Let me guess what one of your biggest goals is this year for your business: get more customers and make more money. I’m guessing this because, well, money makes your business go round! And it keeps you from being one of the 50 percent of businesses that will start and fail this year. If this is in fact your business goal, then one of the best ways to achieve this goal is to invest in marketing. Specifically, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

If you’re not familiar, PPC is the tactic of using search engine advertising or social advertising to display ads in front of people based on keywords and targeting. You ‘pay per click’ or ‘pay per impression’ for these ads, and essentially drive brand awareness and traffic to your website. Some of the top platforms for PPC advertising are Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Yahoo Ads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Because of the depth of knowledge associated with all of these different platforms, PPC advertising can be complicated and leaves a lot of room for error. With error comes a waste of budget without getting customers, which is counterintuitive to the goal of getting more customers and making more money. So, it’s important to understand these PPC mistakes and how to avoid them.

PPC Mistake #1: Failing to Use a Landing Page

PPC traffic will send a ton of new visitors to your website and brand. And, if you do your targeting right you’ll know exactly what they’re looking for. So, don’t make the mistake of sending them to your home page, which is likely a generic place that explains your brand. Instead, set up specific landing pages for each target segment and product, so you can give your new visitors the exact information they’re looking for. This will also help you test landing page optimization such as copy, images and your call to action button.

If your site is built on WordPress, you can easily create landing pages using the popular (and easy) content management platform. You can also use one of the top landing page building tools, if your marketing automation software doesn’t include a landing page tool. Just be sure you don’t make one of the common landing page mistakes when building pages for your PPC campaigns.

PPC Mistake #2: Not Testing

Don’t make the mistake of writing one version of copy and running your PPC campaign without testing. Chances are your first attempt won’t be the best, so write multiple versions of ads for every campaign you’re running, and test all of these ad versions. If you’re conducting PPC on Facebook’s Ad Platform, then be sure you’re also testing images and not just copy. To write multiple versions of your PPC ads for testing, try this exercise from Google AdWords copy expert Amy Middleton Hebdon:

  1. Write an ad version that answers, “what’s in it for me” and discusses the value of your business and what customers will get from purchasing from you.
  2. The second ad version will focus on the pain point you’re solving and the services you provide.
  3. Finally, your third copy version is a wild card — get creative, write creative copy and headlines and something completely different from the first two ads.

PPC Mistake #3: Failing to Track the Right Metrics

If you’re not careful, you can spend a ton of money on PPC campaigns and not understand what ads are working to drive new business to your brand. In general, here are five key metrics you should be tracking:

PPC Mistake #4: Targeting Broad Keywords

The beauty of PPC advertising platforms is the ability to hyper-target your potential customer audience. The best performing ads get really specific in targeting to find the exact customer that is more likely to convert when they click through to your landing page. Be sure you’re not using broad keywords when setting up your campaigns. For example, instead of “cheap flights” you might use “cheap flights from San Francisco to New Orleans” or instead of “marketing agency” you might use “Austin Texas marketing agency.” The beauty of getting more targeted with your campaigns is that highly-targeted keyword sets are cheaper cost-per-click than broad terms that a ton of brands will be bidding for. So, if it’s cheaper to bid on targeted keyword sets and they also convert better, you might wonder why a business would ever make this mistake. Us too.

PPC Mistake #5: Jumping in Without Understanding PPC Advertising

PPC advertising can be really complicated and particular to understand. There’s a reason why it’s some people’s full-time job (and a high-paying one, at that!) Before you jump into all of the different PPC platforms, make sure you do your due diligence to read up on all the different platforms, best practices, tips and mistakes to avoid. Spending some initial time training yourself will help you save tons of money in the end. If you find it overwhelming or too time-consuming to teach yourself, consider hiring a PPC firm to help you out.