Last year, one of my colleagues wrote about what she learned about PPC from her cats. And while I don’t have any cats, there are PPC lessons in just about everything. To demonstrate this, I have compiled a list of five PPC lessons I learned from my betta fish, Octavius.
It’s good to start small
In everything you do, it’s good to have goals. In PPC, the end goal is maximizing revenue and conversions. But just like you wouldn’t give a child a dog as their first pet, you don’t want to start right off the bat by bidding on extensive keywords. You should get your pillars in place and build upon that. Start small, find something that works, and work up from there by trying different things.
The best way to do this is to start with the basics. Come up with a list of basic terms that encompass your product or service. Next come up with a list of basic modifiers and combine with your base terms. Here’s an example of what that would look like:
After letting these run for a bit, you’ll be able to look into which searches most frequently triggered your ads to determine additional keywords to bid on. To do this, look at the search terms report in the keywords tab.
Know what your budgetary limits are
One of the biggest reasons I got a fish was due to budgetary restrictions. Would I like to have a dog or a cat? Of course. But if I don’t have the money to support one of those, then I can’t do that.
The same thing goes for PPC. If you have a limited budget, don’t go after all the most expensive keywords, because it likely won’t work. Determine what you’re willing to spend and be smart with where you spend it. Putting yourself in a position where you can only get 6 clicks per day will not prove successful because you will need to have an extremely high conversion rate to succeed with that model. Don’t go buying a dog if you can only afford a fish.
Ideally, your campaigns should each be able to get 20 clicks per day with the budget you’ve put in place. That way, one conversion would equate to a 5% conversion rate, which is a good conversion rate. If you can’t afford 20 clicks per day in each campaign, you either need to increase the budget or bid on different keywords. While you could reduce the keyword bids, the lower you drop your position, the harder you’re making it for your keywords to attain a sustainable conversion rate.
Competition is not always a great idea
When you put two betta fish in a tank together, it should be with the understanding that only one will likely make it out alive. More often than not, it will be the bigger and stronger one.
This same logic applies to bidding on big name competitor brands when you are not a big name brand yourself.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. The only time you should really try to match on competitors’ names is if you frequently come up in discussions or debate when a consumer is trying to decide whether to purchase a product from you or from them. This is not an invitation for Mom and Pop’s Hardware Store to start bidding on well-known and established brands like Home Depot. When bidding on competitors, stick to the actual competition. That Mom and Pop store may be competing with Home Depot, but I can guarantee that Home Depot isn’t competing with them.
When you’re starting out bidding on keywords, I don’t recommend getting out on competitors. That should only come when you’ve established that you can successfully and profitably bid on your own brand and build business through PPC.
Do your research
Whenever you’re looking to get a pet, big or small, you need to do your research into what the pet will need, how much it will cost to take care of it, etc. And as you likely don’t already have the answers, you’d do your research. You’d look it up on Google or visit your local pet store.
The same thing goes with advertising. You don’t need to start from scratch. As there are likely plenty of other players in your industry advertising online, you can research what they’re doing and see what works and doesn’t for them. Basically, you want to “learn from the big fish” per se. Do some competitive analysis and you should have a good idea of how to proceed.
Here are two great tools to use when doing keyword research. The first is the Keyword Planner within Google, which is great to figure out what the typical monthly search volume is for the keywords you want to bid on as well as a recommended bid if you want to get much traffic at all.
The second tool to use is a competitive analysis tool, like SEM Rush, which will help you see things like what keywords similar companies in your industry are bidding on as well as what messaging they’re utilizing in ad copy. This is a great way to learn from the people that have been doing it longer. It will tell you what their average CPCs are for various keywords and how competitive those terms are and where their ads are showing.
You don’t have to be flashy to stand out
You don’t have to try to be clever with your ads by writing funny quips in your ad copy. Let the core of your business do the talking – such as experience, deals, and offers. Focus on what separates you from others.
A good rule to live by for AdWords ads is: “Numbers talk.” Calling out sales or discounts in your ad copy can attract the eye. People are drawn to numbers in ad copy because it stands out. Not only numbers though, but also multiple options. When I did a search for rugs, the top three ads all shared the same key features: plenty of numbers and deals, and multiple options. The ads all called out the fact that they had different sizes and styles which, as a potential customer, makes me feel like there is a strong chance I’ll find what I’m looking for there.
Basically, the big takeaway here is not to try to do too much too fast. When you’re just starting out with PPC, you can’t expect you’re immediately going to be showing up in the first spot. The key is to find a position and different strategies that work for you and then try to work and improve from there. You don’t have to be a big fish to be a shark. Just keep swimming.