PPC Checklist for Seminar Campaigns
In addition to your typical, ongoing paid search campaigns, you will likely have campaigns that are adhoc in nature — maybe to support a short-term sales program or an event such as a seminar, webinar, conference, or tradeshow.
As the benefits of PPC start to become better known within the wider organization, I’ve seen more adhoc campaigns surface in support of seminars and other events that physically take place in various cities or countries, some with better performance than others.
Here’s some lessons I’ve been learning along the way when it comes to launching a seminar (or any event-related) campaign in paid search, to help increase your chance of success.
1. Allow Time for Testing and Tweaking
I’ve found that one of the most important elements of a successful seminar campaign is planning ahead and giving it enough time to run. Unlike your ongoing paid search campaigns (which you’ve tested and tweaked for years and continue to do so), you have a finite time to get seminar campaigns right; once the seminar is over, the PPC campaign is over too.
One month or less is typically way too short. Two months is ok. On average, three months is a good amount of time to test and tweak a reasonable-sized seminar. However, if your event is a big annual event, then even a year seems reasonable.
2. Pay Attention to Geotargeting
It’s a well-known best practice to target your PPC campaigns to within the location that the seminar will be held. However, don’t just pick a set mile radius and stick with it — distance is an important component to test.
If your geotargeting is too narrow, then you could miss out on many opportunities to get registrants who are willing to travel to your seminar. I’ve seen a 100 mile radius work better than 50; sometimes the opposite. Finding the right distance will be dependent on a number of variables relating to your specific seminar (including appeal of content, quality of speakers, even your lunchtime menu!). So remember to always test and tweak your geotargeting to get the most out of each campaign you run.
3. Target your Adcopy
Set up different adgroups for different seminar locations, and for each group make sure you appropriately tailor the copy to each location. Include mention of the location, city, date, and if the seminar is free, call it out.
If you are running any free offers or appealing giveaways, then make sure you mention this too. It’s amazing the behavior you can encourage with mention of a free iPad drawing!
4. Test the Content Network
When you geotarget, you improve your targeting (and conversion rate percentages), but at the same time you’re working with much smaller numbers. Expanding out into the content network is a good way to try and increase reach, often at a lower cost per click.
Although you’ll see click/registration/conversion rates go down due to the increase in impressions, at the same time you’ll see an increase in actual click volumes and likely registration numbers. It’s a fine balance to get ROI right, which is why it’s always a good idea to test.
5. Capture Post Click Data from Registration
As with all your paid search campaigns, remember to make sure your analytics are set up on the registration page so you can track registrations back to PPC.
When registration happens on your own website, this should be pretty straight forward to control. However, if registration happens on a site outside of yours (perhaps a publication or partner site), you need to make sure they have the appropriate tracking in place in order to show the ROI on your campaign. If you aren’t able to track this, then take a hard stand and don’t start your PPC campaign until you can.