When PPC Advertising Works — and When It Doesn’t


How to make adwords work for you

For many small businesses, paid search advertising is an effective way to bring in website traffic and increase revenue without necessarily ranking well in organic search results. This kind of advertising is called pay per click advertising because advertisers pay only when their ad is clicked on, no matter how often it is displayed. If you’re thinking about embarking on a PPC campaign for the first time, you’ll definitely want to hire a PPC marketing agency to take care of the strategy and logistics for you — there’s affordable PPC management available, and the reality is PPC is so technical and time-consuming that you’ll probably lose money by trying to do your own PPC ad management rather than hiring a true pay per click specialist.

But before you start researching to figure out which PPC marketing agency is right for your business, you need to take a step back and ask a more basic question that, unfortunately, all too many businesses forget: Is PPC itself a good fit for your business?

Why PPC Is So Powerful

The reason so many people tout the benefits of PPC is that it has the potential to vastly increase leads under certain conditions. If you can tick off one or more of the following, then PPC is likely to work well for you:

  • You Want Immediate Traffic

    Unlike with PPC’s cousin, search engine optimization, it doesn’t take time to slowly inch up in the paid ad displays. If you are willing to pay more than your competitors to have your ad displayed, it will be displayed.

  • You Have Clear Web-Based Offerings

    PPC is particularly effective for quick, web-based conversions. If someone types in “pizza delivery near me,” and your business delivers pizza near them, you’re likely to end up seeing revenue.

  • Your Target Demographic Is Web Savvy

    This should be obvious: If your target demographic tends to research buying decisions or make purchases online, then PPC is likely a good fit for your business.

When PPC Doesn’t Work

PPC is a powerful marketing strategy, but it doesn’t perform miracles. There are certain businesses that are likely to be throwing away their money on PPC — and any reputable PPC marketing agency should be honest with you about that, or at least be able to explain a very specific strategy to overcome the relevant challenges. If the following conditions apply to your business, then you might be better off directing your marketing budget elsewhere:

  • Your Website Doesn’t Convert Well

    Pay per click traffic won’t do your business much good unless your website is set up to turn that traffic into money one way or another (whether that’s by selling a product, selling advertising on your high-traffic website, or something else).

  • You Have Very Narrow Profit Margins

    The average cost per click on Google is $1-2, though in very competitive industries that figure could be as high as $50. If you figure out that your conversion rate is only about 2% (meaning it takes 50 clicks to get a sale) and you’re spending $2 per click, that means you need to make at least $100 per sale to just break even. Some businesses just don’t have the profit margins to cover that.

  • Your Product or Niche Is Small/New

    Search engine marketing of any kind is based on fulfilling existing demand — you’re counting on users to type in what they want and then choose you to supply it. So PPC isn’t a good way to market a brand new product.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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