Many small businesses will revert to Google AdWords or other forms of paid search to offset any deficiencies in their SEO, or organic listings.
There are a couple of things you need to know first, before you embark on a paid search campaign.
1. If your sales cycle is longer than 2 weeks from click to sale, your results might suck.
This is an important one, and many people miss the mark here. If whatever you are selling takes multiple visits, multiple people in the decision process, or is a large, emotional transaction, chances are your paid campaign will suck. Let’s look at a few examples:
Plumbing Service – you’ve got a overflow situation getting worse by the minute. Do you search 15 plumbers and call for quotes? No. You go to your computer (or mobile phone) and within 60 seconds search for a local plumber and choose the one that looks most You might even pick the one who mentions “emergency service” or “available 24 hours” or “30 minute emergency response.” You probably don’t care much about the price either – you just want it fixed.
Real Estate – buying property is usually not an impulse buy. We look at lots of options, talk to lots of people, make personal visits and collect a lot of information before making the final purchase. This is definitely not an impulse purchase. Paid search can work in this case if the margins are high enough to where even if the conversions are dismal, one sale could pay for the whole campaign.
Air Conditioning Repair –Like the plumber, you need the next available company to service your system, because it is 100 degrees outside and your AC isn’t working. The first or second listing will get the deal.
Home Health Care – getting a parent or loved one into a home health care situation is an emotional experience. Not only is the sales cycle longer than 2 weeks, but the decision is usually not with one person, which makes it a harder deal to close. If clicks are going for $5-10 a piece, you could spend hundreds before getting a new client.
2. Send your clicks to a very targeted landing page. Quality score matters and can greatly affect your cost per click.
We see a lot of businesses sending their paid ads to the home page of their website. Sending someone to a page that has little to do with what the ad said will result in a poor Quality Score. Secondly, your home page has lots of other links and things to distract a visitor (who you just paid for) to do just about anything other than what you want them to do – convert.
3. Find out what long tail terms in SEO convert well, and bid on those.
This is also an overlooked area in paid search. If you take a gander at your analytics, you already know which organic search terms convert well. Many of them are branded (include your company name), but some are not. Many of them will be long tail, or terms which are extremely targeted and result in fewer visitors, but less bounce rate and higher conversions. Bid on these long tail terms – they will be cheaper and will likely convert better.
Ryan has been doing web marketing since 2003, when Google was only 5 years old and not a publicly trade company yet. He founded Pear Analytics in 2008 to help businesses measure their marketing results using advanced analytics techniques, and help drive more traffic to their websites.