Pay per click (PPC) advertising should be an important part of any marketing campaign. A lot of people are scared of it, though, and rightly so. Failure to properly prepare for a PPC campaign can mean you’ll shoot a lot of money down the drain in record time.
How do you keep this from happening? You can avoid disaster and court success by asking yourself the following three questions.
How Does Your Audience Talk?
At this point, you should already have an idea of your audience demographics (if you don’t, you’ll save yourself a lot of money by putting your campaign on pause and getting a solid handle on who your audience is). What you should find out now is how your audience talks about the issues related to your product or service.
Do they use certain buzzwords or catchphrases when they talk about the problems your product solves? If so, try testing PPC ads that use those phrases. You might end up finding a huge difference in the sales you make, or the leads you capture.
Special Note: Marketing to Across Borders. If you’re marketing to another culture or nationality, make sure you understand how they differ from your home market. This is true even if they speak the same language that you do.
When it comes to international markets, a little bit of research can spell the difference between success and disaster. Find out how international markets work online before you enter them.
What is Your Competition Doing?
You can learn a lot from what your competition does, at least, from what they do consistently. If you see them running similar ads week after week, day in and day out, you can bet they’re on to something.
Are they running different ads–but running them consistently? Make a study of successful competitors’ advertisements and see what they all have in common. Similarities might include the same buzzwords, emotional hot buttons or offers.
And are they all using the same sales funnel? If everyone is in your market is using PPC traffic–through a dedicated PPC service or in-house–to send visitors to free offer, free information or email opt-in pages, it’s a safe bet that there’s a reason. It’s unlikely you’ll beat them out by trying to sell your customers as soon as they hit the landing page. In this case, all evidence points towards the high long-term value of customers in your market.
Does that mean that you shouldn’t test, just to make sure? Of course not. But it’s important to notice the common practices in your market, and plan according. Don’t put your main thrust into re-inventing the wheel.
What Kind of Trends do You See in Your Market?
Do you see all of your competition starting to use certain keywords, buzz phrases or appeals? Is your target audience discussing a hot topic currently? Is your topic, product or a topic related to it appearing on Google Trends? What about on popular social media sites like Twitter, or the all-important Facebook? All of these sources can alert you to shifting winds in your market, or help you spot an under-served need.
It’s also a good idea to set up Google Alerts for your main keywords and topics. You don’t have to thoroughly read every single result. Scanning over your results once a day can help you spot new trends in your market.
This early warning system can help you anticipate new trends and cash in on them before you competition does. But no matter how you do it, it’s important to find multiple ways to monitor the pulse of your market.
Zach Buckley is a freelance writer based in the Midwest. He enjoys exploring developing trends in education, technology and culture. When he isn’t reading or writing blogs, he enjoys sampling good music and good food. Follow him on Twitter! @Zach_buckley