• Blog

How I Used PPC To Get Hired, and How You Can Too

  • By Dallas McLaughlin
  • May 20, 2015

It’s no secret that I like doing over the top things to get noticed during a job search. I used one of those super trendy “doodle movies” to tell my story in the past, and I drew a bit of attention on my next search with a really cool resume that Mashable eventually featured in an article last year. In both cases I was able to provide a deliverable that was completely unique in comparison to the other 99% of applicants.
For my next job search I wanted to utilize my actual skill set to draw the attention of my future employer. As my career is now extremely focused on pay-per-click advertising and on-page search engine optimization these were the two elements I would need to highlight.

Interruption Marketing via Pay Per Click

The very essence of PPC advertising – whether social media, AdWords, or 3rd party networks – is trying to interrupt a user during their natural browsing habits by convincing them to click on a loosely related ad. There’s nothing people hate more than seeing completely random ads for useless crap while they’re trying to look at pictures of cats with pizza on their head.
The solution of course is to provide hyper-relevant, insanely personalized ads. Seriously, don’t be afraid to freak people out. With the amount of data that is freely available this is becoming easier and easier for any business or individual to accomplish.

Enter, The James Agency

I identified The James Agency as a place I would love an opportunity to work at. Unfortunately, they just weren’t hiring at the time I started looking. Not letting that deter me, I settled on the idea of creating hyper-targeted pay-per-click campaigns targeting branded keyword searches coming from the office of The James Agency.
The idea being that brands, businesses, agencies and individuals Google themselves, right? Hopefully.
Once clicked, these ads would lead to a landing page staged to look like a true product squeeze page. Meaning, lead with the value proposition, support the value proposition, tell your story in a concise manner, make it clear what action the user needs to take and have a measurable conversion element.
A pretty basic sales funnel. Search > PPC > Landing Page > Conversion

Targeting and Segmenting Your Audience

Google AdWords Ad GroupingThe first step of a successful PPC campaign is to identify and segment a clearly defined audience. Once you have your audience, or ad groups, it’s easy to develop keywords and ad copy with these segments in mind.
For example, if you’re creating PPC campaigns for a restaurant you can segment out your wine drinkers, your dinner and lunch crowds, your late night bar crowd, then provide relevant and timely ads that engage the respective audiences. You’ll find that every audience responds differently. The lunch crowd doesn’t care about the late night offerings and vice-a-versa.
Utilizing what I like to call “6 degrees of LinkedIn,” It was pretty simple to identify the super-awesome Veronique James as one half of my “target audience”, and the agency itself as the other half.

Building Your Keyword Sets

keyword selection and segmentation
This may not be the best example of segmenting keyword sets, but you can see in the above screenshot that any keywords involving Veronique’s name will only see ad copy which also uses her name. Any keywords reflecting the agency will only see agency branded ad copy. There’s no overlap in this case which will boost the relevancy and personalization of the ad copy.
To continue with our restaurant example above, this would be the equivalent of showing wine ad copy to your wine audience, lunch specials to your lunch audience, and bar specials to your late night crowd. One doesn’t want to see ads for the other.

Local Search Targeting

Local PPC targetingThere’s probably a lot of people who search ‘The James Agency’ or ‘Veronique James’ on a daily basis. The only way to filter this traffic out is to narrow down geographically to as tight of a radius around the office as possible. This happens to be 1-mile by the way. This means that no matter how exact someones search is to my keyword sets they will not see my ads unless they are performing the search while physically located within the geographical area I’ve defined.
Using this method brick and mortars can effectively keep their search dollars within clearly defined neighborhoods, cities, or even by setting a “walking distance” radius around their location.

Ad Scheduling

Scheduling PPC campaigns for business hoursNow this is definitely overkill for this campaign but for conversation sake, and knowing that one way or another this would turn into a case study, I set up ad scheduling around business hours. Not only are we narrowing our audience by keyword selection and geography, now we’re layering in the hours which we’ll allow our ads to be available.
For the sake of consistency, this is where someone like our fictional restaurant could get creative and schedule happy hour ads to run slightly before and during their happy hour specials – on only the days they offer a happy hour. This can be duplicated for lunch specials, brunch, live music performances, and more. Get creative.
Using ad scheduling also allows a business to get more aggressive with their bidding. Instead of spreading the budget out throughout the day, they can now utilize it by outbidding their competitors when it’s most relevant (and profitable) to the business. Additionally, they won’t be paying for weird impressions and clicks at 3am anymore.

The Landing Page

Landing page conversion optimizationThe day a business decides to create PPC ads is the day they must also decide to never dump their users on their home page. If someone comes from an ad about your lunch specials, take them to a page that features these specials. They clicked on your happy hour deal? Take them there. The PPC ad has only one job – make people click. It should never tell the whole story. The rest of the story needs to be told on a concise and conversion focused landing page.
Again, this is staged to be representative of a product landing page, not necessarily a resume. The value proposition is clear, it’s supported in the sub-header, my objective is clearly defined, and next steps are laid out.
Since I was in the market for not only a Pay-Per-Click position but also a position with Search Engine Optimization opportunities, the landing page is designed with an emphasis on SEO best practice. It’s not perfect due to the WordPress framework I was using, but all the main attributes are there. URL and heading structure, title and meta lengths, keyword usage and density, crawlability, alt attributes and so on.
This was important because I wanted it to index in Google. Businesses should be receiving emailed alerts as soon as a page is indexed that mentions their brand name. I was hoping that as soon as this page was indexed, someone at TJA would be alerted to its existence.

Did It Work?

Google AdWords Ad DimensionsAbsolutely! You can see in the screenshots that I’ve attached that I began seeing impressions almost immediately. And since my targeting is defined by keywords, geography, and business hours, I was able to determine that these searches are originating from employees at The James Agency with almost 100% certainty.
It took about 10 days to see a click, but since I was paying per click and not on an impression basis it was completely cost free to have these ads floating around out there.
I was also pretty sure it would only take 1-click to get my foot in the door anyway.
Since AdWords was telling me that I only received 2 clicks from the paid ad, but my Analytics was reporting 5 unique page views, this was an indication that the landing page was making the rounds internally. A quick visit to The James Agency website in search of contact details revealed a newly listed job posting for a ‘PPC/SEO Specialist.’
I submitted my formal resume and the rest is history! A total ad spend of $3.49 is all it took to land on the radar of The James Agency and immediately place my name at the top of the heap of resumes I’m sure they received for the position.
Employees at The James Agency Scottsdale Arizona

How Else Can This Be Leveraged?

Once you start looking at PPC as more than just a tool to push page views to your business it opens up a lot of possibilities. How could you leverage this in a sales role? Target prospective clients/businesses with targeted keyword searches for lead generation?
In the music industry and trying to get your band discovered? Identify the gatekeepers and take out PPC ads on things you know they’ll be searching at the times and locations they’ll be searching for it.
There’s no way for a user to not see ads on the internet. The goal really becomes delivering your ideal audience a hyper-targeted and personalized ad for something they are truly interested in. If you can accomplish this you’ll see your clicks and click-through rates soar and your overall conversions will increase because you’re driving nothing but extremely qualified traffic.
What are your thoughts? Are you using PPC in an unorthodox or creative way? Let me know down in the comments!

Dallas McLaughlin

The Business Owner's Guide To

Better Decision Making

As a business owner you are inherently a decision maker and it’s a function of your job to make consistently good decisions in critical moments. But no two decisions are exactly same. Having a deep understanding of how decisions are made and having the tools to create consistent decision making frameworks are necessary to make more rapid and impactful decisions on a daily basis.

© 2024 Dallas McLaughlin, LLC