No doubt you’ll have seen the paid ads placed just above or below the organic search results on sites such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These ads are placed to get attention and they do. If you’re still waiting for your SEO efforts to kick in and put you on the front page of Google, then using paid search advertising can be an excellent way to start getting traffic and targeted leads. These ads can also help if you’ve introduced a new class or service and your new landing page isn’t yet indexed in the search engines or visible high enough to be found.
However, there can be a lot to learn about paid ads and we’ve gathered together our paid search best practices for gyms to help get you started.
What is Paid Search Advertising?
Paid search advertising is the process of setting up, running, testing, and optimizing paid ads on sites such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Why should you run paid search ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines? Well, we’ve mentioned the positioning of these ads. These ads appear in the prime positions at the top and bottom of the search engine listings. Even if you got to number one on the first page of Google, you still wouldn’t have the highest listing possible, because these ads come first.
They are designed for visibility and getting attention and people do look at them and click on them. Businesses sometimes spend a great deal of their budget on these ads, because they work.
You can use paid advertising to directly sell to people and bring in customers, you can promote your business and attract targeted leads, then move them into your sales funnel with a strong call to action, or you can use your ads to build your brand and raise awareness of your gym. All of those are valid reasons to pay for ads and, with paid ads, you can start getting traffic, new members, and extra income immediately if you do them well.
What is a paid search ad?
A paid search ad is simply a digital ad set up on one or more of the search engines in order to gain traffic, attract attention, and bring warm leads into your sales funnel. Paid ads are sometimes also known as Pay Per Click (PPC ads).
To set up an ad, you need to know why you are advertising and what results you want to get, so that you can measure your actual results against your desired results and see how your ads are performing. You need to carefully research your keywords, including local keywords.
Next, set the maximum you want to spend on your ad campaign, and the full amount you want to spend per click. You do need to keep a close eye on your budget for paid ads and ensure your ads are set up correctly and that your budget isn’t being overspent or spent too quickly.
Your next step is to create your ad and we’ll talk about the different parts of your ad below.
You also need to set up a specific landing page for each of your ads. This landing page should have similar branding to your ad and a similar headline to show people they are in the right place. You should have nothing else on your landing page except for more copy to persuade your leads to take action, and a very obvious single call to action to show them what you want them to do next. You should include a form to get them to book an appointment to tour your facility.
You don’t want to add links to your blog, your about us page, any other classes, or anywhere else. Keep it simple and highly focused and include relevant keywords in your copy too.
If you have too many other distractions, you may well confuse your leads or send them off elsewhere on your site rather than taking the action you wanted them to take.
There’s also another very good reason for ensuring your landing page focuses entirely on your ad. When you set up an ad and a landing page, you get a Quality Score for both items. The more relevant and focused both parts of your ad are, the more of a chance you have of appearing in the top ad spot.
Here are the parts of your ad:
When you look at paid ads, the headline has the biggest text. This is because it’s meant to be the thing that makes people stop and read your ad, so it has to be attention-getting and to the point. It should also include your main keyword.
Take your time and write as many headlines as you can think of. You need lots of options so that you can choose the best headline possible. You can also try using AI, such as ChatGPT, to help you generate a lot of ideas very quickly.
Don’t worry if you have a lot of headline ideas, because you can always use these on other ads if they fit, or use them as options when split-testing your ads to optimize them.
There are some differences between platforms. With Google and Bing, you can have two headlines of up to thirty characters each. On Yahoo, you can choose to do that too, or you can opt for one headline of up to fifty characters.
When you publish your ad, your display URL will be shown directly under your headline in green text. This URL is made up of your final URL, your subdomain, if there is one, and tracking information, if you want to include that to see where you are getting your traffic and leads from. Bear in mind that you only have thirty-five characters for this, so keep it as short as you can.
One very helpful thing about showing the display URL in your ad is that potential leads can read it and see which page they’re going to be redirected to before they click. In a world of scammers and dodgy links in spam emails, this is highly reassuring for your leads.
If your headline persuades people to stop and read your ad, it’s your description text that persuades them to click, so it has to be good. If writing this kind of copy isn’t your strong point, bring the professionals in and find someone with experience in writing paid ads. You don’t want to waste your budget on poor descriptions that won’t ever get clicks.
This description has to be concise and also to the point, just like your headline. It must also include your main keywords. You need to tell people exactly what you are offering and why they should click, in just eighty characters on Google and Bing, or one hundred and fifty characters on Yahoo. That’s not a lot and it really is a skill to get it right.
However, don’t worry. Once your ad is set up and you start seeing analytics for it, you can change all parts of your ad, including your description, to test what is more effective and keep optimizing. However, test one part at once, not everything, or you won’t have any idea what made the difference.
You get so very little room on your standard paid ads, and they look very plain as there’s only text and no images, so using ad extensions can make your ads look far more attractive and interesting.
What you get are extra sections below your ad which make it look bigger and, therefore, more likely to be seen.
You can add useful information, such as your contact details, opening hours, pricing, maps, locations, reviews, and more. You can also provide greater convenience for your customers by including a click-to-call button or a link straight to your booking page for classes.
Benefits of Paid Search Ads
Paid ads can do a great deal for your gym, including raising awareness of your business in your local area and letting potential members know what you have to offer.
Here are just a few more benefits you can get from trying out paid ads:
1. More visibility in local search results
We’ve already mentioned that you can add your location and maps in your ad extensions to attract local potential members, and you can also target your ads using demographics, including your location. You can use keywords such as your city and state, your local area, and your gym name to attract attention from the right people in the right area.
You can also use negative keywords too to help narrow down where your ads are shown. If you own a gym in Fresno County, California, for example, there are fifty-seven other counties in that state. If you only want your ads to be shown to people in Fresno County, you can use negative keywords to stop your ads being shown in any other counties. You’ll have more targeted ads and save your budget.
2. More traffic to your website
With most ads, you will be directing visitors to a specific landing page on your website, but if you want them to book your new class, you could send them directly to the class page instead. Whichever way you do it, you will start to get more traffic to your website, and as soon as your paid ad is live, that could start happening immediately.
Even better, with paid ads, you aren’t sending cold leads or people who weren’t even searching for a gym in the first place. You’re sending warm leads who were already looking for a gym in your area.
3. Higher quality leads
With paid ads, you can target people via demographics, including their age and location. You can look at your target audience and choose to show your ads only to people who fit your criteria.
And when they see your ad, as we said above, they aren’t random people who happened to chance upon your details. They are specifically searching for gyms in your local area. With great copy on your ad and your landing page and a clear call to action, it’s then down to you to persuade them to click and follow what you want them to do. And with such warm leads, hopefully, you’ll find you convert a good percentage of people into members or at least into people asking for more information.
4. Detailed analytics
Every part of your marketing needs great analytics, so you can see whether what you are doing is working and paid ads are no exception. Ads do come with excellent and highly detailed analytics from the main search engines, and you can see who is looking at your ad, where they are based, how long they spent on your landing page, and even the device they accessed your ad with.
This data is vital to find out which of your ads are working and which you are spending money on with no, or little, return.
You can use your data when split testing and tweak your ads to improve and optimize them. You can then copy successful ads to use again and turn off ads that aren’t bringing you traffic.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
Paid ads take some getting used to and you do need to keep a close eye on your budget, but they can be highly successful in bringing new members and income to your gym.
With Surefire’s business intelligence marketing software, you can make things far easier by using our platform to manage your paid ads. You can work alongside an ads specialist who’ll help you manage your ads and use our analytics in addition to your ad platform analytics to get an excellent picture of your ad performance.
But that’s not all our platform can do. You can also manage every other important part of your marketing from our dashboard, including managing your email marketing, social media marketing, your content marketing, lead nurturing, and more. You can also update over 80 of your business directories at once, including your Google Business Profile, to help keep your online presence correct and consistent.
Why not book a demo and see how much time and effort you could save by using the right marketing software?