Google is still the go-to place for information on…just about anything. So let’s look at PPC for events and how to promote your event with SEM.
“What did you just call me?”
If you’re new to online marketing, abbreviations like PPC and SEM will look like Klingon. That’s why we’ve put together this article: To make it accessible to humans.
Read on to learn about:
- What SEM and PCC (and many other acronyms) mean
- How to promote an event on Google
- Google AdWords for event marketing
- How to find the right event planner keywords
- How to create an ad for your event
What is SEM?
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. It’s how you get found on Google, Bing, and other search engines. SEM is divided into SEO and PPC ads.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
SEO is the practice of optimising your website so that it ranks high in online searches. If done right, you’ll be at the very top of the page without having to pay a dime.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
PPC ads can also get you to the top of the search engine results. But as opposed to SEO, you’ll have to pay for PPC ads. (It’s right there in the name.) PPC ads are what we’ll focus on in this article.
How do SEM and PPC ads work?
It’s pretty straightforward to set up a PPC ad campaign. But it’s both an art and a science to master it.
The process goes something like this:
- Choose some keywords to target (i.e. “live music events in London”)
- Bid on the keywords (the highest bidders get their ads seen)
- Create ads to appear when people type in your keywords
- Include a link to your website, landing page, or event listing
- Watch people flock to your event
That’s it in a nutshell. There’s more to it, of course, so let’s get into some of the specifics.
How to understand SEM metrics
If you thought we were done with abbreviations, don’t worry: The party hasn’t even started yet.
It’s time to run through some of the important metrics in SEM.
Cost Per Mile (CPM)
CPM typically measures the number of impressions your ad makes. That means how much you pay for one thousand (mile) people to see your ad. It doesn’t include engagements or clicks.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
CTR is a measure of how many of the people who see your ad actually end up clicking on it. If a lot of people see your ad but don’t click it, it means you need to revise what keywords you use.
CPC is the amount of money you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. The price for one click is determined by the bids offered by advertisers and your ad’s Quality Score (see below).
Quality Score (QS)
QS is an algorithm used by Google to figure out when and where to place your ad. A higher QS means you’ll pay less per click. Your keywords need to be as relevant to your ad and landing page as possible.
What is the most powerful keyword for your event?
It’s important to choose the right keywords. This will determine the success of your ad and how much you pay for it. So how do you make sure you pick the most relevant keywords?
1. Make it as relevant (and specific) as possible
Put yourself in your attendees’ shoes. Think about what they would search for to find events like yours.
If you’re putting on a rock concert in London, then “rock concert London” is a good place to start.
You could also use “guitar music”, but then you’ll compete with guitar manufacturers and music artists.
It’s even better to get more specific. If the headliner for your rock concert is This Awesome Band, then your keywords could be “This Awesome Band live London”.
Write down as many keywords as you can think of. (You can shortlist the best ones later.)
Tip: You can use a free tool like WordStream to help you find keywords.
2. Group your keywords
Once you have a long list of keywords, it’s time to segment them into groups. Some of them will have common themes, so put them in groups of 5-20 keyphrases.
3. Determine the search traffic
The next step is to find out how often your keywords are actually used. It’s nice to have specific keywords, but your reach is limited if they’re only used by a few people.
To use the previous example, “rock concert London” is a more specific phrase than “rock concert UK”.
However, the latter phrase will cast a broader net and reach more people. And people from outside London are willing to travel into the city for a rock concert.
Tip: You can use tools like Google Trends to compare the traffic different keywords get.
4. Look at the competition
The broader the keywords, the more expensive they are to bid on. A specific keyphrase like “rock concert London” has a narrower reach and are cheaper than “rock concert UK”.
Many keyword tools will let you know how much traffic a particular keyphrase gets and what the bid range is.
How to create a PPC ad for events
Now that you have some great keywords, it’s time to create the actual ad.
Here are some of the best practices to keep in mind.
Include a countdown timer
You’ll have the option to include a countdown timer in your ad copy. You could just include the date of the event, but a countdown adds a sense of urgency.
Tip: See how to add a countdown timer in Google Adwords here.
Show how many tickets are left
Similar to the countdown timer, but a little more tricky. It’s definitely going to create a sense of urgency if your ad shows there are only five tickets left to purchase.
Tip: See how to show remaining tickets in Google Adwords here.
Advertise to your mailing list subscribers
It’s easier to sell tickets to people already interested in your events than to complete strangers. Google allows you to upload your mailing list when creating a PPC ad campaign.
Tip: See how to target your subscribers in Google Adwords here.
Remember to set an end date
Your event doesn’t go on forever. Neither should your ad. Believe it or not, but many event organisers forget this point and advertise for an event that has ended.
Tip: See how to set an end date in Google Adwords here.
Set your budget
Your ad budget will depend on a number of things like the cost of the event and the price of your tickets. If your event is non-profit, consider what metrics will determine its success. That could be new email subscribers or social media shares, for example.
Write great copy
You can’t neglect the copy of the ad. You won’t have a lot of space to work with, so every word counts. It’s crucial to use some of those words to as a call-to-action, so people know exactly what to do.
There’s a lot to take on board. It’ll be a steep learning curve, but you can do it!
Practice makes perfect. All your efforts will be rewarded with happy attendees at your event.