Many businesses believe that by simply launching a website, they will be able to compete in the e-commerce market. Everyday, however, thousands of web sites go unnoticed, suffering from the anonymity and vastness of the internet. A prepared business can avoid this fate by carefully marketing their product through pay per click (PPC) advertising.

PPC can be confusing at first, particularly with all the different services available and the different costs inherent within them. This confusion has deterred many businesses. By taking the time to work through the different services, though, many more companies have found that PPC can help them generate more leads, more sales and more profits.

The entire civilized world has seemingly heard of Google, making it one of the most popular search engines on the net. The sheer volume of people that use Google on a daily basis is reason enough for businesses to use their PPC service. This service, known as AdWords, allows users to choose keywords and the price they are willing to bid for them. A particular ad’s ranking is based upon its cost per click (CPC), a setting that the user determines, multiplied by its click through rate (CTR). The CTR is the percentage of how many times an ad was seen by a potential customer vs. how many times the customer actually clicked on the ad. Thus if 100 customers saw the ad, but only 45 of them clicked on it, the ad’s CTR would be 45%.

When using Adwords, businesses must constantly check on the performance of their keywords and their ads. If a business notices that its CTR is down, they will likely need to refurbish their site, choose new keywords and/or adjust their CPC. Each adjustment will have a different effect and individual businesses need to decide what types of changes help to put their site at the top of the list.

While Google may be one of the most popular search engines, it is not the only one. Yahoo! Search Marketing is a very popular engine and their PPC service is far less complicated than Google’s. Rather than waste any time ranking sites based on content, Yahoo! runs their search engine like an auction, with the top spots being awarded to the top bidders. With Yahoo! many companies make the mistake of thinking that the content in their website doesn’t need to be compelling or well done, because they already earned the top spot without it. On the contrary, while high rankings normally bring in traffic, turning that traffic into sales is normally based upon the quality of the site.

Another important search engine to utilize is Looksmart. Their PPC service runs on a basic $0.25 per click fee, making their service much cheaper than Yahoo! Search Marketing and much more simplified than Google’s. Looksmart’s service, unlike Yahoo! Search Marketing, does not rank sites based upon price, but rather on content. Thus any business that is looking to use the ease of Looksmart should have a site that is of high quality. However Looksmart’s system overall receives much less traffic than Yahoo! or Google.

All three of these services offer businesses a chance to promote their e-commerce sites. Companies should weigh the pros and cons of each service and decide which ones fit their needs.

4 responses to “Pay Per Click (PPC) for Dummies

Posted by Ryan Shelby

I am currently trying out the advertising on FaceBook for my wife’s website (featuring her salon services). Since they have detailed info on most of their users, I was able to market out to any female living in a 10 mile radius of Rochester Michigan. I thought it was a great way to advertise, since we could target the exact demographic we’re aiming for. Since Saturday and 75 clicks later at $0.25 a pop, we still haven’t had any bites.

There seems to be a better response rate when someone finds the website through the organic results.

Posted on April 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Posted by DZ

That is not a bad fee to get 75 sets of eye on your wife’s site. I can understand your problem with no conversion. Few things I would recommend:

– Landing Page: make sure there is clear calls to action. Try separating pages that are service specific and attach different creative (banner ads) to them from Facebook. Then you can see the CTR for each creative and see if there is a particular service that gets a better response.

– Use a unique phone number for your site. See if the CTR actually lead to calls. Your phone company or other services online can provide a secondary phone number that forwards to any number for a few dollars a month. Plus they can tell you how many calls you get. Some even tell you what number called you and how long the connected for.

– Try a larger budget and widen your radius for a day or two. Your CPC or CPM could be increased to have more potential eyes and leads to your wife’s site for a day or two. It is not uncommon for us to do tests (even on a geospecific scale such as yours) for a few thousand dollars to see what will work.

Hope this helps!

Posted on April 1, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Posted by Ryan Shelby

Thanks for the great info, especially the tip regarding the call to action. I will definitely do that.

I think it’s cool you guys are based in downtown Royal Oak. I added your link to the main page of my Royal Oak SoundOff site as a thank you!

Posted on April 1, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Posted by DZ

Thanks, always appreciate a backlink!

You have a great domain for your wife’s salon – so I would play off of those keywords if I were you.
Get links back to her site containing those keywords from relevant sites – that will help with natural search.

As always we are above Tom’s so stop in and say hi!

Posted on April 2, 2009 at 8:04 am

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