Advertising online can be a great way of generating leads and sales if you have the technical and marketing expertise to make it work, but for many companies and small business owners advertising on PPC networks, the experience often ends up being very costly and disappointing.

Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to turn your PPC marketing campaign into a profitable one, but there are also some common mistakes you should avoid.

1. Neglecting keyword research

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of PPC marketing. Take the time to use some of the free keyword tools available on the Web. They will help you build a more elaborate list of keywords. You might be surprised by the results.

2. Using too many keywords in ad groups

Having ad groups with hundreds of keywords is not something I recommend for optimal results. Doing this, you will end up with keywords that don’t match your PPC ad as accurately as they should. Instead, try to focus on different themes and create ad groups that will be more relevant to your keywords.

3. Overbidding on keywords

It can be costly to bid on some highly competitive keywords. Unless you have the data to justify that bid, be careful not to overbid and focus on keywords that are performing well. Remember, every $3 bid on a highly competitive keyword will keep you from getting 10 clicks on the secondary keywords you are bidding $0.30 on. Is it worth it? Sometimes it is, but in many cases it is not. Do your homework and make the best decision for your business.

4. Using irrelevant landing pages

Landing pages play a huge role in your conversion process. Keep them clean and relevant to the PPC ad leading people to it. Use action words and a visible call to action to convert users. Depending on your business, some type of design and layout might be more successful than others, so take the time to test different landing pages.

5. Mass targeting

Mass targeting is costly and should be avoided, especially when working with a low budget and limited resources. All major PPC advertising networks offer targeting options so take the time to learn how they can affect your results and use them wisely. Why advertise in China if you can only offer support in English? Surprisingly, I came across big names in the industry who don’t bother to target geographically. As with any other advertising medias, targeting is very important when it comes to PPC marketing so try to be as accurate as possible.

6. Not testing ads

It is very important to understand how people react to your PPC ads. You might relate to your products and services using words that are not necessarily what people would think of when surfing online. Depending on their location, they might also use a different vocabulary or spelling. For example, the term “search engine optimization” is used in the US and Canada while “search engine optimisation” is more common in Europe and Australia. Test your ads using different versions and words. After a while, you will know which ad delivers the best results for a specific keyword. If one keyword does not convert well with a given ad, try it with a different one until you find a good match.

7. Not keeping track of your PPC campaign

Don’t simply rely on stats provided by your PPC advertising network. It is very important to have a good web analytic system setup for your website and track both SEO and PPC marketing activities. You can’t improve your results if you don’t know what to look for and basic stats provided by PPC networks don’t tell everything. If you have the resources, link your website to a CRM or marketing automation system so you can track the source and actions of your qualified leads and adjust your strategy accordingly.

8. Neglecting negative keywords

Negative keywords can cost you a lot of money and opportunities if you don’t keep track of them and update your list frequently. Take the time to look at your web stats and identify keywords that are not related to your business. For example, you might want to advertise your video conversion software using the word “converter” but you don’t want your ads showing up for the term “Celcius converter”.

9. Advertising on the wrong PPC network

Numbers can be tricky. Some advertising networks deliver traffic at a lower cost, but in the end, that traffic might not be turning into qualified leads. Try to set-up a system that will allow you to track your ROI. This can be done using a CRM system, by adding a “referral” question to your forms, etc. Every business is different so don’t rely on what other people say and get the actual numbers. One PPC advertising network might be good for someone else but not for your business.

10. Not supporting your PPC campaign with SEO

Once you have something going with your PPC campaign, don’t neglect SEO because the future of PPC marketing is unknown. A lot of networks provide lower click-through rates than they used to while advertising costs have increased. Most people can now differentiate a PPC ad from a natural link because they are more familiar with the whole concept. Concentrate your efforts on SEO and use PPC marketing as a complement, not the opposite.

Major PPC Advertising Networks

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