The Ultimate Battle Plan to Massive Traffic Using Paid Advertising

 

Every online business needs traffic to their website to get subscribers and sales. Most online marketers start on a shoestring budget and feel they can’t afford to use paid advertising. Fortunately, there are now many more options than even just a couple of years ago. Even better, there isn’t a steep learning curve to be able to use them and get a good return on investment.

There are several reasons why you might also use paid ads in addition to traffic. They can be great for testing marketing copy, to see which sales letter performs best, for example. You can also use them for brand building. Your ads will show on the network thousands, even millions of times. But you only pay if someone clicks.

Let’s start with a review of your options and the basics you need to know.

Where to Advertise

PPC Networks
When we are talking about ad networks, we are referring mainly to what are termed Pay Per Click (PPC) ads. As the name implies, you only pay if someone clicks on your ads. The cost is referred to as Cost Per Click (CPC). There is also CPM, cost per thousand (M being the Roman numeral for 1,000), but most advertisers pay on a CPC basis.

The main two PPC networks are:
Google AdWords is the oldest and most established. It shows ads on its own search engine results pages (SERPs) and on a network of other sites. Some of the sites are owned by ordinary people who want to make money from their website, so they join the Google AdSense program. Google has textual ads, and a banner network of display ads. AdWords tends to be the most expensive, but this is because they have so much traffic, so their ads get results (if you set them up correctly). The system is clunky to use, however. It is so full-featured, there are courses online to teach you how to use the system.

Bing, by Microsoft, merged with Yahoo!’s ad program several years ago in an attempt to compete with Google. While it is true you might not get lots of traffic from Bing, it is also true that it tends to be cheaper and easier to use.

 

Social Media

There are several social networks you can advertise on as well. If you’ve spent much time on them, you’ll already be familiar with their interfaces so creating ads are not as hard. Their ad programs are highly targeted, and quite easy to use. There is also not the huge amount of “ad inventory,” that is, lots of ads from competitors on the social networks (at least not yet) compared to Google AdWords. They are easier to use than Google and are driven more by matching your ads with the interest people have stated or shown through their likes and content they engage with.

Facebook is the largest social network in the world and has a very robust ad system which allows you to create ads easily even if you are a complete beginner. They help you organize your ads based on your goals, such as getting subscribers or sales, or growing the number of followers for your page so more people will see your great content.

Facebook ads offer some stiff competition to Google AdWords because the ads are cheaper, the system is easier to use, and the traffic can be much more highly targeted. You can get the same amount of traffic for pennies on the dollar compared with Google once you learn their relatively simple system. You need to have a Facebook business page to run ads. And all your ads will have to have an image.

Twitter is hugely popular with people of all ages. Twitter ads are like Facebook ads. You can promote your entire account for followers, boost posts that have done well to get more traffic or create ads from scratch. It is also very user-friendly.

Pinterest requires a great visual. You pin it to one of your pinboards and then boost the post. It is super-simple to use. You must have a Pinterest business page to run ads.

YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world, a search engine, and a social media site all rolled into one. It is also owned by Google, which means its ad program is run through AdWords. It allows certain formats of ads. These can include banner ads and even video ads.

Instagram, now owned by Facebook, allows you to run ads on Instagram via your Google account, which can make your ad management and tracking a lot easier. It is a highly visual site like Pinterest, so you need quality images to help market your business.

LinkedIn is the only social network focused around work and business. Running ads here could drive a lot of traffic, new customers and clients, and all sorts of new business-related opportunities.

 

Ad Marketplaces

There are also ad marketplaces like BuySellAds where you can connect with various sites who accept advertising. The goal here would be to find a large site that matches the niche or industry you are working in so you can get “qualified traffic,” that is, people most likely to be interested in what you have to sell.

There are several similar marketplaces, such as Chitika. Here’s an up-to-date list if you wish to explore more of these options.

Which Network Is Right for You
With so much choice, it can be tough to decide where you are going to get the most bang for your buck. Part of your decision should be based on the way the ad program matches your ads to their audience.

For example, Google, YouTube, and Bing match based on intent, via keywords. This means they are trying to predict what the person is looking for, and what they want to do, such as buy.

With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on, they are matching based on interests and behavior, which can be a better indication of what they are really interested in. It is a (somewhat scary) fact that Facebook spies on users, gathering all sorts of information about their users. Nothing comes for “free” with them. They use the data for competitive intelligence and make it available to their advertisers through things like their ad program. But if you can’t beat, them, it might be worth it to join them if you have a small PPC budget.

As for ad marketplaces, you are picking the sites, but the systems and pricing can be confusing compared to the more organic method of just logging into your social media account and boosting your page or posts or using your image library to create great-looking ads.

The bottom line for your bottom line…

Paid ads do cost money, but they are scalable, so if you have a successful ad, you can increase your spending to show your ads even more, for more traffic and profits. Running your ads regularly is also predictive. You won’t have a rollercoaster of good traffic days and bad. Everything will be more reliable, or even explosive, if you turn on a new campaign, which means you can boost your list and skyrocket your sales.

So, how do you create successful ads on the main PPC systems available? Let’s look at this step by step.

Creating Successful Ads

No matter which ad system you are using, there is a basic formula for creating successful ads:

Step 1. Plan

There are 3 parts to the planning phase.

1. Set your goal.
Do you want more?

  • Traffic
  • Subscribers
  • Sales

Your call to action (CTA) in your ad, that is, what you want them to do, will vary depending on what your goal is, and needs to match.

 

2. Decide which item you have that is going to help you meet that goal.
Examples:

Traffic
A new Top 10 list at your blog on how to write great AdWords ads
A checklist on how to make money selling information products

Subscribers
An ebook on email marketing
A multi-lesson ecourse on how to become a top affiliate

Sales
A new product you are just launching
A product you have had for some time that you know is popular

3. Start running the numbers.
You might hate math, but you need to understand the financial implications before you get too excited, start running ads, and end up wasting money.

Calculate your acceptable customer acquisition cost (CPA) in the following way:
Estimate your maximum cost per click (CPC). The formula is as follows:
Your maximum CPC = your profit per customer x your sales conversion rate
Example: If you have a product priced at $17, and it is an ebook, you don’t have any production costs, so your profit will be $17. If your conversion rate is about the average, 1%, your maximum CPC = 17 cents.
$17.00 x .01=.017

This budget will not be enough for an expensive system like Google AdWords, but it could be high enough for Facebook and Pinterest.

What if you are selling a physical product?
In this case, there will be some sort of production cost involved which needs to be covered, plus shipping and handling. Imagine you were selling a set of 12 pencil toppers for $17, which includes shipping and handling. The cost of the toppers is $1 and the shipping and handling $4, for a total fulfillment cost of $5. Your profit in this case is only $12, so:

$12.00 x .01=.012

Again, this is fine for Facebook and maybe Pinterest, but not for more expensive ad networks.

You could, of course, be more fortunate and get a higher conversion rate. Let’s see what this would look like:

$12.00 x .02=24 cents maximum CPC
$12.00 x .03=36 cents
$12.00 x .04=48 cents
$12.00 x .05=60 cents =the potential for $60 per 100 clicks if all of them click through and buy.

Your profits can really start to add up provided you keep a close eye on your CPC.

Always test your budget. Set a test advertising budget and stick to it. You will test your ad and offer. Start with a small amount. You can always increase it if the ad converts well.

 

Step 2. Research

In this step, you will research what you know about your target customer, and start building your list of keywords to use in your ad campaigns.

Know your customers

You should already know a good deal about your ideal customer in your niche. Some marketers find it helpful to create a mini-biography of them, called a marketing persona, or an avatar.

When creating the persona, write about them as if they are real people:

  • Name
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Kids (ages) /no kids
  • Pets (how many, type/s)
  • Rent or own
  • Level of income
  • Level of education
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Personal values (religious, green, interested in animal rights, etc.)
  • and so on.

If you are not sure of these things, you might take the time to gather more information. You can do this through surveys, your various metrics, such as Facebook Insights (you will see a link for it on the top tab of your account if you have a business Facebook page), and so on.

Use the persona every time you create any new product, or new marketing campaign, to make sure they will speak to the needs of your target customer.

Note that you might have more than one type of customer, so you can create a secondary persona as well.

 

Research your keywords

By now you should have a detailed keyword list related to your niche to help you plan the content you want to publish and what you wish to rank highly on in term of SEO, Search Engine Optimization, to get free traffic from Google, Bing and so on. Google and Bing use keywords for their ad matching. They are not so important with social media but are still invaluable for speaking to the needs of your target audience.

Look at your traffic logs and check the top 20 keywords that are bringing traffic to your site. Decide if they make sense for your campaign.

Next, go to Google’s Keyword Planner to check on search volume per month and any other recommendations they have. Don’t worry. You don’t have to run ads on Google to use the tool. You do need an account, however, which you can set up for free using a free Gmail account as the access point for these and other Google marketing tools.

If the search volume on the keywords from your first step are more than 1,000 but less than 10,000, these should be good words to use.

Make a list of negative keywords, such as free, so you don’t get a lot of freebie seekers clicking on your ads unless you are trying to get subscribers and are giving away a free ebook and so on.

 

Spy on your competition’s keywords

Use https://www.spyfu.com/ to see what their keywords are and determine if any are ones you might have missed.

  • Try to sort keywords to identify:
  • Research keywords versus
  • b-Buying-Intent keywords

In other words, are they just looking, or are they getting ready to make a purchase and narrowing down their choices?

 

Organize your keywords into similar groups

This will help you name your groups something meaningful. For example, if you are advertising your free email marketing guide, that would be the name of the campaign, and the groups would be based around main concepts related to email marketing, such as building a list.

 

 

Step 3. Create a Great Offer

Your offer will depend on your goal and the free or paid item you wish to promote.

Run a few searches of your top keywords on Google, Facebook and so on. Which of your competitors appears? What are they offering?

Decide on your offer, one offer per ad. Will it be a:

  • Free sample, like an ebook
  • Special discount
  • Gift with order

Other aspects of the offer factors to consider:

  • Story-the reason you’re making the offer
  • Deadline-it is a limited time offer only so they need to move fast
  • Launch-it is an all-new product never seen before

Draft the offer so it is as tightly-written as possible. Sometimes asking a question can help.

  • Don’t forget a call to action. Examples:
  • Tired of struggling to grow your list? Grab your free ebook now
  • Tired of tiny affiliate commissions? Sign up for your free ecourse and watch them soar

 

Step 4. Create Special Landing Pages

Create a special landing page for each campaign to help you track your success. There are 2 main conversion rates to worry about:

  • Your ad conversion rate
  • Your landing page conversion rate

We have already discussed the first in relation to your maximum cost per click (CPC). Imagine you get a conversion rate of 4%. That means 4 people out of 100 will click through to visit your landing page. What do they do when they get there?

If they obey your call to action, such as subscribe or buy, great, but you need to track it.

If it is a compelling offer, you might have a high conversion rate. Perhaps 1 person in 4 will act, for a conversion rate of 25%.

In general, however, it will be much lower than this, perhaps 1% to 5%, especially if it is a sales landing page. Let’s do the math again.

1%=you need 400 people to land on that page and act
2%=200
3%=around 134 people
4%=100
5%=80

The higher the conversion rate on the ad and above all, on the sales landing page, the more money you make.

 

Subscribe

Your landing page will be what is known as a squeeze page. Create a new email marketing list in your email marketing platform, such as Aweber. Create the sign-up form. Insert it into a new landing page. It should ask for their name and email address only. You can get more information from them later, once they are on your list.

Give the details of the offer on the page and tell them they will get the free item as soon as they fill in the form. Set up a welcome email with a link to receive the free download, or the first lesson in their free ecourse.

 

Buy now

This will be a sales letter page for the product, with a buy now button which will enable them to place their order, get their product, and for you to get paid.

 

Here is a basic checklist of the most important aspects of a sales landing page:

  • Attention-grabbing headline
  • An irresistible offer
  • High-quality image/s of the product
  • A buy now button – Ideally, it should be “above the fold,” that is, they don’t have to scroll down to act.
  • No other navigation on the page, except the “housekeeping” pages at the bottom (more on these in a moment)
  • Simple sales copy that mentions the benefits of the product. A problem=>solution thanks to this product format can help. All the features and benefits can be in bullet points, for easy reading
  • A money-back guarantee
  • Credibility and social proof:
  • Review excerpts
  • Testimonial excerpts
  • Media mentions (As seen on…)

These items are often put into a colored box to separate them from the sales letter.

 

Your sign off and signature. The sign off could be something like, “To your success!” and then add your name.
A P.S. (postscript) at the end of the sales letter. This is often the most-read area on the entire page. It summarizes the great offer and guarantee and urges them to act now.

 

Housekeeping page links for AdWords:

  • About
  • Contact
  • Privacy policy
  • Terms of service for your website

Even if you are not running ads in AdWords, these links inspire confidence, especially the Contact one. They will feel there is less risk doing business with you because they can get help if they need it.

Once you have created your landing page, you will be ready to start creating and running your ads.

 

Step 5. Create Your Ads

As we have said, your main goals for your ads are conversions, for more traffic to your landing pages, and hopefully more conversions into subscribers or customers.

Ads that get a high click rate will also be rewarded by most ad networks, being shown more often, in a better position, and/or being given a lower price per click.

Google AdWords and Facebook also award a “relevance score,” rewarding ads that match the keywords that you are using to run the ads. That is why it is a good idea to group your keywords tightly, and to use your chosen keywords in certain key places in your ad.

For AdWords, Bing and Facebook, you will need a:

  • Headline
  • Description and call to action
  • Link to your landing page

If you can get your main keyword into all three of those areas, you stand a good chance of getting a high relevance score.

For your Facebook ad, you also need a high-quality image. Upload a custom one yourself and put a keyword in the name of the file.

Also think about using words your target audience would. And don’t forget your call to action. You can’t use “Click here” wording, so be clear about the benefits if they do click.

 

For Facebook, your important specifications are:

  • Image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Ad Copy
    Text: 90 characters
    Headline: 25 characters
    Link: 30 characters

If you want your ad to get the most distribution and exposure, Facebook recommends using images that contain minimal (or no) overlaid text. This means if you wanted to market a book and use the book cover, your ad might get rejected. Giving it an interesting background, however, so the text makes up less than 25% of the overall image, might be enough to get your ad passed, or given special dispensation by those who check the ads at the site to ensure they are abiding by the guidelines.

 

Here is a useful summary if you want to learn more:

For AdWords, here are the specs:

  • Dimensions for Text Ads in AdWords:
  • Field Max length
    Headline 1 30 characters
    Headline 2 30 characters
    Description 80 characters
    Headline: 25 characters

In AdWords, there are also ad extensions:

  • Sitelinks to your top products, for example
  • Call on the phone
  • Callout, an area underneath the description that highlights
  • Location, to target people in your area, not the entire Internet
  • Structured snippet, additional data about the product you are trying to sell
  • Review of the product you are trying to sell.

These do take time to create but can increase click-through-rates.

 

Learn more about extensions here.

Specifications for non-animated image ads
File Formats GIF, JPG, PNG
Max. size 150KB

Ad sizes 

Square and rectangle

  • 200 × 200 Small square
  • 240 × 400 Vertical rectangle
  • 250 × 250 Square
  • 250 × 360 Triple widescreen
  • 300 × 250 Inline rectangle
  • 336 × 280 Large rectangle
  • 580 × 400 Netboard

Skyscraper

  • 120 × 600 Skyscraper
  • 160 × 600 Wide skyscraper
  • 300 × 600 Half-page ad
  • 300 × 1050 Portrait

Leaderboard

  • 468 × 60 Banner
  • 728 × 90 Leaderboard
  • 930 × 180 Top banner
  • 970 × 90 Large leaderboard
  • 970 × 250 Billboard
  • 980 × 120 Panorama

Mobile

  • 300 × 50 Mobile banner
  • 320 × 50 Mobile banner
  • 320 × 100 Large mobile banner

Specifications for animated image ads
File type .GIF
File size 150 KB or smaller

Image sizes
Square and rectangle

  • 200 × 200 Small square
  • 240 × 400 Vertical rectangle
  • 250 × 250 Square
  • 250 × 360 Triple widescreen
  • 300 × 250 Inline rectangle
  • 336 × 280 Large rectangle
  • 580 × 400 Netboard

Skyscraper

  • 120 × 600 Skyscraper
  • 160 × 600 Wide skyscraper
  • 300 × 600 Half-page ad
  • 300 × 1050 Portrait

Leaderboard

  • 468 × 60 Banner
  • 728 × 90 Leaderboard
  • 930 × 180 Top banner
  • 970 × 90 Large leaderboard
  • 970 × 250 Billboard
  • 980 × 120 Panorama

Mobile

  • 300 × 50 Mobile banner
  • 320 × 50 Mobile banner
  • 320 × 100 Large mobile banner

Animation length and speed

Animation length must be 30 seconds or shorter and slower than 5 Frames Per Second (FPS). They can be looped but must stop after 30 seconds. You can learn more about image ads here.

Again, you might not have a large budget for AdWords, but if you are already making banners for your site and products, it might be worth converting your best one into an ad and then track your results. Which brings us to Step 6.

 

Step 6. Track Your Results

Tracking results means checking how well your ads have converted (clickthroughs), and how many of those who click through complete an action (subscribe or buy).

If you don’t track, you are sure to waste money. You can’t just set and forget your ads. To get your best return on investment (ROI), you must track your entire process.

AdWords has Conversion Tracking.

You can also use your traffic logs to look at the level of traffic on the sales landing pages you have created. Then check your email marketing platform, such as Aweber, to see how many new subscribers you get each day. Check your sales reports to see how many new orders you get each day.

Google Analytics (GA) can be used on any website. It gives an incredible amount of detail about your site. There are 2 features of this robust program that can help you with your conversion tracking. One is Goals and the other is Funnels.

With Goals, you are measuring a result, such as getting a subscriber. If they have landed on the Thank you page, you can assume they have completed the action.

With Funnels, you can track them from one page to the next, such as your Landing page through to the Thank you page and perhaps a special product offer you would like to give them as a reward for becoming a subscriber.

You can access your free account through your free Gmail account, and click on the Conversions tab to get started with Goals and Funnels.

If you are not getting a good ROI, it’s time to check your campaign settings.

 

Step 7. Refine Your Campaign Settings

Some settings might give you better clickthroughs. Check keywords, audience targeting in Facebook, location, language, and so on. Don’t try to be all things to all people at this point. Be very specific and focused on who you think is your ideal customer and what will be the best keyword, message and offer that will resonate with them.

With most niche marketing, it is better to have a narrow focus than a broad one. You are not trying to market to everyone, as they do in TV ads, (the scattershot approach), but rather, people you know are already interested in your products, services, and information. How do you know? Because of the keywords they use.

Set up different formats of ads in different groups because they need to be managed differently, such as search versus display ads. You might also wish to split out desktop versus mobile. And of course, make sure your landing pages are mobile friendly.

 

Check quality and relevance scores and follow any recommendations to improve them.

Check that you are only promoting one product per campaign and have only one call to action. Check your scheduling to make sure your ads are being shown at the right time of day for your target audience, especially if you have only a small budget. Don’t forget time zones. If you are targeting a country, like the UK and Ireland, and you are on the East Coast of the US, set the time 5 hours ahead of your own.

Once your ads are running, you will have an idea of how much of a budget you will need for the next 30 days. But before you get too carried away, it’s time to check to see if your ads are the best they can be. This means testing and optimizing.

 

Step 8. Test and Optimize

 

Refining your campaign settings may help improve your results. Testing and optimizing should do so even more.

You have 2 main things to test:

  • Your ads
  • Your landing pages

Test your ads by using what is called split testing. Create 2 exact versions of the same ad. Then change one key element of the ad. The original ad will be A, and the new ad will be B. (It is also commonly referred to as A/B split testing.)

Rotate the ads evenly and see which comes out a winner. If it is A, create a version C to go head to head with it. If B is the winner, make it go head to head against your new C.

Things to test

  • Headline
  • Description
  • Image in Facebook-keep the wording the same, but change the photo

This process will take time, but you should find a clear winner, in which case your ad is optimized. Remember, even a single percentage point improvement in conversion rate can add up.

Split testing your landing pages is also possible. You can use the Google Experiments tool to compare two versions of the same letter. Again, you can test headline, wording, image, call to action and so on.

Make sure your landing page is 100% relevant to what your visitor is looking for. NEVER send them to your home page via an ad.

Test different offers. Test different phrasing for your call to action. Consider adding video to your sales landing page. These may sound like a lot of little tweaks, but they can all add up to a better return on your ad spending, with more subscribers, sales, and profits.

 

Conclusion

No matter what size of company, paid advertising can be a short cut to growth and success IF you know your numbers and watch your spending, clickthrough rate, and conversions in relation to subscribers and sales. It may seem like only pennies per click, or “only” $150 per month ($5 per day), but it is wasted money if you are getting clicks but no real results.

Ads can drive massive traffic, so be patient with the learning curve involved, follow the suggested steps for each ad network you try, and you should soon see the results you need.

To your success!