To the uninitiated, PPC appears very simple: buy a few keywords, serve up a few ads and close a few deals. The reality is that professionally managed and optimized keyword campaigns are actually very complex business processes that touch many facets of an organization and require many skill sets to execute properly.
The following are recommended steps for initiating, managing and optimizing PPC campaigns:
- Narrowly define product and/or service offerings
- Define market(s) for each offering
- Set measurable objectives (KPIs) for each service/market combination
- Use empathy with your prospects
- By service/market combination, to determine keywords prospects will use when searching for your solution
- Generate keywords: thousands of them
- Cluster keywords into campaigns
- You need at least several campaigns
- Write multiple ads per campaign
- You need at least two ads/campaign
- Ongoing: Optimize ads to campaigns
- Cancel the weak ones
- Create new ones
- Create multiple landing pages
- You need at least two landing pages/campaign
- Ongoing: Optimize landing pages to ads
- Perform multivariate testing of each landing page
- Determine how conversions from each campaign are defined in terms of your sales funnel
- Interface to CRM system
- Ongoing: perform advanced analytics to lower acquisition costs and increase conversion rates
- Ongoing: Perform bid management to ensure that your ad budget is used optimally
Generally speaking, the more transactional the product/service the more quickly one may correlate ad spend to success. Therefore, particularly in terms of enterprise sales, it is critical to have a CRM system in place to serve as a repository of all leads brought in through PPC. One may then determine the success or failure of campaigns from not only closed deals but pipeline analysis as well.
While one can expect an immediate increase in traffic through PPC, it typically takes about 4 to 6 months to optimize campaigns. The typical timelines for a PPC campaign are:
1. Strategy, including setting budgets and determining KPIs – 2 weeks
2. Setup and launch – 2 to 4 weeks, includes
- Keyword generation
- Campaign creation
- Ad writing
- Landing page creation
- Interface to CRM
- Analytics and bid management configuration
3. Initial results – Immediate upon launch
4. Optimization – 4 to 6 months, depending upon:
- Competitiveness of market
- Budget (you need a sufficient sample size to optimize at a high confidence interval)
It is almost impossible to find one person capable of handling all facets of a professional managed PPC campaign. And if you did, there probably isn’t enough time in the day for this one person to handle all of the tasks required to continually update, manage and optimize. For example, you need:
1. Someone intimately knowledgeable of your product/service in terms of features/functions/benefits, as well as those of the main competitors
2. Someone familiar with how to translate this information into keywords
3. Someone who understands the nuances of the major search engines that can cluster these keywords logically into campaigns
4. An ad copy writer
5. A web designer to design landing pages
6. An html programmer to create the landing pages
7. An IT representative to interface your campaigns to your CRM system
8. Someone trained, skilled and knowledgeable about advanced web analytics
9. Someone trained, skilled and knowledgeable about bid management
10. And last but not least, you need a very senior person that can coordinate and project-manage all of these individuals
Here’s where things get even more interesting: the demand for this talent far exceeds the supply of competent resources. The end result is that you are either over-paying for talent or you are hiring unqualified personnel. It gets worse. The supply/demand situation is such that even when you hire a superstar, in all likelihood that person will leave for a better paying position in less than 12 months.
If your monthly PPC spend is less than $50,000, your chances of recruiting and retaining a truly qualified person is almost zero. Simply put, the really good people will either work directly for a company that has a large budget, or will work for an agency where they get to handle multiple accounts. For PPC professionals, if you do not have a large budget the job isn’t very interesting for them. If you try to develop raw talent, they will likely leave you as soon as they’re trained.
There is an excellent alternative: retain Position².
Position² can deliver comprehensive PPC (and SEO and Social Media Marketing) services with a complete team, for about what it would cost you for one full time employee. No recruiting. No training. No tools to buy. No vacations. No sick time. No problem employees. Just predictable, cost-effective search marketing services with none of the headaches.
For the vast majority of companies it simply does not make sense to build an in-house team to perform search marketing. Position² has the most comprehensive and cost-effective search marketing services available anywhere. Contact us.