How to Get Started in PPC

Guest post by Marianne Pratt

Are you finally ready to give pay-per-click (PPC) advertising a try? Maybe you’ve dabbled in PPC but your efforts need a boost. Or perhaps you’ve put your proverbial toe in the water and now think PPC may be a career opportunity for you. Knowing how to get started in PPC will ensure your next steps take you where you want to go.

Used properly, PPC can make your marketing more efficient, producing greater search engine visibility, more traffic, higher quality leads and quickly quantifiable results. Just being able to track and control your advertising can do wonders for your ROI.

Follow these basics on how to get started in PPC:

  • Do your homework. Google is the easiest place to start, because they offer lots of help. You can even earn an AdWords certificate.
  • Set goals and identify metrics to analyze results.
  • Make your ad concise, with an attractive call to action. Link deeply, directly to a product or special landing page, not your home page.
  • Use limited keywords to start, to make the most of your initial budget and learn the most from your early efforts. Use specific terms that describe specific products. See what people are using to find you by reviewing your site search logs, or use Google’s keyword tool. Negative keywords are important, too.
  • The great beauty of PPC is amazingly detailed targeting (or negative targeting). Take advantage of this to avoid wasting potentially prodigious amounts of time and money. Target who and when, and use geo-targeting for where.
  • Establish a budget that makes financial sense based on the potential revenue and profit margin you’ll derive. Manage your budget with term selection and bidding. Set a budget cap for the first few weeks to get an idea how your campaign is going before you make any changes. If your budget caps are too restrictive, lowering your bid amount should bring you more clicks for the same total cost.
  • Evaluate everything. Make an Excel spreadsheet to track data so you can conduct basic research and analysis on your early efforts and manage your campaign. Use free tools such as Google Analytics or Facebook Insights. Retain what’s working best and eliminate everything else. If your campaign is successful, consider increasing your PPC budget to generate even more response.
  • Give it time to work! You may have to wait a couple of months or even longer to see truly meaningful results.

To be successful, you need to optimize every aspect of your campaign. So understanding how to get started in PPC is crucial, but it’s just the first step. You also must learn how to move forward – fixing problems, identifying and making course corrections, becoming a more sophisticated PPC marketer — to create the strongest impact and reach your advertising goals.

Who should handle your PPC campaigns?

  • You can do it yourself, saving on fees for creative work and management. But your time spent on learning and ongoing campaign monitoring cost money, too.
  • You can hire a pro, whose knowledge and experience will probably generate better results sooner. You won’t waste resources on needless experimentation, and you can stay focused on managing the rest of your business.

Your decision depends on which kind of investment makes sense for you and how badly you want to become a PPC expert.

Maybe you do want to become an expert.

Remember, there’s a difference between a hobbyist and a professional. Making the transition should be a conscious career decision, but there’s plenty of help available.

Entry-level work generally includes:

  • Assisting with campaign design and management
  • Customer interaction
  • Opportunity to learn about sales and marketing in general
  • Potential internships, paid or not

You could work for in advertising, marketing or PR, for an agency, individual business or non-profit organization. Different environments will let you learn from more experienced professionals or spread your wings and take charge right away. You’ll need a positive, outgoing attitude and the ability to communicate in person as well as online.

Some tips:

  • Use your skills to research opportunities and options online. There’s a plethora of resources including blogs, discussion groups, webinars, print and e-Books, videos, etc.
  • Do some networking, both the face kind and via Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. Join the Linked-In group PPC Pro People, an international community of thousands of PPC pros.
  • Find a mentor or coach.
  • Clean up your social media act first. Stupid, silly postings just make you look unprofessional and immature.

Understanding and following up on how to get started in PPC depends entirely on your current status and your goals. But whether you’re looking to expand your company’s online marketing, improve your current efforts or take the professional plunge, you’ll find it can be a profitable journey.

Looking for more PPC resources? Download Trada’s eBook: The Paid Search Primer.

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