PPC Internet Marketing Campaigns - The Overall Strategy for Your Campaign

By Gregory Smyth

It is quite easy to get bogged down in the details of a paid search engine marketing campaign. Operators start to feel lost part of the way through, when a statistic doesn't match their expectations, or something odd happens. That is why it is always worthwhile to pay attention to the overall strategy of your campaign before it begins. Set a timeline, put your checks and balances in place, fire up your website analytics package and make sure you know how to drive it, make up a spreadsheet to track your paid search engine optimization activities and success, and then hit the key! We show you how.

A budget is the first part of your overall PPC strategy you need to set. Note that you will set your budget based more on what the calculations tell you it will cost to achieve your target results, than what you think you can afford. Of course, your budget must be within the bounds of reality - but a results focused approach is what will get you results. Once you are an experienced PPC internet marketing campaigner, you will be able to roughly guess what your cost will be once you've seen the current bid prices for your popular keywords. To begin with though, you'll need to set up a spreadsheet.

You will have your keywords, in order of preference; in a spreadsheet (the strategy employed by pro search engine optimization services is to look for high volume searches with low competition, or low bid cost). Add a column for the bid price for each keyword to this spreadsheet. If you choose to bid in the #1 to #3 positions, and your ad copy is relevant, you can expect 3% to 5% of searches to result in a click through to your site. You can multiply the daily or monthly search volume by an estimated click through percentage, and then the cost per click, to get your estimated daily or monthly cost. Here you can review your personal web marketing strategy, perhaps choosing to eliminate high cost keywords or to bid in lower positions for them. You can also review your strategy by increasing your keyword list - although remember that most of your keywords should also be reflected in your site copy for best results.

As part of your earlier preparation, you will have defined your success metrics for the campaign. You will have set either a number of sales, a percentage increase in sales, a percentage increase in subscriptions or other conversions, or a traffic increase for your website. Positioning in Google is not necessarily a useful success metric if it doesn't make you any profits! Some of the other metrics you'll need to look at as part of your paid SEO marketing operation include:

  • Impressions (how many times your ad was displayed)
  • Number of clicks
  • The click through rate, obtained by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions.
  • Cost per keyword
  • Average cost per click (cost divided by clicks)

It is useful to have a web analytics package, like Webtrends, GetClicky, or another third party program. The paid options often have better functionality than the free versions, and online marketing agencies can give you advice as to the best one for your needs.

Remember to adjust your budget if your sales are seasonally based - if you get most customers at Christmas, you'll need to increase your spend in November and December, or earlier depending on your lead time. You'll also need to adjust your bidding strategy if you find yourself caught in a war with another company who is also determined to be #1. Remember that positions 2 and 3 also have decent click through rates, and rates are not non-existent for positions below 3 also. You can adjust this by either by varying or decreasing the number of keywords you are bidding, or resetting your daily budgets in AdWords or Yahoo Paid search engine marketing.