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The Ins and Outs of Pay-per-Click Advertising — What You Need to Know Before Investing

advertising digital marketing for interior designers how ppc can elevate your business investing tips pay-per-click Nov 20, 2023
The Ins and Outs of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Few things are more exciting than launching your own design business. But if you’re just starting out, you might face a challenge plaguing virtually every newly minted interior designer: finding clients. Organic search marketing can be a great way to do so, but it’s a long-term strategy that takes time.

That’s where pay-per-click advertising comes in. This marketing strategy can bring in clients while you work on a long-term organic search strategy. Here’s what you need to know before you jump in.


The Basics of Pay-per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising works differently than traditional advertising. For instance, if you take out an ad in the newspaper, you pay for the ad whether anyone reads it or not. But with PPC marketing, you only pay if someone clicks on your ad.

Even if you haven’t heard of PPC before, you’ve likely seen it in action on Google. The results at the top of the page labeled as “sponsored content” are pay-per-click ads.

We’ll go into more detail below, but here’s a quick rundown of the general process of PPC advertising:

  • Step 1: Choose your objective — what do you hope to gain from your PPC campaign?
  • Step 2: Decide what audiences and locations you want to target and select keywords
  • Step 3: Decide your budget and plan a bidding strategy
  • Step 4: Create relevant, quality landing pages and set them as destination URLs

Pay-per-click advertising is much more intricate than it seems. That’s why many businesses work with agencies or independent professionals who specialize in running PPC campaigns. However, it’s possible to successfully create your own campaign if you put in the time to understand the process.

Why bother with PPC? One of the best things about this advertising model is that businesses only pay if a user clicks the ad. Because the ads are targeted, clicks are likely to convert.

And because the cost per click (CPC) is generally low (the average CPC on Google Ads is between $1 and $2), the return on investment can be high. That cost-effectiveness makes PPC ads a smart choice for businesses of all sizes — even small businesses that are just starting out!


Types of Pay-per-Click Ads

If you’re considering running a PPC ad campaign, one of the first steps is to decide which PPC marketing platforms you want to use. These are some of the most popular:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Microsoft
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Amazon
  • Yelp
  • Etsy
  • Reddit

Google Ads is the most popular PPC platform, and it reaches 90% of the world’s internet users. It also offers great analytics tools to help you monitor ad progress. It’s an essential platform to include in any campaign.

However, it’s wise to expand your campaign beyond Google. Choose a few platforms your potential customers tend to use most. For example, many people look for interior design inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram, so these two social media platforms are especially great for interior designers.


Setting Up Your Campaign

Are you ready to embark on your PPC journey? Here’s how to get your campaign up and running quickly:


1. Set Goals and Parameters

Take a little time to decide what you hope to achieve through your PPC campaign. This isn’t just a thought exercise; your answers will help guide you through the next phases of the process.

  • First, set your goals. These are some common ones:
  • Generating leads
  • Creating awareness of your brand
  • Promoting a special offer or sale
  • Bringing in more site traffic

You also should decide how you’ll measure success. Will you look at revenue increases? The number of new leads? Something else? Having measurable goals makes it easier to adjust your ad campaign as needed.


2. Do Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most important parts of creating a successful campaign. Fortunately, there are plenty of free or low-cost tools to help you find the most effective keywords, such as Semrush and Google Keyword Planner. 

Some keywords cost more per click than others. These tend to be the ones with a high search volume. Depending on your advertising budget, you might be tempted to go for the cheapest keywords. But if you do this, you might not see the ROI you were hoping for. The best strategy is to strike a balance between your budget and your goals.

One way to reach this balance is to create top-notch ads and destination landing pages for the keywords used less often by competitors. If you have fewer competitors and can stand out from the ones you do have, you have a better chance of getting a conversion.


3. Get Started on the Relevant Platforms

If you want to start with just one platform to get a feel for things, make that platform Google Ads. You’ll need to input your targeted keywords and place a bid on each one. Your bid is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay per click.

However, Google doesn’t just show the ad from the advertiser who pays the most. It gives your ad a “quality score” and then multiplies that score by your bid, creating an Ad Rank. Ads with the highest ranks show up on search engine results pages.


Optimizing Your Ads

If you want to increase the chances of customers clicking on your ads, you need to optimize them.

When you run a Google search, what results stand out to you? Are you more likely to click on something with a generic, low-effort title and meta description? Probably not. When writing an ad, speak directly to your target customer.

You also want the language of the ad to match the copy on the landing page. Of course, include the keyword you’re targeting — if a user is quickly skimming results, they want to make sure the one they click is relevant.

Because your ad sends users to a relevant landing page, you also want to make sure the page is clear, professional, and optimized for conversions. Optimizing for search engines will help users find it via organic search as well.


Analyzing Results and Adjusting Strategies

Google Ads makes it easy to monitor the progress of your ads. To maximize your ROI, try these tips for monitoring and adjusting:

  • Keep an eye on keyword performance — increase your bids on top performers and stop bidding on nonstarters
  • If your target audience is more active at certain times, you can use ad scheduling to cut unnecessary spending
  • Use conversion tracking tools to see which keywords ultimately lead to conversions — not just clicks
  • Use negative keywords (these are keywords that you don’t want to rank for)

As with anything else, PPC marketing takes time to master. It might take a few tries to get it right!


Common Mistakes to Avoid

Pay-per-click advertising is a powerful and effective marketing tool — if you use it correctly. Here are a few things to look out for:


Not Using Negative Keywords

Don’t stay so focused on picking the right keywords that you forget negative keywords. You don’t want to pay for clicks that don’t convert, and using negative keywords helps you avoid doing so.

For example, let’s say you offer high-end design services in Houston. Many of your chosen keywords will likely be variants of “Houston interior design.”

But because you don’t offer bottom-dollar services, you can (and should) exclude terms like “cheap” and “inexpensive.” When you list negative keywords, the algorithm won’t show your ad to customers whose searches include those words.


Not Having a Sales Process

Pay-per-click ads are great for generating leads. But before you launch your campaign, make sure you have a way to follow up with leads and convert them to paying customers. Otherwise, you’ll ultimately be losing money on ads.


Jumping In With No Knowledge

In order to launch a successful pay-per-click campaign, you need to do more than just type in a few keywords. It’s possible to manage your own campaign, but you’ll need to invest some time to learn about PPC, set up your campaign, and continually monitor it and adjust.

Because it takes a substantial knowledge base to run a PPC campaign, most small businesses choose to work with a digital marketing agency or an independent marketer.


Resources and Tools That Make Pay-per-Click Easier

Launching a PPC campaign on your own can be daunting. But if you’ve chosen to go this route, you might be relieved to hear that there are plenty of tools out there to help you. Here are a few to consider.


Google Ads

Google Ads isn’t just the world’s most popular pay-per-click platform; it’s also home to a vast collection of resources that can help you start and manage your campaign. The platform is user-friendly and great for those who haven’t organized PPC campaigns before.

Google Search Console, a related tool, also offers a wealth of insights. You can use it to monitor and optimize the performance of both paid and organic search campaigns.



Keyword research is crucial when you’re launching a pay-per-click campaign. You want to find the keywords most likely to convert, and you also don’t want to waste money targeting keywords that the wrong audience searches for.

Semrush is a great tool for keyword research, and it even has a feature just for PPC advertising. It offers keyword suggestions backed by actual data, and you can view the current cost per click, volume, and more for relevant keywords.


Moz Keyword Explorer

Like Semrush, Moz Keyword Explorer offers data-backed keyword suggestions. It also offers helpful suggestions for optimizing paid and organic search campaigns.



Not sure what a successful PPC campaign looks like? There’s nothing like spying on a successful competitor or two to learn what they’re doing right! SpyFu is a website that lets you track competitors’ Google Ads, see what keywords they’re using, and learn what works.


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