Some of the best advice I have ever been given is not to underestimate the challenges of PPC advertising. On the surface, especially to green newbies, PPC ad campaigns seem deceptively simple, but there are a million things that can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, small businesses frequently fail to properly utilize PPC ads for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that some small business owners are scared of losing money on the ads or simply haven’t set a budget. Secondly, many small businesses fail to properly utilize PPC ads due to a lack of optimization and don’t fully capitalize on their investment, which is a shame considering many small businesses have very limited marketing budgets.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the 7 biggest mistakes that are the surest ways to torpedo a PPC ad campaign.
1. No Testing
I don’t care how talented a marketer is; the immutable truth is that marketers need to be adaptive and reactive to their PPC ad campaigns. You need to adopt the mindset of constant improvement because there’s always something that can be tweaked to further optimize your ads.
Whether it’s the copy, the keywords, or any other myriad factors, one of the worst things you can do is launch your campaign and leave it idling. Don’t think for an instant that you can set it and forget it. Instead, perform regular testing to see how different aspects of your ad campaign perform.
2. Directing Traffic to the Wrong Page
It takes a lot of work to get a user to finally visit your website, and your primary goal should be getting your PPC ad traffic to take action. The type of action you wish them to take can only be defined by you, be it signing up for a mailing list, making a purchase, engaging with your website, downloading a lead magnet, or any other similar actions.
But if you direct ad traffic to the wrong page, or a page lacking calls to action, you might as well be flushing your money down the toilet. One mistake beginners often make is not creating an intentional landing page for ad traffic. Instead, beginners make the mistake of directing traffic to their home page, which is a huge no-no.
3. Vague Targeting or No Targeting at All
I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage that ‘marketing to everyone is marketing to no one.’ This is certainly true of PPC ad campaigns, and you need to not only know who your audience is but also where they reside. PPC campaign targeting is extremely sophisticated and can pinpoint audiences with local search.
Any small business that operates in a limited area needs to also limit PPC ads to that limited area (with few exceptions) to have the most impact. By committing sections of your audience that do not reside in your local area, your PPC ad campaign will bring you higher quality leads.
4. Inadequate Keyword Research
Keywords are as important to your campaign now as they ever were, and as they’ll always be. But just browsing through the Google keyword planner isn’t enough to build a campaign on. It’s better to dig a little deeper and actually query Google with the keywords you are considering.
Take a look at the competition and ask yourself if you really think you can compete. Some industries, like insurance, loans, and mortgages, are extremely competitive. It may not be feasible to compete against industry giants for the most competitive keywords. You may need to consider long-tail keywords specific to your region.
5. Textual and Grammatical Errors
PPC ads are similar to a resume in that even a small mistake could mean you get rejected. Failing to use proper spelling and grammar in your ads makes your business look extremely ill-prepared, and reflects negatively on your reputation. Doesn’t make you cringe thinking how many thousands of eyeballs would judge your ad and business based on a spelling mistake? It makes for a lousy first impression.
6. Failing to Track Conversions
When it comes to PPC campaigns, you have to track your numbers and know what is working…and what isn’t. As Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) frequently says on shark tank, “You’ve got to know your numbers.” Google’s PPC platform records data on a number of useful metrics including what keywords the user entered, which ads they clicked on, and more.
Take the cost of your ads and divide it by the number of conversions to determine your CPA (Cost Per Action). If you don’t know your CPA, how can adequately judge the efficacy of your campaign and know whether or not it’s time to pull the plug?
7. Not Knowing When to Reach Out for Help
The final way you can sink your PPC ad campaign is to keep moving forward alone, even when everything you’ve tried before hasn’t produced any fruit. It can be challenging reaching out for help, especially if you’re the do-it-yourself type of go-getter who likes a challenge.
But at the end of the day, your marketing dollars need to add to your bottom line, especially if you have a limited budget. Instead of trying to tackle digital marketing all by yourself, reach out for help to make your business thrive.
PPC ads have many uses, whether to augment a pre-existing digital marketing strategy or to springboard a new website or business to the top of the Search Engine Results Pages. But there’s one problem: PPC ad campaigns aren’t as easy to run as they look. If your small business needs to run ads but you don’t feel you can confidently run a successful campaign, reaching out for the help of a qualified professional will alleviate the burden of running ads so you can focus on what matters most: running your business.