Building a PPC Campaign: Workflow & Mistakes to Avoid

April 3, 2015

I haven't done PPC in a long time, so when I had to set something up for my dad's dental continuing education conference and travel business, it took a while to shake off the rust. I'm still figuring things out, but so far I've got some things flowing smoothly, and some mistakes worth learning from, too. So let's see what we can learn from this campaign.

(This was in the context of trying PPC again for my dad's dental CE cruises. I already knew the campaign strategy and so was able to create the landing page quickly, making the wireframe myself, having the graphics fleshed out by Angeles, and the HTML sliced by PSD to HTML CSS.)

If you don't have your strategy set already, you need to think things through first. (For instance, is it going to be an e-commerce or lead gen play? Who's the audience? Search or content network? Etc.) Here are the steps for PPC workflow:

  1. Start by reviewing past campaigns for keyword ideas, impression and click-through rate (CTR) data, as well as ad copy ideas. See what keywords were irrelevant and which worked better. Draw up negative keywords accordingly.
  2. Organize the campaign by keyword theme -- consider the slight nuances in intent between keywords and put yourself in the searcher's shoes. What exactly do they have in mind? Use campaigns liberally as an organizing concept.
  3. For each campaign, jot down specific terms that match those slight nuances to show searchers that you get what they want, exactly.
  4. Create the campaigns in AdWords Editor as per step 2.
  5. Use SEOBook's keyword list generator for quickly building variations and adding the word "Phrase" or "Exact" at the end, so I can easily paste into AdWords Editor and have the match type set up.
  6. Write the ads, using the ideas from step 3. Leave the destination URL blank. (See mistake #4 below.)
  7. Adapt the landing page template for message match. Create one landing page for each ad group. Ad titles become h1s, ad copy becomes h2s, display URLs roughly match the destination URL, and the rest is generic.
  8. Edit ads to include URLs of message matched-landing pages.

And here are some mistakes to watch out for:

  1. Copying the landing page template a dozen times before the template was really done. Solution: Make a checklist of everything you need to set up on the page, including:
    1. Analytics code.
    2. Split/MVT testing code.
    3. Some dynamic text insertion fields for stuff that might change, including pricing, deadlines, matching the message to the traffic source
    4. Testing any forms or buttons to make 100% sure they work as intended.
    5. Testing the autoresponder email, if you have one.
  2. Not having a desktop HTML editor. Not having an HTML editor with a simple auto-save feature to save time on clicks and so forth.
  3. Not checking pricing exactly beforehand. This meant numerous revisions to both ads and landing pages that wasted lots of time.
  4. Writing the ads before the landing pages and their URLs were finalized. This meant changes to the ads that took up more time.


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