For DTC owners, Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns are one of the most effective marketing investments you can make.
Done well, they grow your audience, drive sales—and position you as an industry leader. And, unlike other channels, you get a measurable return on investment—so you know exactly how hard your marketing dollars are working.
But like any aspect of a successful business, great results come from great planning. And to maximize the returns on your PPC investment, you need to follow the right process—or risk blowing your budget on poor quality traffic and low conversion rates.
At Adexpress, we’ve refined our PPC campaign setup into six simple steps, so you always put the right foot forward.
First, be clear on what you want your campaign to achieve.
Start by thinking about your sales funnel and how customers interact with your business. If you have long lead times—with sales staff accountable for converting those leads—your goal might be to get a specific number of calls to your business over the next six months.
If you have a shorter funnel—with a high-converting website and less human interaction in the sales process—your goal might be to send prospects to a dedicated landing page for an immediate sale.
Or perhaps your goal isn’t sales-focused—maybe you’re looking to increase brand awareness in your local area. Instead, your goal might be to drive newsletter sign-ups to convert leads at a later date.
All of these are solid reasons to invest in a PPC campaign—but to maximize your chance of success, you need to be clear on the outcome you’re pursuing.
The next step is to determine your campaign budget.
Start by considering your Cost Per Click (CPC). This is where keyword research comes in. Use Google Ads Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords for your campaign—and how competitive those words are—to determine how many clicks you can afford, and the keywords your competitors are using.
Then think about your sales process (again). If you sell your product through your website at a low cost per sale—and your PPC shows a positive ROI—then you can effectively allocate as much budget as possible to your campaign. In other words, if you’re getting $5 back for every $1 you spend, the only limit to your budget is the number of orders your fulfillment team can handle.
But, if your sales process is more time-consuming—perhaps you have a sales team that converts leads over a number of months—your PPC budget will be determined by your ability to handle the orders and service calls.
There’s a lot to consider when setting your paid ad campaign budget. And it can take months of trial and error to get it right. That’s why we suggest finding an expert partner (like Adexpress) to help you save time, money, and sleepless nights.
PPC works best when you have a clear understanding of your audience—and their buying triggers.
If your audience is millennial creatives working in social media, for example, their needs and desires will differ from corporate lawyers five years from retirement.
Start by creating buyer personas to build a picture of your customers. List their demographic factors—like age, profession, income, education, gender, race, and geographic location—and then dig deeper into their desires, their worries, how much they’re willing to spend, where they are in your buyer journey, and how they want to interact with you.
All of these things combined will determine your advertising approach—from where you target your audience, to the offer, to the creative and copy (see Point 5 below), to how you measure your campaign’s success.
When you’re just getting started, successful PPC campaigns come from months of trial and error.
But effective refinement requires clear, useful data to pull from—and knowing which metrics to track along the way.
Setting up Google Analytics is the first step. Then, you should define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to highlight whether you’re achieving your campaign goals from Step 1.
Let’s take three basic KPIs: click rates, website visitors, and conversions.
With metrics of each, you can dive deeper into where your traffic is coming from—and if it’s going to the right place. You can see whether that traffic is converting, and if so, what to—a new lead, a new customer, an email subscriber, or repeat purchaser, etc.
These insights show you which keywords are effective, and where you’re losing money. You can see how people are behaving on your website, and where you need to make changes.
Importantly, these metrics help you determine the success of your campaign—and where you need to refine it going forward.
Now it’s time for the fun part. Building your ads.
Writing your ad copy is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. And luckily, you already have plenty of research to pull from.
Take what you learned about your audience and align it with your campaign goals and keyword research. Look at your competitor's ads, and how they’re performing—what do you notice about their copy? Finally, see which of your web pages have the most organic traffic and use it for copy inspiration.
You should be familiar with the ad format—which you can find in Google Ads—and the role of each element within the ad.
And from there. Well, it’s time to start writing.
Your ads should be compelling and easy to read, with a clear call to action. Headlines play a huge role, so you should know what makes a compelling headline—and the psychology behind what makes people click.
Again, it’s a result of trial and error.
We suggest creating a selection of different ads to keep things fresh and combat audience fatigue. This also helps with A/B testing (which we’ll talk about later) and determining future success.
With everything set, it’s time to launch.
We suggest running your campaigns for at least four weeks before reviewing the results. From there, you can pull your KPIs to determine whether your campaign is achieving its goal.
And if it’s not, don’t panic—a little course correction goes a long way.
If people aren’t clicking your ads, start by tweaking the copy on your headlines and call to action. If that doesn’t help, consider changing your keywords—making them more targeted, or trying less competitive terms.
And if people are clicking your ads, but not taking action on your website, try changing the copy on your landing pages, making your call to action clearer, or consider structural changes to help the reader navigate the page.
PPC success comes from trial and error—so don’t panic if you don’t see results right away. With a little refinement, you’ll soon get the success you set out to achieve.
There’s a lot to think about before rushing into your PPC campaign. From budget and audience to metrics and creative, it’s easy to get overwhelmed—especially if you’re new to the game.
Fortunately, a little planning goes a long way—and if you follow our six simple steps, you’ll set yourself up for marketing success.
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