Paid search can be a great way for small business owners to get in front of their target audience and generate more leads, but it can also be costly if not managed correctly. To get the most out of their ad budgets, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to understand the basics of pay-per-click advertising and implement the right strategies for their target audience.
Here’s what to know and how Surefire Local’s business intelligence marketing software can help.
Paid Search: What It Is & How It Works
Paid search is a form of digital marketing in which businesses pay a fee to search engines like Google and Bing to appear at the top of the page when a user types in certain keywords. How much money businesses pay to search engines is based on a bidding system and depends on a company’s budget and the competitiveness of a keyword.
Bid adjustments are a key part of campaign optimization. By raising or lowering their bids, companies can control how often their ads are shown and how much they pay for each click. This allows SMBs to target the right audiences and bring more qualified leads to their websites, create more brand awareness, and increase conversions.
By using the right combination of keywords and phrases, businesses can ensure that their ads are seen by the people who are more likely to be interested in their products and services.
What’s In A Paid Ad?
Paid ads typically contain a headline, the display URL, a short description, and any ad extensions like an address or telephone number. They also contain a call to action (CTA) which encourages the user to do something specific, like clicking on the ad or calling the establishment. Paid ads also allow SMBs to target their audiences by location, demographics, and interests to further improve their results.
The Benefits of Paid Search for Small Businesses
Paid search can be an effective way for businesses to attract customers looking for the products or services the company provides. Not only are PPC ads easy to direct toward the right audience, but they can also be adjusted quickly based on the performance of the ad. If an ad isn’t doing well, you can pull it and reinvest your resources into ads that are performing better.
Unlike organic content, paid ads help drive immediate sales and revenue and typically result in a much higher ROI. Businesses can use PPC to gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, as well as to reach customers at all stages of the buying journey.
10 Paid Search Best Practices For Small Business Owners
Want to get started with paid search for your small business? These 10 best practices are designed to set you up for success:
1. Determine Your Ad Budget
Before you start investing time and money into a pay-per-click strategy, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your ad budget and how much you can afford to spend on each keyword. Consider the cost of each keyword, the search volume, and the expected conversion rates. This information will help you decide which keywords to prioritize and how much money to spend on them.
You can also use different budgeting tools, like those found within the Google Ads Manager, to help you manage your ad spend and make sure you’re getting the best possible return on investment for your paid search campaigns.
2. Define Your Perfect Customer
You also want to define your ideal customer in the beginning stages of setting up your campaigns. Consider who your target customer is, their interests, the problems they face, and what types of searches they might be making online. This is also called creating a buyer persona, which is a detailed profile of the customer you want to reach.
Knowing your target customer will help you determine which keywords are most relevant to them and choose the ones that are most likely to generate conversions. You can also write more targeted descriptions that have a better chance of resonating with users that see your ads.
3. Analyze Your Competitors
Take a look at the paid ads of both your direct and indirect competitors. Comparing the keywords, ad copy, and CTAs that other businesses are using to your own can help you gain insight into what works and what doesn’t.
Look for which keywords are driving most of their traffic and identify ways you can incorporate them into your own paid search campaigns. You’ll also want to identify opportunities to outbid your competitors for valuable keywords and gain a larger share of the market.
4. Choose The Right Keywords For Your Ads
The choice of keywords used in your campaigns is arguably the key component of paid search, so it’s critical to select the right ones. Be sure to choose keywords that are closely related to the products or services you are offering and that have a high commercial value.
You should also consider adding negative keywords to prevent your ads from appearing for irrelevant searches. Negative keywords are words or phrases that you don’t want to bring up your ads, like words or phrases that are specifically associated with a competitor or those that are related to a product you don’t offer.
5. Optimize Your Ads For Location
You can optimize your ads for a specific location, meaning a user must be in a certain city, state, or country that you choose for your ad to display. Geotargeting also allows you to direct ads to customers within a certain radius of your business, like people who can easily walk or drive to your office or storefront.
6. Add Your Call To Action
Each ad should have a strong CTA designed to motivate users to take action. You can further increase the effectiveness of your ads by writing CTAs that are specifically targeted to a particular audience. For example, if you’re targeting first-time visitors with a sale ad for replacement windows, your CTA might be something like “BOGO 50% OFF!” But if you’re trying to reach people who have been to your site in the past, your CTA could be something like “Get A Free Copy Of Our Energy-Savings Guide!”
7. Finalize Your Landing Page
It’s also important to have a high-quality landing page for people to go to when they click your ads. Make sure your landing pages are well-designed and user-friendly, with clear and concise information about what you’re offering. Don’t forget to design your page with mobile compatibility in mind, since more people are using their smartphones and other mobile devices to search the internet than ever before.
8. Deploy Your Ads
Finally, it’s time to publish your ads and monitor their performance. This can be made easier by using an all-in-one marketing platform like Surefire Local to manage your ad campaigns in one place. By leveraging a marketing management platform, you can track your campaigns’ performance, measure the return on investment, and quickly adjust strategies to maximize what you put into them.
With all of these tools and strategies in place, you can be sure that your advertising campaigns are running efficiently and effectively, giving your business the best chance of success.
9. Pull Ads That Aren’t Performing
If you notice that some aren’t performing as well as you’d hoped, it’s often best to pull them and save money on wasted ad spend. Instead, focus your budget on the ads that are proving to be successful. You can also use A/B testing to test different versions of an ad to see which one performs better, and then put more of your marketing spend towards that one.
When you optimize your SMB PPC ads this way, you’re only spending money on what works, and never paying for poorly-performing campaigns for very long.
10. Continue To Test & Optimize
It’s important to regularly check in on your ad campaigns to ensure that they are performing well and meeting your organization’s marketing goals. You can do this by monitoring your click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and cost per conversion. If you see any red flags, like a sudden drop in CTR, you’ll need to make adjustments to your ads until you start getting better results.
Manage Your Ads Across Multiple Platforms In One Place With Surefire Local
Surefire Local’s award-winning marketing platform is designed to help local small businesses like yours succeed online. Our all-in-one software makes it easy to manage your paid search campaigns and other digital marketing efforts, from one central location.
With Surefire Local, you can:
- Save time by coordinating all of your SEO, social media, and content marketing in one place
- Get better results with our proven advertising strategies and tools
- Stay within your budget with our flexible pricing options
Surefire Local is the only platform you need to drive more leads and sales from your online advertising. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your business or click here to schedule a live demo of our business intelligence marketing software today.