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How To Find The Best Keywords For Your PPC Strategy

Did you know that the traffic generated from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has a 50% higher conversion rate than inbound traffic from organic search

PPC can be the shining light your marketing team has been waiting for. Or, it can be a confusing (and expensive) nightmare if you don’t use the right keywords. 

But what differentiates a “good” keyword from a “bad” one for a PPC campaign? 

Here’s our guide to points you might be missing if you’re struggling with finding winning keywords for your PPC strategy. 

Make Sure Your Keywords and PPC Strategy Support Your Goals 

The world is starting to see the light. For what feels like ages, so many organizations viewed every cog on the marketing machine—from search to social media, content, and more—as separate entities with separate goals and objectives. 

Although PPC is its own beast, the intentions and goals behind every campaign should be a section in a larger digital marketing strategy, that’s moving the needle forward towards a greater goal. 

Keywords in your PPC strategy shouldn’t be drastically different than what you’re using in your SEO strategy. The keywords in your SEO strategy may be more evergreen than what you’re using in your PPC campaign since organic keyword strategies have a much larger timeline than a PPC campaign does. 

But the person you’re trying to attract, and the “why” behind what you’re doing, should be the same as your other digital marketing efforts. 

If your marketing department isn’t currently working in this way, stop what you’re doing and bring the teams together. You cannot have a successful marketing strategy that doesn’t have a clear direction or understood KPIs for success. 

Know Who Your Audience Is

The goal of choosing keywords for a PPC campaign is to get into the mind of the person you’re targeting and choose a keyword phrase they are probably going to search for. 

Approaching this from an analytical standpoint can be helpful. For example, if you know you want to attract Millennials, you can do some keyword research to figure out what Millenials are searching for in relation to a specific industry, service or product, in certain locations. 

There are 71 million people in America who are considered Millenials right now. To think that they all have the same interests and will be searching for the same thing is a bit nieve. 

This is where a more empathetic and creative approach to keyword planning can take you further. But, the only way you can cut through a general audience to a specific one is to clearly develop an idea of who your customer is. 

Having something like buyer personas on-hand is essential to deep diving customer pain points and needs. They will put a name to a metric, and help you be able to put yourself into their shoes and see into their lifestyle. This is where the magic happens. 

Excellent marketing teams create their buyer personas at a high-level and make them accessible to every department, so every campaign is primarily targeting the person or groups of people. 

Have an Ultra Specific Campaign Objective

Understanding the specific purpose of a campaign will help you tailor your keywords that generate results. It will also help your team get on the same page with what is considered a win or a fail better. 

Too often organizations assume too much. A business owner may view PPC as a traffic generating tactic. At the same time, a marketing manager might see it as a sales and promotional tool, while the specialist managing the campaign is thinking the objective is to bring in more qualified leads.

Even though each person is “right” in that these are all things PPC can do for a business, they shouldn’t all be objectives that are thrown into one campaign. If you end a campaign with 1,000 new qualified leads but a less impressive boost in website traffic and sales, you’re going to think you did a great job. But, your manager and the owner of your company will see it as a massive failure. 

Choose one specific campaign objective, and make sure everyone is on board. One way to do this is to establish campaign specific KPIs that are agreed upon before launching the campaign. The KPIs you track shouldn’t be the same for every campaign if the objectives are different. 

Each campaign should have a primary objective of one of these four things: 

  • Generating traffic
  • Getting qualified leads
  • Promoting special offers and driving sales
  • Improving brand recognition

Once you decide on an objective, you’ll start to see how it changes the keyword phrases you may have been considering to use. A PPC ad aimed to bring people to a landing page will be different than one promotion a special offer. This will alter how you view the needs and pain-points of your customer, which will shape the keyword phrases you choose to use. 

Know Where Your Customer Is At in the Buyer’s Journey 

Even if you’ve narrowed down who your customer is to their very core, you can miss the mark with choosing keywords if you don’t consider where they are at in the buyer’s journey. At different stages, customers want different things. 

There are three major steps in the buyer’s journey. 

  • The awareness stage
  • The consideration stage
  • The decision stage

Where a person falls in the journey will change what they are searching for. 

Deep Diving Into the Buyers Journey

Someone in the awareness stage might not even know that your product exists. Not only your company’s product but the product in general. 

Maybe the product is a brand new type of cosmetic treatment made to help with acne. Someone in the awareness stage might be searching for broader terms like “tips for clearing acne” or even another product like “best face masks for acne.” 

Someone in the consideration state is aware of your product but isn’t sold. Maybe they have a specific type of acne they are trying to treat. They might search for something like “your brand for cystic acne” or “your brand for hormonal acne.” They will likely read through reviews of what other people are saying or see if any authoritative media outlets have reviewed your product. 

This is also a great example of how knowing your buyer persona shapes keywords. A girl who is 13 has different acne concerns than a 30-year-old man suffering from adult acne. These types of people will also likely place value on different websites for reviews and recognition of your product. 

The decision stage is where the bases are loaded and you’re aiming for a grand slam to bring everyone home. This is where your product has made it to the final cut of a buyer’s list of possible products and is ready to buy. It can take a customer an hour to get to this point from the awareness stage, or it can take them a month or a year depending on what they’re considering. 

If a buyer’s mind is already made-up, your keywords should reflect what they would be searching for at this final stage. If your buyer persona is obsessed with cosmetics or health and wellness tips, keywords that are timely and play into this might get their attention better.  

High-Level Keyword Strategies That Go Beyond the Basics 

If crafting the perfect keyword strategy was as easy as every other article or guide on the internet says it is, everyone would have a winning PPC strategy. But guess what, a lot of people don’t. 

Paying for ads by impressions and click-through-rate is a more trackable and measurable form of advertising than paying an up-front fee and never really knowing how successful an ad was. Running PPC campaigns are an excellent opportunity to learn about your audience and create even more successful future ads. 

PPC can be a massive investment for a company, but you’ve got to be willing and able to take the time it takes to develop a solid campaign strategy first. And like we said, it isn’t easy. 

If you’re ready to take your digital marketing efforts to the next level, click here to contact us! 

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