What factors are most essential to the success of pay-per-click (PPC) search engine marketing campaigns? Strong creative is necessary to draw in leads; targeting ensures the leads are qualified; and a solid landing page is imperative to converting the leads you’ve acquired.

But none of these factors matter if your budget is ill-considered. Budget, writes Search Engine Land columnist Jeff Baum, is “a direct reflection of a campaign’s priorities” and “the bridge that ties strategy and tactical execution together.”

So, what makes a budget work?

The first step to creating a campaign budget is establishing clearly defined and prioritized goals. For example, if you goal is revenue growth, you can build a campaign that drives conversions. If your goal is building brand awareness, your campaign will reflect that. Your goals are likely to change over time, so it’s prudent to revisit them every six months or so.

Once you’ve defined your search engine marketing goals, Baum recommends performing an overall assessment of your industry’s search marketing landscape and developing a philosophy and plan unique to your business. What are your competitors doing that works? Where are they failing? How can you stand out?

At this point, you can start to build a budget. The bulk of available resources should go to campaigns that are helping you achieve your defined goals; the remainder can be assigned to testing and experimentation. Most businesses experience ‘up’ and ‘down’ periods during the year, so feel free to adjust your investments seasonally.

The work doesn’t stop once your budget has been allocated. As your campaign runs, you will perpetually gather data, analyze performance, and make adjustments to improve return on investment.

“Focusing on where to allocate budgets, whether in existing or new campaigns, is important in helping to focus efforts,” Baum writes. “Going through the budgeting process will help focus all your efforts and bring clarity to your program.”

As a Premier Google Partner All-Star search engine marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is committed to helping our clients build focused, effective budgets and ensuring maximum return on investment in their Google AdWords campaigns. Contact GrowthEngine today to learn more.