5 Tips for Budget-Friendly PPC

Managing a pay per click (PPC) campaign on a budget is not just tricky — it’s basically high-stakes competition with a watered-down price point. You still need to trounce competition and you need to do it without overspending on your PPC budget. Here are 5 ways to do just that:

Micro-Manage Your CPC

Your cost per click (CPC) can make or break your entire PPC campaign — so keep a very close eye on it. Without prior data, the CPC micro-managing is a balancing act with a blindfold thrown in; you need to be aware of how much you’re spending per lead and what returns you’re getting. With a bit of data from previous campaigns, it’s still a balancing act, but you can at least see what you’re doing.

Bid on Competitor Names

Google won a legal challenge that allowed them to allow AdWords users to bid on competitor names and brands. Bidding on competitor names on your PPC campaigns allows for cheaper CPC, and it presents your business to your competitors’ audience. Just be sure to follow stringent guidelines on how to go about competitor name bidding. The good news is, you can just go for trial and error most of the time — the PPC program will tell you if you can proceed or not.

Watch Your Bidding Schedule

Google AdWords, for one, uses a bidding scheduling tool that applies to all its users (bids have 15 minute intervals). If you watch your competitor closely, you can see at what time their bidding campaigns peak and either avoid their bidding hours or compete with them directly — depending on your competition strategy. If you’re really on a budget though, you would want to steer clear of as much fierce competition as possible.

Consider Long-Tail Query Bids

Long-tail queries are just as viable for PPC as they are for organic search engine optimization. The problem is, they’re also a bit trickier to handle. Furthermore, you can’t really tell the exact long-tail query search users will employ — such as the variance in keywords and word arrangement, so you will have to settle for less than exact match keyword bids. If you can find the right bids, however, you can expect a lot of return on investment.

Analyze the Competition

Among the facets of your known competition that you can analyze include: meta data, tags, landing page text and design, and their own PPC ads. By analyzing these things you can get an idea of how they sell (or how they don’t) and thus apply your knowledge to your PPC efforts. Better yet, if you can accurately assess how well their campaigns work out, you can work on their foundations and optimize it for your own ends — innovating upon the efforts of the competition.

As you can see, most of these tips entail a bit of effort. This is the trade-off you must be willing to give, because of your severely limited budget. Know that these tactics also apply to high-stakes PPC competition where the budgets soar — they just work well for your situation too.