ppc-keyword-research-strategies (Photo credit: Search Influence)

It’s sold as the easiest way to make money out of the internet and turn your clicks into cash. Yet as with anything that sounds like a quick fix there’s more to it than the headline.

Yes, a PPC campaign can be a good way of injecting some much-needed cash into your business, but without a proper strategy it could be as effective as standing on a deserted street holding out your cap and waiting for a few bits of change.

Done properly with the right planning and research a PPC, or Pay Per Click, Campaign can benefit your business in more ways than just cash. It means immediate results. Where SEO, or search engine optimization, can take time, PPC reaps results straight away. It means your site gets more qualified visits, fewer pesky inflated hit rates that might be more bots than humans. It improves your ranking on search engines, helping to raise brand awareness. And if you link with social networks, like Facebook, it helps you get in front of more potential customers.
Without wanting to sound too obvious though, if we’re talking about a global marketing campaign one of the biggest challenges is in the name. If you’re selling to the big wide world you need to make sure you’re talking their language.

Non-English PPC Campaigns

English is still the biggest language used online with over 500 million users. But Chinese is close behind with over 444 million users. Spanish comes in third at over 150 million and the top ten includes Japanese, German, Arabic and Russian. (www.internetworldstats)
You might be able to sell you own particular brand of awesome to a US or English speaking market, but how do you go about planning a PPC campaign if your customer can’t understand you?
Here are our top five tips:

Writing the ads –

Your customer wants to feel like they’re special, wherever they are. Run the same ad in every country, using a free service such as Google Translate, and you might not be getting your message across correctly. Slight nuances of language can change the meaning along with your sales pitch. The idea of a PPC campaign is to grab attention quickly. Use the wrong words or a poor translation and consumers will switch off. Instead invest in a native-speaking copywriter. They’ll help you develop the right content to help you promote your product.

Research the keywords –

You’ll need to research the right keywords for each native language. Chances are if you want great savings on shoes, say, wherever you are you’re going to be searching for the same type of information. But the keywords change because of semantic and phonetic differences. Keywords can’t be chosen simply by translating those in your native tongue to another. If you already have foreign language websites then you’ve done the research on relevant keywords. If you haven’t (and more on that later) you might need to use the same copywriter to help to ensure you’ve got the right tools to guide browsing consumers to your ad and website.

Pick the right search engine –

While we’re all Google this and Yahoo that, we can forget that not everyone uses the same search engines all over the world. Baidu, Naver, Rambler; they may not be familiar to you, but if you ask a consumer in Russia or South Korea they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. You need to know which search engine is most effective in each area. And note, biggest doesn’t always mean best. A niche search engine might be more successful at helping you connect with new customers. Each search engine will have different regulations for each PPC campaign so you’ll need to read their Terms and Conditions as well as familiarising yourself with best practice before you start.

Landing pages –

The ads are right, the search engine’s right but hang on, where’s your customer going to go? If they’ve taken the time to click on your ad and head to your website you want to be able to seal the deal. A foreign language website is a worthwhile investment if you’re expanding globally. If you’re already armed with a native speaking copywriter and the right keywords anyway, just take the next step.

Evaluation –

The ad’s live and you’re seeing the clicks roll in, but the job doesn’t stop there. Monitoring and evaluation is a central part of any PPC campaign. Keywords change, search engine algorithms might shift, and consumer trends are always on the move. Set up a system to measure your return on investment and tweak your campaign if necessary.

A successful international PPC campaign needs solid planning, research and a measure of investment. It’s worth taking the extra time to investigate the right keywords and search engines and ensure you have someone on the team who understands the language you want to talk in. Regular monitoring will help you keep on top of changes and trends, ensuring your campaign is able to grow and prosper.

About the author

Christian Arno is the founder of professional translation agencyLingo24, experts in the foreign language internet. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 170 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV and World Bank. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.