The Advantages of PPC in Your Marketing Strategy

Using Pay-Per-Click Advertising as Part of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is a marketing tactic that uses targeted messages to build awareness for your company, products, or services and drive visitors to your website. Unlike traditional print advertising where you pay for anyone and everyone who might potentially see your ad, with PPC you only pay when someone is interested in your message and clicks on or engages with one of your ads.

“What’s the catch?” There isn’t one. “So clicks must be really expensive.” Not really. The cost of each ad click varies based on the popularity of the keyword that triggered the ad or the website on which the ad displays, but the average cost per click is usually less than $2. Daily budgets that you can change any time help you keep your costs in check.

Pay-per-click advertising formats include:

  • Text-only ads from services such as Google Ads and Bing Ads that often grace the very top and bottom of search engine results pages in response to a keyword search.
  • Image and video ads from Google, social media platforms, digital media services, and individual advertisers that display within pages on websites or apps.
  • Social media ads on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. can be pay-per-click, but often times you pay per impression, or each time the ads are shown.

Types of Pay-Per-Click Ads

While many people think only of search ads as PPC, there are actually three primary types of pay-per-click ads:

  • Search Ads, also known as SEM or search engine marketing, match search terms with the ad/keyword combinations you establish and, in turn, with the content on your website. Basically, it’s the job of search ads to shout out that you have what searchers are looking for. Search ads are a great way to get visibility for your website for highly competitive keywords that your SEO hasn’t been able to get you to rank for or test the waters for products and services that don’t have a big presence on your website.
  • Image Ads, known in the industry as display ads, target Internet and social media users based on their interests, previous browsing history, demographics, specific website visits, and more. These ads are great for branding and awareness – they broadcast a visual message like billboards along the highway, only you can more closely control the eyeballs that see them.
  • Remarketing Ads are display ads that show only to people who have already been to your site where they completed – or didn’t complete – some kind of action, such as making a purchase, visiting a specific page, filling out a form, etc. You know how you view something on the Internet and ads for that same something appear out of nowhere and follow you around? That’s remarketing at work. These ads target visitors further down the sales funnel who have already indicated some kind of interest in what you have to offer. Since you already hooked them once, a special offer on a remarketing-specific landing page might help reel them in.

The Importance of the Landing Page

While your PPC ad is the introduction to a potential new customer, your landing page is the get-to-know-you conversation that determines whether you go on to have coffee or dinner or you go your separate ways.

It’s critical that your landing page – the page that an ad clicker reaches upon a click – offers content that follows the message of the ad and gives those who are interested direction as to what to do next. A clear call to action might offer something valuable such as an ebook or white paper related to your ad or a free consultation. Whatever incentive you offer should be made in exchange for the interested party’s contact information to help you gain a lead and build a relationship down the road. After all, you wouldn’t let the attractive guy or girl you met at the dog park get away without exchanging phone numbers, would you?

Planning, Targeting, and Tracking

Pay-per-click advertising platforms offer a number of handy tools to help you make sure you’re targeting the right keywords, crafting the right ad content, and reaching the right people.

Planning tools for keywords and website placements plus targeting tools for audience demographics, geographic locations, languages, and more help you ensure you’re reaching those who are most likely to find the most value in your ads.

And tracking tools allow you to follow the success of your ads almost immediately. You’ll know who’s clicking on what ads that are triggered by what keywords or shown on what websites, giving you the power to update ads, keyword lists, targeting, and budgets on the fly.

Pay-per-click advertising is an essential weapon in your inbound marketing toolbox for reaching potential customers and bringing them in as solid leads.

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