PPC Management: What You Need to Know About Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

ppc management analytics dashboard screen

PPC, or pay-per-click, is a form of digital marketing that involves buying visits to your site. This is achieved in the form of small fees paid each time your ad is clicked.

For example, if a publisher works with your business by allowing your ads on their site, you’ll pay them a fee every time someone clicks your ad and is brought to your page. These PPC ads can be found on blogs, search engines, social media sites, etc. to attract consumers to a business’s website.

PPC management is a great way for businesses to drive traffic and gain customers. If you’re interested in utilizing this tactic for your brand, look no further. Here’s a basic overview of what you need to know about PPC management.

What is PPC management, anyway?

PPC management can be a full-time job, and it is for many. That’s why many small businesses opt to hire an expert or team of experts to take care of PPC tasks.

PPC management requires taking charge of the following:

  • Targeting the right audience
  • Identifying the best channels
  • Researching appropriate keywords 
  • Analyzing competitors
  • Launching campaigns 
  • Optimizing strategies

Many small businesses lack the resources to hire a PPC manager. Instead, they might choose to outsource the work to a team of experts who can handle the research, setup, tracking and overall management of the campaign.

The best PPC networks for small businesses

There are many PPC management services small businesses can utilize. A few of our favorites include:

  • Google Ads: Google Ads is perfect for local businesses trying to cultivate awareness around their brand. Using this network, you can ensure your business shows up when consumers search for related businesses on Google Search and Maps. Google Ads is also great for small businesses who provide niche services. When someone searches for a business that offers the same products/services you offer, you’ll be listed as an option.
  • Microsoft Advertising: Microsoft Advertising allows you to connect with customers in your area and coordinate social media campaigns. Using this network, you can also import other campaigns into Microsoft Advertising.
  • Display networks: Using display networks places your display ads on various sites across the internet, such as YouTube, Gmail and more. These networks typically benefit e-commerce brands with large audiences.
  • Facebook Ads: While Facebook might be known as the social media platform that connects old friends and family members, it can be used for business as well. Facebook Ads offer DIY-ads that let you choose your objective, select your audience, decide where to run your ad (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network or all), set your budget and pick a format. Once your Facebook Ad is up and running, you can also measure its performance and make any adjustments accordingly.
  • LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (or LinkedIn Advertising): Best for B2B businesses, LinkedIn Advertising helps you create efficient ads in minutes that target your specific audience. These ads will be sent across devices, from desktop to mobile, and can even be delivered directly to LinkedIn inboxes. You can also control your spending with flexible pricing options, like starting with a small budget or stopping your ads whenever needed.

7 PPC Management Tips for Successful Campaigns

If you want to launch a successful PPC management campaign, follow these tips:

1. Research your audience (and know which platforms they use)

Before you invest in PPC advertising, you’ll want to better understand your target market. No matter how strong your PPC campaign might be otherwise, if you are targeting the wrong consumers, you won’t drive the results you want. 

Rather than forcing your business on specific consumers, let your audience define itself organically. Turn to your data to understand purchasing trends, then create your PPC management campaign based on those results.

2. Set realistic goals

It’s great to be dream big and be motivated, but reaching too high too soon will only set you up for failure. Instead, set small, realistic goals. Some examples include:

  • Creating brand awareness
  • Generating leads
  • Increasing sales

Building a solid foundation is key to ensuring your campaign doesn’t burn out too soon or fall flat. Once you achieve these stepping stones, you can aspire to those larger goals.

3. Know the right metrics

Before running your PPC campaign, you’ll want to review the right data and metrics to measure the health of your business. According to Jeffalytics, you can do so through these numbers:

4. Set aside a realistic budget

Similar to setting goals, you’ll want to set a realistic PPC budget, ensuring you don’t overspend or underspend. The metrics mentioned above will help you determine a budget that works best for your business. Keep in mind, however, that you might need to sacrifice more of your budget in the beginning of your campaign to drive future results.

5. Test and optimize frequently

According to Jeffalytics, “The most consistently successful PPC advertisers test every component of their advertisements.” You won’t know what works off-the-bat; to better understand what will drive real results for your business, you’ll need to get granular.

6. Adjust your sales funnel

Based on your findings from step five, you’ll want to adjust your sales funnel to generate better results. Some ways to optimize, offered by Jefflaytics, include:

  • Refining your keywords’ list
  • Reviewing query reports for more keywords
  • Incorporating negative keywords and long tail keywords
  • Using ad testing to determine best-performing ads
  • Making landing page relevant to top-performing ads

7. Check in regularly

PPC management is an ongoing process that you’ll want to keep up with regularly. Continuously redefine your goals, revisit your budget, review your metrics, test your ads, and optimize, optimize, optimize!

Interested in launching a PPC campaign but don’t know where to start? Check out our paid marketing services or contact us for a custom quote!

8 Expert Tips for Driving Instagram Engagement

Social media marketing is a top marketing tactic today, with many businesses utilizing their social accounts to engage consumers on a more personal level. 

One of the most popular platforms businesses use is Instagram. At the end of 2017, Instagram put the number of business profiles on its platform at 25 million, and that number has surely skyrocketed since then.

Instagram has many features you can implement, from Stories to live-streamed IGTV videos, to help you connect with prospective clients and customers. We took to — you guessed it, social media! — and asked our followers to share their No. 1 tip for engaging with your audience on Instagram. 

Try these eight suggestions from experts to help improve your Instagram engagement.

1. Vertical images

“Lately, I have been posting as many vertical images as possible. To take full advantage of Instagram’s layout, vertical images take up the most real estate. This way, the entire image/post is taking up most of the viewer’s phone; and as a result, they will be more engaged.” — Andrew Forino, Architectural Photographer

2. Personalized comments/conversations

“Use [your] name when talk[ing] to them! It shows you did research and it personalizes your convo.” — Lundyn Majstorovic, owner of Sea Turtle Social

3. Emotional posts

“Evoke an emotion. Not every post needs to be about your product or service.” — Maxwell Bachemeier, Business Analyst

4. Responding to customer comments

“The best communication tip is that business should directly get involved in the comment section with customers. This way, the customer knows that their opinions matter and are acknowledged by the business.” — Syed Irfan Ajmal, MD and founder of SIA Enterprises

5. Frequent, consistent posting

“Trying to consistently post every day is another way to keep your followers up-to-date and engaged. I find that if I don’t post for a while, I get less likes.” — Forino

6. Sparking discussions

“Engagement is a two-way street. It isn’t about talking at people; it is about a discussion and recognizing where there is potential for a mutually beneficial relationship. You can’t expect consumers to engage with your art or your product if you aren’t providing them with something of value.” — Mark Macaluso, poet and musician

7. Curated, relevant hashtags

“Hashtags are another super important thing when trying to get new engagement and followers. But something I read up on is that the hashtags should be relevant to the post itself. If they aren’t, then the hashtag is ultimately pointless.” — Forino

8. A distinct voice

“It’s equal parts value-giving and engaging, and doing it all with your own distinct voice.” — Rehnuma Choudhury, The Conscious Copywriter

Interested in improving your Instagram engagement, but don’t know where to start? Contact us or check out our social media marketing packages.

5 Things Content Marketing Can Do for Your Business

Content marketing is a popular form of marketing today, with brands across all industries starting conversations as ways to connect with their customers. There are various types of content marketing, from infographics to podcasts and blog posts to videos. But what can content marketing do for your business? Is it really worth the time and energy to produce a constant stream of relevant, engaging content across multiple channels?

If you’re considering content marketing for your business, we’re here to give you a gentle push to help you commit. Here are five things content marketing can help your business achieve.

1. Establish your relevance and expertise

When you share what you know about a given subject, especially in an organized, entertaining manner, you are essentially telling consumers they can trust you and your insight. Your tone must exude confidence to draw consumers to your brand, convincing them you are an expert in your industry — because you are.

By brainstorming new topic ideas and following a consistent posting schedule, you can become a go-to for information on specific topics. This will persuade customers to trust your products and services because, as you’ve portrayed, you do know best. As you continue to produce quality content, you’ll gain a loyal and growing audience who views you as credible and trustworthy.

2. Raise awareness of your products/services

By writing content based around your products and services, you’re ultimately spreading awareness and identifying a specific gap that you bridge in your industry. For example, say you’re a coffee roaster selling only fresh and organic coffee; you might maintain a blog with posts about the downsides of conventional coffee, and why organic coffee is the healthier choice. Or perhaps you’ll create a video about how you roast your own coffee. These insightful pieces of content will raise awareness of your brand and highlight the importance of its products and services.

3. Increase sales

Good content marketing is like free advertising. Sure, you’ll have to invest your time in the process; but it is an affordable option for businesses of all sorts and sizes.

Because your content drives traffic to your site and helps your consumers make more sound purchasing decisions, it seamlessly increases sales. Your customers will feel more informed and be in the right position to decide whether they need or want a specific product or service you offer. However, they should not feel pressured in any way to do so. When done right, good content marketing will help customers make the subconscious decision to choose your brand.

4. Build trust with consumers

According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 96 percent of successful content marketers say their audience views their organization as a credible and trusted resource. By creating content specifically for your customers, you are providing insight and solutions without asking for anything in return. Of course, they have the option to then look into your products and services if their needs align with your offerings; but this accessible information is priceless to them.

Additionally, consumers will see you as human rather than just a company looking for money. When you invest in getting to know them better and their needs, they’ll feel more comfortable doing business with you.

5. Help you better target your ideal audience

When producing content for an audience, many content marketers create “buyer personas,” or characters who represent real consumers. The Content Marketing Institute found that 73 percent of those surveyed used or planned to use personas for content marketing purposes at the end of last year.

Your content marketing strategy should involve communicating with your audience, either in the comments section of your blog or even at in-person events. Getting to know your customers on a more personal level is crucial to understanding their wants, needs and habits. 

Small businesses especially will benefit from this tactic, as their consumers are typically more niche. When you’re cultivating your content, simply ask yourself what your personas would want to better understand and deliver accordingly.

Content marketing is an affordable and relatively simple option for all business. By injecting your personality and insight into your content, you are building lasting relationships with your consumers and strengthening your brand’s voice.

No time for content marketing? We can help! Check out our blog management and social media management packages, or contact us to ask about a la carte copywriting services.

How to Build a Content Calendar

Organization is key to any efficient business process — especially marketing. You want to ensure you’re producing quality content on a regular basis to engage consumers and drive sales. But this isn’t as easy as drafting a blog post or capturing a video whenever inspiration strikes. If you want results that count, you’ll have to maintain consistency in your branding efforts.

That’s why it’s crucial to build a content calendar, which organizes your marketing content across all channels — blog, social media, email newsletter, etc. — on a daily, weekly, monthly and/or quarterly basis. This calendar can keep your ideas and deadlines in check, and will save you and your team time and energy. 

Here are eight tips to help you build a content calendar for your marketing strategy.

1. Design your calendar

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide the format of your calendar. This can be an actual calendar template, a simple spreadsheet, a PDF template, or even an online project management tool. From there, decide how you want to map out your content (e.g. weeks or months in advance). You can start short-term and expand as you come up with ideas.

2. Organize content types

Ask yourself who your ideal audience is and what they might want to learn from you. You can do this by creating personas of potential customers, considering any questions or concerns they might have that you can answer for them.

Additionally, ask yourself who you are as a brand. What voice do you want to project? Do you want to be casual, professional, or perhaps somewhere in between? Define your brand’s identity and ensure your content reflects that intended persona.

Once you figure out exactly what you want to write or create for your audience, break it down into different categories (e.g. long blog posts, short blog posts, social media posts, photos, videos, infographics, etc.). This will help you mix up the types of posts you share rather than exhausting just one or two forms of content. You may wish to color-code each type of content to help you visualize it better. 

3. Determine how often you want to post

Depending on your resources (business size, number of employees, free time, etc.), you might choose to post on certain platforms daily, biweekly, weekly, or even less than that. This is entirely up to you and what works for your business.

Regardless of how often you share your content, it’s important to keep your posting schedule consistent. For instance, if you choose to publish a blog post each week, choose a specific day and communicate it to your followers so they know when to expect it. On platforms like social media, however, you’ll want to post more frequently to be considered an “active” user.

4. Look for opportunities to repurpose content

Despite the massive demand for “new” content, you don’t have to come up with completely new assets for every channel, every day. There are plenty of ways to slice, dice, and stretch the content you create for one medium for use on another, with very little additional effort. For example, if you write a blog post, you can take a snippet of that and adapt it for a Facebook caption. You can highlight the most important elements of the post and create a text-based video to share on Instagram. You can even turn parts of the blog post into a visually appealing graphic. 

Don’t forget that you can also revisit and update older, high-performing content with a little bit of new information. The more mileage you can get out of one core piece of content, the easier it will be to keep up with your content marketing efforts.

5. Be flexible enough to jump on trending topics

It’s good to have a steady stream of “evergreen” content ideas, but depending on your business type, you might also want to post content covering new industry developments or current events. In these cases, you’ll want to be flexible enough to adapt your strategy and publish “trending” stories in a timely fashion. This will help establish you as a relevant and credible expert in your field.

6. Ask your team for help

Get your team involved in brainstorming. The more people you include in the process, the more insight and ideas you’ll gain. Plus, you’ll have more people to delegate to, which will help you tackle more projects in less time.

7. Schedule cross-channel content

When scheduling content, integrate other types of marketing into your strategy. For instance, pair a blog post with a social media post and schedule them to go live on the same day. Also, find other blogs or influencers in your industry or niche, and make an effort to engage with them on a regular basis, whether through follows, comments, likes, shares, etc.

8. Measure your content performance and adapt

As your publish your content, check your stats and evaluate how well certain posts perform. For instance, maybe your audience prefers short listicles to long blog posts; or maybe they want more videos and less photos. Whatever the results may be, don’t be afraid to make adjustments accordingly and experiment with new ideas.

Content marketing is a great way to engage and connect with your target consumers while establishing yourself as a reliable source in your field. Building and maintaining a content calendar will help you achieve your marketing goals with ease while developing and assessing your strategy as you go. 

Need help creating your content calendar? Each of our marketing consulting services includes a comprehensive content calendar template that we’ll work with you to fill out. Get more details here or contact us with questions.

5 Good Reasons to Outsource Your Social Media Management

Social media has the potential to be a valuable marketing and customer service tactic for businesses across all industries. But if you don’t prioritize it — or if you only have a few minutes a day to spend on it — you won’t see the results you want.

Busy entrepreneurs can only do so much. To ensure you’re making the best of your social media strategy, you might consider hiring someone to help you out. Here are five good reasons to outsource your social media management.

1. Consistency in brand voice and scheduling

When you’re being pulled in every which way, it’s difficult to be consistent in business — especially online. However, your social media accounts are crucial to reaching consumers and providing quality content on a regular basis. Neglecting your profiles because you’re too busy can damage your company’s reputation.

You might think to ask your employees to help out, but if they don’t have experience with social media for business (or if you have multiple individuals managing different accounts), you’ll end up with inconsistencies in your brand voice, creating mixed messages for your followers.

A good social media presence requires time and commitment; but as a business owner, you only have so many spoons. If you don’t have the time or energy to be consistent in posting and engaging with your followers, it may be wise to outsource your social media to an experienced agency.

2. Better audience engagement

Social media allows your business to foster a more personal relationship with your customers. While you likely don’t have the time to scroll through your feed and answer questions and comments on all of your pages, hiring someone to do so could increase audience engagement and drive more traffic to your sites, thus increasing your revenue and improving customer service.

Additionally, an engaged audience is a loyal one. Build your following by investing in them, providing the valuable content they crave.

3. A new creative perspective and marketing expertise

Many business owners underestimate the importance of social media. They might scoff at the idea of “wasting time” on Facebook and Instagram when they could be focusing on their products and services. This attitude can be detrimental to your business.

You might believe you’re “good enough” at social networking, but that won’t drive results; it won’t help you attract new followers or connect with existing ones. 

Social media managers are experts in their craft. They have creativity and insights, and their input can help you showcase your brand in a whole new light.

4. Save time

As an entrepreneur, you simply might not have the proper time to invest in social media management; and the short period you do spend upping your social game is likely insufficient against competitors who outsource.

Hiring a person or agency with the right expertise will allow you to forget about your Twitter posts or Facebook likes and focus on your own skills and passions in relation to your brand, while still reaping the benefits of a quality social media strategy.

5. Earn new customers

You might think you can’t afford to outsource your social media management, but this investment can actually pay for itself in the long run. Not only will you gain back valuable time to dedicate to current and new clients, but you’ll also be able to drive traffic and sales with a solid social media strategy. It’s a win-win.

It’s normal to be hesitant when considering outsourcing this major business operation, but doing so can benefit your brand in ways you’ve never considered. You’ll not only increase your customer base and loyalty, but you’ll also form valuable connections that could lead to future referrals and organic sales leads. 

Lightning Media Partners offers full-service social media management for small businesses and independent creative entrepreneurs. Check out our social media management packages or contact us for more details.