Pay-Per-Click Advertising: The Most Targeted Advertising Medium

Think about how many commercials you see or hear on the television or the radio.  How many of them really stand out to you?  When marketing a product, one of the key rules any marketer must follow is “You have to cut through the clutter.”  The concept is pretty simple: Hundreds – if not thousands – of advertisements bombard people everywhere they go, and a marketer has to be able to make their ad stand out above all of the others.  But, what can they do for the Web?

Any time you go on the Web and do a search, you’ve seen an advertisement, even if you don’t realize it.  You probably know about pop-ups, pop-unders and banner ads, but there’s another that you may not realize is an advertisement.  Have you paid attention to the sponsored links at the top or down the right side of the search results of the big search engines – like Yahoo! or Google?  Well, those are ads where the listed sites pay to get that positioning by using a system called pay-per-click advertising.

Whoa, wait – what’s pay per click advertising mean?

Pay-per-click allows you to overcome 90% of the problem when it comes to selling someone something.  Generally, you have to not only convince people that your product can solve their problems, you also have to convince them at a time when they have more important things on their mind.  People are busy.  They don’t want to listen to all of the marketing messages they’ve got in front of them daily when they’re worried about when to pick up the kids and who’s taking them to soccer practice.  Try interrupting this mind set.  I dare you.  It’s literally impossible.

That’s where pay-per-click beats every other form advertising.  You’re getting the people right when they’re looking for you and your products.  They’re in the buying mood.  If you put a spot on the radio or on television or place an ad in a newspaper or a magazine, they’re not actively looking for your products.  Pay-per-click advertising, however, is there when someone looks specifically for your product online.  You’re getting them during a moment of need rather than hoping they remember your ad later down the line.

So, I’d bet you think it sounds pretty good right about now, but let me tell you one of the best parts of pay-per-click advertising… you don’t pay to have your site listed at the top unless someone actually clicks on your link and is taken to your site.  It’s beautiful.  Name another advertising medium that will literally post your ad for you and if nobody responds, you don’t pay.  Can’t think of any?  Neither can I.  If you run a radio spot and no one responds, you still have to pay.  Same with television, newspaper, magazines and outdoor billboards.  There’s nothing like it!  Can you tell I’m excited?

And to top it off…it’s cheap.  You can get your site listed at the top of the search results for as little as $0.01.  That’s right.  A penny!  You pay a penny every time someone who is clearly interested in your product clicks to go to your site.  That’s a bargain.  You’ll pay a lot more than that to generate leads with any other medium.  You simply can’t beat it!

Not only is it rather cheap to get into pay-per-click advertising, you can even limit the budget you’re putting to it.  Do you only want to spend $5 on your pay-per-click campaign?  Fine!  You can put a cap of five bucks on the campaign, so when you’ve racked up enough clicks to total $5, your ad gets shut down.  Set the cap higher, and you can get more clicks.

I bet you see how revolutionary pay-per-click advertising really is.  There has never been another medium that has allowed small businesses to level the playing field with the big boys and compete on a global scale, all with the advantage that the customer is seeking you out, not the other way around.  The only other thing I can think of that even slightly compares is advertising in the yellow pages.  People who are reading the yellow pages are actively engaging in a process where they want to contact the business.  The difference is that the yellow pages are local.  Now, you can be seen by the whole world.

With all of that said, let’s get into a bit of technical details to help you understand how pay-per-click advertising works.  Think of it like an auction: you’re bidding against your competitors to get your ad listed higher than everyone else’s.  Now, the amount of the bid is pretty low: usually $0.01 to $0.50 per click.  If you invested $0.01 per click to get people to your website and got 100 clicks, you’d only spend $1, which isn’t bad to get 100 prospects.  Admittedly, not everyone would turn into a buyer, but they’d at least become aware of you and your products.

But, even then you may not get that number one spot – higher than even the free listings.  Why?  Well, there’s one more important part: You’ve got to maintain a good click-through-rate to stay at the top.  What’s a click-through-rate you ask?  Well it’s the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions – the number of times the ad is seen.  So, if your ad is seen 100 times, and only one person clicks on it, you have a click-through-rate of 1%.

So, the way it works is like this: Google uses a formula along with the bid amount to determine who gets that top spot.  What’s the formula?  Well, it’s the bid amount multiplied by the click-through-rate.  The higher the result, the higher you’re listed in the search results.  So, even if you bid just a penny, a good click-through-rate could get you listed above the guy bidding $0.50, if his click-through-rate isn’t as good as yours.

But, here’s the important part of pay-per-click advertising: You’re bidding on a keyword that you believe people search for.  If you sell red baseball caps, you’d need to use the keywords that people use to search for the item online.  Bidding on “red baseball caps” is one option, but think of every other way you can describe your product: red cap, red hat, red ball cap, etc.  Of course, you can always bid on a bunch of different keywords.

However, if you bid on keywords willy-nilly, any Joe Blow using one of your search terms could find and click on your ad only to see you don’t have what they’re looking for.  It’s a waste of money.  No, what you want are qualified leads – people who are legitimately looking for your product.  Think of it like this: Say you offer lawn care services.  By using just lawn care as your keywords, someone looking for a do-it-yourself method for lawn care would still find your ad and might click on it.  They wouldn’t want to buy your service, but you’d still have to pay for the click.

That’s why you use what’s called a negative keyword.  You can actually limit some of the people looking for your product by excluding some of the keywords people are searching for.  It’s like this: You post an ad for your lawn care business, but in the ad, you set keywords not to search.  So, you might have “- free.”  Anyone looking for free lawn care won’t find your ad, but people looking to hire someone for lawn care assistance will find your ad.

How do I target my PPC ads?

Now, here’s where setting up an ad can get a bit tricky.  See, if you don’t maintain a good click-through-rate, then your ad starts dropping in the list – even if you bid more than the next guy.  It’s a double edged sword, in essence.  You want to make sure people are clicking on your ad, but you want to make sure the people clicking are potential buyers.  So, your copy has to be strong enough to interest the prospect, so they click through and, ideally, buy from you, but not so enticing everyone and their uncle clicks on it, wasting your valuable ad dollars.

So, how do you guarantee you’re not wasting ad dollars?  Well, a top-notch marketing company can not only write blazing ad copy for you, but they can also find which keywords are worth using through a keyword analysis.  What’s a keyword analysis?  It’s a search engine optimization tool that shows how many people are searching for a particular keyword.

Let’s use that red baseball cap example again, so you can see the benefit of the analysis.  When we ran an analysis on “red baseball caps,” “baseball caps” and “red caps,” we found that “baseball caps” was searched 285 times.  “Red caps” had an underwhelming 4 searches.  So, which of those keyword phrases would you want to put your money on?  The one with a lot of hits or the one with fewer?

So, the terms you may believe are decent keywords may not be efficient.  Once you know which ones are the good ones to use, then you can couple that with a pay-per-click campaign to get stunning results.  There’s a lot to know behind a pay-per-click campaign, and by using a marketing company that knows what they’re doing, you’re certain to be pleased.

That’s where Red Rocket comes in.  You see, Red Rocket, Northern Colorado’s fastest growing full-service marketing firm, understands all aspects of successful marketing.  When it comes to internet marketing, we’ve done extensive research on many different topics.  We’ve done many successful keyword analyses, and we’ve set up a lot of pay-per-click campaigns.  So, we’re quite comfortable dealing with pay-per-click.  When you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level, look no further than Red Rocket.

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