Handling Less Than Ideal PPC Realities

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If you’ve been reading PPC blogs for any amount of time, you’ll notice that much of what you read seems to be tailored for businesses with big budgets and slick websites. Mind you, there’s tons of great advice and food for thought out there–it just may not help the SMB owner with limited development resources and budget.

Working at OrangeSoda has equipped me with a wealth of experience in dealing with the challenges of using PPC effectively with a less-than-perfect website. Here are a few of the most common problems I’ve come across, along with ideas for how to work around the problem without making wholesale changes to your website:

I can’t track conversions online.

If this doesn’t apply to you, then I applaud you. However, there is still a gargantuan section of the SMB population that hasn’t made it to this benchmark yet.

If you intend to sell products via your website, there is no excuse for not tracking conversions, nor is there a way around it. Go find somebody who can put together a website that will enable you to track conversions via PPC (and any other online marketing channels you intend to use). You must be willing to spend money on a quality solution for this because your business depends on a smooth functioning, scalable website.

For those of you whose products require a longer, more complex offline sales cycle, there is hope here. A simple online form is inexpensive to implement and relatively simple, even for non-techies. Most open-source CMS platforms like WordPress or Joomla have tons of plugins that supply this type of functionality with a few clicks of the mouse.

If phone calls are your primary source of leads and/or sales, consider a call-tracking solution that allows you to attribute phone calls generated by your website to the proper marketing channel. Some can even attribute phone calls to individual PPC keywords, allowing you to optimize your campaigns much more effectively than flying blind.

I can only spend a few hundred dollars per month on PPC.

dollarsandcentsIdeally, you’d want to be able to spend several thousand dollars per month on PPC, depending on the amount of search traffic that can be harvested for your industry niche. This enables you to quickly accumulate PPC data  and make optimization decisions that positively impact your ROI.

If you’re a small or micro-business, however, that may not be an option at this point. You’ve got a few hundred bucks and it’s got to generate a positive return or your kids will be eating nothing but Top Ramen for a few weeks. An exaggeration, maybe, but we understand how to make your limited PPC budget work hard for you.

You’ve got to have good tracking (refer to the above section on that), and you’ve got to be smart on which keywords you target.

You can’t hang with deep-pocketed competitors for some of the obvious keywords you might otherwise target.

For example, if you’re starting up a laundry service in the Chicago area, you might not be able to afford to bid on keywords like “chicago laundry service”. These keywords will be hotly contested and more highly searched, meaning the cost per click is going to be much higher.

Instead, you will need to do a bit more work in finding more specific, less competitive keywords. In contrast to the core keyword “chicago laundry service”, you might be able to target keywords with more specific locations like “maywood laundry service” or more specific services that you provide (“laundry pick up service chicago”).

Taking this approach will help you find highly qualified customers at a much lower cost per click, greatly increasing your chances of generating a positive ROI on your limited PPC spend.

Shameless plug

If the thought of going through all of this conjures up vivid images of a root canal, I highly recommend giving OrangeSoda a call. We do this type of work for all kinds of businesses all over the country and we’re quite good at it. You’ll see our phone number at the top right of this page.