Use Cost-Per-Click Advertising to
Augment Your Internet Marketing Plan
by Chris Baggott, ExactTarget
By Mir Internet Services
Search Engine Optimization Nirvana. You're actually winning for several searches relevant to your company's product or service. But, now your boss wants more results. In his quest for power and domination, he has commanded that you get him wins for searches where you have no content.
You have two choices:
1. resign, claiming job stress; or
2. suggest a cost-per-click (CPC) advertising campaign.
In essence, you buy a top position. You pay a search engine for every user that clicks an ad or hyperlink. Therefore, you pay only for people that arrive at your web site.
The amount you pay for the keyword win is controlled by a bidding process. To win top position, you must outbid the current winner. For example, the top bidder for "Air Travel" on Overture.com pays $1.58 per click. This expensive top ranking would therefore require a $1.59 bid.
How can you determine what is an expensive bid? Use this axiom: a bid becomes too expensive when you can not make money on it. An aerospace company that pays $1.58 for the top position on "Army Tactical Missle System" and sells each system for millions enjoys a cheap campaign. On the other hand, a travel agency paying the same amount for "Air Travel" will have a difficult time breaking even.
Overture (formerly Goto.com) is the highest profile CPC search engine. Overture shares its results with AltaVista, America Online, Lycos, InfoSpace, Netscape, HotBot, and iWon. Unfortunately, Overture has a minimum bid of $0.05 per click. While this number seems small, it can add up to heavy losses if the clicks fail to translate into direct revenue.
Ah-Ha also offers CPC, mostly on second tier search engines. However, the minimum bid is only $0.01. This changes the investment profile significantly.
Knowing where to place CPC campaigns for lower cost is a good beginning, but without two key factors, a CPC campaign is a waste of money:
You should have direct revenue to convert on the web site (e-commerce). You must have revenue that stems from the web site in some way, shape, or form.
The keywords you buy for the CPC campaign should have quality and clarity. They should grab buyers and not shoppers.
It's amazing how often CPC campaigners achieve neither. I am constantly amazed by the pointless keywords firms chase after. "Printers" may be searched frequently, but can be defined and understood in ten different ways. We often see printing and reproduction companies trying to win for "Printers," which has ambiguous meaning. They ignore "Digital Photo Printing Services," which is searched relatively seldom, but draws quality leads to the web site.
Not everyone should consider CPC, and if you've read carefully, you know who you are. But, for those who need to win specific quality searches, CPC can be a fantastic Internet marketing resource.