Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

If you’ve been thinking about the viability of using PPC to market your business but aren’t sure where to start, it’s important to understand the basics of PPC and what setting up a good PPC program really entails. If you have heard a little about PPC, but are feeling less than certain that it should be part of your marketing campaign, we can help you understand the reality of the time and effort required to get an effective PPC program up and running so that you can determine the bottom line on your ROI.

What PPC can mean for your business

PPC stands for pay-per-click. This is a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. The long and short of it is that PPC allows you to buy visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits more naturally and organically over time. Every time the ad is clicked and sends a visitor to your business website, you pay the search engine a small fee for that service.

If your PPC program is well designed and works correctly, the fee is nominal in the larger scheme of things because the consumer visit to the site ends up being worth significantly more than what you paid for it. If, for example, your business pays $4 per click but the click leads to a $350 sale in product or merchandise, the profit is well worth the expenditure in both time and money.

One of the most popular forms of PPC is search engine advertising. Sometimes companies opt for search engine advertising when their SEO efforts are not paying off as quickly as they might want. Adding search engine advertising can build a brand and customer base faster, allowing the business to save time and automatically appear in front of target audiences who are actively searching for products and services like theirs.

Search engine advertising allows businesses to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone conducts a search on a keyword that is related to their business industry or niche. Search engine advertising, as one method of PPC, can be an important part of a comprehensive digital marketing plan that also includes SEO, social media platforms, email marketing, and content-driven engagement. It allows you to directly display your paid ads among the search results on various search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Why PPC can be challenging

A lot goes into building a winning PPC campaign that produces results for your business, and it is not without its challenges. Not only will you need to research and select the right keywords to get the results that you want, but you will also need to organize those keywords into a campaign and ad group. Setting up PPC landing pages that are optimized for conversions can be time-consuming and require effort on your part. To make things more difficult, it can be easy to get caught up in a bidding war over particular keywords. Sometimes companies end up spending far more than the potential returns warrant, and it is not unusual to see bid inflation that consistently raises the per-click cost for highly-searched phrases, especially for search engines that impose quality restrictions are certain keywords.

It’s also important to limit the amount of junk traffic to your site. Most pay per click services and providers distribute a segment of their budget to several search engines and other sites, including their search partners and content networks. While you want your business advertisements displayed, you don’t want them showing up and generating clicks from deep, dark corners of the Internet or from places where you are unlikely to convert the clicks into sales. Building your brand involves more than just a PPC or social media strategy used in isolation.

The reality of time investment in PPC

Keyword research for PPC can be time-consuming, but it is critical for the entire campaign. The initial investment in organizing your PPC ad campaign is worth it, especially if you use a PPC maintenance plan that you use weekly to sustain it. The most successful Google Ad advertisers continue to grow and refine their PPC keyword list, making sure that your PPC keyword list includes low-cost and highly relevant keywords that could be driving traffic to your site and change over time. Find high-volume, industry-specific keywords to use in your PPC campaigns, and then work to maintain your site.

How will you make a PPC marketing plan work for your business?