Highlights from Hero PPC Conference

One of the main things I took away from Hanapin Marketing's PPC-only conference in Austin, Texas was that PPC is roughly 50% organization and another 50% preparation. As someone who craves affirmation in all things professional, these were statistics I already knew but needed to have reiterated to me by seasoned professionals. To that same accord, PPC is an additional 50% confidence and 50% curiosity. You’ve got to be confident that you have the skills to make your strategy work, and you’ve got to be curious enough to test whether or not that strategy actually did work—and if it didn’t, figure out why, then go back for more.

The problem is none of us spend 200%, let alone 50%, of our time doing PPC. When the percentage of the proverbial PPC pie is that small, we can’t possibly ‘get full’ so to speak. There’s no way we can deliver the kind of results our clients want to see with that kind of time—or is there? Attending this conference helped me realize that indeed there is! Of course, there are actually many ways to get this done, and fortunately for me, this conference covered some of the most effective, time-efficient methods out there today. In this blog post, I’ll discuss three that really stood out to me.

1. Landing Page Optimization

I’ll start with landing page optimization—perhaps the most critical element of a successful PPC campaign, and ironically the most overlooked. As PPC professionals inundated with complex data, sometimes we lose sight of the simple things. We forget about basic elements of good design and how those can strengthen the credibility of a webpage, not to mention the brand we’re advertising. I’m sure you can see where this is going: without a credible webpage, the brand is oftentimes deemed less than credible and users do not convert. In this case, it doesn’t matter how organized, prepared, confident or curious you are. All the optimizations in the world will never get users to convert; they will only lead them in that direction.

In this moment I realized that the success of all parties involved depends on whether or not a member of each party is included in a general discussion spanning design and development to promotion. It seems simple enough, yet this discussion is traditionally replaced with conversations among internal teams, project managers, brand managers and clients. What I’m proposing is even simpler than collecting all parties for a potentially chaotic conversation: Get the designer and the developer in a room with the PPC professional. Have the PPC professional explain to the designer and the developer what it is he or she is trying to achieve so that the designer is not put off when the request for a landing page redesign comes through. It has been my experience that when people have a greater sense of the big picture, they’re more willing to go the extra mile. I could go as far as to list some of the elements that make a successful landing page, but I think that once the designer, developer and PPC professional understand one another’s goals, this list will compile itself.

2. The Right Content and Call to Action

Every online marketing publication out there will tell you that content is still king. It should come as no surprise that implementing these things in PPC campaigns is just as important. Having clear, quality content and CTAs are only part of the big picture. One of the tricks to effectively implementing this method is ensuring that the right information is included in the content and CTAs. This may seem like a reiteration, but clear, quality content and CTAs are different from simply highlighting the right information within the two. For example, make sure that the information in your clearly written, high-quality content and CTAs is aligned with your PPC goals. In other words, if one of your goals is to increase scheduled appointments for a doctor’s office, make sure that’s what your messaging communicates—not something like additional information sign-ups. Otherwise, it will be difficult to prove results at the end of the month because, sure, you acquired conversions, but unfortunately, they are not the right kind of conversions.

Another trick to ensuring successful implementation of this method is repeating all the right information throughout PPC keywords, ad text and landing pages. The goal is to create a theme that the user will recognize and deem credible, resulting in higher quality leads or conversions. The last trick for maximum effectiveness regarding this method pertains to something that all successful experiments must have: a good testing strategy. Of course, this strategy is entirely up to you and will vary by client, but the point is to make sure you have one. Since you can’t 100% predict who is going to click on your ads and convert each month, PPC is a highly experimental process that, without testing parameters, will lack appropriate optimizations and result in plateaued or decreased performance.

3. Crafting a Winning Paid Search Strategy

Lastly, I give you the third most effective and time-efficient method: crafting a winning paid search strategy in a hyper-competitive market. So your client wants to be at the top of the Google SERP page? Great—so does everyone else. Odds are you’re entering a pretty dense market in which your client’s competition has been running PPC longer (but not always better!) than you. At least that’s how it is for a start-up with a clientele made up primarily of local businesses. When faced with a similar situation, it is incredibly important to first create a strategy that sets your client apart from the competition, giving them leverage in the PPC landscape. Things like conquesting, geo-targeting and day-parting are just a few effective tactics to consider.

Another thing to keep in mind when forced to work with smaller budgets in hyper-competitive markets is to consider exactly what elements within AdWords are appropriate for the client’s goals. For example, if it makes more sense for users to pick up the phone and call than fill out a form, figure out a way to make that possible and ensure that it actually happens. Don’t waste your time trying to work miracles just because performance was once measured with a different metric. Think of what works for that client and go with that using the resources with which you’re most familiar.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, don’t let your advertising efforts get stale. In other words, continually reallocate budgets using other paid traffic sources, such as:

  • admarketplace.com
  • amazon.com marketplace
  • 7search.com
  • bing ads
  • YouTube

Of course, many more options exist and continue to enter the paid search landscape as we speak, but this list is meant to kick-start the exploratory process.

Hopefully this recap gives you some insight into the genius I had the privilege of experiencing during the annual Hero PPC Conference in the tech mecca of the United States. I bet that in the time it took me to write this blog post you could have already begun implementing at least one of these methods that seem to render incredible results for all sorts of clients.

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