John Jantsch in Duct Tape Marketing provides a handy primer and some simple and effective advice in this posting: How to Get the Most Out of Pay Per Click Advertising.
He provides advice about keyword research, warns you to be careful in your definitions and targeting (otherwise you can overspend on your advertising) and provides insights about why the paid Google search advertising can be an effective complement to search engine optimization techniques.
Among other ideas, here are some reasons he suggests why you should consider PPC advertising:
Proof of Concept testing
Consider building a simple and effective landing page and develop an AdWords campaign driving traffic to it for a couple of months. If it generates qualified leads and sales then you know you can use it for a long-term SEO strategy.
Can you believe most websites don’t use conversion tracking? It’s true! When you have conversion data tied to keywords, you can easily target your top keywords for SEO success. Phone conversion tracking is an awesome AdWords feature that I don’t believe is taken advantage of nearly enough. Do your business a favor and set that up today if you haven’t already done so.
Click-through rate testing
With Google AdWords, you can experiment with your PPC ad copy to optimize your ads click-through rate (CTR)? The higher your CTR, the higher your rankings results will be on Google.
AdWords is a great way to test CTAs on your website. You can see which perform best to get you optimal results.
Going after your competition
AdWords can be used to go after and crush your competition online. While you can’t put a competitor’s name in your copy without their consent, you can bid on their trademark to use as one of your keywords. When people search for your competitor online, your name will then appear at the top of the search results.
Jantsch suggests you may wish to seek professional guidance in overseeing your PPC campaign, but he gives you some solid do-it-yourself strategies, and personally I think you should do this yourself, at least until you know enough about the process to be able to effectively guide the third-party agencies or services that offer PPC advertising support services. While the learning curve can be daunting, the value of truly knowing and understanding how your key advertising expenses are managed, in my opinion, is truly great.