When asked the question, ‘How do you plan to market your business online?’, most people would start rambling away about SEO, content, link-building, social media etc. These people are certainly right that over time these are the best ways to build a website with longevity. But setting down that path will probably mean months, if not years of work before you start seeing solid results. Is there not a more direct marketing investment business owners can make, whereby ROI (return on investment) comes much sooner? Well, I’m mighty glad you asked — it just so happens that there is. It’s called Google Ads, and it’s a must for those seeking to grow their business without chopping off an arm and a leg. So, how does Google Ads work, and how can they help you advance your business goals?
The pay-per-click revolution
The trouble with marketing investments, and investments as a whole, is that you could be happily throwing cash down a well labelled ‘invest here for marketing results’, only to realise a while later you’ve just emptied your wallet down the drain with nothing to show for it. There’s no guarantee. There’s no dignified gatekeeper ensuring that everyone who invests in good, old-fashioned marketing gets their due in ROI. There’s just you, your money, and how you choose to spend it.
The reason for Google Ads’ popularity is that it offers you a marketing guarantee. You don’t pay unless you get results. No one clicks on your ad? Thanks for nothing, Google, I’m not paying. If you type in ‘electrician near me’, and the first to pop up is an advertised link (labelled ‘Ad’ in the top left), you might assume, ‘Wow, these guys are paying top dollar for that real estate…’ But they might not be paying a dime. If no one clicks, they’re simply occupying the most hotly contested place in the SERPs (search engine results page) for free. Even without clicks, they’re still benefiting — a myriad of people will have seen their business name and website link, and are more likely to choose them in future.
In a time of unparalleled confusion and competitive noise on the web, we all need to be looking for sure bets — or, at least, for the safest bets we can land. Google Ads is that bet.
Traditionally, appearing on the first page of Google search results would mean that your business is a well-established, well-linked brand with years of commercial success under its belt. But Google recognises that smaller businesses have cash too, and are willing to spend it in order to get even a sliver of that visibility. Hence Google Ads, which accounts for over 95% of their annual revenue (no minor sum). Google Ads is not the only marketing channel you should pursue, but it may be the first. Often with online visibility, there’s a certain snowball effect that occurs, meaning that once you cross a certain threshold, consumer interest starts skyrocketing, but the flip-side is that breaking out of obscurity is a real challenge. Google Ads, and the guaranteed ROI it offers, can help businesses emerge from these early stages and start building an online profile.
Don’t forget about the content
All this marketing magic is well and good, but the rules of business still apply. Google’s algorithm actually ranks your ad by a number of metrics. First, relevance — are there keywords on your Google Ads landing page that match the keywords of the ad? If so, that’s a tick, if not, Google will not be pleased. The second is quality: your click-through-rate (CTR) from ad views is calculated, meaning that the more action your ad receives, the higher it’s rated, and the less you’re charged by Google. So, Google rewards you for having high-quality ads. That means it’s in your best interest to take the time to design eye-catching, entertaining or engaging ads that relate directly (through keywords) to the service or product in question.
Google Ads is a friend to small business owners. As we all know, the reality of social media and the internet means that big brands get bigger, while the tadpoles struggle to swim their way into consumer attention. There are far too many schemes, shaky practices and straight-up scams that third-parties offer as ‘guarantees to deliver real marketing results’, capitalising on the mass of struggling SME owners, many of whom are largely unfamiliar with the new, ever-changing world of digital marketing. Google may be making a huge amount of money from this ad scheme, but so are business owners, and ultimately, that’s all that matters.
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