If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.

Not necessarily.

French military leader, Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with that saying and, as history will attest, he probably should’ve left the Battle of Waterloo to someone other than himself.

Most do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) set out to learn a new skill or save themselves some money by doing it on their own instead of hiring a professional. It can seem like a good idea to set up and manage your own pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to save time and money, but doing so is akin to someone with no chemistry background walking into a lab and combining chemicals they think might mix well.

As professional PPC marketers, here are some of the most common mistakes we see do-it-yourself PPC marketers make:

Setting Budgets or Bids Too High or Too Low

When determining which bids and budgets to set for their ad campaigns, many do-it-yourself PPC marketers feel like Chotchkie’s waitress Joanna during her “pieces of flair” chat with her manager Stan in the movie "Office Space". They're unsure if the minimum is enough.

Both Facebook and LinkedIn ad platforms require a minimum daily budget, but these amounts aren’t always enough to generate the statistically relevant data marketers need to optimize or enough to guarantee success of their campaign. PPC campaigns also function like an auction, so you don’t want to pay more than you have to beat out competing bidders.

Companies have limited amounts of paid search advertising dollars to spend over the course of each month or year. Successful PPC marketers must determine the best way of allocating those dollars to have the greatest reach and impact.

Professional PPC marketers manage campaigns for multiple clients from a wide range of industries with many different goals, and can draw from their experience know how much to budget and bid to be successful. DIY marketers however, do not have this kind of experience, as they’ve have likely only worked on a single campaign at a time.

Not Targeting The Right Keywords

You need to know more than industry terms or phrases your customers search for to target the right keywords with your PPC campaign.

To target the right keywords with your PPC campaign, you need to find relevant terms with high enough search volume that aren’t too competitive. Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner are two great resources for researching which keywords to target. These free tools allow you to search for keywords related to your industry and view their average monthly searches and estimated first page bids. We recommend targeting keywords that have at least 30 searches per month, as keywords with less than that don’t typically drive enough clicks, impressions, or conversions to your campaign.

Google AdWords also allows you to target keywords by match type, such as broad match, phrase match and exact match. In most cases, DIYers are only targeting broad match keywords. Like the name implies, broad match keywords are usually too broad, and can consume a lot of your budget from clicks for keywords that aren’t very relevant. Adding broad match modifiers, phrase, or exact match keywords helps ensure that you’re only paying for clicks from prospective customers searching for keywords that are relevant.

Not Optimizing Their Ads

In addition to targeting the right keywords, you also want to make sure that you are optimizing and A/B testing the ads in your campaign.

Unfortunately, many do-it-yourself PPC marketers are under the impression that their campaigns will magically manage themselves. Like some commercial airline pilots, they’re content to press auto-pilot after takeoff. But this oftentimes leads to a rough landing. You need to let the campaign run long enough to generate statistically relevant data so you can optimize effectively, but you have to actually optimize once the data is there.

Remember, PPC stands for pay-per-click. As an advertiser, that means you want to make sure that the keywords and ad copy pre-qualify people before they click and cost you money. That means setting up A/B testing for your ads to see what performs, and what doesn’t.

Not Setting Up Conversion Tracking

Without conversion tracking setup, it’s very difficult for PPC marketers to optimize campaigns and justify ad spend. Yet too often, we see do-it-yourself PPC marketers run campaigns without conversion tracking in place.

Choosing to run a campaign without any conversion tracking setup is like Luke Skywalker switching off the targeting computer in his X-wing during his final Death Star run at the end of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope". Everything may have turned out spectacularly for Luke, but for do-it-yourself PPC marketers, turning off conversion tracking means the destruction of the rebel base on Yavin 4.

Depending on who you ask, today’s PPC ad platforms may not be as cutting-edge as Luke’s X-wing Starfighter, but nearly all of these platforms offer some type of conversion tracking.

Google AdWords, lets you define and set conversion actions for your campaigns, from contact form or request for quote (RFQ) form submissions, to phone calls from your ads.

Facebook Ads allow you to create what’s called a Facebook pixel. Adding this to the code of your website enables advertisers to define and track conversion events so they can optimize their bids.

LinkedIn Ads also recently rolled out conversion tracking for campaigns, so you can define and track specific conversion events for your campaign.

You can’t determine the success of a campaign if you don’t setup a means of measuring success.

Not Creating a Landing Page

In the immortal words of Peter Griffin from "Family Guy", do you know what really grinds our gears as professional PPC marketers?

Do-it-yourself marketers who set up and run a PPC campaign without creating a designed landing page.

Prospective customers don’t appreciate bait and switch. If they do a Google search for Model A and click on an ad with that keyword in the copy, they expect the link to take them to a landing page with only Model A products on it because that is what they are expressly interested in. Problem is, your website only has a page with Model A, Model B and Model C products on it. So instead of creating a page just for customers interested in Model A products, a DIY marketer will typically direct them to the page that has the other product the customer isn’t interested in, just because the page already exists and requires no extra effort to design and create.

There’s an old saying that goes, “you get out what you put in”, and in regards to creating dedicated landing pages for your ads, this saying couldn’t be more true.

Unlike many DIYers, professional PPC marketers recognize the need for a dedicated landing page and make sure the content on the page follows the core principles of conversion rate optimization (CRO). After all, you’re charged  for the click regardless of whether the customer converts, so it’s in your best interest to make sure the page they are taken to convinces them to convert.

Professional PPC marketers have the edge over DIYers because it’s their job to stay up-to-date on the latest features and tools available to them on all ad platforms and know the pros and cons of each. Professional PPC marketers also have the experience that comes from successfully managing PPC campaigns for multiple clients across a wide range of industries who have many different objectives for their campaigns.

Contact us today to learn how our team of professional paid search marketers can help you manage your PPC campaigns.

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