How many times have you been told about the importance of getting your trade business right at the top of Google search results? Quite often, right? And for good reason too: along with Facebook, Google is the one place customers are going to turn to online to find businesses like yours. When they do, very few people are ever going to scroll any further than the first few results.
So, if you’re going to get yourself noticed by those potential customers – you need to be right up there at the top.
Easier said than done? Not necessarily.
Sure, Search Engine Optimisation strategies can be both tricky and time-consuming to pull off with any great success, especially when you’ve got to compete with every single tradesman in your market, all of whom are using the exact same strategies.
But there is another way: Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
In our complete beginner’s guide to PPC advertising for tradesmen, we explain exactly how PPC can help you leapfrog your way to the top of Google, attract potential customers from other websites they visit, and ultimately grow your business.
What exactly is PPC advertising?
If you’ve ever used Google, Facebook, or one of the millions of websites out there displaying ads using Google’s popular Adsense platform, you’ve already seen PPC advertising. They’re the sponsored links that come up at the top of Google search results, the promoted posts that pop up in your social media feeds, and the ads that sometimes appear on websites you visit.
Unlike other forms of digital advertising which can be highly annoying and ruin your browsing experience (pop-ups anyone?), PPC advertising is designed to be unobtrusive.
In other words, it blends in naturally with the content you’re viewing.
It’s called Pay Per Click because, rather than paying a flat-fee to display your ad for a set period of time (such as in a newspaper or on the radio), you pay a smaller amount every time someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website.
How does PPC work?
If you ever talk to a high-level PPC professional, you’ll find they can bamboozle you for days with jargon that makes what they do sound like nuclear physics.
We’re not going to do that because really, there is no need.
When it comes down to it, you need four key things to make your PPC campaign work:
- Knowledge of your audience
- Knowledge of which keywords your target audience is using to find tradesman services like yours
- A clear, compelling and concise ad
- An effective landing page that people will visit after clicking your ad
Today, we’ll look at each of these in turn and share our top tips for making your campaign a success.
Planning your PPC campaign – getting to know your demographic
If you’ve already been in business for some time you likely have a decent idea about who your typical customers are. You might know, for example, that you’re typically hired by middle-aged professionals on high-level salaries, who drive certain types of cars and live in a certain area of your town or city.
That’s a good starting point for choosing who you’re going to target your PPC ads to. But what if you’re just starting out? What if you’re trying to promote a new service or special offer to an audience outside your usual customer base?
In either case, it pays to think long and hard about who that audience is.
To do that, create what marketing professionals often call an audience persona – a list of insights and details about your typical customer.
You might want to include their:
- Type of home they live in
- Personal interests
If you’re creating a PPC campaign on Facebook, you’ll find their Audience Insights tool incredibly helpful for painting a detailed picture of your customers.
If you’re creating PPC campaigns using Google or another platform, having a good idea about your audience will still prove invaluable in helping you tailor your ads to your that audience.
Planning your keywords
Keyword research is essential to the success of your campaign.
Using a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner, you can type in keywords to describe your business (“plumber in Manchester” for example) and see all the phrases people typically search for that are related to the one you typed in.
Keyword planner will then give you some important information about each of those related keywords and phrases, including:
- The average amount of searches for that keyword each month.
- The amount of competition from other tradesmen bidding on that keyword
- How much your competitors are paying to have their ads featured when users search for that term
Using the “plumbers in Manchester” example, Google Keyword planner tells us that:
“Plumber Manchester” has 1K-10K average monthly searches, compared to just 10-100 monthly searches for “24-hour plumber, Manchester.”
The tool also shows us what other advertisers have historically paid to have their ads featured at the top, which gives us some indication of how much budget we might need to set aside for this.
Often, you might find it more beneficial to base your ads on keywords with lower monthly searches and less competition. Doing this means that your ads are much more likely to be clicked on than they would be if you were up against lots of competition from other tradesmen.
Writing your ad – keep to the point
Now that you know who your ad is targeted at and which keywords you’re going to aim for, it’s time to put your ad together. Here, it pays to the remember the one golden rule applicable to just about everything in life:
Keep it simple.
Sure, you might be a jack of all trades, but now isn’t the time to list everything you do, nor is the time to try and promote multiple special offers all in one go.
Stick to one goal and one key message. If you want to attract more customers for your 24-hour emergency plumbing service, stick to that. If you want to attract more customers who need a fitted kitchen, stick to that. If you want to promote one particular special offer you’re running, stick to that.
Writing simple-yet-engaging copy focussed on one clear goal will generate more click-throughs to your landing page (more of which in a moment) and more potential leads than if you overwhelm your audience by offering too many things at once.
That’s not to say that you can’t promote multiple services or have several goals that you want to achieve with PPC, but rather that you should look at creating a separate campaign for each one.
Creating your landing page
You’ve created an awesome, compelling ad that’s guaranteed to attract just the right kind of potential customers. Now you need some way of ensuring that when those potential customers click on that ad, they get all the information they need to help them contact you.
That’s where your landing page comes into play.
You’ve already read our guide to digital marketing for tradesmen and used it to create a website. Now you need to ensure that the website contains a landing page (literally, the page users land on when they click your ad) that reflects the content of your PPC ad itself.
Let’s use the 24-hour emergency plumber example we looked at above.
If you’ve built your ad to promote this service, your landing page should then tell people why you’re the best tradesman to provide this service, how they can benefit from hiring you and – above – how to get in touch with you.
Though we’re talking about the ads themselves in this article, the importance of creating a quality landing page simply can’t be understated.
After all, you can have the most compelling, the most well-researched and engaging ad of all time, but if that ad leads people to a poorly-designed website that doesn’t entice visitors to get in touch with you, all that time, money, and hard work will have been for nought.
Most PPC experts recommend that, rather than throwing all your stock into one ad, you first test it out using a smaller budget. That way, you’ll get some idea of how effective your campaign is likely to be and how much it’s going to cost you to generate each lead.
You could even consider running several small, low-budget campaigns at once to determine which one is likely to produce the best results when you do finally go all in.
Measuring your success
When it’s all said and done, you’ll ultimately want to know whether your campaign was a success or not. Did it generate a significant return on your investment? Is it worth running the campaign again in future or might it be a good idea to change things up?
There’s a simple formula you can use to determine the success of your campaign.
Let’s keep things simple and say that you had a £10 budget to spend on a campaign with an estimated 1,000 impressions (the number of people who see your ad).
50 people out of those 1,000 actually clicked on your ad, so you do the following sum:
50 clicks / 1,000 impressions = 5% Click-through rate (CTR).
Most experts will tell you to aim for at least a 5% CTR, though obviously, you should ideally be looking to get as high a rate as possible. To do this, you might want to consider reevaluating your ads and consider what you might tweak to increase the CTR.
After that, there’s another metric you might want to look at it.
This is your conversion rate, and it describes how many people, after clicking through to your website, actually “converted” from visitors into customers.
To get that figure, you take the number of conversions you made and divide it by the number of click-throughs. Let’s say your campaign converted two visitors into customers. In this case, you’d use the following:
2 conversions / 50 clicks = 4% conversion.
You can also say that, because you initially spent £10, each new customer your campaign brought in cost you £5 each.
Again, you could look to improve this figure, this time by making tweaks to your landing page.
Don’t forget to include essential elements such as:
- A strong call to action
- A simple user experience that gives visitors exactly what they want, the moment they land
- Relevent, well-written content and images targeted to your audience
Used correctly, these three key ingredients will make all the difference to your campaign and ensure that your position at the top of Google’s search results really pays off.