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Inbound Marketing Blog

Stop Wasting Your Money On PPC Advertising

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Are you held accountable for increasing the number of visitors to your website and you’ve turned to PPC as the answer? Have you found it challenging to prove an ROI on your PPC advertising campaign? Did you hire a media agency to come in and “save the day” but have had a less than satisfying experience?

I lost count long ago of the number of companies I’ve found in similar positions, and I feel the pain of marketing professionals and the level of stress they are faced with each day.  As if it’s not bad enough that the average stay of a marketing director is less than 4 years (and that is a 100% improvement from 10 years ago), but these same people have their feet held to the fire from the day they start and are expected to produce staggering results immediately. 

Fortunately (or unfortunately) Google makes it very easy for you to sign up and begin attracting visitors to your website right away, and there definitely isn’t a shortage of educational material online to bring you up to speed quickly on creating successful campaigns.  Unfortunately it takes time to consume this information and when you’re under the gun, it’s a difficult choice between education and execution.

This typically leads to a Google search to identify a media firm to come to the rescue and deliver the results you’re looking for.  Unfortunately this can create more problems than you started with!

It’s important to note that the lion share of revenue created by media agencies comes from the 10% -20% commission they receive from the media they sell you. Unfortunately it’s too easy for agencies to keep their eye on this prize as they take a transactional approach to building their volume of media sales. 

Now before I begin receiving death threats from media agencies around the world, I’d like to clarify that I’m not saying all agencies take this approach.  I’m aware of some excellent media firms who are committed to delivering an ROI to their clients by ensuring these ads are delivering visitors to a solid experience that ultimately results in lead or revenue growth.  I just wish these companies were the majority instead of the minority.

Increased Traffic Isn’t The Silver Bullet

Driving visitors to your website doesn’t guarantee you increased leads or revenue, and in many cases, it can hurt you if you’re not driving that traffic to a pleasant user experience which delivers on the promise your ad made.  Think about it.  How many times have you done a search and ended up on a website where you were frustrated with what you found once you clicked and arrived.  How did that experience make you feel about the company you visited?  Did it build your trust in that organization? Probably not.

Driving traffic to a crappy website experience is like pulling out a stack of “hundies” and “making it rain” over a bonfire.

Another popular mistake is directing traffic from your PPC campaign to your homepage and forcing your visitor to conduct another search to find what they originally searched for.  Because they won’t, but you’ll still pay. 

Also, since you’re paying for their attention, don’t leave them hanging once they arrive.  Provide a clear call to action which is consistent with the keyword they used to find you, and delivers on what your ad promised.

Quality is Far More Important than Quantity

If you’re solely focused on driving more traffic you’ve probably noticed the quality of your leads (as well as the quantity) are at less than desirable levels.  I’ve found the reason this typically happens is when the PPC campaign is created with keyword groups stuffed full of general keywords with as much average monthly search volume as they can find.  Sure this can increase the number of impressions your ad gets (as well as the commissions for the media agencies), but is this the type of traffic you want?  Probably not!  Unless your boss doesn’t look any deeper than the volume of traffic, and in that case, you’ll probably have a new boss sooner rather than later anyhow.

When you’re setting up a PPC campaign it’s critical to take into consideration the intent of the person conducting the search based on the keyword they used to find you.  For example if you own a store focused on selling running shoes and you fall in love with the keyword “shoes” because it is used in searches over 1.2 million times each month, you’ll likely be wasting the majority of the $.66 you’ll likely spend to attract each visitor.  Although this keyword has high search volume, the person using it could be looking for a million other things other than running shoes, and in many cases, may not even be in the market to buy shoes at all.

Success Requires a Well Thought-Out Plan

Although this post may create the impression that I believe PPC is a complete waste of money, that’s not the case.  PPC can be an excellent way to drive traffic to a new landing page and determine quickly if you’ve created a user experience that converts before you turn up your efforts to drive huge volumes of traffic. 

It can also be an excellent way to build your database by offering valuable content to the personas you serve as you meet them at the beginning of their buyer journey, and create the opportunity to walk alongside them until they are ready to buy.

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There are a number of other very good reasons to utilize PPC advertising, but it’s extremely important to take the time to think it through and avoid letting the pressure your under cause you to cut corners.  Doing so will only cause your ROI to disappear and could lead to you searching for a new position in the near future, and neither of us want that!

I hope you’ve found this post helpful!  I also hope it leads to me finding at least one less campaign where a company is paying $20 to deliver a visitor to a “page not found” error or to their homepage.  If it does, then perhaps I can consume less antacid from the pain I feel for those companies and their bottom line.

If you’d like to get a handle on your ROI as well as an understanding of the comparison between PPC and Inbound marketing, you can download our “Value of Inbound Marketing Template” for free below.  If you disagree with anything within this post, or would like to share something that resonated with you, please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Topics: Strategy

Pete Brand

Written by Pete Brand

Pete is the CEO and Co-Founder of MINDSCAPE. His passion lies in Internet Marketing, building teams, and helping companies grow. When he's not working you can typically find him hanging out with his wife and five kids, hiking or backpacking through the beautiful outdoors or fanatically watching his favorite sports teams.

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