Forget about the details of setting up an AdWords, Search Marketing or adCenter campaign. — You aren’t going to find those instructions here. At least not today anyway. If you’re looking for that kind of information, each vendor has a pretty extensive step-by-step process they’ll walk you through. (Although tips on those instructions are always good – that is another post.)
What you will find here is a basic question that you need to ask yourself. Before even considering how to compose your ad text or create the keyword list, what is the FIRST question that needs asked? Is it about the budget? No. How about the CPC bids? No, that’s not the first either.
So if ad text isn’t first, keywords aren’t first, budget isn’t and CPC certainly isn’t, then what is the question needing answered? If you’re job is like mine, and you manage other people’s PPC accounts, you’ve got to understand what your client sells, and how their site is organized. So you the first question you have to ask is:
What are you selling?
I can hear it from here, you’re saying duuuhhh, but I don’t mean to ask what is being sold in general, I mean specifics. In answering this question, you’ll want to become very familiar with the client’s website. They may sell 100’s, or even 1,000’s of products. Or maybe they only sell a dozen. Or fewer. But you have to be familiar with them. What is the price range of the products? Who might be the target audience and how do you speak to them?
As you’re studying the website, pay attention to how they organize their categories. Keep their organization in mind as you consider how you might organize the ad campaigns. How is their site navigation organized? Act like a shopper, can you find what you’re looking for? Become completely familiar with the website and the products they sell.
Knowing what they sell and how the site is organized is going to help you a great deal. When you do get down to organizing the campaigns by category, breaking down in to ad groups and generating keywords lists to ultimately create your ad text, you’re going to have a solid foundation under your plan.
What else is important?
What is your ROI?
This is a crucial and often over looked question. If it were (or is) your own business, you would probably have a very good idea as to how to answer this question. But if you’re managing PPC for someone else, you aren’t likely to know. So ask the client. Good luck with that though because I’ve found it very difficult to get them to reveal how much they make on their products. Somehow I think they feel that if they let me know that information, that they’ll think I expect more money to manage their accounts.
To help our clients feel better about revealing what they view as confidential financial information, we came up with a “Conversion Calculator” that we use to determine what the ceiling for cost per conversion is. If we don’t know what cost per conversion is going to provide the client with a positive ROI on their PPC accounts, then we can’t really gauge how successful our efforts really are. For one client, an acceptable cost per conversion maybe $5.00, where for another, it may be $250. It depends on many factors. So talk with the client, and work with them to have them help you understand how much is an acceptable Cost per Conversion.
After having answered these two important questions, you’re going to be more successful in the overall results of your PPC campaigns. You’ll understand more intimately what the client is selling, how their site is organized, and how they determine their positive ROI. Now you’re ready to organize your accounts into campaigns, ad groups, keywords lists and finally to create the ad text.