Do I Really Need Pay Per Click Marketing?
Pay per click marketing, sometimes referred to as just “PPC”, sounds like a great idea. You get free exposure to potential clients, through ads located in banner and sidebar positions on search result pages and affiliate websites. You don’t have to pay for these ads unless a customer clicks on them. However, PPC advertising is not for everyone. If your website can’t close a sale, PPC will quickly become cost-prohibitive, and might just end up harming your site’s search results rankings. Therefore, you should take care to only use PPC marketing in conjunction with solid product offerings and a robust marketing strategy.

Pay Per Click Marketing Trends

Pay per click prices have been increasing steadily over the past few years, from an average of 38 cents per click in 2005 to 84 cents in 2012.

Average cost per click in 2005 Average cost per click in 2012
$0.38 per click $0.84 per click

When measured in terms of cost per conversion (whether that be a sale, a lead, or any other desired consumer action), costs have risen from an average of $10.18 to $24.40 during this same time.

Average cost per conversion in 2005 Average cost per conversion in 2012
$10.18 per conversion $24.40 per conversion

This is in part because click-through rates have been falling, from 1.5 percent to 0.5 percent during these years.

Average click-through rate in 2005 Average click-through rate in 2012
1.5% click-through rate 0.5% click-through rate

Increased competition is also to blame for rising PPC prices. As big companies like Amazon get in on the game, funneling millions of dollars into PPC campaigns, this drives up keyword prices and makes it more difficult for small to medium size businesses to compete.

Making PPC Work For You

Obviously, in order to make pay per click marketing work for you, you have to successfully absorb the cost of the ads—not just in terms of clicks but in terms of conversions. Here are some strategies for doing just that.

Create Highly Focused Ads

Don’t try to compete on the broad keywords in your PPC ads. Instead focus on highly specific keywords which should have less competition and therefore lower rates.

Incorporate Misspellings

When selecting the keywords for your PPC campaign, don’t forget to incorporate misspellings. That way, people will see your ad even if they make a typo or spelling error in their search terms.

Deliver Consumers Straight to the Content they Want

Customers don’t want to click a specific ad and get sent to a broad home page or category page. So if you’re selling gold hoop earrings, for example, make your ad lead straight to a page featuring nothing but gold hoop earrings.

Test Constantly

You can avoid throwing away advertising dollars on ads that aren’t working (ie bringing in sales) by testing your ad performance and evaluating your site traffic constantly. If you find that people are clicking on an ad but then immediately leaving your site, there’s something wrong! It might be that your ad is not linked to the correct page or that your product or service is not desirable enough to those people. Not only is this a waste of your advertising dollars, it could actually end up hurting your search result rankings, because search engines will take all these fleeing visitors to mean that your site’s content is not valuable.

Make Your Content Convert

Ultimately, you can drive tons of traffic to your site using PPC, but if your visitors don’t buy anything, you’re wasting your money. You must make your content convert! Your products and services must be appealing and competitive, your copy capable of driving sales, and your website user-friendly. If you don’t have this part of the equation down pat, there’s no point in investing in pay per click marketing. It would be like giving people free rides to an empty store.
Because PPC isn’t for everyone, contact us before making any decisions about your pay per click marketing campaign. We would love to help you make the right decision.