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Successfully Managing Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
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By Jay Lipe

Pay-per-click campaigns, like all other marketing campaigns, are perpetual works-in-progress. The following tips will help you successfully manage your PPC campaign, after you launch.

Study your reports: It can’t be said enough—track your bidding results frequently. At a minimum you should analyze your tracking reports weekly. In today’s PPC game, with costs rising faster than a kite on a windy day, you must proactively analyze your bidding results.

Choose either traffic or conversions: If you’re spending boatloads of money to generate traffic, bravo. But is this traffic converting? That’s the real goal. Find a way to track conversions of your PPC traffic (not so easy, I know) and that will help you prioritize your keywords. If you’re serious about generating conversions, then you must look at your keywords through that prism.

Prioritize terms by their place in the buying cycle: Searchers will use one set of keywords (e.g. “review” or “compare”) to find information, and an entirely different set (e.g. “buy”) to find an item to purchase.

If your site is targeted towards the casual searcher (e.g. a review site) then research keywords make sense. But if you want qualified buyers that are hot-to-trot, focus more on buying keywords.

The real art of PPC is striking a delicate balance between these two types of words, and your budget.

Circle back with your customers: You already know that a key resource for generating keywords is your customer base. If you didn’t ask your customer base for help identifying keywords before your PPC launch, now is the time. Call or email ten of your customers and ask them this question:
If you were searching for a business (or product, or service) like ours, which terms would you key in?

Don’t be surprised if this exercise generates a couple keywords you overlooked before launching.
Jettison well-known branded terms – If you’ve bid on recognizable branded terms (e.g. your company name or its products), save your money. Your site should be well-optimized for these brand names already, so why pay money for these clicks? Instead, spend your money on non-branded terms and let your company’s natural SEO speak for your brand.

Use Google Alert as an analytical tool: Google Alerts is a wonderful, free service that sends you email alerts whenever there are new Google results for search terms that you’ve specified. You can use Google Alerts to monitor products (I use it to monitor mentions of my books The Marketing Toolkit for Growing Businesses and Stand Out from the Crowd) and competitors. But it can also be used to monitor certain keyword phrases that you may are interested in. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts to sign up for this free service.

Jay Lipe is the Founder and President of EmergeMarketing.com.
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