When adding PPC to your overall Internet marketing strategy, you’re likely feeling the pressure to be an expert right out of the gate, and you likely feel overwhelmed. While crafting the perfect PPC ad isn’t learned overnight, there are some helpful hints to keep you on the right track as you progress on your way to becoming the Ultimate Internet Marketer. Here are five common PPC pitfalls that new advertisers run into and how to avoid them.

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PPC ROI Pitfall #1: Ignoring the Long Tail

One common mistake many folks new to PPC make is picking the most ‘obvious’ terms for their industry and trying to compete with the Big Guys. You know the ones… if you sell custom made jewelry out of your home and you try to compete with Macy’s and Zales for “jewelry” in your PPC ads, you’re looking at a lot of frustration and wasted ad spend.

The Fix:  Focus on long tail keywords that dig deeper into your niche. You may have to do some research to identify what sets you apart from others in your industry, but it’swell worth it. In this example, instead of trying to bid on “jewelry” for your ads, you might try something like “handmade silver jewelry”, which has both a lower cost per click and is more likely to attract your target customers, who will hopefully buy from you because they found what they were looking for!

2. Targeting keywords that are too specific

There is such a thing as getting too specific with your target keywords in your PPC ads — not because your highly specialized keyword isn’t exactly what your target customers want, but because you may already rank at the top of the listings organically and have little to no competition for it.

The Fix:  To avoid mistakenly creating ads and bidding on keywords that aren’t necessary in order for your site to show up in front of your target customers’ eyes, do some searching on Google for the terms you’re thinking about and stake out the competition. You can also use keyword tools to get an idea of the demand for your term, if any, and the average Cost Per Click.

3. Poorly formatted landing page

You can have the most optimized, strategic, perfectly positioned PPC ads on the planet, but if you can’t convert those visitors, no amount of PPC know-how can help you. Having a landing page that’s confusing–or worse: completely unrelated to your PPC ad is a recipe for disaster.

The Fix: Make sure your site visitors find exactly what they’re expecting to find upon clicking your ad. This relies partly on your wording choices in your PPC ads, but equally importantly on how you craft your landing page. If they feel confused, that translates into distrust, and they’ll leave. Secondly, give your visitors a very clear call to action. Make it really easy for them to do what you want them to do, whether that’s signing up for a free trial, joining a membership club, or making a tangible purchase.

4. Not monitoring progress

It can be easy to set up your campaign and effectively ‘press GO’ and not make the conscious effort to continually monitor your campaign progress, and more importantly, make changes based on the trends you’re seeing. By not continually testing and monitoring your PPC ad campaigns, you could be wasting ad spend, and missing out on valuable clicks and conversions.

The Fix: Set aside time to regularly check in on your campaign’s performance. Look at your competitors’ ads that are performing better than yours and try to strategize ways to give your PPC ads a boost. Run some A/B testing with different versions of ads and see which performs better. Read up on PPC techniques, and if you’re unable to devote your time to it, reach out to a colleague or external expert to ask for their help. To aid in the testing process, you can use tools like Google’s Website Optimizer to help you.

5. Relying Solely on PPC For Your Success

While it’s true that PPC can be a very lucrative, satisfyingly measurable method for growing your business online, it’s important to remember that PPC is not the end-all/be-all, particularly if your business also exists in a brick and mortar establishment or if you interact with customers offline.

The Fix: Be mindful of who and where your target customer is. If you have online customers but you also rely on a local customer base, target your advertising by location or branch out to other methods of advertising like mailings or the newspaper. Network with bloggers or other influencers on social media if your customers participate in those areas. Don’t ignore SEO on your website to help your organic rankings support your PPC efforts and vice versa.

Hopefully by staying mindful of these five pitfalls, you can get your PPC campaigns into great shape moving forward! Do you have any other common PPC pitfalls and/or solutions you’d like to share?

Lesley DeSantis is an avid blogger and contributes to Assisted Living Today, a Web publishing site that offers a database of senior housing listings such as Houston assisted living facilities.