Steps Your Business Should Take Before Starting A PPC Campaign

Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are a great way to market your business and drive sales fast.

And the data over the years only bolsters this marketing fact. 

Brand awareness can be increased by up to 80% through Google paid ads.

PPC generates twice the number of visitors when compared to SEO.

Paid advertising has a 200% ROI rate (that’s $2 for every $1 spent).

70% of all mobile customers call their target business directly from Google Ads.

We could go on and on…

But in spite of all this proof, PPC campaigns can also be daunting projects to take on. 

Not only are they incredibly complex, but they also require a large amount of dedicated money and time invested to make them a success.

So to tackle both the “How do you start a PPC campaign?” question, and the “How to make PPC campaigns more effective?” question… 

We’ve got some steps that PPC veterans swear by to ensure the success of a PPC campaign.

Steps to take before starting a PPC campaign: In-depth research for a smart PPC campaign strategy

When it comes to PPC knowledge and experience are power. 

Now experience can only be gained on the go. So you won’t be able to find a shortcut for that. 

But when it comes to knowledge, you can take some steps to set your PPC campaign up for success. 

Campaign-specific research is the most effective way for you to ensure you have all the info you need to make the right choices in your PPC strategy.

1. Campaign-focused customer research

You probably already have a set of customer avatars created for your overall marketing efforts. But you will need to fill it out more before you set out to create a PPC campaign strategy.

Apart from the usual:

  • demographics (gender, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, income, education, occupation, etc.)
  • location
  • pain points
  • desires, etc. 

You should also try and understand:

  • where do they hang out online 
  • what search engines do they prefer
  • what social media platforms do they use
  • what information are they looking for on search engines (relevant to your service)
  • what kinds of pages are they likely to follow (on social media)
  • what are the instant win / current needs they have (relevant to your service/product)
  • what are their priorities (features and benefits that you can hook them with)

This might seem unnecessary, but it is the foundational research that supplements all the following research that you’ll have to do before a successful PPC campaign. 

This information will help you make future decisions for your PPC campaign strategy.

So go all-in with the qualitative surveys, market research, review mining, customer interviews, and more to set yourself up for PPC success.

2. Search engine research and comparison

Google is the most popular search engine when it comes to PPC campaigns. And it will probably be the one you choose to run your PPC ads on. 

After all, Google has 92.96% of the global search engine market share.

But, you might want to also consider smaller platforms like Bing or Yelp, depending on your strategy. 

Yes, Google’s search traffic volume is much more than Bing or Yelp. But it is also where every major brand competes for their PPC campaigns. 

So the bidding competition for keywords and visibility is incredibly high. 

With Bing or Yelp, your search volume will be smaller… 

But you will also have less competition. Hence there are more chances for your campaigns to perform successfully, with lower bids than Google might need.

But how do you know if those platforms are even worth considering?

As an extension of your customer research, you can look into which search engine your prospects prefer. 

According to market research, the typical user on Bing is generally older than 35, and most commonly between 55-64 years of age. 

And before you write them off, as boring old people, you should probably also know that 1/3 of the Bing audience has an average household income of $100,000 or more.

Research has even shown that people spent 22% more online with Bing than on average search engines.

That means more disposable income, and higher purchase intent when searching.

It’s similar to Yelp too…

So if you are selling products or services to older adults with extra money to spare, Bing might be a gold mine for your campaign.

So do your research and choose accordingly.

3. Social media platforms research

From Instagram and TikTok to Facebook and LinkedIn, PPC ads reign supreme everywhere.

But where should you run your PPC campaigns?

Don’t choose based on other marketers’ preferences again…

In the world of social media PPC campaigns, your initial in-depth customer research will help you succeed. 

You’ll have to be doubly sure about your audience’s preferences here. 

Remember, on social media, you can’t target people based on intent. Here your campaign success hinges on your targeting.

You target highly specific audiences based on their personal, professional, demographic, and psychographic preferences.

Details like the kinds of influencers or accounts they follow or like, determine the effectiveness of your targeting. 

Not only will you have to know where your prospects like to hang out, but also where they have a higher intent of interacting with your product/service. 

For example, your prospect might be hanging out on both Instagram and LinkedIn. 

But they will be more likely to pay attention to a skincare product ad on Instagram than on LinkedIn where it would seem annoying or irrelevant. 

Whereas an ad for enterprise CRM software that they need for work would probably do better on LinkedIn.

So first do your research about your prospect’s preferred social media platforms, and then choose the more appropriate ones for your product segment.

4. Keyword research

Now the success of your campaign, especially on search engines, hinges on your keyword research.

The ideal keywords will be one that has:

  • high purchase / conversion intent
  • high search volume
  • low competition

Now in a real-world scenario, that is unlikely to be the case. (Unless you are selling a highly untapped, niche product or service!)

So your keyword research will need you to assess search intent and make judgment calls on what you think has the potential to work. 

But don’t worry, your PPC campaign strategy does not have to be a shot in the dark. 

Apart from the basic Google Keyword Planner… 

You can also use plugins like Keywords Everywhere to support your research.

And you can take a few leaves from your competitor’s book, by looking at their PPC campaigns through tools like SEMrush.

But keyword research at the end of the day is a nuanced task. 

You will require trial and error, and some experience for you to get better at judging the cost-benefit of each keyword. 

If you don’t want to leave your first few PPC campaigns up for trial and error, then consider hiring an experienced PPC agency to do the job for you.

Beware of trying to directly replicate the strategy of other successful campaigns in the industry. Every industry and product is different, so the PPC strategies will also vary. 

Implementation checklist: Steps for a successful PPC campaign strategy

Now that you have the right knowledge to drive the campaign, we move on to implementation.

There are a few standard PPC features that everyone knows to focus on, like budget, start and stop dates, keywords, and maximum CPC (cost-per-click) price.

But before you can launch your campaign, you must ensure you haven’t missed out on any of the PPC campaign best practices that go beyond the basics. 

Also read: A brief Email marketing guide for beginners to ensure great ROI

Ensure your PPC campaign strategy is fool-proof with this 6-point checklist.

  1. Identify negative keywords that you don’t want to show up for. (These are usually keywords that you already rank for organically or keywords with low search intent.)
  2. Have alternate keywords in case of budget constraints while implementing.
  3. Develop variations of ad copy and CTA copy to test. (This will help you optimize it for all future PPC campaign strategies)
  4. Ensure your landing page messaging and offer align with the ad messaging.
  5. Optimize your landing page copy and design for conversions.
  6. Consider using ad extensions to bolster your ads (like location, call, structured snippet, sitelink, and price extensions).