Nearly every business we talk to is looking to expand its customer base. And there are a variety of inbound marketing tactics we use to make that happen like getting them better presence in search results, marketing their business by creating great content, and increasing their engagement with prospects and customers through social media.
But one of the most effective ways of getting new customers is by advertising online.
There is no shortage of places that would be happy to call you an advertiser. But our favorites for most local businesses are Google AdWords and Bing Ads (from Microsoft). Between these two platforms, you have the ability to get your business in front of over 90% of local consumers who use the Internet when deciding where to make their next purchase of a product or service.
Both platforms operate essentially the same way. Your ads are eligible to be displayed when people search for those words and phrases you’ve identified as being relevant and important to your business.
Most commonly, whether your ad is shown first, third, at the bottom of the page, or perhaps not displayed at all depends upon how much you are willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad compared to other businesses doing the same.
And the higher quality of an ad campaign you are running (as determined by computer algorithms), the less you have to pay relative to others. So if your ad is of a higher quality than someone else’s, your ad could display above their’s even if you are bidding less than they are.
So ad placement is based on bid price and ad quality.
But, that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with the most fundamental question. Why is it that a local business should be advertising on AdWords and/or Bing? Here are a few of the most important reasons:
- Controlled Budget: Both AdWords and Bing Ads allow you to specify precisely how much you want to invest in your marketing through establishing a monthly or daily budget. And you can increase or decrease that budget at any time to scale up or scale down your lead acquisition efforts.
- Target Audience By Search Intent: There are two primary ways you can target your advertising on both of these platforms. As we alluded to earlier, you specify the keywords (what is being searched for in Google or Bing) for which you want your ad to be displayed. So if you’re a business insurance agent, you could include words such as “liability insurance”, “worker’s compensation insurance”, “commercial insurance”, etc.
- Target Audience By Geographic Location: The second way you can target your advertising is by specifying the geographic locations that either the searcher is located in or search about. For business that offer a product or service to local consumers, this is a key benefit to advertising online with these platforms.
- Fast Results: Much of what we do in inbound marketing takes time. But you can have an AdWords or Bing Ads campaign created and live within just a few hours and see your first lead shortly thereafter. Especially if you are working with a professional firm like Crush My Market.
- Tracking And Measuring: A key component to effective marketing is to track and measure everything you can, and adjust your tactics accordingly. Sometimes that’s tough. With AdWords and Bing, it’s easy. You’ll know exactly what ads are working and which aren’t. You’ll know what people are searching for and probably discover some searches that you’ve never even thought about. You’ll be able to see which versions of ads work, offering a great way of testing headlines and call to actions.
- Flexibility: Your needs change and so your marketing needs to be able to adapt with those needs. Using AdWords and Bing Ads makes altering your marketing based upon your availability, seasonal demands, customer acquisition goals, budget, and other factors incredibly simple to do.
- Make It Easy For Customers To Reach You: Both Google and Microsoft have made it super simple for consumers to connect with local businesses by the use of “extensions”. Call extensions allow for your phone number to be displayed in the ad directly, making it really easy for mobile consumers to just click your number and be connected. And location extensions make it easy for people to find your closest location, find your address, and get directions.
Google estimates that the typical local business makes $2 for every $1 they spend advertising on the AdWords platform. That’s okay, but you can do much better. Our clients usually get a return of at least $5 for each $1 they spend, and we strive for a return twice that.
Of course, creating and managing a profitable advertising campaign takes time and expertise. WordStream, an industry leader in advertising software, has calculated that the typical local business wastes 25% of their advertising budget by not properly setting up, managing, and optimizing their campaigns.
So it’s certainly possible for local businesses to manage campaigns themselves, but it’s often more profitable to hire a professional, even after paying management fees.
Regardless, if you’re looking for a way of exposing your business to a nearly endless amount of potential customers, look no further than AdWords and Bing Ads. Both provide great options for local businesses to grow their customer and revenue base with a high return on investment and rapid implementation.