In the last marketing tip of the week we looked at whether it is worth it for you to invest in outsourcing SEO or SEM management for your small business. This time we are looking at a related question of whether you should spend money on Google ads. There are a number of factors to consider if you are a small business marketer to help you decide whether advertising on Google is a good investment for you.
First, if you didn’t get a chance to read the tip about SEO and SEM management, check it out here. It provides a good foundation for the point of view expressed here.
I meet a lot of small business owners. One of the top marketing-related concerns I get from people who market small businesses is that they at one point tried advertising on Google (or still do), and they question whether it is worth it.
As with any type of marketing you do, throwing money at a solution without a plan and without a way to define success and track progress is going to be futile. If you want to advertise your business on Google, have a plan for it.If you want to advertise your #business on Google, have a plan for it. #smallbusiness #smb #smallbiz Click To Tweet
Before you start pouring money into advertising on Google – or anywhere else, for that matter – I encourage you to start by asking yourself those same questions we asked about SEO/SEM management.
- Is your target market looking for your kind of products or services in this place?
- How do you stack up right now against your competitors marketing in this place? (How do you rank right now and is there tangible improvement to be had to get you to the first page of search rankings?)
- Are you set up well to CONVERT the people who learn about you? (what kind of conversion rate do you have from your website?)
- Do you have the budget to keep up with competitors advertising in this space?
If you know that your target market is online and ready to do more than window shop, if you have some work to do to get to the first page of Google rankings, if you see evidence that your website is enticing visitors to take action, and if you believe that your budget is enough to hang in there long-term with your competitors, then Google might be a good place for you to advertise.
If you aren’t sure that your answers to these questions warrant indiscriminately throwing money into pushing standard keyword phrases and getting visitors to all the pages of your site, would it change things at all if you instead focused on advertising cornerstone content or keyword-friendly products? Focusing your Google ad strategy is often a leaner, more effective plan.Focusing your Google ad strategy is often a leaner, more effective plan. #businesss #smallbiz #smb Click To Tweet
When it comes to cornerstone content, this is about generating a specific blog or other page on your website that is specifically targeting the keyword phrase you want to rank for. This content is easier to push than a landing page that has no clear objective. This content can be specifically linked to other related topics or downloads that may be more compelling for conversion. Learn more about cornerstone content here.
Instead of spreading your budget, time, and attention thinner across a variety of pages of your site, what if instead you focused your budget, time, and attention on your cornerstone content or key products? This involves siphoning your advertising into one, two, or three specific pages that you know will be attractive to the right audience and serve as a perfect stepping stone to a well-converting call to action.
With this strategy, you can supplement any dollars you spend on Google advertising with other no-cost solutions (such as including a link in your email signature, adding a signature line to your social media posts, doing a higher volume of tweets driving people to this content, adding the content as a click through link in your next newsletter, etc.) As you start to rank well for one piece of content, you can turn attention to something else when it makes sense. You will hopefully also find that the volume of visits to other pages on your site is increasing as well when you attract people to your cornerstone content.
This more granular approach to promoting specific content or products is a second strategy to consider if the approach of hitting a higher volume of keywords is unrealistic for where you are right now in your online marketing, as per the four questions above.
And if neither of these solutions seem well-suited for your business, your money might be better spent advertising somewhere else!
One other thing needs to be said here. If you are spending money or time advertising anywhere online and trying to drive visitors back to your website, CHECK YOUR WEBSITE ANALYTICS REGULARLY! The only way to evaluate your visitors and their behavior is by looking at your analytics. That information is sitting there, waiting for you to review it and learn the lessons that will make your marketing more effective. Want to know some of my favorite stats? Check out this blog here.
There is no one type of marketing or advertising that is right for every business. These ideas can help you evaluate whether Google advertising is a worthwhile tool to experiment with for your business and how you might use it to get the most from it.
If you are thinking that Google advertising is out of your price range, and you are looking for ideas for how to market your business at no cost or low cost, check out my free eBook Small Business Marketing on a Budget here!