Wed, 03 Jun 2015 07:00:34 -0700

Pay-per-click, or PPC advertising, can be a humongous boon to your small business. Do it right, and new customers will roll in like it’s high tide. Do it wrong, and you may as well be throwing your startup cash into the sea.

In this post, I’ll go over the four most important things small business owners should do to maximize pay-per-click ad spend to keep your click-thru rate, or CTR, high. You don’t need to be an AdWords certified genius to pull these off – you just need to know your business well! Read on to learn quick things you can do to almost immediately increase the click-thru rate of your ads and pull in those conversions!

1. Include a CTA (Call to Action)

“Click here!” “Buy now!” “Try it for free!” “Download now!” – These are all calls to action. You see them all over the web, and for good reason: they work! Many big box stores have had this figured out for years, but some small businesses have resisted.

Do you think that “call now!” sounds too pushy? Your customers don’t. Remember, users are navigating the entire internet on their own – sometimes it’s good to let them know where to go next to get what they want! Use a call to action wherever you can. Facebook ads and Twitter cards are great places to start. For small business owners with eCommerce sites, try adding a call to action like “buy now!” on your product page.

2. Use Keywords People are Searching For

Are you linking to your non-traditional Chicken Alfredo recipe? Then be sure to say exactly that! The copy of your ad should reflect both what people are searching for, and what you want to direct them to, so users are matched up with what they expect to be matched with. So if you’re driving traffic to your Alfredo recipe, the copy of your ad should say something like:

Non-traditional Chicken Alfredo
Click here for the newest mouth-watering recipe!

And you can expect people looking up “non-traditional chicken alfredo recipe” to land right on your ad! This is one of the most impactful changes you can make to improve the click-thru rate on your ads.

On the other hand, your ad should never be generic or off-topic. Think about it: if you’re trying to get everyone’s attention at once, you’re going to end up getting ignored by everyone. So a bad ad for your recipe would say:

Great cooking blog for all kinds of things.
Chicken, Pork, Veggie, and anything else!

And this brings me to my next point:

3. Create Specific Landing Pages

So if you’re linking to a specific recipe, or trying to sell a certain product, then make sure your ad redirects to as specific a landing page as possible. Don’t link to your homepage unless you’re running a campaign specifically to increase your brand’s awareness. This is a quick way to make your CTR plummet.


4. Test, Test, Test!
Even if you come up with some brilliant ad copy, and your ads get their highest ever click-thru rate, don’t sit complacent. Continually test your ads – unless you have a 100% CTR already, there is something out there that will work better than what you have, and you just need to keep looking to find it!

Try testing variations of your calls to action, for example. Maybe “buy now!” works better for your product page than “try it out!”. Or, perhaps it’s putting your call to action at the beginning of your ad instead of the end. There are endless possibilities for testing. Here is a good list of things small business owners can a/b test on PPC ads:

  • Calls to action
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Display URL
  • Landing page URL
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