What do you do before dumping money into PPC or banners?

I got to thinking how interesting it is to hear what people do before they start their next or first online campaign. The most interesting part of it is hearing that most people just push their budget into Google PPC.

So what should you really do before going blind into the online world? Do some planning! It is really frustrating to hear that people just jump in face first into this world. Beleive me the planning is more than worth it.

Heres is a quick list of what to check when creating your plan:

  1. Are your customers online? – If your customers aren’t online then they might be eventually but make sure that they are first. Otherwise, you might as well look at print or direct mail.
  2. Where are your customers online? What sites do the visit? Search for your product and see what sites show up on the list.
  3. What are your customers doing online? Are they shopping? Perhaps they are looking for your product or some complimentary item but at least you get a sense of the way that you have to approach them. For instance if they are looming for your product you can directly advertise your product. If they are looking for something that is complimentary to your product then it might be time to talk about your products benefits and how it applies to their needs.
  4. Are your customers looking for your product? If your customers are searching for your product and you have competitors then you might want to make sure that your campaign is able to stack up against the competition’s spending on max bid. Keep in mind that if you bid up the max bid then it will eat through your budget quicker.
  5. Is your site ready with the appropriate response mechanisms in place for people to take the next step? What happens when your customer reaches your site? Is there a clear next step? Are they able to find what they would expect to find based on what your ads say?
  6. What is the competition doing? Take a look at your competitiors to see how they are handling this. If for nothing else than to see their approach. If they have been at this for a longer period of time then they might have this a little more figured out but if they are noobs to this too then it might be fun to watch them waste their money experimenting first.
  7. Do you have a budget in place to make this a successful campaign? One of the first items to think about when producing your product is the marketing budget. You can produce the best product in history but if you don’t have enough money to tell people about it then they will never know. But of course that is the theoretical approach and it is quite rare to have that level of planning and budget available. I like to see 75% of what would be the theoretical perfect budget to give it a go. Besides that if you have that full budget then you have less to work for to make the campaign work.

Get some elbow grease, blood, sweat and tears and go to town.

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