5 Steps to Pay Per Click Advertising That Works

Building Your Fan Club

Compared with the ineffective crapshoot that is traditional advertising, there’s no better way to get targeted traffic than through pay-for-performance keyword advertising in search engines. If you’re not clear on what pay per click ads are, those are the sponsored links that show up when you perform a web search in Google, Yahoo and other search engines.

While more targeted than offline advertising or banner ads, it’s certainly possible to throw away a lot of cash with pay per click. The way to do that is to fail to think strategically about where you send people who click on your ads.

The goal of pay per click advertising is to get in front of searchers who are looking specifically for what you have to offer. This takes careful keyword research, strategic bidding, and compelling ad copy just to get the click.

The problem is, that’s where most people stop.

They make the mistake of sending that targeted traffic to the home page of their website or blog. Even worse, they make no attempt to establish a relationship with those that don’t buy, so as to boost conversion rates for every dollar spent.

So, if you’re selling products or services, it makes sense to make sales and build your fan club at the same time. Here’s how to boost your conversion rates from any pay per click campaign while also boosting your subscriber numbers.

  1. The first thing to do is build a ultra-specific page to send the search traffic to, called a landing page. Depending on the variety of key words you are bidding on, you may even build several landing pages that each narrowly address the specific needs of that searcher.
  2. When I say “searchers,” I mean searchers. Do not participate in contextual advertising programs on publisher sites. I think we’ve all seen enough AdSense spam to understand part of the reasoning here. But even on reputable sites, contextual advertising brings too many “curiosity clicks” that kill your return on investment. You want people who are actively looking for what you are offering. You can choose to opt-out of non-search traffic with both Google and Yahoo.
  3. The landing page does not sell your product or service. This is key. You instead offer a quality free resource –- a mini-course, ebook, teleseminar, or other type of tutorial that is directly related to what you are ultimately selling. By teaching people about the subject matter of your product or service, you are actually engaging in a highly effective form of selling, all while establishing a relationship.
  4. Whatever your free offer, it must be delivered by an email or RSS autoresponder that allows you to stay in contact with the prospect.
  5. You should explicitly inform your prospects that in addition to the free resource you are offering, they will also be receiving your email newsletter / blog updates. Make sure you make this part of your offer as enticing as possible. You’re delivering valuable, relevant content on a regular basis, right?

And there you have it. You’ll likely make some sales right away, but your real profits will come from the people who warm up to your offer thanks to the ongoing value you provide with your blog content.

This technique is by no means new. But it’s shocking how many people still don’t use it, as they waste good money sending targeted traffic to a home page that is not laser-focused, and also fail to offer true value to the searcher that results in a relationship.

You don’t propose marriage before you get a first date. And you likewise shouldn’t expect people to just automatically jump at the chance to give you money upon arriving at your home page.

Of course, each of the five steps above could use some elaboration, and I’ll be offering tips in the future that can help boost landing page conversions even for those who have been using this method for years. Also, the key word research and bidding process in Google AdWords (the largest pay per click program) is a topic in itself that requires mastery to be effective.

For help with that part of the process, check out Perry Marshall’s free 5 Days to Success With Goggle AdWords mini-course. I own Perry’s AdWords book and it is an invaluable resource. He’s the real deal when it comes to strategies that drive traffic from Google.

And that free mini-course sign-up page is an excellent example of a landing page that works. :)

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Reader Comments (67)

  1. says

    Thanks for the info, Brian. This is one of the aspects of my blogging business that has always been a bit problematic, specifically what to do with your visitors when they come.

    Bottom line is you’ve got to keep them and build your list, right? I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…

  2. says

    Naughty… it’s not polite to use affiliate links without informing your faithful users. We don’t mind clicking on them, we just like to know what links are affiliate related.

  3. says

    Hmm… David, I certainly don’t intend to be naughty. :)

    As far as it not being polite, I’m not sure I agree, but I could be wrong. As far as affiliate links go, here’s what I would consider to be wrong:

    1. Masking or disguising affiliate links.

    2. Using affiliate links for products that I don’t own, and can’t personally recommend, without disclosure of the arrangement.

    I guess I give my readers enough credit to be able to recognize an affiliate link, and be ok with it given that I own the product and think it’s great. Especially when the link is to a free course, not to the product sales page. :)

    But again, I could be wrong about how people feel about this.

    Anyone else have any thoughts?

  4. says

    I appreciated the link, Brian, I am always on the hunt for great resources. Recommendations from people I trust are my best source, regardless of affiliate status. Loved the elegant article and look forward to putting a shine on my Adwords campaigns, good stuff.

  5. says

    Thanks Beth. Anyone else have thoughts about how to handle affiliate links?

    It suffices to say that I’m not about to risk my reputation and readership recommending stuff that I don’t believe in 100%. And if I have reservations about a product or service, I’ll tell you about those as well.

  6. says

    Great post Brian. I think that most people that PPC ads are the “end all” for advertising success. They just automatically link to merchants and webpages full of Adsense and/or affiliate links.

    You hit the nail on the head when you said you shouldn’t sell anything on your landing page. Build the relationship by capturing an email address. That’s the true way to PPC success.

    Keep up the great work.

  7. says

    Back to your best:)

    I’ve been toying with the idea of a landing page, From all my potential sources of traffic, then redirecting them to the appropriate topic specific, blog or website.

    I couldn’t think of a name for that kind of page tho.. I was thinking entry page.

    But landing page sounds so much cooler!

    I’ll let you know if the idea ever menifests

  8. says

    I agree completely, but don’t implement it. Go figure. LOL. I don’t like seeing the hyped up landing pages…with the big, unrealistic promises, etc…

    Certain markets will not go for this and will click out immediately.

    Need to find that compromise of specific landing page, grabbing email address and looking credible.

  9. says

    Mike, landing pages come in all flavors. I’ve done them for law firms, real estate brokerages, and high end info products. They don’t have to be hypy at all, and often that’s obviously not appropriate.

    So knock one out that suits your audience!

  10. says

    Why don’t you knock one out for me that converts huge! :-) I’m not the copywriter, but need to implement some basics like the above landing page post.

  11. says

    A landing page is like a link up player in soccer.

    He finds space, recieves the ball than passes it out again!

    Before anyone knows what hits them!

    No it doesn’t have to be overly hyped, Just well written and well designed. In the end it helps people find what they are looking for!

  12. says

    I didn’t really know about these things. In any case, I could send this information you wrote to a colleague of mine who will definitely find this useful. Thanks for sharing the link to the book too!

  13. says

    Brian, thank you for the ebook tip. It is rare that a person of your expertise doesn’t spint himself into “hype-headlines” land.

    Thank you for not doing that. Also, thank you for providing resources to us. I have made my blog better b/c of you. You can see it and maybe give me suggestions, because I need all the advice I can get! Visit me @ http://www.songsblog.com.

    Thanks so much,


  14. says

    Lawton, it looks to me like you have a useful blog. Anyone who teaches “how to” do something is on the right track.

    Just keep it up!

  15. says

    I bought Perry’s book awhile back and use a lot of his tips daily.

    I was wondering what are some favorite landing pages out there besides his ?

  16. says

    Quick question… I clicked on the link in your article to get signed up for Perry’s tips as suggested. The way that page id designed though, it prevented me from back-tracking to return to the copyblogger article. I’m sure you’ve already have responded to this question, but what is your philosophy on opening links in a new browser window versus in the same window?

  17. says

    Good points. I completely agree. YOu will be surprised to see that a majority of the pay per click advertisements still link to the homepage and not directly to a landing page or a call to action page of some sort.

    Initially I made the mistake of thinking that if users are directed to the homepage then they will have a good introduction to the company in general and if the product or service is good they will navigate to the right page and make an inquiry or a sale. However I quickly realised how wrong I was and ever since I directed users to a contact form with information of the service I was marketing, I saw a significant increase in customer inquiries as a direct result. Ever since I have stopped directing any pay per click advertisement to the home page and instead directly to a landing page specifically created for the purpose or to a call to action page of some sort.

  18. says

    Good, concise points for anyone who has the desire to succeed and who can provide quality “ancillary” offerings like the free giveaway.

    I absolutely agree about not using contextual advertising (content network). I’ve seen a number of client campaigns have thousands of dollars in PPC spend drained away to insanely high count but even more insanely low quality clicks from those channels, and it’s my policy – and a rule for my team to live by to NEVER allow a client’s PPC initiative have contextual or content network advertising.

  19. Ernest Leonard says

    I have been banging around blogs attempting to find out how to set up a pay-per-click system for a marketing website. I live and work in a country where very few businesses have websites and some are just beginning to adopt western, customer centered business practices. Yet there is a growing demand for information about where to get goods and services from foreigners moving in, working and doing business here. I want to establish a website directing product and service inquiries to providers’ websites and charge them on a pay-per click basis as well as fees for other services. How does one do this? Are there services that will set it up?

  20. says

    Some great points here. Split testing landing pages will work but it is time consuming to create them all the time but done properly will give you a better return. Pay per click management is something that evolves each and every day.

  21. says

    Good posting Brain. Nice idea of campaign that the ad should land in the proper page where something good is offered for the customer. The idea of offering through RSS and mail is really awesome where one can update his customers on the offer and the new products. What a nice example that first date!

  22. says

    One question about not doing content ads, isn’t this a way to build link popularity? I usually opt to do content ads and have seen some pretty good SEO results because of it. It does take more work in terms of filtering out the sites that send bogus or low quality traffic, but getting your link on thousands of relevant pages is seems like a great way to get noticed by the search engines, at lease when you’re starting out.

  23. says

    Excellent pointers on implementing an effective PPC campaign. Small business owners need to know it isn’t easy to succeed at PPC especially if they’re in a large market or highly competitive industry.

  24. says

    Thanks for the refresher on what makes a good PPC strategy. Lately, two part videos (one before opt-in and one after) seem to be working well to deliver value and to establish a relationship.

  25. says

    I did the pay per click and it works wonderful! I’ve gotten great return and my clientele basis has more than tripled. I’ve had to fine tune my website thoroughly which works out for everyone. Thanks for the tweet

  26. says

    I bought Perry’s book awhile back and use a lot of his tips daily.

    I was wondering what are some favorite landing pages out there besides his ?

  27. says

    Yes you are right Brian .It is the vital point for PPC marketing that the landing page does not sell your product or service because This is key.

  28. says

    Excellent post. I have had little success with PPC in the past, but I was guilty of just sending the traffic to a page with stuff for sale.
    If I try PPC again, I will definitely keep your tips in mind.

  29. says

    Hi Brian,

    Interesting to stumble across an older post and then compare it with what is going on in the current marketplace.

    Your point regarding avoiding contextual advertising did make sense when the post was written, but today the Google content network can be a great source of business when your campaigns are built and managed properly.

    I’m glad Google continued to improve their content network, it is benefiting many businesses. Also allows me to often provide more value to my http://www.propayperclickmanagement.com clients.


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