Google AdWords has been both a blessing and a curse for local businesses. While it is perfectly capable of driving hot leads that are interested in the exact services you offer, it is also capable of sucking up large sums of money with nothing to show for it. Virtually any small business owner that has tried AdWords on his or her own has experienced this before.
Unfortunately, many business owners have been burned and sworn off AdWords and pay-per-click as if it were the devil. The truth is search engines can be extremely powerful vehicles for driving online traffic, but they need to be approached the right way.
Local businesses now a priority for google
Fortunately, macro trends are moving in favor of local businesses. With the invention of smartphones that offer hi-speed internet on the go, local and mobile marketing have become huge. And with the introduction of tablets, with large screens and full mobile browsers, local businesses can no longer ignore the ability of search engines to drive highly targeted traffic.
Two most common mistakes
The problem has always been how to do it profitably. The main problem dealerships come across is turning clicks into leads, and doing it profitably. There are two main reasons dealerships have failed in doing this. For starters, they’ve tried to manage these campaigns on their own (or at best let their marketing person handle it). Unlike most advertising, pay-per-click is heavily direct response oriented, and most advertising and marketing people have little to no direct response experience.
The second problem dealerships have faced is sending traffic to their website. Very few marketers understand the concept of landing pages and how to use them properly, and instead send paid ad traffic to their website and homepage. This is a cardinal sin in marketing. Websites and homepages are horrible for lead capture purposes. They are designed to inform, and they serve that purpose well; but they are almost never designed to capture leads.
Google AdWords Express is the perfect solution to both of these problems. They completely automate the management aspect of running a PPC campaign by handling all the matching and administration for you. You don’t have to worry about messing with geographic areas and keywords as their system does it all automatically. The only thing you have to do is write a few ads (with a strong offer and call to action), set your budget, and you’re done.
More importantly, you don’t have to worry about using an ugly website that was not designed to capture leads. Using AdWords Express, their system will match your ads to one of three options. First, they can send traffic to your company’s Google Plus profile (can substitute for a website, and is tied to your Google Places listing). Second, they can offer the user the option of getting instant directions via their smartphone or tablet’s Map’s app. Third, they offer a click-to-call option that allows users to be on the phone with your business with the click of a button.
As you can see, there is no website involved. With the Express platform, users searching on their smartphones or tablets can get instant directions or call you to ask if you have what they’re looking for. And they can do it all with the click of a button. Further, you pay the same amount you would pay for a click to your website. As you can imagine, a hot phone lead or someone downloading directions to your store is worth much more than a simple website visit.
And to top it all off, Google is pushing AdWords Express heavily. With how important mobile has become, they are doing everything they can to accommodate local businesses. If you’ve ever been intimidated by AdWords, or were burned in the past, this may be an easy (and profitable) way to test the waters again.
Chris Laub is an entrepreneur from Southern California. He has worked in online marketing for six years, and currently offers pay per click management services via his company, PPC Nerds.