New Year’s Day means new resolutions. We’re all guilty of forgetting these goals almost immediately, so we’ve prepared a cheat sheet to help you with what should be on top of your resolution list: organizing your educational institution’s PPC advertising campaigns according to our best practices.
- Bid on branded terms: A lot of times people question the value of paying for branded terms. I cannot stress their importance enough – especially in education marketing. If your university is good at what it does (and we assume it is), your local and program competitors will likely be bidding on your terms. Stop them from taking up the first search result with your branded (and tightly focused) ad.
- Ad Extensions are your friends: If you’re not running ad extensions, you’re wasting valuable real estate opportunity and probably money. Choosing sitelink, location and even app extensions will increase your click-through-rate, easily funneling your students to their desired information.
- Negatives are critical to campaign success: Choosing your keyword list is only half of the battle. Choosing your negative keywords, or keywords for which you don’t want to pay, is the other essential portion of the equation. For example, paying for students to access to your address or dining hall hours could be costly and unnecessary. To combat wasteful spending, add “address” and “dining hall” as negative keywords. Then, let your SEO program and your strategic optimizations do the heavy lifting for those negative keywords (you are doing SEO, right?).
- Integrate paid and organic efforts: As mentioned in the previous point, you should always be looking for ways to make your marketing efforts collaborative. This increases efficiencies and your bottom line. What information are your students searching for and not finding organically? What terms are you paying for that can easily be eliminated? Using Google’s paid and organic report is a great way to access this data and look for opportunities to improve on paid keywords and organic queries.
- Test, Test, Test!: Your students shouldn’t be the only ones assessed on their performance. Regularly testing ad copy, keywords, calls to action and landing page elements is one of the best ways to boost your advertising campaign’s success. Never assume you’ve found the perfect combination, because I can promise that you haven’t!
- Track what matters: All of these best practices mean nothing if you’re not keeping tabs on what’s working. You need to understand which paid search metrics matter most to your higher education institution and be able to optimize your campaigns accordingly.
Have you found another PPC best practice that helps you drive enrollments? Give us all a New Year’s treat and share it in the comments below.
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