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An Introduction to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Paid Marketing

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Your brand has the power to reach millions of people around the world, and it only takes a few minutes to do. The power of pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is incredible, with a huge reach and the ability to target specific audiences.

How can you make the most of it?

Investing in PPC can bring a great return for your business (it’s thought paid advertising returns $2 for every $1 invested), but it’s also an easy way to lose money if you don’t approach it in the right way.

To help make sure you’re getting your PPC right, here’s my introduction to pay-per-click marketing.

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Marketing?

Pay-per-click is a common advertising model in internet marketing. It allows advertisers to place ads on search engines, social media platforms, and third-party websites, paying a fee whenever the ad is clicked.

Example of a pay-per-click ad on Google

Generating over $134 billion in ad revenue, Google is the largest provider of PPC services. Its platform, Google Ads, is often the first stop for people beginning PPC marketing.

How Much is PPC Advertising?

Whenever you invest in advertising, you want to know how much it’s going to cost you. With PPC, this is a little complicated.

Online advertising isn’t like taking out an ad in a magazine, where you pay a fee and you get a full-cover page. Instead, with PPC, you pay when you get results (someone clicking your ad).

However, with offline advertising, you tend to pay a set fee regardless of the results you achieve. With PPC, you’ve got more control over how much each truly engaged consumer costs you.

This plays out through an auction system. Unlike a traditional auction, though, there isn’t one product with one winner—you’re bidding on how high up and how often your ad could be visible. “Losing” the auction doesn’t necessarily mean you get no PPC space—it means you get less.

Whenever a user searches for a certain keyword, say “PPC Marketing,” Google looks through its list of advertisers for this word and initiates an auction between them. A Google algorithm then chooses ads based on each advertiser’s maximum bid and the quality score of each ad.

The big takeaway from this is that it’s not just about how much you bid. The quality of your ad plays a huge part as well.

That said, if your max bid isn’t realistic, then your ads aren’t going to be shown often enough to be worthwhile. Different keywords have different average costs per click, and this should inform your bidding strategy.

Tools such as Ubersuggest and Google Ads Keyword Planner could give you a good feel for how much your ads are likely to cost, so they should play a role in your keyword research.

Is PPC Marketing Right for My Company?

Like any form of marketing, pay-per-click advertising has its pros and cons. Ideally, your company will use PPC as part of a complete digital marketing strategy, so you maximize its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.

Pros of PPC Marketing

  • Immediate results: As soon as your ads are approved, they will reach your target audience.
  • Highly targeted: You can be extremely specific about who sees your ads.
  • Easy to track: You can quickly track the success of your campaign and measure your ROI.
  • Potentially huge exposure: Paid ads are prominently displayed, with the potential to reach a virtually unlimited number of people.

Cons of PPC Marketing

  • Costly long-term option: You have to pay for every click, leaving you in the hands of advertising pricing. If you do this for months or years, it’ll add up.
  • Not building an asset: When you invest in content marketing or building an email list, you’re creating an asset you own. With PPC, your success is reliant on continued ad spend.

This is why my own digital marketing agency works to create a well-rounded digital marketing plan for your business. PPC has some amazing benefits, but you need good marketing in other areas as well.

PPC isn’t a replacement for organic SEO. The two should complement each other, with organic work taking a good amount of your focus because those clicks are free.

Six Steps to Starting a PPC Marketing Campaign

Starting your first PPC marketing campaign may feel surprisingly simple—you could do it in just six steps. Remember, ad quality plays a large part in your campaign’s success, so make sure you take your time and focus on each step.

1. Figure Out Your PPC Budget

How much do you want to spend on your pay-per-click marketing?

To begin with, you need to set an initial budget to allow you to test the waters. As a rough guide, you can look at some industry benchmarks to understand how much you’re likely to pay for each conversion.

Once you have an overall budget in mind, daily and lifetime spend caps for your campaigns.

This is an important part of creating a PPC campaign because your budget will greatly impact your ads’ success rates. Google Ads gives you good tools to help with this, and it’s worth following Google’s recommendations because its algorithms are designed to maximize your return.

You’ll be able to see an estimate of how many clicks your budget is likely to get you. From there, you can work out your potential return on investment based on your anticipated conversion rate.

If your budget doesn’t allow you to get meaningful results, it might be worth looking at some alternative marketing methods.

2. Set Your Campaign Goals

Different businesses will have different goals for their pay-per-click campaigns.

For example, if you’re doing a pre-launch for a start-up, your goal might be to drive traffic to the site and create awareness. If you’re selling a product, your main goal may be conversions.

The goals you set will have a big impact on your marketing campaign because each goal has a different value. A click isn’t as valuable as a lead or a conversion, and your cost-per-click should reflect this.

Setting up your campaign with the right goals allows you to better target the correct audience and accurately measure your return on investment. You’re paying for the click, not what the customer does afterward, when you use PPC—the click costs the same whether they purchase or not.

Consider who you want to click your ad and what actions you want them to take. When you understand this, optimize your entire campaign to encourage people to take those actions, which should bring down your costs.

3. Figure Out What Type of Campaign to Run

Another element to think about with PPC is what type of campaign you’re going to run. There are lots of options here, each giving you flexibility over how you reach your target audience:

  • Search ads: Ads showing at the top of search engines
  • Social ads: Ads on social media platforms
  • Remarketing ads: Ads that target people who have already visited your website
  • E-commerce ads: Ads on Google shopping that are focused on selling products
  • Instream ads: Commonly seen on YouTube, played before a video loads
  • Display ads: Dynamic ads showing on third-party websites, like in the image below

All these options give you the tools you need to target specific audiences. You need to find out where your audience hangs out and what they respond to. This will change depending on the buyer personas you’re trying to reach.

You don’t have to commit to one particular type of ad, and many businesses find a mix of different ad formats works best for them. However, it’s important to keep your eye on your ROI for each ad type so you can tweak your strategy accordingly.

4. Research Your Keywords

Keywords are one of the main tools you’ll use to target your audience, and your keyword research can make or break your campaign.

While you probably have a reasonable idea of how your customers search for your products or services, you need to narrow them down to those that result in people taking action.

A big part of this is understanding user intent. For example, who is more likely to make a purchase: someone searching “what is SEO?” or someone searching for “best keyword research tool?”

It’s probably the second one because of where that search fits into the buyer’s journey. Where people are in the buyer journey dictates how likely they are to make a purchase, so the keywords you choose need to reflect which stage you’re targeting.

Keywords that attract people who are further along in the buying process will generally cost you more, but they’re also more likely to lead to conversions.

5. Bid On Your Chosen Keywords

Most platforms give you different bidding options based on your goals. With Google Ads, this allows you to optimize for:

  • target CPA (cost per action)
  • target ROAS (return on ad spend)
  • maximize clicks
  • maximize conversions
  • maximize conversion value
  • target impression share
Pay-per-click marketing - Google Ads

Google will automatically bid on your behalf so it can optimize for your desired goal, but you still have some control over your bid. If you optimize to maximize clicks, for example, you can set a maximum bid. If you maximize for conversions, you can set a target cost per action.

It’s important to remember Google is there to help you get the most out of your ad spend. The algorithms are finely tuned to achieve this. It’s often wise to use Google’s recommendations, especially when starting out.

6. Create Keyword-focused Copy With Unique Landing Pages

Getting people to click your ads is only a small part of what you’re trying to achieve. It’s what happens when people land on your page that’s key.

No matter what your goals are, you need unique, engaging landing pages to achieve them.

Your landing pages need to offer a good user experience and be relevant to the ad the user clicked. People want quick access to the information they’re looking for, and if your landing page isn’t relevant to their keywords, they won’t hesitate to click back to Google.

In short, your PPC landing pages need to be optimized and A/B tested to make sure you’re getting the most out of them.

Conclusion

Pay-per-click advertising is an amazing way to reach a highly-targeted audience quickly. Through platforms such as Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, and many more, you can set up paid ads in seconds. Once approved, they could be seen by tens of thousands of people, depending on your budget.

While reaching your target audience is vitally important in marketing, the most important thing is what you do when you have people’s attention. This is why you need to give your paid campaigns the care and attention they need or find a company to do it for you.

When you find the right balance with PPC and have your ads perfectly optimized, it can bring you an excellent return on investment and become a vital part of your digital marketing weaponry.

Is pay-per-click advertising a great earner for your business?

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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

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Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

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MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

If you’re thinking about getting a degree at any age, it makes sense to think about the value of that degree. Is the qualification needed for the career you want? Are there alternative paths to that career? Can you develop better skills by gaining experience in work? 

All of these are perfectly valid questions. After all, getting a degree requires a pretty large investment of both time and money. You want to know that you’ll get enough return on that investment to make it worthwhile.

Why marketing?

When it comes to marketing, a lot of entry-level jobs list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement. That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternate ways to get into marketing but having a relevant degree certainly makes your resume more competitive. 

Growth industry

Marketing skills are in demand in the current jobs market. According to a recent report from LinkedIn, marketing job posts grew 63% in just six months last year. Half of those jobs were in the digital and media sectors, meaning digital and content marketing skills are highly valued

Personal Development & Career Path

The reason for this increased demand for marketers is tied to the rise in digital marketing. New methods of marketing have continued to develop out of the digital sector. This means that marketers capable of creating engaging content or managing social media accounts are needed.

This leaves a lot of room for personal development. Young graduates who are well-versed in social media and community management can hit the ground running in digital marketing. Getting on this path early can lead to content strategist and marketing management positions.    

What are the Types of Marketing Degrees?

When we say marketing degree, the term is a bit too general. There are a lot of degree paths that focus on marketing in major or minor ways. The level of degree available will depend on your current education history, but the specific course will be down to your personal choice. 

Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s?

Recent statistics suggest that 74% of US marketing professionals hold a bachelor’s degree. 9% have an associate degree and 8% have a master’s degree. Here’s a quick overview of the differences. 

Associate degrees – 2-year courses that cover marketing and business in a more basic way than bachelor’s qualifications. They’re designed to give students the basic skills needed to apply for entry-level marketing jobs.   

Bachelor’s degrees – 3/4-year courses that cover business and economics. There is a range of bachelor’s courses with marketing at their core, but you’ll also cover wider business topics like management, communication, and administration. 

Master’s degrees – 2-year courses, usually only available if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree. MA or MBA courses are designed to develop a deep understanding of complex business topics. They are highly specific, covering areas like strategic marketing or marketing analytics. 

Free to use image from Pixabay

Marketing Specific or Business General? 

This is down to personal choice. There are general business degrees that will cover marketing as a module as well as marketing-specific degrees. There are also multiple universities and colleges, both offline and online, offering different course platforms

If you’re looking at a specific job role or career path, then research which type of degree is most relevant. Remember that you will need to add to your marketing skills if you intend to progress to management roles in the future. 

Check the Modules & Curriculum

This is important, and not only because it lets you see which courses align with your career goals. Marketing has changed significantly over the last decade, even more so if you go back to before the digital age. Many business courses are still behind on current marketing trends. 

What Jobs Look for a Marketing Degree?

Once you’ve got your marketing qualification, what jobs should you be looking for? Here are some job titles and areas you should watch out for, and what qualifications you’ll need for them.

Entry level

If you’re starting with a degree and no experience, or work experience but no degree, take a look at these roles. 

  • Sales/customer service roles – These are adjacent roles to marketing where most companies do not ask for prior qualifications. If you don’t have a degree, this is a good place to start.
  • Marketing or public relations intern – Another possibility if you don’t have a degree, or you’re still in education. 
  • Digital/content marketing associate – These roles will almost always require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A good grasp of new digital and social marketing techniques will be required to succeed. 
  • Copywriter/Bid writer – This is a good route into marketing for those with journalism or literature qualifications. These roles combine aspects of marketing, creative writing, and persuasive writing. 
  • SEO specialist – A more focused form of marketing centered on SEO content optimization. If you know how to optimize a blog post for search engine rankings, this role is for you. Bachelor’s or associate qualifications will be a minimum requirement. 
  • Social media/community manager – Since these are relatively new roles, we tend to see a mix of degree-qualified marketers and people who’ve had success fostering communities or online brands but don’t have on-paper credentials.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

Career Progression

If you have an MA or MBA, or significant experience in one of the above roles, then you can look at these more advanced roles for your career progression.

  • Digital Marketing Manager – A role for experienced marketers that involves running campaigns and coordinating marketing associates. 
  • Senior Marketing Coordinator – A department management level role. Responsible for overall marketing strategy and departmental performance.  
  • Content Strategist – A specialist role that focuses on content strategy. Designing content plans based on demographic and keyword research are a core aspect of this role. 
  • Marketing Analyst – This role involves analyzing customer behaviors and market trends. If you want to move into analysis from a more direct marketing role, you’ll likely need specific data analysis qualifications. 
  • Public Relations Specialist – The public voice of a large organization’s PR team. Managing a brand’s public perception and setting brand-level communication policies like tone of voice.   
  • Experiential Marketing Specialist – This area of marketing is focused on optimizing the customer experience. Experiential specialists have a deep understanding of customer psychology and behaviors. 
  • Corporate Communications Manager – Communications managers are responsible for company-wide communications policies. This is an executive-level role that a marketing coordinator or public relations manager might move up to. 

Average marketing salaries

Across all the roles we’ve discussed above, salaries vary widely. For those entry-level roles, you could be looking at anything from $25 – $40K depending on the role and your experience. 

When it comes to median earnings for marketers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, we can get a bit more specific. Recent statistics from Zippia show us that $69,993 p/a is the average for bachelor’s degree holders and $80,365 p/a for master’s degree marketers. 

Image sourced from Zippia.com

Marketing Degree Pros and Cons

So, the question we asked above was “Is a marketing degree worth it?” Yet, in truth, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. The question you need to ask is “Is a marketing degree right for me?” Here’s a summary of the pros and cons that might give you some answers.  

Pros

  • Degree holders have better job prospects and higher earnings potential in marketing
  • You can study highly specific skills with the right courses
  • Gain soft skills like communication and collaboration

Cons

  • High time and money investment required 
  • Diminishing salary returns at higher levels
  • Can be a restrictive environment for self-starters and entrepreneurs

What are Marketing Degree Alternatives?

If you want to stick with education but don’t want to invest four years into a degree, then accredited online courses can provide an alternative. This can be your best choice if you wish to upskill in a specific area like running conference calls from Canada

If higher education really isn’t your thing, the other option is gaining experience. Some businesses prefer internships and training programs for entry-level roles. This allows them to train marketers “their way” rather than re-training someone with more experience.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

How to Decide if a Marketing Degree is Right for You

Ultimately, choosing to do a marketing degree depends on your goals, your preferences, and your talents. Consider all three factors before making your choice. 

Career Goals

Do you want a management position that needs marketing knowledge? What areas of marketing interest you? What skills do you already possess? Answering these three questions will help you define your career path. That will narrow down your course choices. 

If you want to get better at selling small business phone systems in Vancouver, you don’t need a four-year course for that. If you want to develop into high-level marketing roles, then you want that degree. 

Personality

You don’t need a specific personality type to work in marketing. Your personality and interests might determine what area of marketing would suit you best though. For example, if you’re outgoing and creative then public relations or social media management might be for you.    

Investment & Return

Money isn’t everything. But, if you’re going to put the resources into getting a degree, you want to know that you’ll get some return on your investment. From the figures we quoted above, it seems the “optimal” qualification in terms of salary return vs. time and money investment is a bachelor’s degree. 

Average earnings for marketers with a master’s qualification were only $10k higher. This suggests that you’re not really getting a significant financial return for the additional investment. Of course, if that master’s leads to your dream job, you might see it differently.  

Final Thoughts: Forge Your Own Path

Is a marketing degree worth it in 2023? The short answer is yes. Whether that means a marketing degree is right for you, we can’t tell you. Hopefully, though, this guide has given you the information you need to make that choice. 



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