The Complete SEM Checklist for Successful PPC Campaigns

Full name
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Your Comprehensive Guide to Running a Successful PPC Campaign

As digital marketers, we all know the many incredible benefits of PPC advertising and search engine marketing. It’s one of the quickest ways to drive traffic, conversions, and revenue through your website because of the ability to target key demographics instantly and strategize and execute campaigns in real time. But how can we be sure we’re running a fully optimized campaign?

SEM & PPC Campaign Checklist

We’ve put together this comprehensive checklist to teach you the most important aspects of a successful SEM campaign.

1. Know Your Campaign Objectives

As with any form of marketing or any business campaign, the first step will always be to set your goals. This is important for many reasons but of the more important ones, setting your campaign goals from the start will enable you to track your progress throughout the process and measure your overall success as the campaign comes to an end. Beyond this, defining clear objectives ensures that you have a vision of where you want to go and how you plan to get there. If there is not a clear finish line, you will never be as certain of your achievements or failures and you won’t know if you need to make adjustments. Being able to look at a campaign objectively takes the guesswork out of it and allows you to modify your strategy accordingly.

2. Define Your Target Audiences

Once you have your goals clearly defined, it’s time to focus on how you will achieve them. Defining your target audiences is a crucial step in the process. Without an understanding of the various buyer personas you plan to target, you won’t be able to successfully execute other steps in the campaign, such as conducting thorough keyword research or breaking down your various campaigns into ad groups.


3. Research Keywords

Effective keyword research is paramount to all channels in digital marketing and especially in search engine marketing (SEM). In SEO and paid advertising, if you can’t find keywords with high search volume, you won’t be able to reach anyone. In PPC, however, you also have to consider cost-per-click (CPC) so you don’t run through your budget too quickly. There are a lot of factors that go into effective keyword research and targeting which we have explained before, but some worth mentioning again- consider long and short tail keywords, utilize competitor research to help find additional keywords, and always consider keyword intent. Keyword research is the foundation of SEM and executing this effectively will be one of the most important factors in running a successful PPC campaign.

4. Determine Campaigns and Ad Groups

When developing your ads, it’s important to remember that one size does not fit all in terms of how to target your different audiences. Each buyer persona will respond differently to ad copy, calls-to-action, and the various types of ads you can run so having multiple campaigns and ad groups will ensure you can reach your audiences effectively and improve your conversion rates. In general, most ad groups can target 1 to 5 keywords and anything more than 15 you should consider breaking into smaller groups or campaigns to enable easier tracking and more efficient targeting.

5. Ensure Relevance Between Keywords, Ads, and Pages

The relevance of your landing pages in relation to the ad copy and the keywords you’re targeting is crucial in winning keyword bids and improving ad efficiency. Understanding the relationship between SEO and PPC will improve your relevancy score significantly and give you a clear advantage over your competitors. A highly optimized website will improve keyword targeting in and of itself, and introducing an ad campaign that connects the page to more users will drastically increase traffic and conversions. If your ad links to a page that has completely generic or unrelated content, you're unlikely to satisfy the needs of the user. Because of this, Google’s (and other PPC platforms) are unlikely to award your ads bids. Relevance score is a major factor in PPC success and should never be overlooked in a campaign.

6. Select Bidding Strategy

Selecting a bidding strategy will depend on a variety of factors, which is why setting your goals at the beginning of this process is so important. Goals, budget, and experience are all considerations for your bidding strategy. Manual bidding is great for those with less experience or a smaller budget because you’re able to set limits on your CPCs. There are several types of automated bidding, but in general, this strategy will cost a little more, but also is less dependent on your supervision. Often, a balance between both types of bidding can work well. Consider beginning with manual and transitioning to automated as you gather more data, make adjustments, and can be confident in your strategy.

7. Set a Budget

We’ve said everything on this list is important and budgeting is no different. With organic search, this isn’t a factor but with paid search, it’s everything. Nearly all the decisions you make from beginning to end on a PPC campaign should be influenced by your budget. How many ad groups and ads you’ll run, which keywords you’ll bid on, bidding strategy, how often and where you’ll target the ads, we can’t emphasize enough how much your budget impacts your decisions and campaign performance. This is not to say you need an exceptionally large budget to succeed in PPC (although it helps), this is to illustrate that a well planned budget improves efficiency and effectiveness.

8. Create Your Ads

Now that all the technical and financial considerations are complete, it’s time for the creative side of the campaign. Since you’ve already separated your campaigns into ad groups, all you have to do is decide which types of ads you’ll run and then write the ad copy. Similarly to writing meta tags in SEO, these need to be clear, concise, and super-relevant. You get one shot at hooking your audience and then remember to have a strong CTA (call-to-action). Speak directly to your buyer persona, make your value proposition clear, and be sure that your CTA hooks them in and provides a clear action.

9. Don’t Forget to Test

Part of creating your ads involves A/B testing to ensure you’re running the best version of your campaign. Many inexperienced marketers will either take so long writing their ads or will forget to be objective in their campaign monitoring which leads to poor performance. Running A/B tests wherein you modify your copy, or CTA, or sitelinks, etc allow you to see in real-time which ad is more effective. If you didn’t get it right the first time, that’s okay- you shouldn’t expect to every time. Go back to the drawing board and see what works before wasting time or money on ineffective ads.

10. Determine System of Measurement

This ties in with your first and last steps on this PPC checklist. Determine a lead value that you can use as a measuring stick for performance decisions. This helps you understand if an asset is performing well or if it's time to adjust your strategy. Often, a certain ratio of ad spend compared to the average lead value is a great indicator. What that ratio is will depend on your goals and budget, so be sure you take time to plan and coordinate this measurement system.

11. Track Campaign Performance

Finally, when everything is all said and done, it’s time to evaluate your success. Using benchmarks to measure KPIs (key performance indicators) and tracking the goals and objectives you defined prior to the campaign is the most effective way to do this. Remember to leave emotion out of the discussion. To ensure future success you can’t allow yourself any breaks in this regard. Look at the numbers, analyze the variables and situations, and determine where you succeeded, where you failed, and how to use that information to launch a more successful campaign in the future. Even if you don’t completely succeed, you can use that knowledge to improve moving forward, which is a success in its own right.

Run Successful PPC Campaigns with Nxt Era Marketing

To succeed in digital marketing, masterful SEM strategy is necessary and part of that includes PPC campaigns. Nxt Era Marketing has the tools and personnel to help you achieve your goals and grow your business. Our experienced team will run your paid ads campaigns from start to finish to ensure your continued success. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Full name
Job title, Company name
Join our newsletter to stay up to date on features and releases.
By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy and provide consent to receive updates from our company.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
© 2024 All right reserved.