Digital advertising is not a new idea. From Google and Facebook ads to sponsored content on LinkedIn to banner ads on other websites, online advertising has been around for a while. Just because it is an established marketing channel, however, does not mean that it has lost any relevance. In any case, the importance of advertising in general, and paid search in particular, has increased over the years.
So let’s take a closer look at paid search. Why does this matter for your business? How can paid search help in lead generation? And what can you do to get the most out of your campaigns?
It’s not just for retailers anymore
Some business owners have shunned the concept of paid search because they are not a retailer or B2C. The fact that some industries, such as retail, have already learned how to harness the power of paid search, businesses in any sector can benefit from.
Increasingly, Google is where people go to find information about businesses. And no matter what kind of business it is – B2B or B2C, retailer or service provider – people are going to open a search browser to find you online.
This is true for prospects who are looking for new solutions to their problems. But this is equally true for existing customers! Have you ever wondered what time your go-to coffee shop closes, and typed their name on a Google search or map to find them within hours of their hours? Or maybe you searched your regular hair salon to find your number to call for an appointment? Searching for businesses we already know and love has become commonplace in the Google era.
Businesses of all stripes and sizes are easily searchable on Google because that is where everyone finds the information they need about your business.
Paid Search is Taking Up More Real Estate
So you understand that it’s important to have a presence on search engines, especially Google. But why not just focus on SEO and call it a day?
With every passing year, we are seeing the expansion of Google Ads. Google now offers dozens of types of ads, from traditional text-only ads to photos and carousels to map lists. And with all the different advertising products available, they are placing more and more paid search results at the top of the SERPs.
I recently discovered a local business: I Googled plumbers in my hometown of Kansas City. And I found that the first page of results on Google was filled with paid search and aggregator results (things like Angie’s List and Yelp). In fact, the first organic results for a single company didn’t appear until Give page!
Research has shown that listings at the top of Google SERPs capture a large portion of all web traffic. In fact, only about five percent of the websites found on page two of the results receive a click! Even businesses with an unreliable SEO strategy can still be completely overlooked by searchers who click on one of the many ads that appear before any organic results.
join the process
By now I hope I have convinced you that paid search is an essential element in any small business marketing strategy. But if you’ve never run a Google Ads campaign before, you might feel overwhelmed. There are many technical elements to consider when it comes to creating a campaign — from bidding strategy to audience identification — not to mention the creative side of crafting your ad content.
While handing over complete control to a PPC firm may be tempting for you, it is risky. Even if you don’t have the technical know-how to handle the entire process on your own, you want to make sure you understand the concepts behind paid search so that you can be a smart consumer. . Do you research PPC firms. Talk about your needs with several of them, and then choose one that understands your goals and has a clear roadmap to help you meet them.
And that means focusing on something beyond the number of clicks you get each month. Many PPCs will proudly report to their customers that they have generated X number of clicks. But the reality for the business owner is that the number of clicks doesn’t matter if those clicks don’t ultimately result in a purchase. The right PPC firm will understand that difference and try to prove results beyond that one metric.
Pay Attention to Purchasing Intent
How do you make sure those clicks are actually generating income for your business? Focus your paid search efforts on the people who really want to shop.
SEO is great for those long tail searchers. They may be asking for information about your industry and may purchase from you at some point in the future. If you maintain a strong, content-focused SEO strategy, you can dominate those long-tail searches and build relationships with prospects who will know, like, and trust you over time. .
For connecting with prospects in need of an immediate solution, however, paid search is the way to go. If a homeowner is looking for a plumber to repair a burst pipe, he may not have the time to read through pages of thoughtful material from a dozen different providers and carefully narrow things down to his number one choice. gives. They need a solution right now, and they’re about to go with one of the first names that comes before them.
When you position yourself well at bidding on paid search, keywords and search terms that indicate an urgent need and high buying intent, you set yourself up to be one of those first names. (and you’re more likely to be in the business they eventually hire).
Track ads for local services
Which brings me to the topic of Google’s local service advertising product. While local services advertising began with a narrow focus in only a few major cities—and specifically for providers in the home services sector (think: plumbers, contractors, and housekeeping businesses)—their reach is growing rapidly. The categories of businesses listed in local service ads continue to grow, and ads are now available in even more areas.
I hope the reach of these ads will increase further. Soon, I hope to see everything from law offices to hair salons listed in the local services framework. Here’s my advice to sign up with local services now if you can. And if you’re in an industry that isn’t yet in the local services world, keep an eye out for that space and be ready to dive in when your area adds to the platform.
Paid search has always been an important strategy in the overall marketing strategy of any small business. But as Google’s landscape continues to change, it becomes even more important. Following the advice above can help you create a paid search approach that facilitates lead generation and achieves the maximum possible ROI.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Paid Search.
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