re assured of a better chance of success.

For more information please see Small Business PPC

More Stories By Peter Crean

I am a 33 year old Internet marketing professional with a specialty in assisting small businesses. I have over 10 years experience in Internet marketing and have worked in offline advertising and marketing as a writer and later an account manager working on some of the largest companies in the world.

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