To say that there’s no science behind dominating the PPC market would be stupid – there’s clearly a lot of strategy involved. And yet, it’s not exactly rocket science, which is to say, with enough training and practice, you can get pretty good at trumping the competition and getting the most bang for your buck with maximum ROI.
There’s no one, set formula that’s going to help you reach your goals of PPC domination with certainly every time. In fact, you could probably find dozens, or even hundreds of ways to tweak your efforts to gain an inch here and there. Trial and error are really key to finding several strategies that work for you consistently.
That said, there are a few basic elements that will help you to see ongoing success when it comes to outsmarting your competition and nailing the balance between spending and returns. How can you nab valuable keywords, control spending, and hit that sweet spot in high-volume PPC markets?
Know Your Enemy
You probably have a list of preferred keywords on tap for your PPC campaign. Who else is using them? How are they using them? Who’s getting the top spot and what are they selling/promoting?
It’s important to understand who you’re competing against when it comes to your preferred keywords. When you know what they’re selling and who they’re targeting, you have a better chance to tweak your strategy in order to decrease competition and costs.
Manual vs. Auto Cost-Per-Click (CPC)
It’s tempting to automate everything, and really, automation can relieve a lot of the burden of constantly adjusting manual strategies. That said, it’s not a mutually exclusive proposition. Even when you automate, you need to remain vigilant about auditing results to see what’s working and what isn’t so you can hone your strategy. A combination of manual and auto CPC strategies will serve you best.
Bidding for Sales
Conversions are great. Of course you want consumers to visit your website, become familiar with your brand, and even sign up for membership. However, your main goal at all times should be making sales if you’re running a business. Profit may or may not make the world go ’round, but it sure keeps your doors open.
You should therefore consider focusing on keywords and strategies that result in more sales (short-term or long-term) than other types of conversions. At the very least, you may be willing to bid more aggressively for these keywords than ones that deliver a lot of click-through, but few other substantial conversions.
Consider that you could also bump spending for retargeting ads to ensure that you get the right keywords and get your ads in front of consumers that have already visited your website. Recognition could drive traffic and sales, but only if an audience familiar with your brand sees your ads.
There is no shortage of tactics to hone your PPC efforts and improve outcomes, but you have to keep learning, trying, and figuring out how to get an edge over competitors. This is not a static, one-strategy game. It’s an ever-evolving landscape and you have to stay on your toes if you want to consistently outstrip the competition.