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How To Choose The Best PPC Advertising Channel For Your Service Business

Running a service-based business can be undoubtedly lucrative, especially when you’ve got the experience, tools and skills to build yourself a lifelong customer base.

But in today’s highly competitive landscape, you need to do everything possible to maintain your edge.

You know that marketing and advertising are essential to your continued growth and success, and these days, there’s no marketing without the internet. But also know you’re no expert in digital advertising ‒ not to mention you’re busy providing essential services to your clients!

To cut to the chase, you need to get the most bang for your advertising buck. And that means choosing the best PPC advertising channel for your service business from day one.

I, for one, hate seeing time and money go to waste. So I’ve put together some points to help you get off on the right foot and choose the right ad channel for your business.

Read on to learn:

  1. Why You Must Spend Your Digital Ad Dollars (and Time) Wisely
  2. 5 Time-Saving Steps to Take Before You Decide On a PPC Advertising Channel
  3. 3 Digital Advertising Channels You Can Quickly Use to Get New Customers

1. Why You Must Spend Your Digital Ad Dollars (and Time) Wisely

Let’s start with the basics.

Even a well-written marketing message with a strong creative direction is wasted if it doesn’t reach the right audience. Focusing on the correct marketing channel is key.

That’s why you don’t overhear ads for HR software while your toddlers are watching Sesame Street clips on YouTube Kids; nor do you typically see display ads for Sesame Street while you’re browsing LinkedIn.

However, choosing the right advertising channel isn’t always so cut-and-dry.

Chances are your audience is a lot broader than something like, ‘kids age 2-4 who watch PBS’ or ‘tech-savvy HR professionals.’ Say you offer a service like plumbing or auto repair. Your customers don’t congregate on a particular channel at all – in fact, they’re practically everywhere!

On the other hand, your target audience could be also so specific that there’s simply no obvious, sure-fire avenue for reaching them. Say you’re trying to sell turnkey co-packing services for burgeoning hot sauce companies in the Northeast U.S. with between $200K and $750K annual revenue. Last I checked, there’s no such thing as Hotsaucebook where all the hot sauce aficionados congregate…and even if there were, they might not be the specific kind of aficionados you’re looking for!

Put simply, choosing the right online advertising channel can be tricky. There are dozens to choose from, and not all of them will bring in the client and customer leads your business needs to grow.

2. The 5 Time-Saving Steps to Take Before You Decide On a PPC Advertising Channel

To begin, here are a few of the basic steps you must take to be properly equipped to decide which digital advertising channel your business needs right now.

a. Familiarize Yourself with Forms of Online Marketing

You can’t advertise your business successfully without a basic understanding of the PPC landscape.

The only way to fully leverage the power of internet marketing by yourself is by taking the initiative to learn about it on an elementary level. When you lack this baseline comprehension, it’s far too easy to make costly mistakes (see: 5 Mistakes KILLING Your Google Ads Budget.)

If you haven’t got time to hit the books, do yourself a favour and find yourself a lead generation partner who’s already done the heavy lifting. You’ll save yourself dozens of hours of trial-and-error, not to mention potentially thousands of dollars in spending gone astray!

b. Thoroughly Weigh the Costs

Understanding the costs involved in digital marketing channels will allow you to shape a budget on what’s acceptable to spend. It’ll also help you temper your expectations on what kind of funds should be poured into each channel.

To illustrate, you could be earning $1,000,000 in revenue per week. If you’re spending $1,000,001 per week to generate those sales, you’re still in the hole $1.00! It’s Business 101, but easy to lose sight of when you’re still learning the ropes of a new advertising channel.

Here are a couple of considerations to ponder over:

  • It’s possible to spend nothing on digital marketing and find some success, but the percentages aren’t high. You’d have to be online most of the time, not performing other vital functions for your company.
  • Remember to weigh in time spent when you’re assessing costs. If you’re achieving modest results but spending all day milling through online marketing tasks, that’s not ideal.
  • Outsourcing your marketing is the most time-efficient approach. But thorough due diligence will let you know what costs are fair, and if it will benefit your company.

c. Clearly Define Your Goals

For advertising to be profitable, and to decide the correct channels, you must know your objectives. Crafting an action plan is a must.

In an online marketing capacity, here are how goals align with strategies:

  • If your goal is to build a reputable brand image, you will likely utilize a mix of social media marketing, display ads and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
  • Provide you want to come across as an industry expert, blogging, content marketing (e.g., writing free eBooks), and social media marketing are the most common approaches.
  • Lastly, a lead generation strategy would necessitate online ads (PPC and social media), SEO, social media marketing, and content-based lead funnels.

d. Craft a Budget

At first, you might want to start with a smaller budget to get things started with your digital marketing. Understand that there’s a ceiling with how much success you’ll find with this approach.

Overspending is even worse, but that’s why you’ve performed the necessary cost research. You must coordinate those industry-standard prices with what’s affordable and makes sense for your current business model.

You’ll find that you’ll be able to steadily grow your marketing budget to reflect your company’s evolution.

e. Tune into Your Audience

Getting positive results with any marketing strategy or campaign necessitates a deep insight into your audience. Otherwise, you won’t know how to target your messaging.

Any knowledgeable lead generation partner will utilize industry and competitor research tools to help you round up essential data about your target market, such as:

  • Where can they be found online (e.g., social media networks, blogs, or websites, etc.)?
  • What content do they like?
  • What online activities do they engage in?

3. Top 3 Digital Advertising Channels You Can Quickly Use to Get New Customers

Now that we’ve offered some criteria involved in choosing the right internet ad channel, it’s time to look at the channels you should be investigating.

When we launch a lead generation campaign for a new service client (HVAC, plumbing, contracting, etc.), we choose a combination of the following channels based on the client’s needs. Each of these channels offers a variety of audience targeting options, acceptable cost per lead, and (if executed well) a reliable return in the form of customer leads.

a. Google Search Advertising

Search ads are best utilized to leverage search-based intent. When customers need something ASAP, like a plumber for a burst pipe, they type something like, “Toronto plumbing” or wherever their hometown is. This is the most effective form of marketing for emergency-based services where a customer requires something immediately.

b. Display Advertising

When people see display ads online, they aren’t looking for something directly – they’re just browsing, going along with their usual web activities, and end up seeing a digital banner.

So, if your business is service-based and reliant on emergency calls, this might not be the best network for you.

But if the bulk of your revenue comes from renovations and rebuilds, this kind of brand awareness can really pay off. The use of display advertising is often more long-term strategy, and a way to ensure your business is top-of-mind for your target market.

Eventually, when they decide they want what you’re selling, your business will be who they contact—if you’ve executed correctly!

c. Social Media Advertising

Currently, 31% of people use social media as a primary research tool when they seek products. It’s playing more of a pivotal role than ever throughout the customer journey.

Ads on social media are more effective than other forms of marketing on the platform, including celebrity endorsements, updates on brands’ pages, and recommendations or comments.

Those who click on social media ads are 26% likelier to buy from the brands they see. However, these customers are more interested in signing up for a membership than purchasing a product or service.

Social media advertising is a wise avenue if you’re a plumber or electrician writing a blog and looking to grow an audience. This will help you establish yourself as an industry expert with a broader base.

Getting Started With Digital Advertising

Let’s be honest. Not all online marketing channels will profit your business.

Success depends on understanding the strengths and limitations of each channel.

At TrafficSoda, we specialize in determining the most efficient way to turn ad dollars into customer leads. We’ve worked with a broad range of service-based businesses including HVAC companies, builders, roofers, cybersecurity providers, data centers, car mechanics and dealerships to generate leads through targeted PPC ad campaigns.

We start by researching our clients thoroughly in what we call the discovery process. By understanding all aspects of your customer audience, market, competitors and sales process, we can help you choose the best PPC advertising channel for your business.

If you’re still not entirely sure which channel is right for you ‒ and you don’t have the time to invest in learning the ins and outs on your own ‒ feel free to drop us a line.

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Google Ads

Google is quite possibly the most powerful online advertising platform out there.

You can run ads to generate more leads and revenue. You can sell more products online. And you can bring more traffic to your website.

Best of all, Google Ads are relatively simple to execute.

Why Google Ads?

Google is the most popular search engine in the world, receiving 3.5 billion search queries a day and an estimated 700% return on investment.  It’s used by people everywhere to ask questions from “How many ounces of flour equates to one cup?” to “What is the best outfit for a first date?” These questions are answered with a combination of paid advertisements and organic results.

Ok, so advertising on Google makes the most sense from an ROI standpoint – based on the massive amount of daily users – but what are the tangible benefits to advertising on Google?

Google Ads are:

  • Scalable
    • If you create a Google Ads campaign that is converting at a profitable rate, there is no reason to cap spend on that campaign. Just hop back into your Google Ads account and bump up your PPC budget. Your leads and profits rise accordingly!
  • Measurable
    • With detailed conversion tracking, Google Ads PPC is one of the most measurable of online channels.
    • Google Ads is more transparent, providing tons of PPC metrics.
    • Quickly determine if your campaigns are sucking or returning ROI.
  • Flexible
    • Google Ads provides tons of options so you can customize your campaigns.
    • Hyper-target the audiences you most want to reach.

In addition, specific keyword match types for example, only show your ad to people who search for an exact keyword you specify, like “Vegas hotels” – filtering out traffic on general terms related to Las Vegas or hotels.

Google Ads Best Practices

Google Ads typically perform quite well without in-depth optimization. However, in order to get the biggest bang for your buck, it’s important to do your research.

What are your competitors doing successfully? How could you implement optimizations into your campaigns to maximize performance?

  1. Use ad extensions to display product images, a phone number, a mega-pack of links to your site, and your physical location.
  2. Narrow your audience by location, time of day to be targeted, language, browser or device type.
  3. Access an enormous network of non-search users on properties like Gmail and YouTube.

1. Using Google Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are additional bits of information about your business that can be added to your Google text ads. These extensions can automatically pull info from your Google My Business profile or be populated manually. Both types of Google Ad extensions can have value: automatic extensions are convenient, while manual extensions offer powerful customization.

Currently, you can enrich your text ads with 10 types of extensions:

  • Sitelink Extensions: additional links you can add to your search ad to allow searchers to view all your various offerings up front
  • Location Extensions: show the address of your business as well as hours of operation directly in your search ad; this is a fundamental action to ensure more traffic to your storefront location; must connect a ‘Google My Business’ account to Google Ads to enable location extensions
  • Affiliate Location Extensions: these help potential customers find the best, and nearest, retail stores that sell your product; most useful for large brands that are sold nationwide
  • Structured Snippet Extensions: these provide advertisers with three additional header lines of text to include meaningful business information
  • Call Extensions: allows the business telephone number to be shown on the ad; on mobile devices, users can use this extension to directly dial your business
  • Message Extensions: shown on mobile devices, and allows the searcher to contact you via text message; message extensions cannot be tracked for conversions
  • App Extensions: this extension allows you to add a mobile app download button next to your ad; a customizable call to action can be included beneath your ad
  • Callout Extensions: like Sitelink Extensions, but without clickable links; allows the advertiser to provide additional information and relevance regarding your ad; can help improve the click-through rate and the conversion rate
  • Price Extensions: allows the advertiser to display products and/or services alongside their prices directly in the ad; price extensions only appear if Google ranks your ad as #1
  • Promotion Extensions: allows the advertiser to include coupons, sales and other deals in their ad; you can schedule promotion extensions within Google Ads for custom holidays and promotions that are exclusive to your business

However, extensions don’t always appear when your ad is shown. It depends on:

  • Your ad’s position and Adrank; and
  • Whether Google predicts the extension will help or hinder your ad’s performance.

2. Narrowing Your Google Ads Audience

Google lets you narrow your ad’s audience to better reach those who are most likely to be within your target demographic. You can define your audience based on specific demographics, locations and devices – including the ability to exclude users who are outside your niche.

3. Leveraging Google’s Non-Search Network

The Google Ads platform gives you the option to display your ads across numerous non-search networks affiliated with Google. This feature is what earns Google Ads its status as the most versatile international advertising platform.

Google’s extended network includes channels such as:

  • YouTube TrueView For Action: videos ads that include a direct call-to-action. You only pay when the user elects to view your video. Targeting specific keywords and utilizing call-to-action buttons can greatly reduce your cost-per-click.
  • Smart Shopping: this new campaign type uses automation to optimize bidding for maximum ROI. It’s extremely efficient for advertisers with small budgets.
  • Display Remarketing: these are image ads shown on Google’s partner sites to users who have visited your site in the past. Remarketing is a great campaign to move the user to conversion.
  • Gmail Ads: text ads that appear in users’ promotions inbox in Gmail. If the user clicks, they are brought to a display ad, which will direct the user straight to your landing page.

Types of Google Ad Campaigns

Google gives you plenty of ad campaigns to choose from. The campaign you select will determine where people will be able to see your ads – so your choice should be based on your specific advertising goals.

Some of the most commonly used campaign types are:

  • Search Network Campaign: ads appear in Google Search results (and on other Google sites) when users search for relevant keywords. Your ads are displayed to people who are looking for information related to the content of your ad. The goal of a search network campaign is to generate a specific user action: sales, leads, phone calls or clicks to your website.
  • Display Network Campaign: display ads appear to users while they’re browsing online, watching YouTube videos, checking Gmail or using their mobile device and apps. These campaigns can help promote your brand, generate product awareness, or increase sales and leads.
  • Shopping Campaign: these ads use Merchant Center product data to show users an image of your product, along with the price and the name of your store. They help to promote what you’re selling, drive traffic to your store (online or offline) and find you more qualified leads.
  • Video Campaign: display video ads by themselves or along with other streaming content on YouTube and across the Google Display Network.
  • App Campaign: app ads appear across Google’s mobile platforms such as mobile Search, Google Play, the YouTube App and the Display Network. These ads can be used to encourage users to install your app or make in-app actions.

Google Ads Terminology

Marketing terminology can be daunting. We’ve provided a comprehensive breakdown of some of the most popular Google Ads terms to help you navigate.

AdRank

Your AdRank determines your ad placement. The higher the value, the better you’ll rank, thus a higher chance of getting clicks. Ad Rank is determined by your maximum bid multiplied by your Quality Score.

Bidding

The higher your bid, the better your placement. Your three bidding options are CPC, CPM, or CPE.

Cost-per-click (CPC)

The amount you pay for each click on your ad.

Cost-per-mile (CPM)

The amount you pay for one thousand ad impressions when your ad is shown to a thousand people.

Cost-per-engagement (CPE)

The amount you pay when someone takes a specific action with your ad. You chose this engagement action when you create your campaign.

Campaign Type

The format of your ads and where your ads will appear.

  • Search ads: text ads that are displayed among search results on a Google results page.
  • Display ads: typically image-based and are shown on web pages within the Google Display Network.
  • Video ads: between six and 15 seconds and appear on YouTube.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The number of people who click through to your website from your ads.

Conversion Rate (CVR)

A measure of form submissions versus the number of total visits to your landing page. The higher your CVR, the greater the proportion of visitors that turn into leads.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

A type of advertising where the advertiser pays per click on an ad. PPC is not specific to Google Ads but is a very important metric to track when running your campaign.

Quality Score (QS)

A  number determined by Google that rates the quality and relevance of your ads and keywords. Higher quality ads and keywords perform better with your audience. New keywords automatically start out with a Quality Score of 6. Per WordStream:

  • A good Quality Score for branded keywords is between 8 and 10.
  • A good Quality Score for high-intent commercial keywords is 7 to 9.
  • 7 is a good Quality Score for low-intent keywords.

Get Started With Google Ads

Advertising on Google is an effective way to support a Lead Generation strategy. If you’re looking for guidance or agency experience in the Google Ads realm, contact us today!

Google Ads vs Google Ads Express: Why Google Ads Wins Every Time

So, you’ve been looking at different types of Google advertising and you are deciding between Google Ads and Google Ads Express. Let us help you with this: Google Ads vs Google Ads Express? Google Ads wins 10 times out of 10.    

Let’s look at what these two are and why the decision to pick Google Ads over Google Ads Express is an easy one. 

Businessman using Google Analytics in the office on the touch screen of his laptop.

What is Google Ads? (Formerly Google AdWords) 

When you search on Google, you receive a list of search results. Have you ever noticed that the top search results may have a green ad square in the top left corner? These are ads from Google, known as Google Ads.  

If your website doesn’t rank as well as others, Google Ads allows youwebsite to be shown higher in search results based on the keywords you are targeting. The intent is that when users search for a keyword, results show your ad result near the top, and users will click your result first.  

Yes, this costs money, but it can be effective if you are starting out, haven’t broken through the top contenders in your industry, or would like more leads/customers.  

What is Google Ads Express? 

Similar to Google Ads, this advertising platform that is often attractive to small businesses. It’s often used because of the ease of set up and hand-off ongoing management it offers. Set up your account in 15 minutes and Google does the rest of the work? Say no more! No website? Don’t worry – users can call you directly with one click on your ad. 

Essentially, Google Ads Express is marketed as an “easier” version of Google Ads that can be set up quickly. Although you don’t have to do the groundwork after the set-up, the quality of groundwork is where the issues lie. If it seems too good to be true – it probably is. 

What’s the Difference? 

Sure, Google Ads and Google Ads Express seem similarbut the difference is the control over your monthly monitoring and optimization.  

If you aren’t familiar with Google’s advertising or don’t have the resources to manage Google Ads, Google Ads Express seems like a less overwhelming option. Who wouldn’t trust Google to manage their own branded ads? While it’s not like they’re scamming you, they aren’t offering the manual optimizations that truly get the best bang for your budget. 

Let’s look more closely in terms of the lack of control and management where Google Ads Express falls short.  

Why You Should Avoid Google Ads Express 

No ROI 

There is no “conversion tracking” in Google Ads Express. Yes, your ads are still showing for brand awareness, which is important, but having tracking to show how many people have contacted you or completed an action on your website is huge. This proves what your return on investment is and can justify the cost of advertising on Google.  

Trust us, your financial controller will agree. 

Broad match keywords 

This means your ads will show up on more keywords than needed. In turn, there are more opportunities for users to click on your ads and for Google to charge you.  

Kickpoint provides an excellent example for this: If Ads Express bids for edmonton catering companiesbroad match keywords can end up showing to edmonton pig roast companies. Reason being, is they can generally be related in catering terms, but chances are this catering company would definitely not offer pig roasting. This leaves you with users searching for pig roast companies clicking on your ads and Google charging you, all for the user to realize you don’t offer that type of catering and leaving your website. 

No keyword choice 

Similar to broad match keywords, you cannot choose your keywords – Google does this for you. You can’t add any new keywords, you can only turn on/off any keywords that Google has chosen for you. This goes back to the note above about more opportunities for users to click on your ads which means more of your money in Google’s pocket.

Google ads screenshot with negative keywords.

No negative keywords 

This is a huge bonus when advertising on Google. This means you can remove any unwanted keywords associated with terms users may search for in relation to your industry.  

Not sure what keywords you would want to avoid for advertising? Here’s an easy one to avoid: FREE.  

Add-on extensions  

Add-on extensions can be many things: call-outs, site links, structured snippets, locations, or options to directly text/call the company. These appear at the bottom of your add to all work together to make the search results appear more dynamic.  

This extension builds up your ads and add extra information that users may be looking for – which is a bonus you would be missing with Google Ads Express. 

Bidding Options 

Do you have one keyword producing the best results, while your other keywords are simply helping to hit your daily budget with no conversions? Bidding adjustments allow you to allocate a larger percentage of budget to your keywords producing better results and less on the others.  

This means your ads with the better performing keywords will show more often and optimize your ad spend to utilize these to produce more conversions – and better results for you. 

Unfortunately, Google Ads Express is unable to change the bidding on different keywordsleaving all your keywords being shown an equal amount – for good or bad. 

How Do I Manage Google Ads? 

Are you unsure of how to manage Google Ads?  

Google offers some great free resources including some video tutorials that can help you get started. 

Don’t have time to constantly manage Google Ads?  

We offer Google Ads set up and optimization and can manage your ad account with all the above-mentioned things that Google Ads offers. Get in touch with us and see how we can help!