Here's what every professional services business owner needs to know about online advertising!
As we've mentioned in previous articles, your online profile matters - big time! From your website to your social network pages, people are checking out your business online before they decide to work with you. That's why last year marketers spent over $100 billion to promote their businesses online and drive traffic to their websites. As foreign as online ads might seem to some professional business owners, it's becoming an increasingly important part of today's marketing landscape.
What are some of the best ways to advertise online?
For starters, there is what's called Search Engine Marketing. When people need a service today, they're going to search online. Search engines, like Google and Bing, let marketers show those people ads that get triggered by specific search terms, or keywords. Ads show up on the top and side of search results pages and send the user to a website of your choice once they're clicked.
With search engine marketing you pay every time your ad gets clicked, therefore it is important to make sure the right people are seeing your ad. You should therefore only target relevant keywords that are likely going to bring you potential customers. Many times, even if a keyword is relevant, it could be way too broad to bring good results. For example, if you own a law firm, the word â€œlawâ€ is very relevant but will most likely not bring you good clicks as it is way too general. Similarly, if you make wedding cakes, you'll most likely want to stay away from general keywords like â€œweddingâ€ and â€œcakeâ€ as you have little idea if they actually refer to a wedding cake.
A great tool to help you decide which keywords are right for you is Google's Keyword Planner. Here's an article from Google's help center with more tips on choosing the best keywords: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2453981?hl=en. The Wordstream blog also has some great sugestions on keyword research: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2013/11/21/ppc-keyword-research-guide.
Just as you don't want to target keywords that are too broad, there will probably be a whole slew of keywords you want to exclude. You can do so by adding them to your Negative Keyword list that lets Google know not to show your ads when one of these terms are searched. In fact, here's a list of 75 terms that almost any adwords campaign should add as negatives: http://www.techwyse.com/blog/pay-per-click-marketing/75-negative-keywords-that-every-adwords-campaign-should-include/. In general, terms such as sex, job, resume, etc are probably good triggers that the person searching is not a potential client.
Beyond keyword targeting, there is location targeting. You decide where you want your ad shown and where you don't. If you service the greater Chicago area, then you should only be showing your ads in that area. There is no reason to get irrelevant clicks by people around the world. Learn more about geotargeting and local ads with this blog post: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2013/11/13/adwords-geotargeting-local-ppc-guide.
Other than search ads which are only text, Google let's you show display ads on millions of sites around the web on what's called the Google Display Network. You choose what sites based on their relevancy to your product or service. If you're an interior designer, you could have your ads show up on different blogs and websites related to homeowners and interior designers. Once you get your display network campaign going, you'll want to take a look at these 7 mistakes to avoid.
Another really powerful feature available in the Adwords is what's called remarketing. What is remarketing? Well, If you're on the web much then you've most likely been remarketed yourself. Have you ever seen specific ads that follow you around the web like â€œbig brotherâ€? That's most likely due to a remarketing campaign from someone else. What remarketing does is essentially let you reach people who have visited your website (or a specific page on your website) previously. Here's a great post from PPC Hero that covers the ins-and-outs of how remarketing works as well as best practices.
If you want ideas as to how Adwords can work for your business, take a look at these success stories shared by Google. While there's a lot of great information online regarding Adwords, including the links we posted above, you can always turn to Google themselves for Adwords assistance- by phone, chat, email and even Google Hangout!
Online advertising today refers very much to Social Media Marketing too. Just about every social network today either has a paid advertising platform or is testing one. It's worth noting that the advertising community is adapting to a world where people spend more and more time on social networks and mobile phones. We are a far cry from the days when banner ads dominated and today see a whole slew of new advertising options from video ads to promoted posts. Most are deeply intertwined with social networks.
Let's start with Facebook Ads. Facebook lets advertisers target their 1.1 billion users based on interest, age, gender, education, location, language and many other factors. Additionally you can target users based on whether or not they like your Facebook page. Facebook allows you to show several different types of ads including sponsored posts that promote a post from your page to ads along the side that take people to your page or to website. There's plenty of useful information about Facebook ads in Facebook's help section.. Additionally there are tons of articles on the web about Facebook advertising like the 30-minute crash course from MOZ and Kissmetrics' detailed guide to Facebook Ads.
What's truly unique about Facebook is all the options you have when targeting users. For example, if your professional service has to do with weddings, you can target users that are â€œengagedâ€. If you're looking for college students, you can target them too. If you own a hair salon for women only, then you can use Facebook Ads to target women only! If you're a personal trainer looking to increase your male clientele who are 60 and over, you can use Facebook to target only men 60 and over. For more ideas on how to best implement Facebook Ads, take a look at these businesses who had success from ads: https://www.facebook.com/business/success/.
Another increasingly popular social media platform for advertising is Twitter Ads. With Twitter, you can promote tweets that target users based on location and the content that they're tweeting about. You essentially promote tweets to people that will find your content interesting. For example, if you're a graphic designer, you can promote a tweet linking to a blog post with tips on choosing a logo, and show it to people who are interested in small businesses. If you're a dietician, you can promote a tweet offering a free 30-minute consultation to people interested in weight loss. With over 200 million users on Twitter and 400 million tweets being sent a day, it's worth looking into. This guide to Twitter advertising will definitely come in handy! Twitter boasts as well their fair share of small business advertising success stories.
Ironically enough, Google's own social network, Google+, has a platform that is not yet public but will be most likely soon. It is called +Post ads. You can find out more about it and sign up for the waiting list, here: https://www.google.com/+/business/brands/ads.html.
Youtube, which is also owned by Google, does have an increasingly popular and quite effective video ads platform. It's simple to get started with as long as you can create a quality video and register for an Adwords account. Like other social networks, Youtube ads offer you plenty of targeting options to help you reach the right audience. You can target people based on location, gender, age, personal interests and more. For more on YouTube's advertising options, take a look at this article here.
What are the best B2B advertising platforms?
More than any other social media platform, LinkedIn Ads will let you reach commercial clients. Whether you're an accountant or graphic designer, LinkedIn's advertising platform will help you reach the decision makers in each company. LinkedIn lets you target users based on their age, location, industry and job seniority. With over 100 million American professionals on LinkedIn, it can be an important network for advertising use.
Linkedin lets you promote posts from your LinkedIn company page or create ads that appear on the right hand side of the page. In typical online advertising fashion, you can either pay per engagement (like, click, comment, etc) or per impression.This beginners guide to LinkedIn Ads will give you more insight into how the platform works.
Another very effective B2B advertising solution is EZBZ's ad platform. It gives professional business owners the chance to promote their products to highly relevant and local companies. For example, a web designer can advertise web design and SEO services to all small business owners in a certain area. EZBZ Ads show up alongside the real-time leads that get sent to business owners.
See you on the other side!
Without further ado, we cordially invite you to get started with online ads! We've covered the major platforms and the benefits they can have on your professional services business. The next step is for you to get going.
Have questions about Online Advertising? We'd love to hear them! Send them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also contact us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn where we are always listening!