Get Your Head in the Game: 5 Steps Before Starting a Paid Search Campaign

Paid search can help you get consistent, predictable, affordable sales or leads, and it can help you learn a lot about your product and message. Before you begin a paid search campaign, be prepared.

1. Understand your model.

To be successful in search marketing, you must have a complex understanding of your ROI (return on investment) as it applies to paid search. Research competitors’ click and conversion numbers, and be prepared to set goals that are aggressive – but attainable and flexible.

2. Be prepared for calculated risk.

All marketing activities involve risk. While feedback is immediate and transparent with paid search, you must still be able to allow room for exploration.

3. Say goodbye to vacations.

You just can’t leave your campaign unattended. The market changes every day, and a stagnant campaign quickly results in a loss of ad position and Quality Score. If you – or the person who will manage your campaign – wants to go off the grid for a week, you’ll need to find a campaign sitter to log in, check conversion rate, adjust bid prices and manage your ads.

4. Be prepared to have a reasonable budget.

A common strategy is to begin with a tiny budget to “see how it works” – but keep this in mind: depending on your vertical, a 2% conversion rate is considered to be very good.

This means that 98% of your pay-per-click budget will go to clicks that never convert. So if your budget is too small – if, for example, you only allow enough budget for ten clicks per day – you will feel like a failure (even when the numbers suggest that your campaign is succeeding). It’s imperative both for the success of your campaign and your sanity that you be reasonable and allocate enough budget to allow for actual results.

5. Get ready to settle for second place.

In paid search, sometimes relinquishing the first ad position is the right thing to do. In fact, fighting for first position can hurt your campaign. And you may need to give up a keyword you want because the bid price is just too high. This means checking your ego at the door and doing the right thing for your campaign.

Most of these steps are designed to get you into the right head-space required to be the manager of a paid search campaign. With all marketing activities, an understanding of the data, your goals and the risk involved can determine your success: and it’s even more important with paid search, where data is immediate and transparent.

If you’ve completed the steps and are ready to kick off your paid search campaign, check out our Trada resources page for tons of free downloads and videos to get you started.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user zachstern.

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