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If you’re tired of your website showing up on the third page of Google’s search results (because let’s face it—nobody clicks that far), here’s some good news. You can absolutely improve your rankings starting today. The bad news? It’s going to cost you. If you want results right now, you’re going to have to pay for that spot on the front page.

Sure, says Mark Satterfield, author of the new book The One Week Marketing Plan: The Set It & Forget It Approach for Quickly Growing Your Business, if you aren’t willing to invest money (or if you think that drumming up prospects and leads should be free), you can still succeed in driving traffic to your website, but it’ll be slow. Really slow. All you have to do is create the best website for your topic, with lots of content, lots of value, and lots of people linking to it. And that should absolutely be your overall goal. But that’s going to take time, and in today’s cutthroat market, who can wait?

“If your website needs traffic right now, the best thing you can do is make sure you’re spending your ad budget wisely,” says Satterfield. “Don’t run an ad and send people to some low-quality home page. Be smart about it.

“One of the fastest ways to attract new qualified prospects is by using ‘pay-per-click’ (PPC) advertising,” he adds. “Pay-per-click means exactly what it sounds like. The advertiser pays only when someone clicks on their ad. It is probably the best way to get immediate traffic, and it can be done with an advertising budget of $50-100.”

In The One Week Marketing Plan Satterfield explains exactly how to deploy your energy and finances in order to bring high-quality prospects to your doorstep. He lays out a step-by-step, “set it and forget it” system entrepreneurs and small business owners can put in place in just five business days.

Here, he zeroes in on six questions you should consider when using pay-per-click ads to improve your traffic:

What are you going to promote? The obvious answer is “my business.” The problem is, there are millions of businesses out there, and quite a few of them might be in your niche. So dig a little bit deeper and ask yourself, What can I promote to make people want to click on my ad in particular? The answer can be found in an enduring part of human nature: Everybody loves free stuff.

“You should always offer potential clients something tangible to draw them in: a lead magnet,” says Satterfield. “A great way to do that is by giving them information they want in the form of a free report. Your free report is the first step in the client attraction process. It serves two purposes. First, it helps you build credibility and trust with prospective clients. Second, it allows you to provide prospective clients with enough information that they believe you know what you’re doing but not so much that they can do whatever they need without hiring you.”

What landing page will people see when they click on the ad? The design of this page spells the difference between getting a lot of traffic and wasting a lot of money. If your landing page is boring, uninformative, or looks like something a third grader could have created, it doesn’t matter how powerful your lead magnet is—potential clients will quickly move on. Satterfield recommends that you include a few key elements on your website:

  • A catchy headline
  • Bullet points to capture the reader’s curiosity and convey benefits
  • An opt-in box for receiving the lead magnet and gathering email addresses
  • A thank-you page

“I recommend heavily promoting your free offer on your website’s main landing page,” says Satterfield. “That’s what I do on gentlerainmarketing.com. Traditionally, landing pages focus primarily on communicating what the company does. But if we do not get our visitors to opt in when they come to the site, we lose control of our ability to follow up with them. It’s hard to send ongoing messages to people if they don’t tell us who they are.”

What’s the profile of your ideal prospect? The good news is that pay-per-click allows you to micro-target who you put your advertisements in front of. The bad news is that if you don’t know exactly who that is (or if you’ve done a half-baked job of defining him or her), then you’re blindly throwing darts into the Internet.

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