Content marketing might be one of the biggest trends for 2013, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only effective digital strategy. An in-bound marketing strategy can take months of hard work and research to get results. In contrast, pay-per-click advertising can boost your website’s visibility almost instantly.
It’s particularly effective if you’re launching international websites and want to drive more traffic to them quickly.The fastest growth in internet use is in emerging markets, opening up potentially lucrative new opportunities for ecommerce businesses. The latest figures from Internet World Stats show that Asia now represents 44.8 % of web users, compared to just 11.4% in North America. Other high-growth regions include the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.
Pay-per-click (or PPC) can be more cost-effective than traditional forms of advertising. Since you only pay when users actually click on your ads, it ensures you only pay for people who visit your site. It’s also easy to set and stay in control of your budget. And the cost of PPC campaigns is often lower outside the United States, due to the relative lack of competition for the top keywords.
PPC campaigns still require research and careful planning. Choosing effective keywords, writing compelling copy, and creating landing pages that drive conversion are all key to success. Here are five steps to developing successful global PPC campaigns:
Choose your keywords
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Keywords are the building blocks of any PPC campaign. If you’ve already optimized your international sites for your main keywords then these will provide a starting point. If not, then use tools such as Google Adwords’ free Keyword Tool to research possible keywords and the relative competition levels.
These won’t always be direct translations of English keywords. For example, the most common term used by French speakers looking for car insurance is “assurance auto”, rather than the correct translation “l’assurance automobile”. And in many countries, it’s common to mix in English words –especially for technical terms.
Choose the right search engines and ad networks
Google Adwords is the obvious choice for most countries, but it’s worth considering other options for international campaigns. For example, Baidu is the most popular search engine in China, while Russians and South Koreans prefer Yandex and Naver respectively.
If you want visibility on certain sites, consider ad networks such as Facebook Paid Ads or Amazon Product Ads. For mobile users, the choices include InMobi, mMedia and iAd. These can be better (and more affordable options) than Google Adwords for reaching a target audience.
Grab users’ attention
The challenge is to capture a user’s attention with engaging copy and a very tight word limit. That’s not an easy task, and there’s no room for badly written text or poor quality translations. If you’re working across a language barrier, hire a native speaking translator or copywriter to ensure that every single word counts.
It’s also important to ensure the text is appropriate for the target culture. This includes getting the tone of voice right, and ensuring any cultural references strike the right chord.
Get the landing page right
Once you’ve paid for that click-through, you want to close the sale. The last thing you want is for people to lose interest once they see your site. That’s why a great landing page, which meets their expectations, is a must.
If they clicked on an ad promising “cheap flights to Australia” then they won’t want to see a generic travel page. Make sure that the landing page is attractive and engaging – and designed to sell your products or services.
And don’t forget that more and more people are using mobile phones to browse and make purchases. By the end of 2012, 13% of all global internet traffic was mobile (according to StatCounter Global Stats) and this is continuing to grow as smartphones outsell desktop PCs. Ensuring you have a mobile-friendly landing page is essential to grabbing your share of these users.
Monitor your campaigns
It can be tricky to get PPC marketing right the first time round, and it’s essential to monitor your campaigns closely and tweak them as necessary. Measure the click-through rates and track how users behave once they’ve reached your site.
This gives you valuable information that can be used to modify your campaign. You might find you need to change keywords, or target specific regions or groups of users. And don’t forget to check which keywords your competitors are using.
Although you might not get instant results, a PPC campaign can be one of the fastest ways to drive new traffic – and hopefully customers – to your sites.