6 Ways Google Ads Can Help Your Online Marketing in a Competitive Market

No matter what business or industry you’re in, you’re bound to have competitors. And over the years, the competition has only increased with the evolution of technology and the popularity of the internet.

This is because you’re not only competing against the competitors within your area, you’re competing against all the businesses online that are everywhere.

Maybe you’re asking: how do you succeed amidst this tough competition? First you need to determine your real competition that would truly put a dent in your own business as this would help you to better market what you do.

 

And if you’re looking for an online marketing platform to help you boost your business, you should do some research on Google Ads. This is the biggest ppc management platform online because it has the ability to really improve your business’ online visibility.

Google states that businesses make an average of $2 for every dollar spent on Google Ads.

Therefore, our seo company suggests 6 ways Google can improve your online marketing to give you an edge against your competitors.

 

1. Google Ads Extensions

In the past, you could only convince your potential website visitors through your ad headline and description. Therefore, if you can write attractive titles and descriptions, then you’ll have a higher click-through rate (CTR) for your ad.

But what if you could still improve your ad CTR? That’s the added value that ad extensions bring.

Whether you’re using your ads to create brand awareness or using it to sell a product, there are many types of ad extensions you can use to boost the effectiveness of your message.

Here’s an example of an extension that appears below the ad that pops up in search results:

The first main advantage of using ad extensions is that it helps your ad occupy more real estate on the search results page.

The next is that you can add more detail to your message and include a call to action, like including a phone number or way to immediately contact you.

What are different types of ad extensions available to use on Google Ads for your PPC Advertising campaign? Some of them include:

  • Call extension
  • Location extension
  • Message extension
  • Promotion extension
  • Price extension
  • App extension
  • Structured snippet extension
  • Sitelink extension

i). Promotion Extension

A popular type of extension is the promotion extension. At different times of the year, you may want to engage in promotions to attract more customers. This could coincide with a season or you could just be running a special discount or deal to move your products. Having a promotion extension is an incentive for search engine users to click through into your website.

WordStream found that ads with the promotion extension got close to a 10% click-through rate which was far higher than a normal ad generating around s 4% click-through rate.

To add this extension, go to your Google Ads overview and click on the “Ads and Extensions” tab. After that, click on “Extensions”.

Click on “+ Create ad extension” on the next page.

After this, you’ll see a list of different types of extensions you can use. Click on “+ Promotion Extension.”

On the next page, click on “Create new.” Here you can add details to set up your promotion extension. One of the settings allows you to select the occasion for your promotion.

After this, you can enter other promotion details like the type of discount, item on sale, and specific destination URL leading to more details about how people can get the deal.

After doing this, you can pick the start and end date for your promotion. This would probably be the duration of the season or a limited time offer on a product you’d like to sell fast.

There’s an option to add other details in the “Advanced options” too, like extending the ad scheduling or targeting mobile devices.

After setting up the necessary details for your promotion extension, click “Save.”

Here’s an example of a promotion extension on an ad below:

ii). Message Extension

The Message extension is a type of extension that allows potential customers to act without having to visit your website. With this extension, prospects can send you a message or book an appointment.

This makes it easier for searchers to take action. According to Google, 65% of consumers would consider using messages to schedule an in-person appointment or get more information about a service or product, instead of doing it through their website.

To add this extension, select the “+ Message extension” option.

On the next page, you can enter important details like extension text, phone number, message text, etc.

When you’re finished filling in the details, you’ll see how your ad will appear to a prospect:

Then click on “Save”.

Here’s an example of an ad with a message extension below:

When using a message extension in their ad, Career Path Training Corp. got qualified leads from 30% of the texts they received.

 

2. Geo-targeting

When you go through your customer records, one detail you’ll find is that most of your customers probably live in a certain location.

This is especially applicable if you have a physical store.

Source: AdHawk

Most people want convenience when doing business so an ad about a business in another state is unlikely to convert most searchers. People closer to your business are likely to buy from you or call your phone number to get more information.

According to Google:

“Google Ads location targeting allows your ads to appear in the geographic locations that you choose: countries, areas within a country, a radius around a location, or location groups, which can include places of interest, your business locations, or tiered demographics.

Location targeting helps you focus your advertising on the areas where you’ll find the right customers, and restrict it in areas where you won’t. This specific type of targeting could help increase your return on investment (ROI) as a result.

When it comes to advertising on Google Ads, consider the real estate adage: “Location, location, location!” Regardless of how great your ad is, it probably won’t perform as well if it doesn’t appear in the right places. Reach your customers where they are and where your business can serve them by using Google Ads location targeting. You can set and then adjust your location targeting settings at any time.”

That’s why targeting a specific location, in your PPC management campaign, could help you market your business more effectively. So how do you go about geo-targeting your ads?

To target your ads to a location, navigate to your campaign settings and click on “Edit” under locations:

After that, you can type the location you want to target and see the potential number of internet users you can reach.

If you’ve selected a region as your target location, you’ll see it highlighted in the map:

If you operate a small local business, you might not have to target a region as most of your customers will already be in that area. If this applies to your business, use the radius targeting option. Click on the “Radius Targeting” tab to set it up.

Enter the location of the center of your radius, which should be where your business is. After doing this, enter the radius you think covers where your potential customers reside. It could be in miles or kilometers depending on your preference.

If you’re targeting a whole country, you may decide to exclude some locations for various reasons. Click on the “Bulk Locations” tab to add these locations. Select your country code and enter the locations you want to be excluded.

By using geo-targeting, location-based keywords, and bid optimization, Georgia Eye Associates increased their CTR from 0.95% to 2.80%.

 

3. Remarketing

How many of your website visitors completed your desired action during their first visit? Fewer than you expect. In fact, Ad Roll found that 98% of visitors to your website won’t purchase a product during their first visit.

However, this doesn’t mean that your 98% of web visitors haven’t considered buying from you. It’s just that some of your visitors are in the early stages of the sales funnel, which means you can increase your sales if you bring some of the visitors that left your website back (called remarketing). Google has a remarketing feature that allows you to target people who have visited your website and to bring them back to your website.

To implement this, go to your ads account and click on “Shared library”:

Click on “Audiences” when you get to the next page:

If you’re doing this for the first time, you’ll have to install the remarketing tag on your website. This is how Google will track visitors to your website.

If you don’t know how to install the tag, click on “Tag details” to see steps on how to install the tag on your website.

After installing the tag on your website, go back to your ads account and click on “+ Remarketing List.”

There are 4 options available to target people depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, whether you’re trying to appeal to website visitors, mobile app users, customer emails, and/or YouTube users.

The most popular remarketing option is to target website visitors. If you click on “Website visitors”, you’ll have to fill in details like remarketing list name, who to add to your list, membership duration, and other details.

In most cases, you don’t want to target people who just visit your website. For instance, if you want to get people to buy your products, it’s better to target someone who has visited the specific page for it or done a little bit more research on that product.

These people are likely to go back to your website as they’ve already expressed interest in your product. Here are the different options Google gives you to retarget your website visitors:

You can also target people who visit pages with a specific keyword. In some cases, this could be a service you render and can target people with related ads.

Sierra Trading Post was able to increase its conversions 5x by sending ads about products that website visitors previously viewed.

 

4. Schedule Ads

Like most things, timing is vital for the release of your product. If you’re marketing your products or services to potential customers too early or too late, then the probability of making a sale is low.

There are certain times of the day or year when people are likely to buy your products. For instance, if you sell coffee, you might want to target people during their work breaks or early in the morning when people are on their way to work and most likely to stop and grab a cup of coffee.

Likewise, if you sell a software service that people use at work, you shouldn’t be running ads at midnight when people are out of work and not likely to see it.

This also applies to seasonal goods. With your ad schedule, you can set your ads to run at a specific time and you can also increase your bid during this period to ensure your ad is at the top of the search engine rankings.

So how do you schedule your Google Ads? To schedule an ad to run at a particular time, navigate to the campaign where your ad is and click on “Ad Schedule.”

Click on “+ Ad Schedule” when you get to the next page.

On this page, you’ll have to set the time and day your ad should display. You can also select the 12 or 24-hour clock format. Click “Save” after you fill in the details.

If your ads perform better at a time of the day, you can increase your bid during this time to ensure your ad is more likely to be at the top of the list for that time.

With ad scheduling, you can display your ads at times when potential customers will see it and give your ad more of a chance to be successful.

 

5. Carry out A/B tests

What is the exact way to attract prospects to your business all of the time? This is a question no marketer can answer because different businesses have different customers and they can’t read their minds. Also, what worked yesterday may stop working tomorrow.

Therefore, testing is an integral part of any marketer’s job. It’s one of the best ways to gauge and improve on what’s working. A/B tests are even more effective because your results are not based on guesswork.

You can experiment with different parts of your ads to see what work and what needs to be eliminated. And with A/B testing, you can improve your marketing based on what your prospects prefer rather than your own opinion of what you like.

To create an ad A/B test, go “Drafts & experiments”:

After this, click on the “Ad Variations” tab and then click on “+ new ad variation.”

Then select the campaign where you want to run your ad variations. Rather than run your tests across multiple campaigns, the best practice is to run your tests on one campaign to be able to measure your results effectively.

After selecting your campaign, you can then filter your ads using different headlines, descriptions, and path. Then the second filter allows you to modify your ads based on whether they contain, equal, start with, or end with a word or character:

After doing this, you have to create your ad variations. Create 1-3 types of ad variation, which are:

  • Find and replace
  • Update text
  • Swap headlines

As the name suggests, “find and replace” allows you to test two different words in your ad copy.

The update text option allows you to make more changes than just “find and replace”:

Swapping headlines allows you to test two headlines to gauge which is the most effective one:

To apply your ad variation, set the details of it like adjusting the name, start date, end date, and experiment split. After setting this, click on “Create variation”:

After setting up your test, it’s important to leave your ads to run for a decent period of time. This will allow your ads to have enough impressions to ensure the accuracy of your test.

Apart from A/B testing to improve your Google Ads, you can also use these insights in other parts of your marketing.

 

6. It Provides Keyword Ideas for SEO

Google Ads provides extensive data about your keywords like which keywords are bringing traffic to your website and which keywords lead to the highest conversions.

With these pieces of information, an SEO company can improve your ads by focusing on the high-performing keywords to increase your revenue. But you can also use the details you get from keywords on Google Ads to improve your SEO service strategy. The search term report is one of the most important to check out when analyzing your data as it shows you the keywords that have high impressions.

You can also see keywords with high click-through rates and conversions, giving insight on what prospects are searching for, as well as the best keywords to target if you’re pursuing conversions. Include this keyword in your content to pursue a long-term goal of ranking for that keyword. It’s possible after a period of time that your page will rank high for the organic result and also high for the ad placement.

This helps you to dominate the search results page and attract more clicks. To utilize this report, go to the keyword section of your ads account. Click on the “Search Terms” tab. You’ll see more details about each of the keywords.

Another way you can use Google Ads to improve your SEO services is to identify ads with high click-through rates (CTR). Study these ads, analyzing the headline and the description, keeping in mind that an ad with a high CTR has done many things right. You can also use this ad headline for your title tag and the ad description for your meta description.

This can also apply to other tactics in digital marketing agency strategy like using this structure to create attractive headlines and meta descriptions for a blog post you’re trying to rank for.

 

Conclusion

If you think of Google Ads as just an avenue to display your ads and bring visitors to your website, then you’re underestimating the breadth of this effective marketing tool. Google Ads can do so much more to elevate your marketing to the next level.

The most important step you can take is to implement these strategies in your ads and soon you’ll see improvements in your marketing key performance index.

Paid Search Marketing 101: A Guide to PPC for Your University

 

Universities and colleges have unique challenges when it comes to online advertising. While PPC campaigns should be a staple of your overall strategy, these campaigns can become particularly costly – or ineffective – if you don’t know the do’s and don’ts of this type of online advertising.

Our PPC company in Atlanta has tested several strategies over the years. Below are six tips designed to help you create paid campaigns that will deliver results, without exhausting your budget.

 

Advertise Throughout the Entire Year

For many higher institutions, there are expected dips and rises throughout the year. A typical reaction to this is for these colleges and universities to boost their online advertising when application deadline time nears.

Of course, that’s perfectly logical.

However, we also see these institutions essentially shut down – or neglect – their advertising during those natural lulls. Here’s why you should remain aggressive throughout the year.

Consider the Average Lead Time

It usually takes a long time to acquire new students, and students often start researching their options at various times throughout the year. That, alone, makes it worthwhile to advertise all year long, even if your application deadline may be several months away.

If You Have Graduate Programs

In our experience working with higher education institutions, we’ve seen that although undergraduate programs see typical peaks and valleys, graduate programs tend to be less predictable. If you offer graduate programs at your school, a year-long advertising strategy will maximize your reach and increase the likelihood of prospective students converting.

Rolling Stones Gather No Moss

Forgive the old proverb, but it actually serves a great purpose here. If you neglect or scale back your advertising at any time throughout the year, then you risk falling off the radar of your prospects. You’ll also quickly learn that it’s a steep climb to get back to the level of brand awareness you were at when you were regularly advertising.

In fact, you might discover that you’ll have to spend even more on your advertising to make up for the lost time, compared with if you had just remained consistent all year long.

 

Bid on Your School’s Brand Name

Many institutions fail to actively bid on their brand terms because they assume the work they do with search engine optimization will cover their bases. Sure, SEO is key toward cementing your branding, but it’s not the magic wand. By bidding on your brand terms, you have greater control over your messaging and can ensure that your visitors are funneled to key landing pages.

There is, of course, one other reason you want to bid on your brand terms: there’s no guarantee that your competitors aren’t going to bid on your brand. Take, for example, what we see when we conduct a search for “University of Phoenix.”

Fortunately for the online institution, they rank #1 on the page for their branded ad. But their competitor, Concordia University, shows up in that second ad spot. Clearly, they are actively bidding on the University of Phoenix’s brand in an effort to steal away prospects from their competitors.

 

Use Sitelinks Effectively

Ad sitelink extensions are additional links you can include in your ads that take customers directly to specific pages on your website. For higher education institutions with specific programs and degrees (such as a B.A. in Business Administration and a Master’s in Education), it can be tempting to link to these specific program landing pages with your sitelink extensions.

But that’s actually not an ideal solution. Here’s why:

Let’s say that you have a prospective student interested in a B.A. in Marketing. They come across your ad (after a search for “B.A. Marketing degrees near me”), which contains sitelinks for the following:

  • B.A. in Marketing
  • B.S. in Accounting
  • B.S. in Business Administration

You can assume that prospective student has no interest in any other degree aside from your B.A. in Marketing program. That’s why you want to create sitelinks that speak to the mindset of the searcher.

Here’s an alternative approach.

Look at those sitelinks above, which appeared after a search for communications degree. Rather than promoting other programs that the school offers, Gonzaga uses its sitelinks to provide more value to the searcher. Scholarships. Discounts. Programs. Each of these sitelinks is relevant to a person who conducted our communications degree search. Now, that person can click on the entire ad itself, or one of these more specific sitelink landing pages, based on what they value most at that time.

 

Bid on “Wrong” Terms

That headline seems off, doesn’t it? Why would you bid on the wrong terms? But here’s what you have to remember – not all prospective students know what they should be searching for. They might know the field they’re interested in, but they may not know the specific name of a program, or whether they are looking for a B.A. degree, a B.S. degree, a master’s degree, and so on.

You might have to bid on wrong terms; for example, if you offer a Writing degree, you might consider bidding on “Creative Writing” to cater to that type of search.

 

Vary Your Campaigns

Most schools know where the bulk of their students come from. For example, a school in Tennessee might draw most of their students from Tennessee and Georgia, and a lower number from states further away.

In makes sense, then, to vary your ad campaigns to meet the unique needs of these audiences. Run the majority of your campaigns within the coverage area where most of your students come from (based on your data), and expand to other states and regions accordingly. If your data suggests that students from Miami, for example often apply to your school, you should create a focused campaign there.

In each case, you want to adapt your message to your audience. What a school in NYC says to its audiences in Manhattan shouldn’t be the same type of message that school uses to attract prospects from New England.

 

Think Beyond Applications

More likely than not, the goal of your PPC campaigns is to get more application submissions, but that doesn’t mean that you should build your program around this lone goal. That’s because your prospective students aren’t going to be instantly persuaded to fill out an application with one ad.

Your goal should be to initiate a conversation and nurture a relationship. Create ads that direct your visitors to relevant and valuable information, such as tuition discounts, student life, and a background on your programs. Remember, the “sales” process for education institutions is long and complex. Before you can get the conversion, you need to build trust, demonstrate your expertise, and become a source of quality information.

The sale (or application submission) will eventually come.

 

Final Thoughts

PPC accounts can be a costly line item in your budget; at the same time, they should deliver more value than their worth. Our higher education marketing agency is driven by this principle.

To do that, though, you need to build campaigns that establish trust, keep your branding top of mind, and speak directly to the needs of your audience. Use these tips above for your future PPC campaigns and you should begin to see more value delivered from your online ads.

 

Create Paid Ads that Build Trust with Your Prospective Patients

[feat-text]Since the dawn of marketing, customers have mistrusted paid advertising. They know better than to believe that 3 out of 4 dentists choose one toothpaste over another, and they know better than to think that a bottle of beer will transport them to an island paradise. [/feat-text]

That’s been true since the time when radio and TV reigned supreme, and it stands true today in the digital age, particularly as social media ads and sponsored content have become more and more prevalent.

But brands rely on paid social advertising to reach prospects at every step of the buyer journey. Advertising on sites like Facebook is key to your long-term growth, but with every ad you produce, you risk introducing negative feedback from your prospects.

Here’s how our pay-per-click agency avoids creating ads and sponsored content that do more harm than good.

Stay true to your branding

It’s not uncommon for companies to use click-bait type content to increase the conversions on their ads. Avoid this practice. A good rule of thumb when promoting any editorial-based content (like blogs) is not to try to “sell” to your reader. Don’t force conversions on them.

Instead, boost and promote content that will entertain your readers and give them something of actual value.

Our goal here is to demonstrate our value to our audiences – we know how to help you protect your reputation, and here are a few tips you can do on your own.

When you follow this approach, your readers will walk away feeling like they just got their hands on some quality content from thought-leaders in the field. This, in turn, could lead toward a conversion – or at least the start of a brand-prospect relationship.

Deliver on your headline promises

The headline of your paid ads and sponsored content speak volumes to your readers. In our example above, our headline is 3 simple steps to help you analyze, respond to, and resolve negative tweets and reviews on Twitter.

We’re pretty confident our audiences know exactly what to expect when they click on that post. So, we better deliver on that promise!

Here’s a nifty trick you can do to ensure your headlines live up to your content: present your headline to someone who’s not directly affiliated with your business. Have that person write a brief synopsis of what they think the content will be, based on the headline alone.

If you find that their assumption is not in line with your content, then you should adjust your headline (or, if necessary, content) accordingly.

Never stop refining

Social advertising is all about test-and-learn. This will ensure that your ad dollars are spent wisely. Use each network’s analytics to analyze engagement signals and click-through-rate (CTR). You’ll want to replicate what works and refine what doesn’t.

Be on the lookout for what’s known as audience fatigue, which could come in the form of a decrease in CTR or an increase in cost-per-click (CPC).

Know what to optimize your ads toward

We’ve seen far too many businesses harp on vanity metrics like click-through-rate to determine the effectiveness of a social ad.

Steer away from this practice. Instead, establish measurement benchmarks that signal a qualified (and high quality) visitor to your site.

If you’re promoting editorial content, it’s a good idea to measure elements such as time on site and page views. For advertorial and direct response ads, you’re likely better off measuring the number of email signups, form completions, and purchases.

Simple clicks on the ad won’t tell the full story. To truly know if your ad – and ensuring landing page (if applicable) – are working, you’ll want to measure how many people sign up from this ad.

That’s the number that matters most.

Work hard to make your ads less … adversarial

Just like it’s in a wolf’s nature to shy away from humans – after centuries of experience with them – it seems like people have the same relationship with ads. We’ve all been burned before; we didn’t ask for this ad to pop up in our face, so we block it out, ignore it, or associate the advertiser with negative connotations.

But follow the tips above and you should find yourself creating better user experiences for your viewers and the ads you produce.

PPC Ad Tips: Using Motivation to Make Users Click

[feat-text]Take a look at a pretty typical looking Google search-engine page:[/feat-text]

We’re sure you’re familiar with it, but do you see what we see? Those two ads atop the page, as well as the five organic results beneath them, are all vying for attention. They’re fighting to be the ones who get clicked on.

How can you make sure that your ads are the ones getting clicked? What you’re actually asking yourself is:

How can I create PPC ads for lawyers or other professionals that motivates my audiences to click?

While we slave over endless reams of data to help us answer this question when we offer PPC management services to clients, sometimes the answer isn’t found in cold-hard numbers (imagine that!). Sometimes, we have to accept the fact that humans (i.e. our prospects) don’t always act rationally.

Our prospective customers often make snap judgments, and there’s logic behind why. We’d be exhausted if we applied our full critical thought process to every decision that comes our way. Of course, the type of product or service you offer will impact the level of rationale your prospects apply.

Someone, for example, choosing a retirement fund will apply far more effort to this decision than someone deciding which florist to choose.

But, regardless, it’s important to note that we don’t always use rationale when making online decisions; how then can we make sure that our PPC ads motivate our prospects to click?

Here are three tips to help you improve your ad performance:

1. Motivate you audiences with incentives

Virtually every action we take as humans can be tied into incentives. We go to work, choose restaurants, and download apps because of incentives. These incentives usually come in one of two forms:

  • Extrinsic incentives: Incentives tied to factors outside of the self. For example, you go to work because you need a paycheck in order to live.
  • Intrinsic incentives: Incentives tied to the self. These are often more powerful than extrinsic incentives. Examples include going to work because you find purpose and meaning in your work.

The quicker your ad can display its incentive, the better performing that will be. Often times, the line between extrinsic and intrinsic incentives are blurred.

The intrinsic incentives include “End Childhood Cancer” and “Help People Affected by Disasters.” However, it’s important to note that these feel-good incentives aren’t enough to push many folks to conversion. That’s why you’ll see, for example, text like “100% Tax-Deductible” in St. Jude’s ad copy. St. Jude’s clearly understands that making a donation to a charitable cause is complicated – it requires motivating people on two levels.

With more commercial-based searches, however, the distinction is far clearer.

These ads play to extrinsic incentives. “Save”. “Free shipping.” None of the ads above attempt to appeal to any intrinsic incentive, but they should. Consumers demand more from products than just “latest styles” or “largest selection.” They want to believe they’re buying into some sort of greater good. Text like “organically made” or “fair trade” are key terms that help complement the existing extrinsic value of the average commercial-based PPC ad.

2. Herding to motivate clicks

Humans are wired to be motivated by the behaviors of others. Actually, that can be said for any animal. One animal in a herd will make a decision and the rest of the group will follow suit.

You can leverage this behavior in your ad copy, particularly if you’re promoting a brand that people aren’t familiar with.

Remember this tip: reviews matter. If you have reviews at your disposal, use them in your ads by using all available ad extensions. This is a great marketing strategy for PPC campaigns.

We can see this approach at work if we google “White Sox Tickets”:

Not only are there reviews and ratings for each ad, but you can even see quoted testimonials (in the StubHub entry). People are rightly hesitant to buy tickets online without some type of confirmation of quality. These reviews give them the peace of mind they need to convert.

3. Availability bias

Availability bias is when we lean on past experiences and knowledge to help us reach decisions. It’s referred to as a bias because it often leads us to make irrational choices based on the first relevant piece of information we think of.

Here’s an interesting little piece of trivia worth knowing – it’s believed that when it comes to availability bias, we tend to recall the information we heard first and last (referred to as primacy and recency), but rarely the information that comes to us in between.

There are a few ways you can leverage availability bias to your advantage.

For starters, make decisions as easy as possible for your customers. Do this by demonstrating, for example, how close your store is to their current location, or how simple your shipping process is.

Also, as crazy at it may sound, but because of primacy and recency, you may want to consider whether ranking first in PPC and first in SEO makes the most sense and delivers the best ROI. You may discover that ranking in the fourth position in PPC and first for SEO delivers more overall clicks at less cost.

You may also want to tap into the scarcity effect – we can call this fear of missing out. Including limited time offers inside your ads may add a sense of urgency to a buyer’s journey.

And, by featuring an overt offer (like $50 off), you may help searchers snap out of their unconscious surfing and get them to realize they better act now to enjoy these unique savings.

Tying it all together

At the top of this article, we included a screen shot of a “typical” Google search engine results pages.

But now that we’ve gone over how to motivate users to click, perhaps you’ll see a lot more than meets the eye the next time you look at a results page.

But more importantly, perhaps you’ll use these tips above to help craft PPC ads for universities, law firms, healthcare practices, and other industries that are designed to motivate your prospects to click and convert.

Top