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Using Google Pay-Per-Click Advertising

How Pay-Per-Click Advertising works.

Eric Siu



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What is PPC?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising boosts traffic to your website by enabling you to display ads in the sponsored results section of Google’s search results page – simply, you are buying listings in Google’s search results.

You pay for traffic using the PPC advertising programmes provided by Google Adwords. It’s a website marketing method that involves bidding a rate you want to pay for every click on your ad, and then paying that fee whenever a visitor clicks through from your ad to your website. Bid the most and you have a chance of ranking number one in the search results.

It’s different from the time-intensive and complex process of search engine optimisation (SEO), through which you can build traffic for free by achieving high rankings in the natural search results.

 Is PPC for you?

Businesses that achieve great results from this marketing channel share common traits:

  •  Customers have a high lifetime value so it’s worth spending money to acquire them.
  •  It has high margins on a single purchase, such as a car, computer equipment or appliances.
  •  It sells products that are hard to find, like hobby supplies or rare collectibles.
  •  The business sells a vast array of products. Think Amazon or Kalahari.
  •  It’s seasonal or event-based, such as florists or wedding planners.
  •  The business is local, for example plumbers operating in Sandton.

Pros & cons of PPC advertising 


  • Quick results: You can set up a PPC campaign within a few hours.
  • Ad positioning: PPC ads appear in the ’sponsored links‘ section of search results. The conversion rate of shoppers who turn to buyers is higher than SEO because those who click on sponsored ads are more serious shoppers.
  • Big selection of words: PPC allows you to use words that you wouldn’t usually include in your website, such as your competitor’s name, so your ad appears when someone searches for that business.
  • Region-specific targeting: You can focus on regions where you conduct business so that your ads only appear to people in that area.
  • Settings are easy to change: You can easily change the budget, keywords, ads and landing pages of your website online.


  • Paying for every click: You have to pay for every visitor who clicks your ad, regardless of whether they buy or not.
  • Stopping the campaign: When you end the campaign, your ads will disappear. Be prepared for traffic to your site to drop.

Hiring a professional

Before you hire someone to manage your PPC account, make sure you ask the right questions.Find out who will manage your account and what level of experience they have.

  • Have they helped other companies to achieve success?
  • Beyond clicks and traffic, can they help to generate sales of your products or services?
  • Will they track conversions so you can determine the success of your PPC ads?
  • Will they test your ads from time to time to minimise cost and increase traffic?
  • What proven methods do they have to eliminate guesswork and get your campaign running smoothly, quickly?
  • How do they justify their costs versus the promised yield?
  • What is the budget required and can you afford it?

Lesson 1: Kick-starting your PPC ad campaign

What keywords will you use to reach your market? Answering that question the right way can spell the difference between your Google ad campaign’s success and failure. Ultimately you’re out to hunt down the top one or two keywords that will bring you the most paying customers, and tweak your entire sales process around that. That’s what the most successful advertisers we know are doing now.

AdWords displays related sponsored listings along with unpaid listings that result from a Google search. One of its huge advantages is that it links you with people who are already sold on the concept that you are promoting. You don’t have to talk them into anything — they’re already on Google looking for what you’ve got. You just need to figure out the keywords they use to describe what you offer so that you can connect with them.

 To answer this question, you need to describe what you’re promoting as clearly as possible — and identify who wants to buy it, in other words, your ideal customer.

Here are four tips that can help you get started building your own Google ad campaign.

1. Define your perfect customer

We recommend that you stop right now, pull out a piece of paper and write down a one-sentence description of your ultimate money-in-hand-and-ready-to-buy paying customer.

Those are the people who already know something about the type of product (or information) you sell or the service you offer. These people probably don’t know about you, but they do know about your product.

Often they have an immediate problem and have decided to go online looking for a solution. They may have already made up their mind about how they want to solve the problem. Now they’re searching Google trying to locate the product that fits their solution and then buy it.

Your description may look like one of these:

  • My best prospect is someone who already believes in non-pharmaceutical and natural remedies for migraines and is searching for the best one to buy.
  • My best prospect is someone who has already made up his or her mind to buy pottery via the web.
  • My best prospect already knows that pay-per-click management services exist and is proactively searching to hire one.

 Keep your customer description in front of you as you go through the keyword search process.

2. Identify the keywords that potential customers are using to search for your products and services

Head to Google’s keyword tool and enter some phrases that you think reflect customers who are in that mind-set.

Let’s take the migraine example. A starter idea would be ‘natural migraine remedies,’ because that would seem to specify people who are looking for a ‘natural solution’, something for ‘migraines’ as opposed to more general issues, and ‘remedies’ as opposed to facts or data or information.

Based on that search, Google gives a decent-sized list of keywords. We can now go through the list keyword by keyword and compare each to our written customer description, choose the keywords we feel are a fit and ignore the ones that aren’t. You may end up with no more than one to two dozen keywords. That’s perfectly fine.

3. Determine the number of people searching on those keywords

For your one to two dozen keywords, you can go with what Google’s keyword tool has already told you. Or you can take each one and do a further keyword tool search on it and add in totals from other variations that you believe would fully match your written customer description. Consider search volume when choosing your top keyword or keywords.

4. Determine how much money advertisers are making off a keyword

You can judge this by how much the keyword costs. You’re looking for the keywords where the money is. The market has its own way of answering this. The maximum cost per click that people pay represents the upper limit of the money available in that market.

Head over to Google’s traffic estimator to find this out. You can collect as many relevant keywords as you want, and then make an educated comparison to find the best fit for your customer profile.

You’re off to a great start when you’ve got six to 12 tightly matched groups of keywords. Ultimately, you’re best off with one, single bull’s-eye keyword.

Lesson 2: The most common PPC mistakes to avoid

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be an effective way to drive traffic to your website quickly, but businesses too often make mistakes that undermine their campaigns.

Although PPC advertising may sound simple, plenty of novices have created campaigns that generate little click-through action because they target the wrong keywords or lack a compelling message. So, consider these suggestions for avoiding these mistakes that most new advertisers make:

1. Avoid ‘broad match’ keywords

One of the biggest mistakes is ignoring the difference between choosing specific keyword match types and setting all keywords as ‘broad match,’ which means that your ad will appear not just for your chosen keyword phrase, but also for any similar phrases or relevant variations your advertising programme deems appropriate. Although broad match placements can help increase your exposure, they can also attract irrelevant traffic that costs you money.

For example, a PPC ad with the broad match term ‘show ideas’ could be displayed for the search query ‘baby shower gift ideas.’ Even though the search query contains the broad match term, it isn’t a relevant match.

To avoid losing money on irrelevant clicks, focus on phrase or exact match keywords.

2. Separate search and content ad placements

Search network placement refers to PPC ads that appear in search query results, while content network placement means websites that display PPC ads as blocks within their pages.

Most new PPC marketers select both the search and content networks when they set up their first campaigns, and they usually use the same keywords, ad content and payment amount for each click.

But the specific queries and websites that trigger your content network placements can be significantly different than what yields results on the search network. Running the same ads on both networks, therefore, could cost you money in terms of irrelevant placements. Although customising takes more time and effort, it’s far more efficient to tailor your keywords, ad copy and keyword bids for each network.

3. Use negative keywords, too

PPC marketers often fail to use negative keywords, which allow you to specify where your ad should not appear. For example, in our ‘show ideas’ and ‘baby shower gift ideas’ example, the words ‘baby,’ ‘shower’ and ‘gift’ could be designated as negative keywords to help eliminate such irrelevant ad placements.

4. Efficiently target ad campaigns

Many advertisers aren’t precise enough in targeting their campaigns. To increase efficiency, take advantage of features in PPC accounts that allow you to specify who sees the ads.

Here are a few areas to consider in targeting your campaigns:

  •  Multiple countries. If you plan to advertise in several countries, set up an ad group for each. Otherwise, limit your ad to country-specific placements.
  • Micro-geographic focus. If you create an ad for a local business keyword — ‘Mexican restaurants in Pretoria,’ for example — use the micro-geographic targeting features in your advertiser account to select the specific suburbs in which your ad will appear based on your business’s delivery area.
  •  Time of day. If your ads generate the most conversions during a particular time of day, set them up to run only during those time periods.

5. Test ad copy

Writing effective ad copy can be difficult. Unless you test different versions of ads to see which perform best, you aren’t maximising the ROI of your campaign.

Most PPC platforms allow you to set up split tests that rotate different ads for each of your targeted keywords. To do the test effectively, adjust your setting so that ads will be served up randomly, rather than according to the platform’s formula of displaying the ad it determines will result in the most clicks.

 6. Track your return on investment

To effectively manage PPC campaigns and improve your ROI, you need to know exactly which clicks are resulting in sales. To generate this data for free, tie your PPC account to Google Analytics to track which ads led visitors to your page and which visits resulted in sales. Without this information, you can’t adjust your keyword bids or eliminate less effective ads and keywords. 


Say you’re running a PPC ad for the keyword ‘Nikon D90 digital camera’ — a product you sell on your website. You set up the ad to run whenever this keyword is searched for on your chosen engine, and you use a URL that redirects readers who click on your ad to your site’s home page.

Now, this user must painstakingly click through your website’s navigation to find this exact camera model — if he or she even bothers to stick around. In this case, you took an engaged, targeted visitor and forced him or her to work for the information you promised.

A better approach would have been a link to the camera’s product page, avoiding any frustration and bringing your visitors one step closer to completing their purchase.

Whenever possible, drive PPC visitors to targeted landing pages. If you don’t have a product-specific landing page to refer visitors to, create custom landing pages that provide the exact information the reader is looking for.

Eric Siu is COO of of Single Grain, a digital marketing agency based in San Francisco. He also co-runs Storemapper, a store locator widget for e-commerce stores and other businesses.


Online Marketing

10 Online Marketers To Watch In 2018

The more diverse your sources of news and inspiration, the better. These ten people can help get you there.

Jayson Demers



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Online marketing requires experience, creativity and a working knowledge of the latest trends and technologies necessary to stay competitive in the modern landscape. And while there aren’t any shortcuts to gain more experience, there is a convenient way to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends and get inspiration for your creative campaigns.

That way? Following and paying attention to the best, smartest marketers in the industry.

With 2018 just getting started, I wanted to list some of my favourite marketing influencers, some of the most influential experts in the industry and some of the most promising creative minds to pay attention to this year:

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Online Marketing

The Best Conversion Rate Optimisation Tips To Help You Grow Your Business

Whether you’re the owner of a company, or an online blogger, knowing conversion rate optimisation techniques will help you immensely.




Conversion rate optimisation, otherwise known as CRO, is a 21st-century way to turn visitors to your website or blog into followers of your information or customers of your product or service.

Therefore, whether you’re the owner of a company, or an online blogger, knowing conversion rate optimisation techniques will help you immensely.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation or CRO?

Internet marketing, or what some people call online marketing, is promoting your product or service on the Internet through the digital channels available. Driving traffic is to your website or blog is hard, but it’s something you need to do in order to sell your product or service, so the last thing you want is to leave money on the table.

Traditionally, from the traffic you drive to your blog or website, a percentage of that traffic will become your customers or followers.

CRO is conversion optimisation strategies that puts a focus on your blog or website to determine what small or big changes need to be made to convert as many of your visitors as possible.

It’s the classic case of not working harder, but smarter.

Changes such as a new headline, new sales copy, a different coloured CTA (Call-to-Action) button, and more, are tested for effectiveness. This helps you take out all the guesswork and make changes that are proven to convert more sales.

Techniques such as A/B testing, where you create two different landing pages and send the same amount of traffic to each, is one example.

At the end of the day, the version that receives the most conversion is the one you would choose. A site with significant traffic may successfully test over a shorter time. On the other hand, in order to get accurate data, a site with a smaller amount of traffic will likely need more time than a larger one for testing.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

What Happens When You Convert More Visitors Into Customers?

It’s a no brainer, when you convert visitors into clients and customers, your sales increase, and that’s the number one goal of any company or business. CRO can help you grow your business by receiving the same amount of traffic that you’re currently receiving.

Technically that means that you can make more sales without having to spend more money on marketing.

That also means that you’re not focused on the number of traffic you pull in with a mind on percentages, but rather focused on making the most of the traffic you currently have which makes the most of your marketing efforts.

Not Utilising CRO Means You Are Leaving Money on The Table

money-on-tableLet’s say you’re a small company with a goal of R50,000 a month in revenue. Your job is to turn a percentage of your visitors into customers. Without the correct conversion rate optimisation strategies, you’re looking strictly at numbers. You find that 1,000 visitors turn into 50 customers with a revenue of R20,000, which is R30,000 away from your goal.

Without the correct CRO strategies in place, you would work to increase the number of visitors to your site. However, with CRO, you implement e-commerce CRO tips that result in those 1,000 visitors turning into 125 customers.  That brings you to your R50,000 goal.  Without performing conversion rate optimisation, you’ve left R30,000 on the table.

Now that you’ve reduced your cost per acquisition, or what you pay per sale or click or form submit, you can either invest more in advertising or just bank the profits. Now that you understand what conversion rate optimisation is all about, let’s have a look at some of the best strategies that can help you take your business to a whole new level.

20 Of The Best CRO Strategies

You can spend loads of money on a fancy website or blog, but if it isn’t converting correctly, you’re losing customers and sales. That’s why conversion rate optimisation is becoming the number one priority with websites and blogs in the 21st-century.

1. Create an Effective Headline

If you are trying to convert visitors into followers or customers from a specific post, then your headline is one of the most important elements. It’s not there for a hard sell; it’s there to draw your potential customers to your site so that they’ll check out your product or service.

Your headline must show people what benefit they will receive from using what you have to offer.

Keep changing up those headlines till you find a strategy that works.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 2)

2. Reduce Huge Blocks of Text with Bullet Points

The way you present the content on your website is crucial. Give a potential customer too much information, and they’ll leave your site with eyes glazed over. Any material you present should be not only easy to understand but short and to the point.  One of the best ways to do that is with bullet points.

Bullet points create an organised presentation that keeps potential customers interested.

3. Include Your Contact Information

Significant changes can be done to your website or blog to increase conversions, but so can small ones. Include your contact information on your site or blog. This shows that you’re accountable and don’t mind being contacted, which can lead to customer trust and eventually sales. Include your phone number, email address, and even your mailing address.

4. Replace Phony Stock Photos

Stock PhotosYou know what a phony stock photo looks like. It’s the kind that you purchase from stock photo sites, and they’re the kind that you often see at more than one website. These types of photos look phony, and they reduce your credibility. Replace fake-looking stock photos with professional, unique photos or good quality photos that you’ve taken.

For example, instead of using a stock photo model with a cheesy grin, use a picture of one of your employees.

5. Use a Pop-Up Form

One effective way to convert visitors into followers and subscribers is a pop-up form. When visitors come to your side, a form pops up that encourages them to leave their name and email address, or just their email address, to become a subscriber. When you have a list of subscribers, you can then turn them into customers through newsletters, emails, etc.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 3)

6. Eliminate Unneeded Form Fields

A website or blog that is not user-friendly when it comes to form fields may not translate to customer conversion. A form field is where your customers type in their information.  What is the bare minimum of customer information that you need? You ask for the name, but do you also need the company name, for example, or can you do without having a customer type that in?

7. Remove Automatic Image Sliders

Images that flash before your eyes automatically may look attractive, but automatic image sliders have been proven to create banner blindness and therefore, reduce conversion. Use static images instead.

8. Include Videos

Videos have proven to be effective in drawing visitors and turning them into customers. If your site sells fishing products, for example, include a video of an expert fisherman using one of your fishing poles. Make sure the video is no more than two to three minutes long and be sure to put one on your landing page.

9. Make Your Call-To-Action Button Pop

Here is another strategy that seems small but that may prove to be very effective. Alter your call-to-action or CTA button. For example, is it more efficient for your button to say “Download Now” rather than “Buy Now”?  Is it better for your CTA button to be a bright red rather than a navy blue? By testing changes to your call-to-action button, you can determine if such a change will be effective.

10. Limit Your Call-To-Actions

If you have one call-to-action button on your website, that’s a wise choice. Too many call-to-actions can confuse potential customers and turn them off from your site. Put your focus on one effective call-to-action.

11. Have You Included the Word “Free”?

If there’s one thing that people love, it’s free stuff. What can you offer potential customers that are free?

For example, let’s say you sell psychic readings. Offer your potential clients a 10-minute free reading and display the offer prominently on the front page of your site. Chances are you’ll get a lot of conversions for your niche. Once you’ve drawn in customers with the free deal, you can better bring them to your paid services.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 4)

12. Match Your Landing Page to Your Ad

When your ad matches your landing page, the colour co-ordination and organisation can translate to conversions. In addition to the colour, the copy you use on your ad should match, in some way, with your landing page. So, when you draw potential customers to your ad, you gently move them to your landing page with no sharp differences.

13. Incorporate Trust Seals on Your Checkout Page

If there’s one thing that draws customers to a product or service, it’s trust. Incorporating trust seals on your checkout page and other places on your website is an excellent way to show that you are legitimate and to increase conversions.

For example, if you are offering dental products, a seal from a trusted dental association helps with customer trust.

14. Convey a Sense of Urgency

When you are promoting a product or service letting your potential customers know that a particular price will end soon, or that a product or service will only be offered for a limited, time greatly helps with conversion.

For example, let’s say yours is a site that sells cookware and you’re providing a crock-pot at a temporarily discounted price.

You would display on your blog or website a photo of the crock pot, along with content and possibly a video, and you would show the price and when the price ends.

15. Give Them a Money-Back Guarantee

There will always be a percentage of customers who are on the fence about your product or service. So how do you get them over that hump and create a conversion?  One way is to offer a money-back guarantee and to display it where it can be seen.

Keep in mind that it’s good to put a time limit on the money-back guarantee to something like 30 days or 60 days.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 5)

16. Include Live Chats

live-chatsMany companies are adding live chat prominently on their websites to answer customer’s questions in real-time. This is an effective solution that can lead to conversions. It allows you to take care of all a client’s issues to lead them into a sale. Many companies utilise chat apps to help with this process.

17. Retarget Your Ads

There are large and small changes that can be made to your website to increase conversions, but changes to the way you’re handling your ads could be done as well. Retargeting customers, can help increase conversions period.

When visitors come to your site, you create a customised targeted ad to get to them as soon as they leave.

If a visitor has come to your cosmetic store looking for an eye shadow, when they leave your site you target them with an ad for a different eye shadow in your line. The goal is to keep a visitor engaged with your product or service while staying top of mind.

18. Give Them Free Shipping

Shipping costs for a product can often make or break a sale. So, if there’s one thing that can contribute to conversion, it’s free shipping. Let your customers know that shipping is not a cost that they have to concern themselves with.

If free shipping seems unaffordable for your company, work with ways to cover shipping costs with your product prices.

19. Include Real Testimonials With Photos

One of the best ways to instill confidence in your product or service is with real testimonials. Have customers write testimonials of 50 to 100 words about your product or service and include a photo of the customers next to their testimonials. Include their full name with their picture.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 6)

20. Get Customers to Share Their Purchases on Social Media

These days, almost all of your clients are likely to be on at least one social media site. Encourage them to share the purchases they’ve made of your products on social media, such as Instagram.

Every time a customer buys one of your products or your services, automatically give them an opportunity to share and talk about what they’ve bought with a user-friendly share process included on your site.

The sooner you work on conversion rate optimisation tips on your blog or website, the sooner you’ll be bringing in customers in the most efficient way.

Customers translate to profits and profits translate to a successful company or business. CRO takes time, but with patience, your website or blog will see vast improvement in conversions.

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Online Marketing

Implementing 2 Advanced Google AdWords Strategies

Find out how Dynamic Search Ads and Call-Only Campaigns can give you that competitive edge you need on Google AdWords.

Perry Marshall




Let’s explore two advanced Google AdWords campaign types: Dynamic Search Ads and Call-Only campaigns. Give these two campaign types a try. They’ll let you squeeze even more from your AdWords account.

Dynamic search ads (DSAS)

Dynamic search ads are magical keys to reaching your customers. And the best part? Using them is easy once you master the setup.

What Are DSAs?

Google knows it’s hard to keep your campaigns perfectly in sync with your website. If you have an e-commerce site with thousands of products changing regularly, it’s a chore to be constantly creating new keywords, new ad groups and new ads inside your AdWords account.

DSAs were created to fill this gap. They let you show ads to excellent prospects who might be searching for items you sell on your site even if you don’t have a corresponding keyword for them in your account.

Related: The Secret to Building A Profitable AdWords Campaign

Why should you set up a DSA?

As long as you set a low cost-per-click, dynamic search ads typically have a decent CPA and provide additional relevant traffic. They’re also great for research as you get to uncover new search terms that people are using to find your site. (You can use this intelligence after the fact to add new keywords to your account.)

Let’s say you’ve just started selling wrought-iron fire pits on your e-commerce site but you don’t have the keywords for them yet in your AdWords account. A new prospect – we’ll call her Kim – is currently online searching for this by name. Kim types it in verbatim: “wrought iron fire pits.”

If you have a DSA campaign set up, you’re in luck: Google instantly recognises that you sell these but don’t yet have keywords for the purpose. Thankfully, you don’t miss a beat with Kim – Google shows her your Dynamic ad, then she clicks, comes to your website and makes a purchase.

How do they work?

It starts with Google regularly scanning your website and keeping an index of all its pages. When you’re starting out, you can choose to point Google to your entire site – we recommend this for your first DSA campaign – although later on you can target specific categories within your site.

Google knows what keywords are in your account and, more importantly, what keywords are not there. This means they can make accurate judgments about when to step in and show your DSA ads.

When setting up DSAs, Google creates the headline and you write the description. They choose the final URL and you set the bid.

Related: 7 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Adwords Agency

Here’s how to set up a DSA:

  • Create a new campaign. One of the options you’ll see is to create a DSA campaign. We suggest not using that as it would limit your options further along. Instead, create a new Search campaign with “all features.” Your plan will be to only use DSAs inside that campaign.
  • You’ll need at least one ad group to hold your DSAs, and one is typically enough if you’re just starting out.
  • You still want to be split-testing, even though Google chooses your headline for you. So, create two different DSA ads with different body copy in each.
  • Choose the target. Start with the “all webpages” default. Save the advanced target­ing for later.
  • Add in ad extensions just as you would for a regular campaign.

Ongoing management of your DSA


Review your data. Keep an eye on the search queries Google chooses, particularly in the first few days. This lets you add any new negative keywords that you don’t want your ads shown for. And it’s a good way to identify and add new keywords you hadn’t yet thought of for other functioning campaigns. (You can add these new keywords as negatives in your DSA campaign, which forces that keyword traffic over to new campaigns in your account. Your DSA campaigns won’t be affected.)

Call-only campaigns

These allow you to create search ads where Google shows your phone number rather than a headline. As such, they only show on mobile devices capable of making calls.

A person clicks on your ad, which starts the process of calling your business directly from their mobile, rather than taking them to your site.

Related: 3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Google Adwords

Why use call-only?

Call-only campaigns force people to call your phone number rather than visit your site. If generating more phone calls is high priority for your business, call-only campaigns are worth testing.

How to set up call-only campaigns

Setup is simple. You can create a new campaign from scratch or just copy your existing search campaigns and change the ad type. Replace regular ads with call-only ads.

Tip: Google wants to see individual ad groups with a reasonable number of impressions at the ad group level. So a small number of ad groups with more keywords in each one – generating more impressions per ad group – will work better for call-only campaigns.

This article was originally posted here on

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