Keywords: pay per click, ppc, search engine advertising, sponsored advertising
The two most successful techniques for enhancing your online image are: search engine optimization, and pay per click advertising campaigns.
Basically it's all about helping customers find your website and business. A pay per click advertising campaign is easy to start. You open an account and deposit some money as a starting balance with the search engine company that you are advertising with. You enter your site's URL, title and description and bid on relevant keywords. A site selling wine might bid on keywords such as "wine", "red wine", "wine club" etc.
When someone searches for "wine club" the details of your site appear, in the form of a search result with the URL, title and description you entered. If they then click on your listing, your account is debited the amount you have bid on that keyword.
Pay per click offers a high level of assurance that your campaign is reaching the proper target. What makes them so effective is that someone who has searched for your product is already qualified when they come to your site, which is selling the product or service they are looking for. Pay per click campaigns, however, are not perfect. Without constant monitoring, you sometimes risk incurring advertising costs that can spiral out of control, focusing on terms that don't convert well for your product or services or lose out during a bidding war.
It is important that your keywords are relevant and link to the page that contains information relating to that keyword. Bidding on keywords can be expensive. An alternative strategy is to bid on related keyword phrases which no-one else is bidding on. You may then be #1 in the rankings, monopolizing the traffic for those searches and only have to pay the minimum amount per click through. Related keywords and phrases can include synonyms, incorrect spellings, alternative words and phrases, closely related words/phrases, and so on.
Then, perhaps most importantly of all, you need a 'landing page': (a) specific page(s) created for visitors referred from marketing campaigns to maximize conversion. Landing pages can be a series of related pages within an existing site structure or they can be a microsite, which is specifically setup for a campaign, typically with its own campaign URL - an example is Norwich Union's (faintly annoying?) www.quotemehappy.com
There are different types of landing pages that work best depending on the campaign objectives - a landing page integrated into the sites structure or a landing page specifically created for the campaign.
Integrated pages may not work so well in terms of conversion. Bespoke landing pages tend to produce higher conversion rates but it requires more effort and maintenance. So you need to work out whether the cost of producing this type of page is offset by the potentially higher conversion rates and better campaign results.
Some simple guidelines for effective PPC are keep ads and landing pages relevant; provide enough detail for a decision; capture the audience's imagination and their data as quickly as possible; forget the guru's page length, graphics and menu options type arguments and FIND OUT WHAT WORKS, as in all direct marketing test, test, test.