Paid advertising aka paid traffic is a great way to increase business.
However, you can also lose a lot of money if you’re not careful when first starting out.
That is why I asked some of the most respected PPC Experts in the industry:
“If you could tell someone brand new to paid marketing, what advice would you give them?”
Neil Patel – Brad Geddes – Jon Loomer – David Rodnitzky – Bryan Eisenberg
Geno Prussakov – Annie Cushing – Adam Riemer – Lorne Fade – Jason Akatiff
Maddie Cary – Kirk Williams – Tommy Walker – Martin Osborn – Luke Kling
Khawarj – Mike Rhodes – Zac Johnson – Nikolai Baskakov – Margot da Cunha
When you are starting off in paid advertising, don’t get too ahead of yourself. Start slow until you’ve figured out the economics and you know it is profitable. Once you hit that point you can scale things up. But at the beginning, continually test until you can make it work.
Before you spend a penny on PPC; you need to get a basic PPC education to understand how everything feeds into each other. As keywords, ads, and landing pages interact with each other, if just one of these is poor; then your advertising will suffer. These data points are governed by your campaign settings – if those are off, you’ll waste a lot of money. Finally, you need to understand the account goals and how to track the to make data-driven decisions. PPC isn’t overly complex for a beginner if you have the right education. So the first step is understanding the search process and how you can senselessly fit into it as an advertiser to ensure the correct searchers become your customers.
Founder of Jonloomer.com
To find success with ads, there is a long list of factors to consider. However, the most important is targeting. You must target the right people at the right time based on their place in the funnel to get the action you desire at a high rate. There’s no better way to do this than with remarketing — surfacing to ads to people based on what you know about them due to their activity on your website. If they read a blog post about a solution to a problem, show them an ad for an ebook that attacks that same issue. If they’ve visited the thank you page of that opt-in, show them an ad to the product that is the next step.
My tip on paid marketing here: Follow the customer. Channels like SEM, Facebook, display, mobile – whatever – are irrelevant. The most important thing is to understand your customer – how do they use the Internet? Once you understand that, allocate your budget accordingly. Sometimes this means a heavy focus on SEM, sometimes not. There are plenty of business cases, however, where SEM just won’t work. For example, if you were the head of marketing for TiVo when it launched in the 90s – when no one knew what a “digital video recorder” was – what keywords could you buy? This is just one example where trying to put a square peg into a round hole will get you in trouble. Follow your customer and good results will follow!
Founder, BryanEisenberg.com New York Times bestselling author
The single biggest reason why people fail to convert on a website is that they could not get their buying questions answered. Most often this happens because they land in the wrong place and navigation (or internal search) makes it difficult or impossible for them to push their confidence levels high enough to purchase (or become a lead) and not feel any buyers remorse. It would be great if you started thinking about your business the way Jeff Bezos thinks about Amazon.com; they are not in the business of selling books but in the business of helping customers buy books. There is no better place to do this than in search when they are intentionally sharing their questions (keywords) with you.
Remember PPC ads are just about getting their attention, but the value is in answering their buying questions on your landing pages. Stop thinking of PPC as “pay per click” and begin to think about it as “pay per conversation.” In fact, Amazon looks at PPC the opposite way from most people. They start with great product pages that convert, they then figure out what keywords would make sense from that page and then they right the ads. Start by answering your customers needs on your pages, they choose what keywords are relevant for that content on the page and then write ads that get their attention to begin their buyer journey.
If you heard of “7 Ps” before, you know what my advice for PPC newbies is. US marines know this adage very well: “Proper planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance.” Never believe anyone who may imply that pay per click advertising is an easy way to land business. It can turn into one for you; but it can also end up being an easy (and fast!) way to flush your money down the toilet. Make sure that prior to spending money on PPC campaigns, you spend your time and effort on the “proper planning and preparation,” educating yourself on the mechanics and intricacies of the platform where you’re going to advertise. Prepare, plan, and then take it easy – one step at a time. Replicate successes and learn from mistakes. Rinse and repeat.
My advice to someone new to the PPC field would be to learn to use analytics in your practice. With PPC campaigns, everything should be on point because every visit is paid for. I can’t tell you how many egregious issues I’ve found in PPC campaigns, such as an organization [inadvertently] paying for porn terms, broken landing pages that return 404 or 500 errors, expensive keywords with very high bounce rates, etc. It’s also good to know how a PPC campaign is performing in comparison to a site’s other marketing campaigns. So, yeah, shockingly my advice would be to cozy up with data that justifies your monthly payment. 🙂
Founder, Adam Riemer Marketing
Before you run any paid ads, learn how to use analytics and conversion pixels. You are spending money to get results, traffic doesn’t matter, sales do. If someone converts and never shops again, your cost per sale has to fit within that margin. If you have terms that cost double to convert and don’t work within your margins, but the person shops 3 or 4 more times, you might be profitable for the long run making them more valuable for a long time marketing plan. Once you know who these people are by looking at your analytics and demographic data, now you can start to scale.
The important thing to remember is that traffic is useless unless you get your money back. Find out who your shopper is, how profitable they are short run and long run and then scale based on the current needs of your company with long-term success in mind.
If someone was just getting started, I’d tell them 3 things.
1. Pick an offer/vertical that has a conversion rate of 5%+
2. Pick a traffic source with lots of scale
3. Once you make your decisions push through to figure out how to make it work. Don’t change paths.
I’d suggest the 5%+ because in order to properly optimize; statistical relevance is based on population size (total clicks) and matches (conversions). The higher the conversion rate the less clicks you need to get to statistically relevant data. Which inevitably = less $ spent to optimize.
I see people pick traffic sources with limited scale. Most sources take roughly the same amount of time to learn the intricacies and nuances of. As long as you’re going to invest that time you mind as well invest it in something you can potentially spend 20-50k/day on.
The last way I see people fail is testing many traffic sources and many offers. The real learning happens when you iterate doing the same things many times. Then learn from the failures and still push through. These failures and overcoming them is what makes people great…. at anything.
Senior Client Manager, Point It Digital Marketing
If I could give advice to someone starting out in paid search marketing, I would tell them that the best thing you can do is be proactive. SEM is always evolving, so we’ve all got to stay ahead of the constant changes as best we can. Read blogs, industry leader tweets, and articles every morning when you start your day. Ask the people you work with lots of questions, especially those you admire or are in positions you hope to be in one day. If you see something isn’t working – come up with a plan! Map out a test idea, an expansion opportunity, a proposal, and implement and measure results to see what works. If you’re client-facing, ask yourselves the PPC questions (and don’t forget business questions) your client may be asking themselves, and try to be a step ahead of them. The best-paid search marketers I’ve worked with are proactive individuals who don’t wait to be told to analyze, test, or innovate – instead, they’re self-starters!
As a beginner in paid search, learn voraciously. Every single time you see something you don’t know in an account, stop to find out about it. Even if it means just reading the little Adwords help pop-ups. Take the time to learn what you don’t know and your appetite for learning will be rewarded over time as your knowledge base continually expands.
Marketing Manager, Shopify
Do your homework! Not only will well-researched ad groups bring you more profitable returns, but it will also make it so you’re not broadcasting to competitors that you are just using scattershot targeting.
Tools like Spyfu and ahrefs allow for someone like me to see the kind of terms you’re targeting. If I see you’re coming to the party with a weak targeting game, I could do anything from outsmart you on key phrases to spend a little extra out of my own budget and flood you with bad leads.
Always do your homework.
Affiliate Marketer & Founder, FinchSells
Aim to control as many variables as you can. The fastest way to blow through a paid advertising budget is to launch it with loose targeting and a forgettable call-to-action. New advertisers are much more sensitive to losing money. It’s better to over-target and spend $10, on the right users, than under-target and spend $1000, on the wrong ones.
I’ve worked with thousands of affiliates getting into paid advertising and usually the biggest barrier is finding a good place to start. They have a budget set aside for their ads and they know what they want to advertise. The big question is always WHERE should you advertise?
My recommendations for which ad network to use typically is based on their experience. If you’re brand new to paid advertising, I’ll typically recommend a 2nd tier search ad network like 7Search. 7Search has a low barrier of entry ($50) and they have the tools to teach you how to optimize your campaigns, which is a critical step if you ever want to actually make money from your paid advertising. You’ll never make a ton of money advertising on 7Search, but it’s a good place to learn how everything works and the most important step is the one a lot of people don’t take, actually taking action and doing something.
Take action and you’re beating 90% of your newbie competition 🙂
For those who are just starting out with paid advertising… My advice for them would be to first spend some time researching their ideal prospects and to study their online behaviour and activities. Research how they think – in short, put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
Before you start with any paid advertising network, make sure you know how your traffic network works and where they get your traffic from and how they serve your traffic. Do not forget tracking and split testing with different placements, ad copy, banners and landing pages.
Great question. Simple answer: get educated.
And the only way to do that properly is with a whole lot of practice. Theory alone isn’t enough.
And if you can manage an account that spends your own money, so much the better. You learn much faster with your wallet on the line!
There are some wonderful places to get that education such as PPCchat, hundreds of great blogs (too many to mention) & training sites like Brad’s Certified Knowledge & my own PPCsavvy.com
Affiliate Marketer & Founder, Zac Johnson
When building out your own paid advertising campaign, it’s extremely important to have a solid landing page and tracking system in place. This is something I cover in detail here, in my review for AdsBridge. The reason for this is that you need to build unique landing pages to best target your demographic audience, who and where they are and why they are converting or not. All of this can be done through various tracking platforms. No matter which you use, the important thing is that you are using one. After getting your landing page created and going live with your campaign, you will then need to track, measure and split test your results to continually increase conversions and profit over time.
Founder, Blue Pearl Media
Success in direct marketing comes down to mastering 1 thing… and it is locating your ideal buyers – and answering #1 question they already have in their mind, using their own language with your marketing. See, It does not matter what traffic you are buying, as long as the person on the other side of the screen is hungry for what you are offering. Gary Halbert – one of the greatest copywriters who ever lived, said: “The only advantage I want, […] is a starving crowd!”. Never waste your budgets trying to convince people that are already full. Find starving crowds, and feed them first.
Margot da Cunha
Content Marketing Specialist, Wordstream
I would tell someone new to paid advertising to be patient & learn the ins and outs of PPC before getting started. All too often marketers dive head first into PPC without learning the essential concepts to achieve success like match types, negatives, and how to properly structure an account. There are a huge scope of resources out there from the Google AdWords support section to PPC University. Patience is truly a virtue when it comes to PPC, and this is critical for marketers to remember as well. People quickly come to the conclusion that “PPC just doesn’t work for my business,” but in reality they likely just haven’t gotten it right. When they do get it right and the conversions start trickling in they’ll be happy they didn’t jump the gun.
That’s A Wrap!
Big shout out to everyone who contributed to this awesome roundup. Please share if you found it useful & follow all of these experts individually!
Paid traffic doesn’t have to be something scary.
Always do your research first, plan out everything and learn while doing it. Never just jump into paid traffic “blindly” always have a hypothesis for everything you do.
Want to leave your answer to the question –
“If you could tell someone brand new to paid marketing, what advice would you give them?”
Share it in the comments below.