Pay per click (PPC) advertising is one of the most cost effective ways to reach consumers on the net. PPC ads are a form of contextual search engine based advertising, meaning that your ads are targeted based on the keywords people use when searching for products and services like the ones your business offers.

Since you pay for your advertisements only when someone actually clicks them (which takes them to your website), you’re guaranteed a visitor anytime you pay. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee a sale – that’s your site’s job. You can set caps on your PPC budget by the day to prevent any surprise expenses as well. Overall, PPC advertising offers the cost-conscious web based business an effective and economical online advertising model.

As a very simple example of how this works, let’s say that you own a garden supply shop. You may choose to use a phrase like “hydrangeas” in your PPC ads. Your ad will only be displayed alongside search results for this term; allowing you to display your ad to those consumers who are already interested in this topic. Since your advertisements are shown only to the people who are your most likely customers, the rate of response is inherently higher with PPC advertising.

The following are a few helpful hints for reaching your target market with PPC campaigns:

Keyword research: If your website is optimized for a certain keyword or keywords use them as the basis for some of your PPC ads. It’s also a good idea to find out which relevant keywords are among the most popular with web users. You can use free tools such as the Google AdWords program provides or any number of commercial software packages for this.

PPC ad copy: There is an art to writing this sort of extremely short form copy. You have even less space than you would if you were advertising by text message, so you’ll have to make every word count. Focus on phrases like “buy hydrangeas at (your site here)” or “low priced hydrangeas” and the like. What you’re trying to do is to make it obvious that you can purchase the product by clicking the link. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprisingly effective; and it helps to weed out people looking for freebies.

Use global negatives: You can define your campaigns to exclude searches based on specific terms. For example, “free”. If your keywords lend themselves to showing up in unrelated searches, you’ll want to try to exclude search terms which tend to bring these irrelevant (from your perspective) results up. Many internet marketers don’t understand how to use this feature, but you need to – it allows you to narrowly focus your advertising.

Track and refine your PPC campaigns as you go: One of the biggest advantages of PPC advertising is that it offers a degree of accountability that few if any other advertising strategies can match. If you’re using Google PPC ads, you’ll be able to track your impression statistics, your click through rate as well as your conversion rate.

Geo-targeting: If you’re a local business, this is especially important. You can specify that your ads appear only to people in a certain geographic area, which is about as narrowly targeted as advertising gets. If you’re trying to get noticed in your own city or country or trying to reach a regional target market, this is the way to go.

Experiment with different ad copy and keywords for your PPC advertising to find which work best. Drop ads which aren’t performing well for you and focus on the ones that are. Since you can monitor your response rate and conversions easily, you can adapt your campaigns on the fly – one of the great strengths of PPC advertising.

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