As a small business owner myself – the one thing we all need all of the time are new customers, and the first step to winning that customer is for the customer to find you!
Now that’s easier said than done, but one of the best tools in the box for this is Paid Search advertising – Google Ads – your way to jump to the top of the page and let the customer know you are there, but I’ve been talking to a lot of small business owners recently, who are nervous about using Google Ads to deliver customers to their site.
There’s a perception that you need to be “one of the big players”, or that its expensive.
PPC, or pay-per-click, is an extremely cost-effective online advertising method – You only pay for these ads if someone clicks through to your site, meaning that you won’t waste money on people who read them but aren’t actually interested in your business, plus you decide how much you are willing to pay giving you fantastic control over your spend.
It can be a complicated area at first sight, so here are a few tips to get you going.
1. Make it easy for yourself
Unless you’re working with someone who has experience with PPC, it’s best to start small as it is easy to spend money very quickly on Google Adwords as it can be confusing, and if you aren’t paying attention, you can spend hundreds of pounds in a day if you’re not careful.
The good news is that its very simple to limit budgets
If you are doing it yourself, start with one campaign on Google AdWords – this will get you up and running on Google the largest search engine in the world – as you get used to it, and if you have the time, you can switch it up later.
2. Be Targeted and Specific
In many cases, first time PPC campaigns use “broad” keywords and think that it will increase their chances of reaching more customers – Not only is this a waste of time, but it’s a waste of money.
Be as specific as possible with the keywords you target – don’t try to reach people with “restaurant in Birmingham” when you can more effectively (and usually at lower cost per visitor) target people with “Italian restaurants in Edgbaston” ensuring the people who see your ads are actually looking for businesses like yours.
3. Be Local
If your business is in Birmingham, there’s no point advertising in Aberdeen – Google allows you to be specific and limit your ads to specific areas, and if that’s what you’re doing then say so, include that in the ad – customers love to identify locally.
4. Grab their attention by writing captivating ads
Strong, dynamic headlines get strong, dynamic results – if you’re not sure about the wording then show it to colleagues, friends or advisors – you’ll be surprised at the difference a bit of distance makes to a person’s view of the simplest phrase, and if you can’t decide between two versions, then use both – see how they perform and only keep the best one. (this is A/B testing by the way).
There’s no point spending money on PPC just to bore potential customers to death. If people aren’t interested enough to click on your ad, then you won’t get any leads or sales and could be losing out to your competitors.
5. Tell the customer what to do
You need your customers to do something – tell them what that thing is in the ad – this is your “Call To Action” (a CTA in the jargon) and don’t be shy about it as an ad with no CTA is completely useless. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself, that way your potential customer doesn’t have to think too hard about what to do next!
6. What gets measured can be managed
Check what results you are getting – once you start it, the campaign will run happily all by itself BUT that doesn’t mean you are getting value for money, make sure to monitor your results.
This will also help you improve and refine your ads – this will make your campaign more effective and deliver more value for your pound.
7. Consider hiring a professional
Last but not least, managing a PPC campaign isn’t always easy – if you simply don’t have the time or confidence to do this yourself, then ask for help – using a digital marketing agency can be very cost effective in delivering results from a paid search campaign, or helping you develop your digital strategy.
Now Google Ads are only a small part of the landscape, when you add in Social Media Advertising, Social Selling, Email, Video and all the tools in the Digital Marketing toolbox, you have lots of ways to reach new and existing customers, but having a strategy in place will deliver the best results long term by planning how to reach the right people, with the right message at the right time – so plan ahead!