A typical digital marketing strategy of a small business owner includes a plan for search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, social media, and content marketing. Hardly anyone thinks of paid search marketing, because, let’s face it – how on Earth are you going to compete against the big sharks?
What if we told you that it’s possible to beat larger competitors in search engine marketing (SEM) with a modest budget?
Contrary to popular belief, a larger budget alone won’t help you beat your competitors in PPC ads – a model of search advertising in which you pay a certain amount every time someone clicks on your text ad. There are a bunch of other factors that smart marketers capitalize on to win the race.
In this article, we’ll share Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) best practices for paid search ads (NOT display ads that you see on other websites, YouTube, and apps) that won’t cost you a dime.
Let’s get started.
It’s Not Just About the Budget!
As mentioned earlier, in order to have your paid search ads appear in the organic search results (and attract qualified traffic to your TMS clinic’s website), merely increasing your budget isn’t enough.
In case you don’t know, Google uses a metric known as Quality Score– a metric that looks at the overall quality of your ads, landing pages, and selection of keywords – to determine your position of your ads in the results and cost per click (CPC).
Getting a higher quality score entails a lot of optimization of your ad account, the ads itself, and landing pages.
Here are some actionable tips that can help with that:
- Create Different Landing Pages Tailored to the Ads
One thing that most successful ad spenders have in common is that they have a bunch of search engine landing pages on their websites liked with their paid search campaigns.
A common mistake that most novice paid marketers make is to have all of their ads lead to one or very few page(s).
As far as improving your quality score goes, that’s not a good practice. At times – no matter how careful you are – the search intent and the ad copy won’t align with the content on that landing page.
At the end of the day, it’s all about providing a positive user experience. That means the chances of your ad showing up in the results will be slim in the first place.
Even if you do manage to bag a spot in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and the searcher clicks on your ad, it wouldn’t matter much. If the searcher doesn’t get what they want, not only will they leave your website without converting, but you’d have also wasted good money.
While we’re not advising you to create a new landing page for every ad – at least have a handful of pages that cater to different search queries of your patients and lead them further down the funnel.
- Create Better Ad Copy to Increase CTR
In addition to having well-optimized landing pages, you should also invest in creating better ad copy for an increased click-through rate (CTR).
Good paid search ad copy must:
- Be short, informative, and convincing
- Must incorporate the target keyword(s)
- Must align with the intent behind the search queries
If it’s within your budget, hiring a copywriter can go a long way in getting a better return on your ad spend. At the very least, use A/B split testing to see what works best in terms of attracting visitors with the potential to convert into paying patients.
- Enable Conversion Tracking
Another major mistake that most novice advertisers make is to not use conversion tracking on Google Ads.
As the name suggests, “conversion tracking” is a tool that enables you to see what happened AFTER a searcher interacted with your ad. In simple words, it lets you see what actions they take after clicking on your ad.
These actions could be anything – from subscribing to your blog for increased brand awareness to setting up an appointment on your website.
As a marketer, if you’re not doing something to impact conversions (whether directly or indirectly), none of the other metrics matter.
With conversion tracking, you can further optimize your ads and landing pages, get maximum return on investment, and avoid wasting your marketing budget.
- Use (More) Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are additional pieces of information or links that you can incorporate into your paid search ads.
The purpose of these extensions is to deliver more value to the user through a single advertisement.
An ad extension can be used to:
- Share links to additional landing pages
- Share phone number of your TMS clinic
- Provide business reviews (as star ratings on Google My Business)
- Provide a way for mobile users to conveniently send a template query over WhatsApp or SMS
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Here is a real example of ad extensions in action:
Experiment with the different extension options at your disposal, optimize for user-experience, and watch that quality score go up over time.
- Use More Negative Keywords
Good keyword research is the hallmark of any successful ad campaign.
If you’re not targeting the right keywords, nothing else matters. That’s SEM-101.
However, at times, marketers get so caught up with targeting the right search terms that they forget to stop and think about the terms they don’t want to target.
Known as “negative keywords,” these are search terms that you don’t want your ads to show up for. Google Ads gives advertisers the option to identify and provide a list of negative keywords to ensure they put their ad spend to good use.
Google isn’t perfect, and it’s algorithms are constantly improving to provide searchers with the most relevant results. You know your target audience better than anyone. Therefore, remember to highlight the keywords that don’t align with their intent and what you’re offering.
- Be More Active on Your Account
Last but not least, Google rewards advertisers who are more active.
Being “active” doesn’t mean spending more money – it merely means logging into your Google Ads account, making slight adjustments, looking at the performance of your ads, etc. on a daily basis.
Over time, all of this activity will add up to your quality score.
Give the aforementioned best-practices a shot, and you’ll start noticing profitable results in no time.
As a final word of advice – don’t limit yourself to just Google Ads.
You can also create PPC campaigns on other search platforms, including Bing and Yahoo, to reach an even larger audience.