One of the most common questions I get asked is whether running pay-per-click campaigns on the likes of Google AdWords, Bing, or social media channels are worth it. My answer is generally that it’s always worth testing to see if you can achieve your goals in this way – but when I dig further under the surface, I usually find that this question is being asked because the board or senior people at the client in question is reluctant to sign off on PPC spend.
Justified or not, PPC has got a bit of a reputation for being an expensive waste of money in many circles. In my view, this is largely because of poor management by some agencies, and because Google in particular (and increasingly Facebook) tries to encourage users to ‘give it a go’ themselves – often leading to poor results.
The fact of the matter is that all of these ad platforms can add value to your business, and accelerate your performance in the digital sphere.
A fairly common situation I see is where a company has created a new website or product to launch, and are then sat waiting for organic traffic to materialise. Realistically, this takes at least a few weeks or months to really come into its own, so PPC campaigns can be invaluable in driving initial users to the site so you can see if what you’re creating is going to work for them. Ideally, you’d be getting some initial business from this traffic and improving your website or offering so that your organic traffic also converts better.
However, there are a lot of companies in this scenario who simply sit and wait for traffic to come to them, leading them to think their new website/product has failed when in effect they haven’t had many people at all use it. In these situations, PPC is an enabler – you can control traffic flow to all different parts of your website (and control who those people are), so that you can see what is and isn’t working in a quick and efficient way.
So, how can you get sign off from your company’s decision-makers on spending on PPC?
Here’s my four step guide:
- Set an expectation: Set a goal for running PPC that’s achievable, realistic, and measurable. For instance, say for a £500 budget I aim to get 750 clicks to the website and 50 sales. Don’t be unrealistic and say for £500 I want to achieve 20,000 clicks and 15,000 sales otherwise you’re setting yourself up to never get sign off again!
- Pitch the platforms: Plan out which platforms you intend to use before you ask for budget. If your audience is primarily B2B for instance, you might want to suggest more LinkedIn and Twitter ads as opposed to Instagram for example. Use your common sense, but also remember that whoever your audience are – they’re all people and using these platforms, it all just comes down to how you find them.
- Think about targeting: Do your research on how you can target different audiences and keywords on each platform, and go to your boss with a clear idea of who you’re targeting, how you’re going to reach them, and why you think that’ll allow you to reach your target.
- Set a defined budget: Don’t ask for an unlimited pot of money, or go too big too early. Pitch PPC as a test at first and set a realistic budget that’ll give you the leeway to test if each platform works, without overstretching your company. As a general rule of thumb, £1,000 – £2,000 per platform is a fair number to start getting some idea of how it might work for you. Of course, the more you spend, the more you can test and the better results you’ll get.
Follow these four steps, and you’ll be on the right track to getting sign off. Remember to explain how PPC works and the control you have over it. If you keep a close eye on your campaigns, you’ll have complete control over your spend, and only send traffic that you want to your site.
Many of the fears that people seem to have who aren’t active in digital is that this is another form of broadcast advertising that wastes money through wasted clicks. By explaining the level of targeting and control, and that there’s no real minimum spend, you’ll often overcome the vast majority of decision makers objections. Good luck!