How to Run a Successful PPC Campaign

October 1, 2019
Contributor: Patrick Fischer

Here are four smart ways to run a PPC campaign that earns your business more exposure and in-market leads, and even pays for itself.

How do you know if your software business achieves all that’s possible from your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign?

My team works with software vendors every day to connect them with in-market buyers and get the most out of their lead-generation campaigns. We’ve learned a lot from those interactions, and four key points stand out as ways to maximize your PPC efforts. (After all, you don’t want to see all of your hard work go to waste.)

1. Don’t be afraid of an unlimited budget.

A PPC advertising novice thinks of their campaign in terms of “my competitors advertise here, so maybe I should try it, too.” They set strict budgets, or no budget at all, and walk away, relying solely on the strength of their profile, number of reviews and good karma to carry their profile and campaign.

A successful PPC advertiser knows exactly how much to spend on leads by calculating their typical close rate and revenue per customer. That knowledge frees them from budget restrictions and makes it possible to maximize sales and set up a PPC campaign that pays for itself.

2. Know the secret to high conversions.

In the world of PPC campaigns, I find few things more disappointing than software companies that put in the time and energy perfecting their bids only to stop just short of the finish line. After you set your perfect bid and see clicks roll in, cross the finish line by converting those clicks into leads.

If a qualified buyer lands on your page only to bounce because they couldn't find your product’s key features or they were put off by bad stock photos, you’ve lost a sale. Here’s the secret to higher conversions and turning those clicks into leads: An optimized landing page.

Creating truly optimized landing pages is a more complex topic than I can cover in this paragraph but, as a rule of thumb, be sure to include these elements: A clear description of your product, a prominent list of your product’s top features, a visually appealing layout including high-quality images and a strong call to action (CTA) that leads to a short lead-capture form.

3. Acknowledge differences across advertising channels.

It’s easy to stick with what you know, but not all PPC channels operate in the same way, and your bidding strategy should be channel-specific.

Conversion rates vary across PPC advertising channels based on the quality of web traffic and the channel’s verification. A high quantity of traffic from a less reputable channel may provide lower-quality leads and result in an unsuccessful campaign. Make sure to keep an eye on those differences and use relevant data to guide bid adjustments accordingly.

4. Don’t count yourself out.

All right, you made it this far. You’ve connected the dots and can see the direct line from web traffic to improved sales. More quality web traffic — from a verified source — means more customers and more revenue.

But, as with all good things, there are a few caveats and valid reasons for temporarily setting a limit on your bidding budget:

  • Your sales team is at capacity. Once you hire more salespeople, you can lift the limit.
  • You want to confirm the quality of a new channel — both the number of clicks and the value of the leads — before committing all the way.
  • You’re short on cash and have a very long sales cycle. If it takes a year to convert a web lead into a sale, you may have to limit yourself to ensure you don’t run out of cash too quickly.

No company wants to limit its growth — but many do — by misaligning bids and seeing the runtime for their advertising limited to the first half of a month as a result. You can determine your ideal bid and generate leads throughout the month by spending as much as possible with any channel that can help you reach your goals.
 

Check out this infographic to learn more about optimizing your landing page.

Patrick Fischer

Patrick Fischer is the Vice President of Sales for Gartner Digital Markets. He has more than 20 years of sales and sales leadership experience with a passion for motivating his teams to consistently surpass their goals. He is also a proud alumnus of The University of Memphis and a big soccer fan. Connect with Patrick on LinkedIn.