Let me guess: you tried Pay Per Click (PPC) and it was a mess. Am I warm? You were paying like $10 per click and then most of those clicks never even turned into leads. We've all been there. So take solace when I tell you: it's not you - it's Google. But there is a huge caveat to this. A big ol' asterisk, if you will. And it is this:

It doesn't have to be this way. Direct mail and PPC can work together like peanut butter and jelly. I'm talking about a "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts" situation.

Now, when I say "it's Google," I'm not saying they make it difficult on purpose. It's just that online marketing sort of requires a complicated system. No way around it. I constantly hear from businesspeople that want to understand how to navigate AdWords and turn PPC into a valuable marketing option, so this is the first in a three-part series where I'll break it down for you and show you how to do just that!

· Part I: A quick overview of what AdWords is and how it works
· Part II: How to create ads and target your audience
· Part III: How to integrate your PPC with direct mail in a way that WORKS


Pay per click is a marketing strategy where you run online ads on Google and only PAY for the ad space when someone CLICKS on the ad. Hence pay per click. You see PPC ads all the time, even if you don't realize it. Observe

The way Google manages their PPC platform is a system called AdWords. You need an account to set up campaigns, but it's free and easy to sign up. (But wait until you are ready to actually launch a campaign to do so, because Google wants you to start a campaign right away.)


In a nutshell, you bid for placement. You enter how much you are willing to pay for a particular keyword, like "direct mail help" or "commercial printing." (Google suggests a good place to start, but you can bid whatever you want.) The higher you bid, the higher up on the page your ad is like to appear. Then. When someone searches for that keyword, Google ranks the bids and places the ads accordingly. You find keywords in the Keyword Planner tool, which looks like this


There are 3 kinds of PPC ads:

1. Text Ads
These mostly show up alongside and above Google's free search results (see below). They are labeled as ads for clarity's sake, but a surprising number of people still don't know they are paid placements! In the photo [to the left/ to the right/below/above], the PPC text ads are in red box and the organic results (the ones Google brings you on its own) are in the purple box.
2. Display Ads
Display ads are visual banner ads. You see them all over the place. They are available on any site in Google's Display Network, which is HUGE and includes many big name sites, like CNN.com, Dictionary.com, HGTV.com, and a ton more. They look like this
3. YouTube Ads
Youtube ads are those pop-ups that appear on the bottom of the video while you are watching Charlie bite his brother's finger. They look like this
So that's your crash course in how AdWords works and the preliminary terminology you need to know. Hopefully you picked up a few tidbits that clarified how the system works. However, if you have ANY questions, shoot me a question in the comments and I'll do my best to get you an answer!

And don't forget to look for the next post in this series next month, where I'll give you 5 tips on creating ads that maximize cost per click!

Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a fully-integrated marketing firm specializing in direct mail. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from just a phone and computer to a $22million enterprise in less than a decade. Connect with Joy on Google+.

Download this free report to learn more about 8 online marketing products that you can offer as a compliment to your traditional direct mail and printing services: http://www.postcardmania.com/go/8-ways-to-increase-revenue-in-a-declining-or-stagnant-print-business