Get the most from your paid search campaign

Pay-per-click ads and sponsored ads are among the most effective online marketing strategies for small businesses. Whether you own a restaurant, run a law firm, or are a contractor for a local construction firm, a paid search campaign is one of the easiest ways to get in front of people who are looking for the services and products you have to offer.

I've helped small business owners create targeted marketing strategies with a paid search campaign and other online marketing methods. I like to point out that when people jump online to find what they need, they often use specific keywords, key phrases, and even a location. Your paid search campaign is tailored to reach these customers right when they're ready to buy or want more information. This <i>targeted</i> approach is what helps small businesses maximize their marketing dollars and generate more customers and sales each season.

Here are five ways to get more out of your paid search campaign:

1. Do adequate keyword research. If you aren't using the right set of keywords to construct your ads, you simply won't show up on the search engine results pages when someone is searching for products and services you offer. Make sure you're using the right set of keywords or you won't be able to generate the number of ad impressions you need to get those clicks.

2. Use the right tone in your marketing copy. Avoid too much hype and stick with marketing slogans and taglines that already exist on your website. What types of words and phrases do you use in your general marketing copy? Tweak it slightly to fit the content length of your pay-per-click ads and other paid search campaigns so that all of your marketing efforts are more streamlined.

3. Link your ad to a specific landing page. Make sure that you're driving traffic to a page or section of your site set up to make a sale, or to collect information. Don't just send people to your main website and expect them to contact you. I always recommend setting up a dedicated sales page and then linking to that page in the paid search campaign. You'll be able to take visitors to a place where they can complete their sale, and also track the results of your paid search marketing efforts easily.

4. Localize it. Most paid search campaign providers allow you to schedule your ads to show up to customers within a specific region or zip code. If you know that most of your target market lives within a certain neighborhood or in a certain area, make sure you take advantage of this option. This is especially valuable for businesses that get a lot of foot traffic from local customers and don't sell products and services to a global audience.

5. Time it. Another feature of search marketing is the option to <i>time</i> your ads. You can choose specific times of day when your ads will run, increasing the chances of a click. For example, if you're a restaurant owner and pushing a new dinner menu, you might want to time your ads to show up only in the late afternoon when people are probably thinking about where to go for dinner. Timing your ads can help you attract more targeted leads and capture exactly the type of people who are ready to make a purchase, reservation, or appointment.

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