Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the most widely-used and quickest ways to draw more potential customers to your site and increase sales.
But PPC can be risky, especially if you're a beginner as you can wind up not getting the results you were expecting while spending a significant amount of money.
Creating an effective PPC advertising campaign can make the difference between a thriving business and simply wasting your budget.
But don't panic. You too can create and run a successful campaign, just make sure you avoid these six very common yet extremely costly PPC mistakes:
1. Sending visitors to your home page
This must be one of the most common mistakes, especially among those who are just starting out with PPC advertising.
Say you have an online shop where you sell laptops and tablets.
You've decided to run a PPC ad for the keyword "Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2" and in the ad you include a URL that, when clicked, redirects users to your site's home page.
Now the user is on your home page and there's no sign of a Lenovo ThinkPad anywhere.
Do you really think he'll stick around and start searching through your site to find a product you promised he will find if he clicks on your ad?
Of course he won't.
So, always redirect your PPC visitors to targeted landing pages.
If you advertised a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, include the URL to the product's landing page.
2. Badly converting landing pages
If you invest time and money into PPC advertising, don't neglect the landing page you're sending visitors to.
If you do, it's like throwing money down the drain.
A successful PPC campaign goes hand-in-hand with a great, highly converting landing page.
This means clear and conversion-oriented copy and effective call-to-actions that will make it easy for visitors to sign up, download or buy.
3. Missing out a call-to-action
Not including a call-to-action in your ad is costly as it's what gets users to click and go to your site.
Every ad you create needs to include a clear call-to-action such as "Buy Now", "Download Now", "Free Shipping", etc.
A call-to-action is very important and could mean the difference between a user ignoring your ad and one actually clicking on it and buying something from your site.
4. Relying entirely on 'broad match' keyword ads
There's just too much competition to even bother running a PPC ad campaign using broad search terms and keywords.
Instead, focus on phrase or exact match terms thus making it easier for your potential customers to find you.
Yes, you are decreasing your traffic potential but you're ensuring that your ads will only appear for search queries that are relevant for your business.
5. Targeting too broad an area
This is another common mistake and it can be an extremely costly one.
Say your business only serves London. Why would you waste money advertising in all the UK?
It doesn't make sense. Make sure you're only targeting the areas your business serves and nowhere else.
Google makes this easy as it allows you to target not just specific countries and cities but also postcodes.
6. Not testing your ads
If you create two ads, can you tell which one will perform better just by looking at them? Of course not!
Unless you're a psychic, there's no way to know which ad will make more money other through testing them.
So, start testing now. Create several ads and run them simultaneously.
Make sure you use Google AdWords' automated rules as it automatically pauses low-performing ads with low click-through rates.
All you need to do is create a rule for each campaign where you choose to pause ads when CTR < 0.2 and Impressions >= 1000.
If you're just getting started with your first PPC advertising campaign, take some time to educate yourself and come up with a strategy to ensure you get the most out of your campaign.
It's only normal to make some mistakes at the beginning, just make sure they're not one of the above six.
What are the most common PPC mistakes you've noticed?
Guest post by Alex Gavril, part of the 123-reg.co.uk blogging team. 123-reg is the UK's largest domain name registrar and it offers managed PPC advertising.