Instant Online Church Marketing: Pay-Per-Click

For most websites, search engines are the primary source of web traffic. Search engine optimization is great way to get visitors to your church’s website, but it takes time. If only you could pay someone to skip ahead in line. You can! Pay-per-click search marketing is a way to get in the search engines for your targeted keywords in less than 24 hrs.

What is Pay-Per-Click Search Marketing?
With search engine optimization you attempt to increase your rankings in the natural search results by optimizing your website. The only thing you may have to pay for is the optimization, if you hire someone to optimize your website. All the traffic that you get from the search engines does cost you a thing. With Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search marketing, you don’t have to optimize your website (though I recommend you still do). Instead you bid to have your website listed in the search results for certain keywords and then pay for each visitor that comes to your website through that listing. So, every time someone clicks on your listing, you pay, thus pay-per-click.

The most common pay-per-click options are Google’s Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Microsoft Adcenter. Currently it’s estimated that Google controls about 90% of all pay-per-click search marketing (report), so I’m going to focus on Google Adwords.

The PPC ads are displayed on the top and right side of the search results. In most search engines, they are labeled as “Sponsored Links”.

How PPC Works:
Pay-per-click search marketing campaigns can be rather simple or quite complex depending on how involved you want to get. On the simple side, you can setup your church marketing PPC campaign in 6 steps:

Setup an account with Google Adwords
1. Choose the location and language for the ads (listings are called ads in PPC search marketing)
2. Setup the text for the ads
3. Pick the keywords you want to target
4. Choose a bidding price
5. Start the campaign

In fact you could probably get your PPC campaign going in about an hour or less.

More advanced Adwords users can setup targeted ads for each keyword or keyword group, track the click-through rate for each ad, and refine the ads to get the best click-through rate. You can refine your bids to get the best result for the lowest cost per click. You can also track the visitors that come to your site through your Adwords campaign, setup conversion goals (actions you want visitors to do), and setup landing pages on your site related to the keywords in your ad campaign. These more complicated steps are not necessary, but can produce better results.

For most churches, however, the simple approach will suffice. The keywords that will be most valuable to most churches are local keywords. So, you already have an idea of what keywords you want to choose. In addition, with pay-per-click campaigns, keyword popularity isn’t very important. Some keywords may get searched 100 times a month and others only 5 times a month, but you want to show up on the results for both and you don’t pay anything extra for it. So, keyword research is minimized.

The Best Marketing Value Ever?
For most local keywords, especially church-related keywords, few if any organizations are bidding. Therefore, keyword bids will most likely be very low (around $0.05 – $0.15 per click). Imagine getting new people to your website for only $0.05 to $0.15 each. Compare that to the cost of direct mail, billboards, newspaper ads, or any other kind of adverting and it’s an absolute bargain! Larger cities may require higher bids, but bids are still generally less than $0.50 per click.

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