Contrary to popular belief, big businesses aren’t the only ones able to reap the benefits of paid digital advertising. The methods for developing brand awareness and increasing Return on Investment (ROI) that big businesses use can be applied to businesses of all shapes, sizes, and advertising budget. The modern consumer demands immediate gratification and with the world in the palm of their hands, it’s a smart move for businesses to invest in their digital brand as much as the physical storefront. In this article, I’ll go through 4 steps to supercharging your local business with the help of paid search.
As the name implies, Paid Search is primarily responsible for delivering advertisements to prospective customers at the exact moment they are searching for your business or the services and products you offer. This is distinguishable from other forms of paid digital advertisements such as display or video - in which users are served relevant ads while they browse their favorite sites or watch YouTube videos. That said, the goal of paid search is to deliver highly qualified customers to your business. What happens to those customers when they reach your website is up to you. Factors such as your website usability and your ability to respond to leads quickly are key drivers of how potential customers perceive your business. Therefore it would behoove most business owners to first improve their digital presence (i.e. their website, Google My Business profile, Facebook profile, etc.) before spending large amounts on advertising it for the world to see.
Google Ads is Google’s flagship marketing platform that serves ads across all of Google’s properties: YouTube, the Google Search Engine, the Google Display network, and Google Maps. Just because the digital landscape is vast, doesn’t mean your digital advertising efforts have to be as well. On search, you can stay focused, bidding on keywords you deem relevant to your business and creating ads tailored to your services. Google Ads lets you set budgets so you know exactly how much you can expect to spend. It also gives you control over targeting such as including/excluding specific geographic locations or demographics like age, gender, and income. You can also run call-only ads and track performance (length, caller’s area code, call times) with Google’s complimentary call reporting feature.
Here’s an example of an ad that might appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
This ad extension is available through Google Ads, but I want to highlight location extensions because of their unique connection with your Google My Business (GMB) profile. After you have set up your GMB and connect it to your Google Ads account, you can begin using location extensions to highlight your actual storefront(s). The info for your location extension is pulled directly from your Google My Business listing so that customers can easily get directions, call you, or see store hours. Using location extensions also makes your ads eligible for appearing in Google Maps!
Here’s an example of a location extension in your ad:
This is a great feature that’s still in its infancy since there are currently only a few services eligible for Local Service Ads (LSA). In the US, these services include locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, carpet cleaners, house cleaners, and garage door services. You should definitely apply if you fall in these categories, otherwise keep checking back with Google to see if they open up to any other services. Both the advertiser and consumer share in the benefits since advertisers are only charged for qualified leads and consumers are protected for any services booked through LSA for up to $2,000. A lead is qualified only if the caller asks for a service listed in your profile and they’re located in your service area. Google makes it easy to dispute leads with the click of a button. The LSA ads itself is that they’re shown above regular search ads and the Google Guaranteed badge is appended to your ad, making it look very reassuring to customers.
Here’s an example of an LSA ad in the SERP:
Yelp has been the go-to for certain businesses like restaurants and auto repair shops when consumers are looking for reviews. Whether your Yelp profile is stellar or mediocre, paying to upgrade to Yelp’s Enhanced Profiles can make a difference when it comes to attracting customers. Enhanced Profiles gives you more control over your profile by blocking search queries that don’t align with your business, allowing you to add picture slideshows and videos, and by giving you a customized call to action on your profile. It also blocks your competitors from serving their ads on your Yelp profile while you serve your ads on theirs (ones without an enhanced profile).
Here’s an example of a Yelp profile that features a competitor’s ad:
Hopefully these tips will help bring in lots of new leads and further reinforce the importance of digital advertising for your local business. We at Four15 Digital use these methods to drive growth for our clients and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unleashing your company’s potential.