Marketing Bootcamp

5 Tips to Improve Conversions for Your Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

5 Tips to Improve Conversions for Your Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
Image credit: MegaV0lt | Getty Images

Good, better, best: Which do you prefer? It seems like a silly question, but many people start their pay-per-click (PPC) campaign by emphasizing the wrong metrics. Emphasizing keyword choice over conversions, for example, is like choosing the good while ignoring the best.

Related: 9 Mistakes Killing the Success of Your Pay-Per-Click Advertising

If you want the best, you’ve got to start with the best. By focusing on conversions and backing into what turns advertising clicks into purchases, you can build-out an effective PPC campaign that achieves your conversion metrics.

With the average conversion rate on a pay-per-click campaign hovering around 2.35 percent, according to MarketingSherpa, there’s clearly room for improvement. These five tips will help you push that "good" rate into the "better" and even the "best" categories for your next PPC campaign.

Find your conversion rate.

Of course, to improve your conversion rates, you need to know where you’re starting. Conversion rates can be calculated using the following formula: Divide the total number of conversions (leads or sales, whichever you’re tracking) by the number of ad clicks you’re generating. Finally, multiply the result by 100 to obtain the percentage.

For instance, if you’ve made five sales from 100 clicks, your PPC campaign conversion rate would be 5 percent. It’s a simplified calculation that doesn’t take all factors into consideration, for sure, but it will give you an easy-to-calculate benchmark you can use to determine if your campaigns are performing better or worse following any changes you make. 

Here are five tips to boost your conversions; depending on your business model, you may want to implement one or all of these tips. Before starting any new initiative, make sure that you know your current benchmarks, including your company’s average conversion rate.

Related: Of the 4 Popular Pay-Per-Click Platforms, Which is Best for You?

Tip 1: Start with the end goal in mind.

Reverse-engineer your marketing from the results you want to achieve, not from the keywords you’ve chosen. Most PPC campaigns build out from a keyword strategy. Flip this idea on its head by starting from the leads or sales you want to make, backing into your ads, then advertising platforms and keywords.

The resulting ad campaign will be stronger from start to finish because you’re considering all angles from the customer’s perspective. You’ll focus first on what motivates the conversion, which is really the key to boosting conversion rates.

Tip 2: Test, test and test again.

It’s not enough to run one A/B test and call it a day. Test each campaign element, then test the results against the control to make sure they’re accurate. Test new elements and test often. Use the test results to enhance conversion rates via a scientifically proven method, rather than guesswork.

Even incremental changes in your PPC campaigns can yield big benefits and improvements in conversion rates.

Tip 3: Tweak landing pages.

Landing pages can work for you or against you. Make sure that your landing page contains all of the elements that spur conversions off of PPC campaigns: a strong call to action, clean design, easy-to-find buttons and informative text.

HubSpot offers links to several landing page designs that can help your business tweak and improve its landing page design. Although some experts claim that shorter landing pages work better than longer ones, you may need to experiment with your page length to find that sweet spot between too little and too much content. High-quality images also help to sell products and services, so invest in good design and images on your landing pages.

Further, make sure your copy always focuses on benefits to the customer, not the features. As they say, features tell; benefits sell.

Tip 4: Track all inbound channels.

Companies are often surprised to find out that one or more of their inbound channels are poorly tracked -- if they’re tracked at all.

Inbound phone calls, in particular, are notorious for slipping through the cracks. To make sure you track phone calls, set up a dedicated line and phone number for important campaigns. Add tracking codes or other methods through which you can track the source of your leads or sales. All of this adds up to more accurate conversion rates and incremental improvements.

Tip 5: Include special offers.

Ah yes, the beloved coupon. Special offers, coupon codes and other offers give customers a reason to respond. Without offering customers a good reason to click on your ad and follow through on your landing page, your campaign is being run in vain.

Leverage great offers to boost response rates and conversions -- just don’t make everything about the offer. If you make it all about the sale or only about price, you’ll end up artificially inflating your conversion rates by bolstering the penny pinchers without adding enough value that they'll stay with you for the long haul. Value (a.k.a., your benefits) plus a great offer or coupon is a solid way to boost conversion rates.

Related: Who Should Use Pay-Per-Click Advertising and Who Shouldn't

Finally, if you don’t feel confident making these changes, don’t think you have to go it alone. Global freelance sourcing networks like Upwork and PeoplePerHour or local sites like Built In NYC can help you find a rock star marketer who can help drive conversion rates even higher.