Myth 5: Paid ads don’t work for small businesses

Do paid ads work for small businesses?

People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.

Asking if paid ads, with Google or otherwise, work for small businesses is not a simple question. Ads do not fail on their own – they do so with the help of a lousy or lacking marketing funnel.

Building a marketing funnel is like building a home, it starts with your blueprint and your foundation. Our blueprint is the well-considered buyer’s journey and our foundation consists of the tracking tools and automations we will use to study and control it. I know, we already bored you a bit with tracking and analytics talk in the Myth 4 blog but I promise to add some more context to it here!

The Blueprint

What is this blueprint that we keep talking about? That is the buyer’s journey, which is a fancy euphemism for how a customer in your market goes from learning about your product to actually procuring it. You see, nowadays people have access to far more information than they ever have while shopping. This information spans from the website of the producer (like you) to review sites, blogs and social media. People ask lots of questions to uncle Google before making the final click to purchase and if you want them to buy from you, you should be at as many of your potential customers’ “touchpoints” as you can be!

Building Your Blueprint

So, how does one figure out where their customers will go before they purchase? This is done by reviewing your competitors’ sales “funnels,” researching and studying keyword and search terms patterns that people who are looking for your product or service use and then combining all of this information with empathy for your customer.

The Foundation

Now that you know where to meet your potential clients and customers to help them make the decision to work with or buy from you (your blueprint), you will need to put the pieces in place to make this plan a reality. This is where the fun stuff comes in. I like to break the foundation into three steps: conceive, create, criticize.

Conceiving & creating your marketing foundation

When we made our blueprint, we figured out what people want to know about your business, your product and where they will look for this information. Awesome! Now we need to decide how to answer those questions. Would an infographic be the best way to communicate, a testimonial or explainer video or perhaps a beautiful PDF with a mix of text and images to keep people engaged. That’s one part that we forgot to mention – you not only need to give the answers to people’s questions but you must also be interesting, engaging and direct…but not so direct that people think you are pushy but also not so unclear that they don’t know what action to take next after reading your info. If it sounds like a lot, it is BUT once you solve the puzzle then you have created marketing gold!

There are a variety of tools that you can use to create your content, like WordPress, Canva, YouTube, Doodly or Photoshop. Some are more user-friendly than others but nowadays anything can be user-friendly if you invest some time into reading forums and watching tutorials. If you have zero design skill or zero interest in learning new programs, drop us a line and we can chat about how to create a cost-efficient foundation for your marketing machine!

Your Own Best Critic – The Truth

When it comes to marketing, we want to be as harsh and honest as we can be. If something is not working then we want to change it, fast. There is no room for self-denial in a well-run marketing strategy. We need to know what isn’t working, the possible reasons why and some ideas about how to fix it. We achieve this by doing the following:

  1. Determine what large actions we want someone to take on your website – think calling you, submitting a contact form, buying from your eCommerce site, making a booking or joining your email list. We call these macro conversions.
  2. Determine what small actions that someone is likely to take before they take the large action – think watching a video, clicking through your FAQs, reading a blog or visiting your contact page. We call these micro conversions.
  3. We track and analyze how many of these actions are taken on your website compared to the number of visitors you have. You would also track other important information, like how far down the page someone scrolled before leaving (this could tell us if we are losing interest at a certain point and need to rearrange or change copy, images or other elements on that page) which buttons are being clicked or how many times the person has been to your website before.

This is the information you will use to criticize, constructively of course, your marketing strategy in order to improve it and make it work for you!

Finalizing your foundation

By using a variety of tracking tools, such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Search Console, Google Optimize, Google My Business, Hotjar and more, you build a strong foundation of intentional data collection that primes you to make valuable insights that increase your bottom line!

Marketing really is like building a house – it takes time and attention but once you build it you have an appreciating asset on your hands that you can rely on to keep your business standing strong!

The power of Google Search Ads – finding the people who are already looking for you

Search marketing offers a sort of efficiency that no other marketing channel or source offers to people – intent. The nature of a search ad is for people to look for something online using a search term and then have relevant search ads pop up as a result. Search ads are a sort of matching game where Google is the matchmaker between businesses looking for customers and customers looking for products and services. Could there be something more romantic? Let me explain a bit more…

How Keywords & Search Ads Work

When you type a search term into Google, you are trying to match a string of words with what you are looking for online. Let’s say you want to find a hairdresser, you might type in, “hairdresser near me,” or “best hair dresser in XYZ.” If you had a specific need, like getting highlights, you might search for, “hair salon highlights near me.” Nowadays, as people search in more natural language when searching, someone might type in, “I need a hairdresser who does blond highlights on short hair near me today”

As you can see, there is a lot of intention behind people’s searches. When people search they are either looking to learn about something, learn how to do something or find something that they want or need. With this in mind it is easy to see why it would be so powerful to put an ad for your business right in front of someone who is looking for what you have to offer!

Matching Keywords and Intention

While search ads will connect you with people who are definitely interested in your products or services, it also presents a unique challenge – convincing people to click on your ad instead of the others, quickly. A difficult task but not an impossible one.

Some of the things that one must consider when they are developing search ads are:

– How to group keywords for relevance

How to match intent and language

– What to write in the headline, description and ad extension spaces so that your ads relate to what people are searching for most close

– How much intent would I like someone to have if they are going to see my ad

– What will make your ad stand out from the others

– What different types of keywords or search terms relate to my product that are less common or less direct

– What keywords do you NOT want to show up for (For example, if you have a yoga studio you would want to show up for many search terms that have the keyword “yoga” in them but you would not want to show up for “home yoga videos” if you don’t offer them on your website. This is where match types and negative keywords are key!)

Search marketing is powerful. You can connect to people who are searching for your product and do so with a great deal of additional targeting and control. It is budget efficient and very effective, especially when it is coupled with a solid retargeting strategy, which we will discuss below!

We have a failure to relate.

Most business owners are trying so hard to sell their product that they forget that their buyers have real life needs, feelings and fears about the purchase they are planning to make. When you understand your potential client, patient or customer’s needs then you can meet them where they are digitally and emotionally, be it excited to do a Google search, sadly scrolling their Facebook newsfeed or passing time on Instagram with the appropriate message for the moment.

The Message & The Moment

Matching these two things up is important and complicated, like solving an equation for X, Y & Z! Just like during your senior year in calculus, it can be done with some patience, coffee and maybe a few cuss words.

Each marketing platform has a mood and so does each product. To make things a hair more complicated, different aspects of a product have different moods.

Take a surgeon for example – when someone is thinking of being able to walk without pain after knee surgery, they are likely in a better mood than when they are researching about the pain and recovery time associated with said surgery. This is all to say that we need to really think about where our potential customers are at and make a sincere effort to meet them there.

Different Marketing Faces for Different Marketing Spaces

When someone is searching for something, they are likely looking to make some sort of decision. A search ad, then, needs to give the person who is searching direct information and then suggest taking an action. Again, how this is done will vary by industry and search type. A Facebook ad is showing up in someone’s living room. They did not look for it and it is disrupting something else that the person was already doing. The same goes for all social spaces and display ads (the banners that follow you around on your web travels after you have visited a website).

You could think of someone who uses Google search in the same way that you would about someone who walked into your store – they wanted your product enough to come in and you can sell them in a more direct manner. You would then think of someone who sees your Facebook ad as someone who’s door you knocked on to sell them something. You might be able to generate interest from them so long as you remember and respect the fact that you showed up at their house out of the blue, uninvited. Not all uninvited guests are asked to leave but the overzealous ones most certainly are and the rules of emotional intelligence are no different when it comes to online sales. While you may just think of it as someone’s Facebook or Instagram feed you are advertising on, you are essentially selling to them in their modern day living room, so keep your feet off of the sofa!

Search marketing is, essentially, reverse engineering the marketing process. You start with someone’s intent to find your product and service and then build brand awareness and trust through showing up along the buyer’s journey, retargeting (with respect) in the right places at the right time and offering value at every touch point.

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