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:
- Why You Must Spend Your Digital Ad Dollars (and Time) Wisely
- 5 Time-Saving Steps to Take Before You Decide On a PPC Advertising Channel
- 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.