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How to Plan PPC Advertising for the New Year

  |  January 8, 2013   |  Comments

Start with an organizational top-down approach to determine how goals at each level can be accomplished through PPC this year.

Many advertisers will continue into the new year with the same approach to PPC they used last year. The key is to use what is working, but to look ahead at approaches that can help reach your goals and take you to the next level. Here is a simple way to kick off planning without getting buried in grids, charts, and endless PowerPoint documents.

First, take a look at your goals. Start with the organizational top-down approach to determine how goals at each level can be accomplished through PPC.

Next, determine the best strategy, or combination, to reach your goals. This could range from branding efforts to detailed sales or lead acquisition approaches. Note the timing for each.

basic-goals

In the above hypothetical example, we've been able to very simply gather our main goals, define them, and prioritize them by date. We have efforts to focus on in January, March, and June. Next, we want to consider the best PPC tactics to implement for each. We can consider:

  1. New features. Look at any recently released features in the PPC platform and determine if it's one that might benefit you to test. For example, new video formats may be a great fit to integrate PPC with the new TV ad campaign launching in June.
  2. Offers. There are so many opportunities for offers and purchase incentives; it's only limited by your marketing imagination. Besides the expected percentage-off products for retail, offers for B2B can include free white papers, "how-to's," free assessments, ebooks, etc.
  3. Creative ad changes. Even without specific goals, you should be continuously testing ad copy. Continue to do so, but incorporate the ad text that is more tightly connected to your newly defined goals. Are you running banner ads? Banner ads can be changed up minimally by experimenting with colors or call-to-action statements, for example.
  4. New landing pages. This is a great way to reach your goals and improve overall PPC performance in one swoop. It may be related to a completely new campaign or simply a current landing page optimized to better reach your goals.
  5. Add/remove campaigns. Many of your goals will require new campaigns to be added or scheduled to start/stop at certain promotional time periods. Ensure these are not duplications of the current campaigns and are well integrated into the overall PPC vision.
  6. Add/remove keywords. "Sale," "spring," "tax time," and "new" are examples of keywords that can be leveraged for special campaigns and seasonality. Remember to keep these tightly connected in their own ad group at the very least to easily turn on and off as needed.
  7. Budget adjustments. As each initiative is planned, consider how this will impact the budget. The budget may need to be increased or decreased at different key points in time to capture traffic as well as be managed for the annual budget limit.

Each goal should be assigned tactics most appropriate to achieve success. Note this in the plan.

basic-goals-tactics-2

Again, this is a very basic example to illustrate how to start getting organized, but this could be fleshed out in a variety of ways.

Finally, once you have this information sorted out, it's time to plot it on a calendar or create a timeline. The objective here is to have a clear direction on the workflow and implementation to reach the launch dates. Depending on the tasks, remember to allow enough time for approvals, implementation, and unexpected troubleshooting, especially if working with new features or channels.

Still not sure where to start? Use Google Trends to enter some of your core PPC keywords to find seasonality and get new ideas for strategic planning for the new year.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Raehsler

Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.

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