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How to Write PPC Ads that Convert

It can be frustrating to create a paid ad campaign and receive a number of clicks, but not see many conversions on the site.  These conversions may be direct revenue, such as a purchase, or a micro-conversion where someone fills out a form or downloads a file. You may also feel good about your ad copy and see a lot of impressions, but unfortunately discover that very few people even click on the ad.  Below are some tips to consider when writing your ad to increase your chances of conversion.

Keep it simple

You may do a lot of things well.  If you are an IT company, you may sell software and hardware.  Maybe you also offer support for different product lines.  One ad should not attempt to highlight everything you do. If you want to promote the page on your site with desktop computers, write an ad that is only about desktop computers.  Keep it very simple so people are not distracted by multiple offers.

Have a valuable Call-To-Action (CTA)

Is your call-to-action ‘learn more’ or ‘buy now’?  Although the ability to learn more or buy is not a bad call-to-action, it does not set you apart from other advertisers. Is there an offer you can include, such as free shipping, overnight shipping, or a time-limited discount? Find something that sets you apart from other advertisers in your industry.

Include a countdown timer

With Google’s countdown customizers, you can speak directly to people’s fear of missing out on something. With a little bit of code, your ad will include a real-time countdown by the day, hour, and minute.  Two words of caution with a countdown.  If you continually run ads  with the same deal and just change the end date, customers will catch on to you quickly and will know it’s not a real deal.  Also, if you always run a deal, customers will know that discount prices are your standard operation and will then buy from you only when you offer a deal.  When countdowns can work well is if they are used occasionally, such as around holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day.


Write for the customer… not you

You may think your products or services have great features which is, of course, important.  Customers will be curious about your features, but they are much more concerned with the benefit to them.  Always remember, you are not offering your products or services, you are selling the customer’s solution and ensure your ad language reflects that.  Include words such as “you” to make it clear that you are customer focused.

Include numbers

Numbers can really stand out in an ad. Is your price $99 or do you offer “free shipping for purchases over $50”? State that in an ad.  It can make your ad stand apart from the ones that have text only.

Include “free” only if it is

Have you clicked on an ad with a free offer and learned that it was a 3-day trial, or “free” with some type of initial payment? This is why you need to be very careful about using that word. It could simply attract people who have no intention of ever paying for what they’re seeking, such as software. But if you have a “free 14-day trial”, that’s more honest and clearer to the searcher.  When they click your ad, they know it’s not something that’s free forever.

Reinforce your offer in the Display URL

The Display URL does have to include your domain, but can include any text after that.  So, if your domain is, after the .com, you have room to reinforce your message.  It could be or  It gives you some extra space for your message, so don’t give away this free space in the Display URL by only including your top level domain.

You will never find a 100% conversion rate on your ads and there will always be searchers who visit your site and choose not to make a purchase.  However, with some of these suggestions above, you can at least increase the number of people who do convert after clicking.

How to Give Your Paid Search Ad Copy a Facelift



Sometimes, when I know it’s time to revisit ad copy, I used to cringe inside – a lot. Writing new and copy or refreshing ad copy is one of those optimization tasks that I will be honest – I do not do as diligently as I should  And it requires a certain state of mind and focus of concentration that some days I just don’t have. It requires creative thinking, to say the least.  How can I reword the same ad in a different way? How can I spin the call to action a little differently?

To write great PPC copy means keeping your ad copy fresh.  And ensuring it is consistent with your messaging and current promotions.

One thing that has helped me in writing ad copy is coming up with simple ways to get more creative.

So how to come up with new ideas for ad copy? Below are some ways to get some creative and different ideas:

1)      Commercials

Watching TV commercials can actually be a great way to get ideas.  And they are becoming more and more creative in getting your attention.  So the next time you are watching your favorite show or a game, pay closer attention to those sometimes annoying ads.


PPC Mistakes that Sink Beginners

*The original article can be found in ASPE’s ROI November/December 2014 Newsletter. Interested in more articles like this one? View the most current newsletter here.*

As a beginner in the world of pay per click (PPC) marketing, there are steps you must take to get up and running in a fast, efficient and effective manner. There are also things you have to avoid if you want to stay above water and continue to move in the right direction.

The good thing is just because you are a beginner now does not mean you will always be a beginner. As you spend more money on PPC, paying close attention to what is and is not working, you will gain knowledge and expertise. At some point, you will be well past the beginner stage and ready to dive into the most advanced tactics and strategies.

For those who are just getting started with PPC, there are some key mistakes that can sink your strategy before it ever has a chance to swim. Here are five mistakes that you should avoid:

Not tracking each and every detail. If you are going to spend time and money on PPC marketing, it goes without saying that you should know what is going on at all times. How are you going to stay the course if you are not tracking every detail, no matter how big or small?

Your goal is simple: track anything and everything associated with your PPC campaign. From the keywords to the cost to the conversion (and that is just the start), you need to keep a watchful eye on everything that is happening.

The more details you track the easier it is to make changes on the fly that will improve your chance of greater success the next time around.

Spending too much money during the learning phase. It is easy to believe that the more you spend on PPC the more traffic you will drive to your site. And it is also easy to believe that the more traffic you drive, the more money you will make.

Don’t get too far ahead of yourself by setting an astronomical budget during the early days and weeks of your PPC campaign. You have to experiment with a variety of strategies, learning more about what is and is not going to work.

Start with a small budget, track everything, and then ramp up when you are comfortable doing so. If you spend a lot upfront and get nothing in return, there is a good chance you will be scared away from PPC forever. You don’t want that to happen, do you?

Not realizing the key difference between click through rate (CTR) and conversions. Testing and tracking is a big part of your PPC campaign. As you do this, it is only natural to pay close attention to your CTR. This is the number of people who are clicking your ad and making their way to your website.

This is your goal, right? While a high CTR means you have created a successful ad, it does not necessarily mean you are going to be impressed with the conversation rate.

When you focus solely on the CTR you could falsely believe that your campaign is performing much better than what it is. Make sure you know how many of the people visiting your site are converting.

Traffic is good, but conversions are what really matter. Are you keeping track of both?

Getting stuck in your ways. This can happen for a number of reasons. If things are going well and your current ad is paying off in terms of CTR and conversions, you may feel compelled to stick with it for the long run. But how will you ever know if you can do better unless you try?

On the other side of things, you may not be getting the results you are after. However, you stick with an ad for one reason or another. There is a fine line between giving your campaign a chance to work and sticking it out for too long. The longer you hang around without achieving results, the more money you are throwing down the drain.

Forgetting about the power of geo-targeting. If you are using Google AdWords, for instance, the default setting is for the entire United States. If you don’t make a change, your ads are going to be targeted to people from one side of the country to the next (and everywhere in between). This may not be the end of the world if you have a product or service that is sold nationwide, but if you are a local company, such as a restaurant or service professional, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Use geo-targeting to your advantage, especially if you want to target a specific, local audience. This will improve your chance of people in the right location seeing your ad.

Tips to Remember

These five PPC mistakes sink beginners time and time again. If you avoid these, you know you will be in a better position moving forward.

Here are a few additional tips to implement:

  • Experiment with many traffic sources, regularly comparing the results to determine which one offers the best return on investment.
  • Test, test, and test some more. You may be surprised at which ad copy yields the best results.
  • Ad scheduling can save you a lot of time, while helping you avoid mistakes (such as forgetting to turn a campaign on at a particular time of the day). Here is some more information on this direct from Google.

With the right PPC campaign in place, you could find yourself driving high quality traffic to your site on a regular basis. If you master this strategy, you will always be confident in your ability to generate traffic that converts.

Running Paid Ads with Bing


Since Google is the search giant, most marketers look to the AdWords network for their paid campaigns.  It seems to be a given for large companies especially to run some type of ad with AdWords – whether it is search, display, or a combination of both.

Even though Google seems to own search, Bing should not be ignored when it comes to cost-per-click (CPC) campaigns.  There are a number of advantages to this network in addition to your Google audience.  The obvious case for Bing is to reach searchers who are not on Google.  Yes, it is true.  Some people do prefer the Bing network for searching so perhaps you should be there too so you do not miss out on this potential goldmine of new customers.  Before jumping in with a Bing campaign, here are some considerations when spending marketing dollars there.

Less costly CPCs

Compared to AdWords, CPCs are frequently lower for keywords on Bing.  With a lower CPC for valuable keywords, this is a way to make marketing dollars go further – especially in verticals where CPC is incredibly expensive.  If you cannot afford to bid on your preferred keyword in AdWords, check the keyword cost in Bing.  You may be able to earn a decent ranking for your phrase on Bing that is very difficult to do on AdWords.  Small businesses with a very limited ad budget especially need to explore CPCs on Bing.


10 PPC Mistakes Marketers Make

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  1. Sending traffic to the home page instead of a specific landing page
  2.  Using the default broad match on every keyword after setting up a campaign
  3.  Not split testing ads to find out which one gets the most clicks
  4. Not separating text ads vs. image ads in the display network
  5. Not using conversion tracking on thank you pages
  6.  Not spending enough time developing the right negative keyword list
  7. Using too many or duplicate keywords in your Ad groups
  8. Not optimizing for Quality Score
  9. Not checking the search query report on a daily basis
  10. Ignoring the ad extensions feature completely

Maximize Your Budget with Google AdWords

For more Google AdWords instruction, tips and tools check out Google AdWords training from ASPE-ROI. This 3-day Mastering Google AdWords course will teach you the terminology, knowledge and strategy necessary to achieve results with Google AdWords. You’ll also prepare for and pass the Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam on the final day of class.

If your business still lacks a presence on Google Sponsored Ads, no need to fret, because we’re going to walk you through the basics on getting started with Google AdWords.  It’s quick, fairly painless, and fun (OK, it’s what you make of it).

First, what we’re trying to capture here is people searching for information. If their search is relevant to your business, you want to have a presence on Google when people are conducting these searches.  Your website can either appear naturally through SEO efforts, or you can “pay-to-play,” if you will, with your business appearing in the Sponsored Results.



Just like anything else when you sign up for something online, you need to provide them with some basic information.  In this case, you need to give Google an email address and your website.



Now let’s create your first campaign!


A Deep Dive into Google Online Marketing: SEO, AdWords and Analytics

I started my journey to earn an Executive Certificate in Internet Marketing from ASPE-ROI, which is accredited by Saint Louis University, with the three-day Google Online Marketing Boot Camp. The course was held at Dynamic Worldwide Training Consultants’ facility in Cary, N.C., and taught by digital strategist and owner of Dijital Farm, Jon Parks (@JonParks).

The course was intense, interactive and intriguing even for a senior marketing executive and communications expert with more than 20 years of professional experience in the management, analysis, research and execution of strategic marketing plans for a variety of B2B, B2C and nonprofit clients. Much to my surprise, three of seven class participants travelled from Japan to take the course and visit the Triangle area.

My desired outcome from this Google Online Marketing Boot Camp was to ensure my digital marketing skills were up-to-date, as well as to deepen my knowledge about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), paid search tools and Google Analytics.  Mission accomplished!

Here are a few key takeaways and description of class experience.  (more…)

Are You Ready for July 22, 2013 (Hint: Google Enhanced Campaigns)

This blog was originally posted on

Google AdWords Changes to Enhanced Campaigns on July 22, 2013

A few weeks ago we discussed Google AdWords Enhanced campaigns and how they differed from your current (Legacy) campaigns.  With Google Enhanced, campaigns no longer have the ability to be categorized under “mobile-only.” In fact, mobile-only campaigns will cease to exist, and Google Enhanced is instead streamlining campaigns across all platforms – mobile (smartphones), tablets and desktops.

How will this affect the performance and reach of your AdWords campaigns? It will take some testing and analyzing to be sure.

Get Creative with Bid Modifiers (more…)