What’s your goal for your small business’s online marketing? This is an essential question to ask yourself before you embark on any particular campaign. Why? Because, without establishing what you want out of it, you may end up going with the wrong strategy, and ultimately wasting your money. This is especially true for your PPC strategy, which generally involves a substantial investment. So, what’s your goal? Is it:
- To get lots of calls right now?
- To have a steady stream of calls over time?
- To capture motivated buyers in the moment?
- To plant the seeds for future customers?
In this blog post, we’ll review each goal and explain which PPC strategy (or strategies) is best suited for it. When you match your overall goal with the correct PPC strategy, you’ll be unstoppable. So let’s begin!
Goal: To Get Lots of Calls Right Now
Is your goal to promote a special offer or to fill your schedule for your busy season? If you’re focused on a short, specific period of time, you’ll need an aggressive PPC strategy. For example, if you run a landscaping business, you probably want to capture all those spring and summer projects every homeowner is undertaking. Therefore, you’ll want to run your AdWords campaign for 3-4 months, starting in April. You’ll target a specific service, like hardscape installation or tree removal. Then, with strategic bidding, you’ll try to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible so you can book as many jobs as you can. You may also seek short-term lead generation in the wake of a recent event. For example, if you’re a water removal specialist and there’s been a disastrous storm in your area, you may want to run a special campaign for a week or two to help local homeowners with their flooded basements.
Fast Results Don’t Come Cheap
Bear in mind, getting these kinds of instantaneous results is not cheap. If you want to get your ads in front of as many eyeballs as possible in a small time frame, it will cost you. However, the good news is you’re free to stop your campaign whenever you want. In other words, as soon as you’ve reached your goal and booked all the jobs you want, you can shut off your campaign and stop paying for leads you no longer need.
Goal: To Have a Steady Stream of Calls Over Time
If you want to increase your overall call volume and conversion rates indefinitely, rather than for a short period of time, we suggest a much more tempered approach. You’ll need to be modest with your budget. We also strongly encourage you to have an optimized website before you begin any long-term AdWords campaign. This goal requires investing in both SEO and PPC. By using SEO first, you’ll improve your AdWords Quality Score, which will ultimately keep your PPC costs more affordable while still placing your ads in coveted positions. If you’d like to learn more about how SEO is crucial for long-term PPC, check out our blog post, “Optimize Your Site Before You Bid on AdWords.”
Focus on ROI
While short, seasonal promotions don’t require as much of an investment, given their temporary state, long-term campaigns are different. They demand wise budgeting and an eye on ROI. So don’t shy away from the investment or price tag. If you consistently reach more customers and book more jobs, your ROI will prove to be well worth it.
Goal: To Capture Motivated Buyers in the Moment
Sometimes, a company wants to create brand awareness and simply spread the word about their business in general. Other times, you want to target prospective customers who are searching for your services. In the latter case, your paid advertising campaign should be on search engines like Google, where customer searches are taking place. You see, PPC ads on search engines target users who have searched for the specific product or service highlighted in your ad. Therefore, you can safely assume these users are motivated buyers who want your service in the near future. PPC ads on search engines increase your chances of converting new customers on the spot. Here’s a perfect example of how PPC ads can help you find motivated buyers. You’re an appliance repair company, and you run an ad for Whirlpool refrigerator repair. Now, as soon as a local homeowner’s Whirlpool fridge breaks down and they search for a repairman, they’ll see your ad and click on it. In all likelihood, they’ll give you a call because they need a fridge repair ASAP. This is the definition of a motivated buyer.
Are Motivated Buyers on Social Media?
Social media can be a mixed bag when it comes to motivated buyers. Typically, social media users are not motivated buyers because they haven’t searched for your service. This means you could be wasting money on an advertisement that users will largely forget about or ignore.
However, there’s one exception: you can target ads at Facebook users who have demonstrated an interest in your services. For example, let’s say someone’s dishwasher breaks and they turn to their Facebook friends for advice. Once they post about dishwasher repairs, they’ll start seeing your ads. If they see your ads soon enough, before they’ve hired a repairman, they’ll likely feel motivated to click on your ad and call you. It’s not a sure thing, however, so we don’t recommend making this the cornerstone of your quest to capture motivated buyers.
Goal: To Plant the Seeds for Future Customers
In a more general sense, though, social media ads are great for when you just want to promote awareness of your company so people remember you in the future. Advertising on social media platforms, namely Facebook, is what we call “interruption marketing.” The audience doesn’t seek out this type of advertising; rather, it interrupts whatever they were doing. In the context of Facebook, this means ads appear in and around a user’s news feed while they’re scrolling through, forcing them to take notice. Facebook Ads work the same as television commercials. You’re watching the NBA playoffs when you’re suddenly interrupted by a string of commercials for chain restaurants, cars, beer, and so on. You probably forget them as soon as they’re over, but they actually stay in the back of your mind. Then, the next time you’re craving a burger, you suddenly recall that 2-for-$20 deal you saw a commercial for. This is how you want your Facebook Ads to work.
Also Consider Remarketing
You may also choose to use remarketing, which is a form of interruption marketing that targets interested parties. After someone visits your website, they will start seeing your ads in various places online. Using remarketing ensures they don’t forget about you. This is useful for industries where customers often take their time to consider purchases beforehand. Home renovation and construction are prime examples.
Your Goal Determines Your PPC Strategy
Whatever you do, don’t go into a PPC campaign thinking you just want the cheapest option available. No matter how much you’re paying, if it’s the wrong strategy for your goal, it will be a waste of money. Use the information in this blog post and carefully consider what you want out of your paid advertising. When you do PPC right, the ROI is always worth it!