Think of an advertising system where you can target specific prospective customers based on how they are searching for your services. You can appear to them at the very moment they are looking to buy from suppliers just like you.
You only pay when someone clicks on your advert unlike traditional print media where you pay a fixed fee whether you get leads or not.
Depending on the type of business you have, you can scale up your marketing or narrow it down. You can re-market to visitors that have visited your site without buying so that you increase brand awareness. Research shows that a prospect will interact with your brand at least 7 times before buying.
The advertising platform that does all this is called Google Adwords, otherwise known as pay per click (PPC) advertising.
The importance of being on page one of Google search results
If you’re not on the first page of Google, prospective customers aren’t going to find you. Think about it, do you look beyond the first page of Google search results when you’re looking to buy something on-line? Research shows that most people don’t.
Click through rates vary massively even if you do appear on the first page of the search results, depending on what position you’re listing appears, for instance the first 3 positions on Google get over 60% of all the traffic with the bottom 3 positions getting less than 10%.
In a recent study on the effectiveness of social media as a sales generator compared to PPC and SEO it concluded, “As far as driving on-line sales goes, social media is an astoundingly ineffective channel. If you want to grow your on-line sales, the evidence is clear: SEO and PPC are where you need to invest”
SEO is a long term strategy, simply because it can take months to get a decent listing position, providing you follow the SEO guidelines for onsite and offsite SEO, all of which takes time to put in place. Whereas PPC is immediate, there’s no waiting months to see results. As soon as your adverts get Google approval, they go live. I have had adverts go live within minutes of setting them up.
Quick Tip – Success in Pay Per Click isn’t just about getting your advert displayed as much as possible for the least cost. It’s about getting it in front of good prospects that are interested in buying your product or service. You don’t want to be paying for people who are just looking for information, particularly if your budget is tight or you’re bootstrapping. You don’t want them clicking through your advert and bouncing off your landing page either, ideally you want them to buy if they click through your adverts, or not click at all, if they’re not interested in your product or service. How you achieve this balance is where the magic happens. Focused targeting is the name of the game.
DIY or pay someone else to do it for you?
Now you can learn to do Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising yourself, there’s lots of free information available out there that takes you through the process. However much of it may be out-of-date, with Google constantly making changes to its system. There is also a lot of mis-information circulating that you should be aware of.
Alternatively you can pay an expert to do it for you, many of which will want a large up-front commitment of £300-£800 to set the system up for you, followed by a minimum contract period. I used a very reputable SEO company to do PPC for me some years ago, and after spending £1000+ I didn’t get a single sale out of it. I still get calls from PPC businesses now that promise the world but don’t ask anything about my business, and without knowing about it and my prospective customer profiles, how can they know who to target?
I decided to learned the system myself from the ground up, and I still use it successfully today because I’ve tested it, tweaked it, and improved it as I’ve gone along. I use it for my own business (not related to this site), and it works for me. I have learned to build on each campaign by split testing, peeling and sticking, dropping poor performing adverts and replacing with new improved versions, in an ever improving spiral. It takes time, I’ve spent lots of money as I’ve gone along but I’ve learned, DOING is the only way to learn in this game.
I highly recommend you try PPC for yourself, it’s made a huge difference to my business. I compete with some of the big UK based experience companies and have consistently ranked higher than them, so it can be done with the right targeting. And with a ROI of well over 300%, it can also be profitable.
Local business campaigns can be effective for as little as a couple of pounds per day, of course if you want a bigger reach you’ll have to employ a bigger budget. Return On Investment is what it’s all about. If you can make £2 for every £1 you spend, than spending £10k a month means you’re making £20k, spending £100k means you’re making £200k, and that’s how you should look at it.
For more about marketing, please check out our Marketing guide.
Below is a blog post I did back in 2013, but which was on another website, I thought I would include it here as it has some relevance today.
I have been using Google Adwords for my photography business for 7 years now. Initially I used a third party to execute a campaign for me, but after spending about £1000 without getting a single sale, I decided to cut my losses and end the whole sorry saga.
However in the back of my mind I thought the basic premise of Adwords was a sound one. Your ads appear to anyone searching for your product / service, at the very time they want it. Surely this is one of the best ways to target your customers? So why was my previous experience of Adwords such an expensive disaster? Had I not given it enough time? The company that ran my Adwords campaign thought I should have given it more time, I ran it for approx 4 months. Only when I questioned why I wasn’t getting any conversions did they talked about changing certain aspects of my site to improve performance.
I decided to run my own campaigns and set the whole thing up from scratch. I read a lot of stuff online, and invested in what turned out to be a great book a “Ultimate Guide to Google Ad Words: How To Access 100 Million People in 10 Minutes” by Perry Marshall. which was great at giving me a clearer understanding of the psychology of how Adwords works and then how to develop the campaigns to get better and better results. I read much more after that book but would have to credit it for getting me off to a solid start, so thanks Perry.
Once I had a clearer understanding of the techniques that make the difference between a successful campaign and one that empties your pockets faster than an hole in the bottom of them, I understood why I hadn’t got anything out of my previous attempt. I now get more in voucher sales from my site than I spend on Adwords and with a good chance of up-selling those vouchers once they are redeemed, I find Adwords to be an invaluable sales channel.
The moral being that if your product is suitable for online selling (and not all products are) and if you know your customers have a tendency to look for your service online, which I did, then Adword can be very profitable if you know what you are doing.
So what did I do to change my results, from having no sales to actually making a profit from Adwords? Well first of all I took a close look at my customers. Who was buying what from me? Initially I had Ads selling portraits, with lots of different keywords that included Babies photoshoots, Family photoshoots, Pet photoshoots, and Mother and Daughter Makeover photoshoots. Once someone clicked on the Ads they were taken to a page that sold vouchers for all of of these photo experiences. The first thing I learned to do was split my business into all the separate experiences and who the likely buyer of those experiences would be.
Makeover photo shoots – Usually purchased as a gift for friends or relatives, sometimes bought for self, enjoyed by 12 year olds up to middle aged women. Having said that the purchaser is often an husband or boyfriend.
Newborn Baby photo shoots – usually purchased as a gift for friends or relatives, sometimes bought by mother of newborn babies.
I then split these separate experiences into their own campaigns, chose keywords that were relevant to each such as baby photos, newborn photo shoots for the baby campaign, makeover photo shoot for ….guess what …the makeover photo experiences…and so on.
I kept the number of keywords down to about 1-2 per ad group, making sure that each keyword was included in the Advert and again on the landing page, which contained information about just that particular kind of photo experience. What was I doing? I was focusing my Ads towards specific customers who were looking for specific photo experiences. So someone looking for a baby shoot would type in say “baby photo packages” into the search engine, which would trigger my ad to appear on their search results. They would see my headline “Baby Photos just £30” and hopefully would click on it to find out more, they would then go through to see my landing page which would give more information about my baby photo packages. They then have the option to buy a voucher for the package there and then, or give me a call to order one.
This way of structuring my Adwords campaign has helped turn my fortunes around. It sounds like common sense but wasn’t how the so called experts that managed my first campaign had gone about it.
Adwords can work for you but you need to know what you’re doing. I guess that applies to any kind of advertising. I am sure there are many great PPC agents that can execute very good PPC campaigns for you, but only when they understand your business, your products and your customers. If they don’t ask many questions about your business at the start, how can they know enough to give you the best return on your investment. I will be going into my Adwords experience in more detail in future posts.
Google Adwords can work for local businesses, but you really need to know what your doing, otherwise it can be an expensive waste of time. The key to setting up a successful Adwords campaign is to know your business and focus on each of your product offerings (either individual products or by category depending on the nature of your business) and the type of customer who buys that particular product offering. Focus is the key here. If you are using an agent to do your Adwords campaign for you, make sure they understand your business as well as you know it. Even if you do use an agent to manage your Adwords campaign for you, I would suggest having a basic understanding of how Adwords works, so that you know if your agent is giving you the best service. I would suggest reading “The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords” by Perry Marshall, it contains everything you need to know at this time. Adwords is ever evolving so you will need to stay ontop of the changes to get the most from the platform.
Hope you found something useful in this one….thanks for stopping by.