How To Bring In More Leads With Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising puts your company directly in front of "warm leads," or potential customers who are interested in your product or services. It's a proven way to generate a predictable flow of new business opportunities straight to your website. This type of paid search marketing allows you to continually reach out to valuable clients who can deliver the most return for your ad dollars. These are just some of the benefits of PPC for small business—and, really, businesses of all sizes. Here’s how to make it work for your business.
What is paid search?
Paid search is a type of digital marketing that takes advantage of search engines—like Google and Bing—to advertise. Paid search helps businesses connect with potential customers based on their search inquiries. Google Ads is a popular and effective paid search platform. It's a pay-per-click (PPC) service that functions like an auction: you submit bids for your ads to show up first for certain searches. These ads are tagged as "ad" in the search engine result page (SERP). When used properly, Google Ads can promote your business for specific search terms that your ideal customers use to generate a consistent flow of leads to your website. By Google’s estimates, businesses generate $8 of profit for every $1 spent on Google Ads. Even if you stuck to Google Ads' minimum recommended budget of $10, that could hypothetically equate to almost $30,000 of annual profit. But even the best PPC campaign is only as good as its planning and that starts with identifying your ideal customer.
Identify your ideal customer
Paid search marketing is only effective if you know who you’re speaking to. If your message is irrelevant to the viewer, they won’t click on your link. You wouldn’t want a car insurance company overloading you with ads if you don’t even own a car, would you? So, you need to know:
- Who you’re speaking to
- What they want
- When they search for that particular want
- How they search
You can create buyer personas, which capture your ideal customers’ typical company role, age, goals, challenges, behaviors, etc. into a single marketing profile to help you answer these questions. For the “how,” you’ll have to research and target specific keywords that are relevant to your potential customers.
Determine keywords that resonate with your audience
As we mentioned above, keywords are the terms and phrases people use on search engines like Google and Bing (e.g. “plumber near me”). Needless to say, there are a lot of keywords to choose from. But you should only be interested in the keywords that resonate with your audience. There are a few effective (and free) tools you can use, such as the Google Keyword Planner. However, the first source you should tap into is yourself. No one knows your business—and customers—better than you. Put yourself in their shoes. What terms do you think they will search to find your products or service? Finding the right keywords for your business can be tricky. To help you through this process, let’s define the various types of keywords—and outline when you would use each one.
Types of keywords
Branded keywords either refer to your brand’s keywords or your competitors’ keywords. If you run a local HVAC business called Hank’s, you might have the following branded keywords:
- Hank’s HVAC
- Hank’s AC repair
If your competitors pay to rank ahead of you on Google, you may want to fight back by using your (and your competitors') branded keywords. Product- or service-specific keywords are exactly what they sound like: the typical words used to describe a particular product or service. Many customers aren’t loyal to a brand, so they’re more likely to search a broader keyword to find potential solutions. A local plumbing business may target the following service-specific keywords:
- Plumbing repairs
- Drain cleaning
- Water heater replacement
High-intent keywords indicate a person is nearing the end of their search or buying process and is ready to purchase. This timing makes high-intent keywords very valuable—these leads aren’t just curious, they’re motivated. So, they can rapidly become customers. Let’s go back to our HVAC business. Here are a few examples of high-intent keywords:
- Fast AC repair
- HVAC emergency repair
- Same-day HVAC repair
Feature-specific keywords are more particular and capture an individual’s preference. Feature-specific keywords should highlight your offerings and competitive advantages. For instance, if your plumbing business has a solid track record and service history, you could target the “experienced plumber” keyword phrase. Negative keywords are the searches you don’t want your business to appear for. While that may sound counterintuitive, you don’t want to pay for irrelevant clicks. For example, a pediatrician is a physician, but this kind of doctor wouldn’t necessarily want to show up for “adult physician,” so they could add this term to their negative keyword list to avoid appearing for that search.
Differentiate yourself from the competition
Know your business’s unique value proposition and highlight it within your ad copy. For instance, let’s assume a plumbing business prioritizes speed by offering free quotes and same-day services. That business should sell this strength within its PPC copy: “Need a plumber right now? Call for a free quote and same-day service.”
This tool lets you specify locations for your PPC ads, such as a particular country, state or city. Geo-targeting is extremely important for SMBs—it can be the difference between a successful campaign and wasted ad spend.
Make your ads relevant
Your business has solutions—you just have to connect those solutions with the right questions. The most effective ads speak directly to the target audience’s pain points. Include your primary keyword in your ad headers, as well as the landing page. But don’t sacrifice authenticity to please Google. Remember: your ad copy should sound natural and appeal to your ideal customers.
Prepare for the flood of new leads
When implemented the right way, paid search can improve your business’s visibility and generate new business opportunities. PPC management for small business owners, and even larger operators, means accounting for increased traffic.More traffic means more leads, and more leads mean you’ll need someone on the other end answering inbound calls and inquiries—someone who’s knowledgeable, welcoming, and readily available to respond to leads and guide them to becoming paying customers.Someone like a virtual receptionist.