Getting started in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a bit daunting at first if you’ve never entered the arena. However, PPC advertising can be a powerful way to reach your customers online, acquire new leads and drive sales. As complicated as it might seem to get started with PPC, here are some of the must-haves for successful campaigns.

  1. Establish goals. Like any marketing strategy you implement, you need to establish goals from the start. This will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign. Is your goal to promote your brand? Drive traffic to your site? Collect leads? Drive sales? Regardless of what your goals are, you need to have them established before you kick off a campaign.
  2. Develop a logical account structure. A clear campaign structure makes it easier to spot trends across campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords. These insights can help you refine your targeting and highlight new opportunities. For example, if you own a furniture store, you might have a campaign for “tables,” and your ad groups in that campaign could be “coffee tables,” “bedside tables,” “dining room tables,” etc. Your ads and keywords would correspond to the ad groups they fall under. It’s a logical way to organize your campaigns and help you analyze their performance.
  3. Brainstorm the right keywords. Without the right keywords, you can’t target the best search queries. Start with broad match keywords, and closely monitor your conversions to narrow your focus and identify any new keyword opportunities. It’s also important to have negative keywords in your campaigns to ensure you’re driving the most relevant traffic to your landing pages. For example, if you only sell basketball shoes, use a negative keyword like “cleats” to make sure people searching for cleats aren’t arriving at your landing page—and wasting your advertising budget.
  4. Optimize your landing pages. If you’ve selected the right keywords and your ads are related to those keywords, a user is more likely to click through to your landing page. And here’s where some campaigns fail. The PPC experience for the user doesn’t end at the ad. Landing pages need to be easy to navigate with concise content related to your ads that will entice someone to take the desired action, whether that’s filling out a contact form or downloading a piece of content.
  5. Utilize precise targeting. There are a number of ways you can target your campaigns to reach the most relevant audiences. Consider geographic targeting, as well as days of the week and times of day you might want your ads to show. Not only can the right targeting help you reach the people most likely to take action, but it can help you reserve your budget for only the best traffic.

Setting down the right path with PPC can begin by implementing these must-haves, but PPC also requires continuous data analysis, problem-solving and testing. The longer your campaigns run the more data you’ll have available to analyze so that you can make adjustments to campaigns as necessary.