Sometimes it’s helpful for me to share how we think about paid search marketing when we’re looking at a new project, so here goes.

It always starts with a bit of keyword research.

I just start somewhere, and then we use a few tools to augment and refine. For example:

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Now let’s see if anyone is looking for something like that:

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So we can use that Related Keyword data to start making assumptions. For example

  • There’s quite a bit of search volume (14,800 monthly searches) for Microsoft Partner Network and the CPC is about $9

  • There’s less search volume for Microsoft for Startups, but still decent amount—and the CPC’s are significantly less, in the $2-3 range

  • There’s much less search volume for the more-specific Microsoft Azure Partner List and the CPC is the highest of all the related keywords at about $12. Likely indicating there’s strong commercial intent behind that search that other advertisers are willing to pay a premium for

Three Groups

So this has me thinking I would likely approach your project by splitting things into three main groups:

  1. General keywords around folks looking for a MS partner

  2. General keywords around people looking for MS programs that can offset their costs

  3. More specific keywords around people looking for a MS partner for a specific tool

And with the rough cost-per-click ideas from the research, I can start to look at modeling a funnel.

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Model the Funnel

All of our projects have very similar principles. We measure how much traffic we get, and then we measure how much of that traffic converts to a lead. And then we measure how many of those leads turn into sales.

How we measure changes, but we always work to get clear visibility to all those stages.

And as result we have some really decent estimates for what we should expect.

For example we expect that 10% of traffic will turn into a lead, and 10% of leads will turn into a sale.

100 visitors = 10 leads = 1 sale

Or said another way, 1% conversion rate to paying customer.

So then we put together a table that looks like this:

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Emphasising the point that there are many assumptions in there—but it’s still a good illustration of how we solve the puzzle.

Monthly Budget

The only other thing I would recommend that you consider is how much budget to plan for.

We have a simple rule—300 clicks per month.

We find that this usually gets us enough traffic in the top end of the funnel for some meaningful leads and sales to pop out the bottom.

In your case I’m going to estimate that you’ll end up having an average CPC somewhere around $8-10. So a realistic monthly budget is somewhere between $2,400 and $3,000.

Very Preliminary

Everything here is very preliminary. And quite possibly off the mark. However part of our process of onboarding new clients is to work through these assumptions and keyword concepts together, so we build search marketing campaigns that deliver profitable, consistent, and predictable results.


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