If you've done your research, you know advertising online is a highly affordable alternative to traditional advertising options. But that doesn't make it easy. Despite all the tools and resources available, many businesses waste away their ad budgets online. And why? Simply because they don’t know how do it effectively.
The good news for you is Google favors local businesses, so I’m going to show you how to take advantage of that. Please note: in the interest of brevity I will only discuss Google’s advertising platform (Adwords). But know this is likely the best option for your business anyway.
Target Specific Locations
When you create a campaign it is set to show your ads to all locations by default. Not only does that not make sense for a local business, it also causes you to waste money on people outside of your geographic scope. With AdWords you can target all the way down to specific zip codes if need be. Take advantage of that by only showing ads to the people in the areas you serve.
The Best Way to Write an Ad
Don’t get cute. Writing a successful ad is all about being clear and staying relevant. When someone is searching online for your services, they are looking for a solution to their problem—not to be entertained. Google restricts the amount of characters you can use so you don’t have a lot of space to get your message across. However, to find the most success try to include all of the following:
- Clear & Relevant Headline: The reader should instantly know that your ad solves their problem just by reading the headline.
- Unique Selling Point (USP): The ad copy should tell the reader what makes you better than your competitors who are advertising next to you. This can even be a special deal or coupon you have going on at the time.
- Clear Call to Action: The reader should know exactly what you want them to do once they click through to your landing page (i.e. call today for a free quote).
- Keyword: Increase the relevance of your ad even more by including the keywords they’re searching for in the ad. If your potential customer is searching for Attorney’s in Richmond, Virginia then your headline could read “Attorney’s in Richmond VA” for example.
In addition, Google also gives you various extensions you can put on your ads. Not only do these make your ads more useful, but they help them stand out even more next to your competitors. There are a few you can use, but the following are great for local businesses.
- Location Extensions: This will show your location beneath your ad, letting users see that you’re conveniently located near them.
- Call Extensions: Allows potential customers to call directly from your ad.
- Review Extensions: Have a good review from a reputable source? Use this and give yourself instant credibility.
- Social Extensions: If you have a decent Google+ following, you can show that on your ads and establish social proof before users even get to your site.
- Sitelinks Extensions: A great way to take up more space than your competitors is to use this extension. It allows you show links to additional pages on your site below your ad (i.e. services, about us, etc).
- Using multiple extensions on one ad can help you stand out in a major way. Take a look at the following example using 4 of the 5 mentioned.
Constant Regular Management
If you’ve set up your account correctly and have written great ads then you should be good to go, right? Wrong. Online advertising requires constant optimization and change. An account that performs well will almost always take a dive if left on autopilot. A few of the basic things you have to do regularly include:
- Changing Bids
- Testing and Adjusting Ad Copy
- Adding and Excluding Keywords you Show up for
- Improving and Testing Landing pages
- Managing Budgets
- And Much More