Let’s address a few parts of campaigns that you have to manage in order to be successful, by going through the questions that crop up most frequently. Whether they outsource activities or run them in-house, the success of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and other campaigns depends on corporate managers having a handle on these issues.

Q. When I compare the sales I made directly from PPC traffic against my PPC spend, I get a very low ROI. How do I improve ROI?

A. I get this question most often from companies that send PPC visitors to a squeeze page designed to force them into buying something on the spot. Reality is, few visitors will search for, read about and buy from you all in one sitting. In fact, unless you’re an eCommerce site, you won’t be able to fingerprint a sale to the initial PPC click that led the prospect your way.

The number one way to improve a PPC campaign’s ROI is to convert the anonymous visitor into someone with whom you can have an ongoing relationship. PPC platforms like AdWords are in the traffic-loaning business; it’s up to you to turn that one-time rental into a recurring arrangement. The click and the conversion are two of the earliest steps in a chain of relationship-building events. So instead of evaluating PPC leads against immediate sales, your initial goal should be to capture the visitor’s email or social opt-in, then evaluate their interaction with you over time.

Now that you’ve used ‘paid media’ to capture this visitor’s opt-in, they now become part of your ‘owned media’ where you can market to them for free. Jeffrey Rohr’s book Audience lists some owned media channels you have in your control: blog posts, social media direct messages, podcasts, YouTube videos, notifications in a mobile app, etc. You now are more likely to close them because you can nurture them using these media for ongoing contact and sales messages.

The best way to improve ROI is to stop sending your PPC visitors to a page whose call-to-action is to buy from you. Stop expecting paid media leads to convert directly into sales. Instead, when they reach your site, ask them to opt-in to your ‘owned media.’ By all means measure ROI, but measure it by your content’s ability to engage them. This indirect approach is your best chance of converting them to a closed sale.

Q. How do I measure PPC’s effectiveness? What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should I use?

A. Measurement should be at the very core of and digital marketing. As the saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Besides, the analytics available with digital marketing channel put all other channels to shame.

The gold-standard among metrics is Cost-per-acquisition (CPA); it should be used as the end-goal of campaign measurement. But until you isolate all the inputs that drive CPS, you use interim metrics like Impressions, Clickthrough Rate (CTR) and conversion Rate. CPA takes your whole funnel into account, but you must work your way from the top of the funnel down, optimizing your funnel at each of the levels that the three interim KPIs measure.

The metrics you’ll use for buyers need to be broken down by which stage of THEIR buying journey they are at. Here is how a behavioural marketing expert addressed this issue: The traditional marketing funnel still applies online and a well-executed campaign must be aligned against the goals of each funnel stage. Whether its awareness building (branding), educating/qualifying (prospecting) or closing the deal (converting), different types of data signals and success measures should be used to find the right audience at each stage.

Let’s say your salespeople complain they spend too much time educating leads, you can address this by finding out where your buyers are and only sendingto sales those who are well along in their journey. You can to assess buyer education in your analytics by segmenting all those who’ve read your whitepaper. What you would probably find is a higher percentage of leads that had read it before being contacted by sales became clients, compared to those who hadn’t read the whitepaper. Once you know the traits that mark a sales-ready buyer, you can use this as a lead scoring metric. Only leads that meet this score can be sent to sales. As a result, all leads can be gauged by where they are in their buyer’s journey and can be contacted or messaged appropriately.

Q. What resources/tools do I need in place to run a PPC campaign?

A. Depending on the skills of your in-house marketing group, Pay-per-click campaigns can be something that are run by your staff. The output of a PPC campaign is measurable, but not every company measures time staff spend working on a campaign. Without this input cost, it can be hard to calculate the ROI. When PPC is outsourced to an agency, the onus is on them to measure the inputs, as keeping your business depends on their price being below the revenue the campaign earns for you.

To wrap up, you now know some of the key priorities to watch as your team runs a digital campaign. Hopefully this helps you orchestrate your team for success in digital campaigns. Good luck!