For most startups, marketing is as essential as it is expensive. It can feel like you can’t waste one penny of your budget- and you’re not alone! Nearly 50 per cent of all startups fail within their first few years, and marketing is a big reason why. The way a startup allocates their marketing budget can quickly determine whether or not it happens to you.
While a number of startups know enough about what to invest in when it comes to marketing, their execution is often flawed. One of the arenas where this mistake becomes common is pay-per-click marketing, or PPC.
At its best, PPC has the ability to capture your target audience and transform them into paying customers before your very eyes. But if you aren’t careful, an ineffective and poorly executed strategy can eat up your marketing budget without delivering results. So, how can you make sure that your PPC ads reach your target audience without decimating your budget? Start here by avoiding these all-too-common mistakes.
1. Your copy is poor
Writing for PPC ads is a challenge. Your space is limited for the headline as well as the description, cutting it down to essentials only. That being said, you have to write them in a way that will encourage the consumer to click.
It can be difficult, but using enticing and descriptive copy in PPC can make a huge difference in terms of how many clicks each ad will get. The headline is especially important — in most cases, it will be the only part of the ad that someone reads before they click or scroll past your ad.
So, your headline needs to pop. It should include your target keywords, a call for action on the part of the consumer, and any promotions, sales, or other unique pieces. Failing to deliver a concise and clear message in your headline is the first mistake you should avoid.
2. You’ve neglected ad extensions
Another element of PPC that is often forgotten about is ad extensions. Google’s AdWords, for example, seeks to connect interested consumers with available startups.
AdWords adds your contact information, pricing, address, and even positive customer reviews within your startup ad. Each extension serves as another opportunity to grab the attention of a potential customer, as well as lending credibility and prestige to your startup. It can even function like an additional call for action!
Ad extensions can increase your ad’s click-through rate, as well as increase consumer engagement and direct the flow of customers to where they can make purchases — which, in turn, ensures that your marketing dollars aren’t wasted.
3. Skip the negative keywords
We’ve all heard about finding suitable keywords for our PPC campaigns, and of course, this aspect has a dramatic impact on marketing results. But just as often, a startup’s PPC budget is squandered when we ignore “negative keywords.”
Just as Google and other search engines can get muddled when matching phrases and PPC ads, it is not unusual for an ad to appear in totally irrelevant searches. For example, a company selling horticulture products might be mistakenly matched with cheat codes for the game Plants Versus Zombies. Not quite what we’re looking for.
Lucky for you, Google helps you to avoid this error by applying negative keywords to the terms of your campaign. This keeps your PPC ads from showing up in unrelated search results that you don’t want. A kind of zombie repellent, if you will. By identifying your ad’s negative keywords at the beginning of the campaign and by updating them throughout, you will ensure that your ad reaches its intended audience — and not Walking Dead fans.
4. Bid on your own brand
It seems obvious that you shouldn’t have to bid on keywords for your own brand’s PPC campaign, but unless you do that, your competition has a significant opportunity to steal business from you.
Rory Witt from DigiMar explains that if someone is searching for specifically your brand, they are already interested in your services. These customers are already likely to be converted. You probably won’t have a significant amount of competition for your brand’s keywords right after you launch, but as time goes on, others might try to snatch your keywords.
By bidding on your brand’s keywords, you will dominate PPC as well as SEO results. This ensures that your highly invested customers won’t be waylaid by the competition. The very last thing a startup needs is customers who are searching for their brand, but are buying from their competitors instead. A perfect example can be seen with one of our clients below; this is another company bidding on the Grono brand, if we weren’t bidding on the brand they would appear directly at the top of the search result.
5. Learn your customer’s lifetime value
Do you know the value of a customer’s purchases over the lifetime of their engagements with your business?
For a startup, it is essential to figure out how much can be earned from PPC customers — and how much it will cost to acquire these customers in the first place. Many startups seem to spend money acquiring customers through advertising and marketing, but don’t receive more than that in return.
How much do you spend acquiring new customers? How much of that money can be earned back through their purchases? Without ensuring that your startup will earn back the cost of converting a customer, your advertising budget will vanish.
6. Find the top AdRank conversion
This one is a little counter-intuitive. Though you might want your branded keywords ranking in the first or second position, research into the effectiveness of PPC in converting customers is seemingly the opposite — an effective conversion rate is correlated with PPC ads ranking third to fifth, not first.
The reason for this is that most people looking at slightly-lower ads are already heavily invested. They are nearly ready to make a purchase, so they don’t just click any ad that courses their path.
Like most elements of PPC, split testing can be a good way to determine the best and most effective positions for your keywords.
Sometimes, second position could be the best for your conversion rate. Others, a lower spot like fourth could provide the right results — and save you a boatload of money.
7. Use correct match types
The keyword match types in Google AdWords can be undoubtedly confusing. Without understanding how their matching work, it’s easy to waste money through investing in the wrong match types.
Like we said earlier, a broader match will put your ad into the results for any search including your keywords, in any order. Phrase matches, on the other hand, will do the same only when these keywords are in a particular order, though sometimes related searches will still appear. And finally, an exact match only displays results for a precise term.
The mistakes mentioned above are all too common, and hard to avoid. It’s easy to write PPC off as a risky online marketing strategy, but there’s nothing to fear! PPC is essential for digital marketing success, and can earn your business thousands.
Now that you know what to avoid, you can use PPC effectively to reach your business’ goals and avoid the pitfalls that waste your startup’s budget.