Paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns can help your business quickly receive more convertible website traffic, leads and ultimately boost sales. Both Bing and Google Ads PPC platforms are great marketing investments that help brick and mortar shops and e-commerce sites target their customers, making their product more discoverable in the right location and to the right audience. Really, if you’re not taking advantage of paid search yet, now’s the time, and you don’t have to have a degree in digital marketing to figure it out.

On average, 41 percent of clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on the search results page. And remember, you only pay when people click on your ad – meaning you also build brand awareness just by being displayed prominently on the search page. In fact, paid search ads can increase top-of-mind brand awareness by 80 percent. That’s something to think about.

Setting up an account for the first time takes a minute, there’s no way around that. But like anything else in life, if you’re going to do it, do it right. And if it results in near immediate positive results for your business, it makes sense, so let’s get started.

Before we dive in, remember, if you get stuck in the setup of the account, or in any subsequent steps, actual human beings are on standby to support you. At Bing, we have a great small business customer support center that includes one-on-one personal coaching (free by the way) that can help you get familiar with your PPC account tools and essentially how to get your first campaign up and running. So, don’t be afraid to reach out.

Create Your New PPC Account and Get Those Location Settings Locked In.

Whether your first timing it with Bing or Google Ads, the setup and initial campaign steps are basically identical. Sign up for an account and fill in all the basic details, and make sure you pick the right time zone for your product or service.

Create a new campaign, name it something fun, and select the language. Now we can hone in on the location.

If you’re a hair salon located in Little Rock, Arkansas, you probably don’t want everyone in the United States see your PPC ads, so use the location settings to geo-target your ideal audience. Four out of five consumers conduct local searches on search engines across PC, tablet and local devices, so zero in on your region of choice to get the right results. Target based on county, zip code or radius, with PPC you can be as wide-reaching or detailed as you’d like.

Start Strong by Creating a Solid Seed List of Keywords. Then Research and Research Some More.

Before you kick off your ad campaign, think strategically about your customers. What do they want? What are they looking for and how are they searching for it? This is important, because if you load your ads with a bunch of keywords your customers don’t use to search for your product, your campaign isn’t going to work. Begin by developing a seed list of keywords and phrases, basically everything you think customers might use to search for your business. What would your audience enter into Bing or Google to find a business like yours? Write it down.

Once you’ve got a nice-looking list established, roll up your sleeves and research. This will help validate the relevance of your initial ideas by showing you search volume data, trends, and the cost per click. It will also help you dig up keyword suggestions you may not have thought of.

Tip: As you’re researching, remember to set the location and date range for the most accurate results.

The more generic keywords like “bicycles” or “bakery” are going to be highly competitive and have a higher cost per click than words with less competition. The suggested bid is what tells you this.

As you get your list in order, it can be hard to decide what keywords you can actually afford. In other words, what’s your PPC budget? It’s ok if you don’t know for sure, this is your first time, but you do need to have an estimate and set a max cost per click. That’s the highest amount you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad. If you don’t do this, things can get out of control quickly. Learn more about setting a PPC budget here.

Take Your Newly Found Keywords and Make Some Ad Groups

Ad groups form a box around certain related keywords you select, include text ads related to those keywords and landing pages related to those text ads. It’s all connected.

Bing or Google will look on your ad groups to determine which keywords your ads will show in response to, what that ad will say and where the visitor will be taken once it’s clicked. You can start with a single campaign and ad group or 10 campaigns and 50 ad groups, it’s really your call. Regardless of the number, creating a well-organized, relevant ad group will bump up your Quality Score, reducing your overall ad spend. Here’s a quick snapshot that explains how Quality Score relates to CPC a bit more.

There are 3 Steps to Getting Your Ad Groups Off the Ground:

Group your keywords.

Review your initial list and divide your keywords into groups. This could be done by location, product type, brand, audience intent, etc. Each small bundle of keywords is its own ad group.

Write your ad.

You’ve seen PPC ads before, there’s not much room to make magic, right? You’ve got to make that most of the space you’re given and write to target your ideal audience. Use the audience and keyword research you conducted on the front end to write copy that will more effectively convert.

In the ad itself, you’ll need to develop a headline, description line and include a display URL. Within these copy confines, make sure what you write is engaging, uses keywords in your ad group, is grammatically correct, and has an action-based tone. Focus on your value proposition, how does what you do benefit customers? You can also include ad extensions such as your address and phone number, or the most commonly used, a sitelink extension. These provide advertisers with the ability to promote additional links to their website within a singular PPC ad. The presence of sitelinks typically lifts an ad Click Through Rate (CTR) by 10-20% (+20-50% on branded searches).

These extensions are free to activate and include in your ad (Bing or Google) and the cost per click is the same as a click on your ad title or URL, so why wouldn’t you?

Make sure your landing pages make sense. 

This is a big one. Your ad could be the greatest thing ever with a high CTR, but have no conversions. Why is that? Most likely, the landing page you have linked to the ad hasn’t been designed to seal the deal. There are a few reasons your landing page may not be hitting the mark:

  • It has nothing to do with the copy in the actual ad. (If someone clicks on an ad about black boots, they had better be taken to a landing page with black boots on it!)
  • The traffic is immediately sent to your homepage where they have to start searching all over again.
  • Your landing page isn’t mobile-friendly. 84% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 29 are most likely to use a mobile device when shopping online, so make sure your site optimized for these small screens.
  • Your landing page doesn’t load quickly. Just a 1-second delay in page speed can result in a 7% drop in conversions.

If people keep bouncing off your landing page, search engines notice, and smack you with a lower Quality Score, that means more money (from you, not to you). The point here, is to understand that your website and ad copy must work together. Make sure that your keywords line up with your PPC ad, and when people click on that keyword in your ad, they are taken to a landing page that contains a specific call to action and has relevant information for the keyword that was searched. It’s all coming full circle.

Time to Get Started

Now, it’s time to pull the trigger and monitor the success of your first PPC ad campaign. These are exciting times! Keep in mind that when it comes to ads, nothing is set in stone. Keep a close eye on how it’s going and make refinements along the way to maximize your return. And don’t be afraid to reach out to customer support. They are there to help educate you on the best practices, trends, and PPC resources available today.