You must be selective with the keywords you choose when setting up your PPC campaign, or it is doomed to fail right from the very beginning. The more specific you are in selecting phrases that describe your products and services, the higher the quality of traffic you will receive. That’s not to say you can’t bid on general terms, but if you make the rookie marketing mistake of bidding for too general of terms, your boss will pull the plug on your PPC experiment faster than you can say “zero conversions for the month.”
Our first recommendation is to start out very conservatively, bidding only on very specific phrases (that show a high search volume using something like the Google Adwords Keyword Tool) and running them as Exact Match terms in a campaign that only serves on the search engine’s primary search. You’ll know if you’re being too general: you’ll get tons of traffic quickly and spend a lot of money without getting any leads or sales from it. That’s why it’s very important to not only start out slowly, but also know how to spot out a “bleeder” term when you’ve got one.
It’s not rocket science. Just run your campaign for a day or two and see which terms are getting you the most traffic, or which ones are costing you the most. Are those terms resulting in conversions, or at least showing a high clickthrough rate? Those are both indications that your terms are working, or at least may work with some adjustments. If you’re spotting any key phrases that are not yielding a healthy percentage for clickthrough or conversion, then you need to pull the plug on them ASAP.
We will on occasion rerun the terms that originally seemed like bleeders, because the markets fluctuate greatly to the point where a wasteful term can become a useful one overnight, and vice versa. Just don’t be afraid to pull the plug for good one an overly general term though. Your productive terms, and your boss, will love you for it!