Starting Your First PPC Campaign: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

A pay-per-click or PPC campaign helps businesses bypass search engine ranking algorithms to drive traffic to their websites. An increase in traffic results in a boost in potential leads. If your landing page is optimized, you’ll also enjoy more sales.

Sadly, running a successful PPC campaign is not as easy as it sounds.

Not to worry, though. In this review, I’ll take you through the steps to follow to launch your first PPC campaign.

What is a PPC campaign?

PPC is a marketing campaign where companies bid for specific keywords on advertising platforms. For example, a business could bid for “email marketing software” on Microsoft or Google ads. If the company wins the bid, its ad will appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone searches for the term.

Google Search Results for "email marketing software."

You only pay when someone clicks on the ad. But clicks don’t necessarily translate to sales. People could click on your ad but fail to make a purchase. You’ll still lose money because a click was registered.

Also, just because you have the highest bid doesn’t mean your ad will win. When someone searches for a term with paid ads, a real-time bidding contest is triggered. In the contest, search engines like Google use factors to pick the winner, such as the bid size, the ad, and landing page quality.

The higher your bid, the better off your ad is. If your landing page and ad address user intent, the chances of your ad winning the bid increase.

You need to get your PPC campaign strategy spot-on. You might not lose money if your ads don’t get any clicks. But you won’t generate any sales either. You can also lose money on clicks that don’t result in conversions.

How to Start a PPC Campaign for the First Time

Compared to SEO, where there’s a lot of link building, outreach, etc., PPC campaigns are faster to launch. They also generate instant results.

Here’s how to get started.

1. Create a customer persona.

A successful PPC campaign starts by understanding your target audience. The only way to do that is by building a customer persona.

The customer persona is a hypothetical representation of your ideal customers. It shows the key data points of your potential customers.

Rory: Procrastinator

Rory: Procrastinator [Source]

Ask your customers directly through pop-up forms or website chatbots to get this data. A survey or your use of analytics tools may also be necessary.

Ultimately, you’ll have to compile data from various sources to understand your customers better.

2. Make a list of possible keywords.

Use the data from your customer persona to come up with keyword ideas.

Some data points that can inform your target keywords are budget and pain points. For example, if you notice most of your target customers have a limited budget, consider keywords with terms like “affordable” and “cheap.” Demographic data can also produce some keyword ideas.

Look at what your competitors are doing, too. Analyze their campaigns. If your competitor has been bidding on a keyword for so long, chances are it’s generating good revenue.

Ideally, you want to target the keywords with the most search volume. But that’s not always practical. These tend to have a high cost per click.

So, if you have a limited budget, consider alternative keywords with decent search volume and lower competition. They may not generate the most impressions, but they’ll compound with time to produce decent results.

Include negative keywords in your keyword list as well to exclude them. Negative keywords are similar to your target terms but have a different intent. For example, if you want to target people looking for “eyeglasses,” a negative keyword could be “drinking glasses.”

Align your list of keywords and budget and set up the maximum cost per click for every keyword. Advertising platforms will use this to ensure your campaign doesn’t go beyond your budget.

3. Create ads for your PPC campaign that stand out.

You need to create a short but interesting ad. It needs to be brief to fit in the designated space while displaying all the relevant information. It must be engaging to trigger a click.

A strong call to action is critical to a PPC ad.

Everyone coming across the ad should know what they’re supposed to do within moments of seeing it. So, include CTAs like “Buy,” “Shop,” or “Sign Up.”

Choose a CTA that’s relevant to your offer. For example, eCommerce PPC ads can use “Shop” and “Buy.” Meanwhile, SaaS companies offering email finder services can use CTAs such as “Sign Up” and “Try.”

You don’t have to stick to one CTA. Try out different calls to action to see which one produces the best results.

Extensions also enrich your ads with additional data. Adding a direct phone number, for instance, allows prospects to reach you with ease.

4. Create a captivating landing page.

You could create a powerful ad and drive traffic to your website, but if that traffic doesn’t convert, it’s pointless.

That’s why you need a good landing page.

Make sure the page is relevant to the product on the ad and has clear CTAs, like this one:

SEMRUSH: Tools for Any SEO Challenge

SEMRUSH: Tools for Any SEO Challenge [Source]

Besides the dominant CTA, the page also points out some of the features of the SEMRush tool as you scroll down. Moreover, they use social proof such as trust icons to increase conversions.

High-quality landing pages are also good for the PPC ads themselves. Google considers the landing page quality when choosing the winner of PPC bids. If the algorithm feels your LP addresses a search query, your chances of winning the bid increase.

5. Monitor, modify, enhance.

Once you’ve launched your first PPC campaign, monitor your ads and make the necessary adjustments to optimize your ROI.

Keep an eye on metrics such as click-through rate and conversions. Compare your data with industry averages. If you feel like your ads can do better, alter them.

You can also run A/B tests to determine whether you’re getting the best results from your campaign. Test elements like your CTAs, ad design, landing page design, etc. to identify your best option.


PPC is an integral part of marketing campaigns. It produces brilliant results that would take months to achieve with organic campaigns.

The success of a PPC campaign, however, depends on how robust your strategy is.

We’ve seen how you can create an effective PPC campaign strategy. Create a customer persona and conduct keyword research. Create your engaging ad and landing page. Lastly, monitor.

Are you ready to get your first PPC campaign rolling?