A local business group contacted me to do a presentation on Adwords.  Since we are an Adwords management agency, I was thrilled to do so.  But getting people to come to a paid evening session on this topic proved to be a challenge.  My contact in the business group said to me that the topic was “new and confusing to people”.

Well, that floored me.  Adwords has been around for a long time and surely everyone must at least know about Adwords!  But, I can also see how local businesses might still find the topic confusing, and therefore not even bother with it.

This article is for local businesses who think that Adwords is too expensive, not effective, and for those who don’t know how it could help them build their business.

Adwords is Google’s amazing and powerful online advertising platform that in recent years has made it possible for local advertisers to show their message to people who are looking for their products and services, at the time, location, and in the language they want, for the price that the advertiser is willing to pay.

Adwords may not be the right solution for every business or for every marketing challenge, but we find that it can be a real asset to most businesses – if done correctly, even on a small budget.  Look at it this way, if your local business is able to use Adwords as the high ROI, lead producing, sales generating asset that it can be, you’re way ahead of your competition.

Even though Adwords has just announced a major change that eliminates 7-8 ad spots on their search pages, every local business should be figuring out how all of this can help them grow a profitable business.

Top 10 Reasons Why Local Businesses Should Use Adwords:

1. Online local marketing and advertising is huge and getting bigger.  Driven by continuous development of mobile and geo location technologies, local online advertising will become more important for businesses.  Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO said in late 2015:  “Internally, all of our objectives are focused on mobile”  This means that local online advertising will be the beneficiary of Google’s considerable development prowess.  A recent example is Google’s new Adwords mobile app launched just this month:

“The new app, which has now been rolled out to users globally, means account managers and business owners can access high level data and dig into account performance from any location. It offers more flexibility and makes the AdWords interface more responsive.

These benefits tap directly into the emphasis Google has placed on mobile in recent months. Having advised website owners of the need to make their sites mobile friendly and reiterated the importance of mobile for consumers, the search engine appears to have taken its own words to heart.”

via Google announces mobile AdWords management

2. Every internet search in your niche and in your location is a potential sale.  Adwords works when people are looking online for a solution to a problem.  Ads can be targeted to people whose problem is related to your products and services within a specific radius around your location, a specific city, or zip code.  When people in the selected geography  search for a term that matches the keywords for your business, they are hot leads.  If your business doesn’t show up in these searches, those potential buyers will go to a competitor who does.

“For local business owners, AdWords may be the only way you can reach most of the prospects who are looking for you on Google.

Take the example of someone who wants to buy a new mattress. If they just type in “buy a mattress”, Google will show mostly national results in their organic search results. For a local business to compete on that level for SEO is nearly impossible. Plus, most of the people typing in “buy a mattress” are not in your local area anyway so they’re not good prospects (unless, of course, you have a mail order business).

With AdWords, however, you can limit your ads to specific geographic locations. This means if you own a mattress store in Chicago, you can set your AdWords campaign so that your ads are only seen by people in the entire Chicago metro area, specific cities/towns/zip codes around Chicago, or a specific radius around your business.

In this case, the organic search results would still show all the big national mattress companies/sellers, but your ad can show up in AdWords and reach searchers you couldn’t reach by doing SEO.”

via 6 Reasons You Want to Use Google AdWords For Your Business

3. It’s profitable.  If organized and setup properly (including your landing page), it can bring in more sales than the dollars spent on ads, primarily because advertisers pay only if someone clicks on their ad.  Once people have clicked through to the landing page, or called directly from the ad, the closing process is under the control of the business.

4. It’s predictable.  In Adwords, everything is measurable, and you soon learn that buyers behave in consistent patterns.  So if after setting up and optimizing your campaigns, you learn that 5% of the people who see your ad will click through to your website, it’s likely to be that way every time you run that campaign, barring any major marketplace changes. It’s the same way for tracking conversions that tell you how many people who clicked on the ad, actually become customers. Adwords helps you to know ad performance numbers in a way that can be successfully repeated when you choose to run the campaign again.

5. It works very quickly.  You can see results almost the same day that you conceive and launch an Adwords campaign.

“AdWords is the quickest way to get your business listed on Page 1 of Google…the #1 place your prospects are looking for you. Things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Local Search (Google Places) are great strategies, but they take time (often months, if at all with all the Panda and Penguin turmoil) to get results with them.

With AdWords, you set up your campaign and can see your ads on Page 1 pretty much immediately.”

via 6 Reasons You Want to Use Google AdWords For Your Business

There’s nothing about Adwords that makes it a “set it and forget it” kind of deal.  Adwords requires a degree of management attention to learn how keywords, landing page, and quality scores work together and to optimize them for the lowest cost and best performance.

6. No contract commitment.  Start and stop campaigns as it fits the business need and advertising budget.  There are no minimum spend requirements, and no contracts.

7. Test your ad and websites quickly.  Because everything about your ad experience is measured in Adwords, including costs, clicks, impressions, quality scores, click through rates, you can split test the effectiveness of your website, keywords,  and ad combinations.  This allows you to optimize your campaign elements in a way that grows business.  In addition this testing allows you to use Adwords performance data to strengthen SEO efforts – for example using the most popular Adwords keywords for web pages and blog posts. Try doing that with data from newspaper, billboards, or radio ads.

8. Excellent budget control.  Set a max spend limit for your campaign, a maximum amount you are willing to pay for a click, and how you’d like to bid on the keywords (maximize clicks, for example) that trigger your ad.  With the standard version of Adwords, you have full control over what you spend and how you spend it.

9. Remarketing.  Adwords, remarketing campaigns allow you to show text or display ads to people who have expressed an interest in your products and services by visiting your website, but didn’t take action.  Anyone in sales can tell you that people often need multiple exposures to your products or brand before they’re ready to buy,  And sometimes even the most interested prospects can be distracted by every day life from taking the actions you’re looking for.  Adwords retargeting solves this problem, serves as a reminder to your prospects, is simple to setup, and is one of the most cost effective online advertising methods you can find.

10. Google will give nonprofits $10,000 per month in free ad spend.  This is the feel good benefit of Adwords.  But for nonprofits it can be a matter of survival.  Free ad spend can be an effective way to get the nonprofit’s message out, raise funds, and find volunteers.   Not many people know about this one, and because of its potential significance to society in general, it belongs in this top 10 list.

Some Cautions

Used properly Adwords can be an asset for almost any business, for almost any budget.  But it requires time devoted to optimizing campaigns, and keeping up with hundreds of Google’s changes that occur every year.  If you decide to use it, make sure that you have someone with Adwords experience who has adequate time to manage and optimize campaigns. Doing so will greatly improve the ROI.

The newest Google Adwords change is to eliminate the 8 ads on the right hand side of the page.  This is probably the biggest change to Adwords ever, but perhaps not totally unexpected.  The impact of this change is yet to be seen, but the additional competition for the remaining 6-7 ads on the search page could increase cost per click.  This underlines the need for smart setup and campaign optimization.

Google understands that many businesses can’t manage Adword’s complexity and so they have created Adwords Express, a simplified platform that makes it easy for people without expertise or time to run ads on Google’s networks. Google does everything for these advertisers in an automated way.  But beware!  although simplified for the advertiser, those that sign up for this have limited ability to optimize their campaigns, control their bidding, keywords, and when their ads show.  Adwords Express feels to me what it would be like if you asked the IRS to prepare your tax return when they’ve got a few spare minutes – you have very little control, and likely you won’t get the results you’re looking for.

Finally, here are some “heads up” points from an article worth reading if you will manage your own campaigns:

4 Key Reasons Local Businesses Fail When Using Google AdWords 

1. No landing page or an awful landing page.

The first page a visitor to your site lands on after clicking on your Google ad is called the landing page. A landing page is an essential part of your AdWords campaign, and a good one can instantly double your leads from AdWords (without spending a penny more on clicks).

I recently clicked on an ad for a family law attorney. You’d think that would lead me to a site about family law, but instead, their home page was all about personal injury law. That’s not what I was looking for. Plus, it was an old, ugly-looking site that made it hard for me to find any information. When I finally found the page on the site about family law, it was a two-paragraph little blurb that basically said they’re certified by the State Bar in family law (don’t they have to be to even practice in the first place?).

Not having a dedicated, high-converting landing page is a huge mistake. Based on experience, we estimate the typical local business website converts somewhere around 5 percent. On the other hand, a better-designed landing page can easily convert at 10 percent to 20 percent.

Even if we assume it just converts on the low end — around 10 percent — versus the 5 percent for the typical website, you’d double the amount of leads you get for the same money spent. That means for every $1,000 you spend, instead of getting 10 leads, you’re now getting 20. That difference could literally make or break your month or year.

2. Horrible ads with low clickthrough rates.

Most Google ads say basically the same thing. (And, quite frankly, they’re not all that compelling in the way they say it.)

As with landing pages, a high-converting Google ad with a high clickthrough rate (CTR) can also instantly double your leads. And the best part is that Google rewards you for having high-converting ads. So not only will doubling your CTR get you twice as many potential leads, but you can also end up paying a lot less per click.

That’s because Google has an algorithm known as Quality Score that determines how much you pay for clicks. In AdWords, just because you bid the most for a keyword doesn’t guarantee your ad will show up in the top position. Google rewards relevancy. And if you can show Google your ad is more relevant than your competitors (and CTR is the number-one factor used to determine relevancy), you can end up ranking higher than your competitors, yet pay less per click than they do.

3. No conversion or call tracking.

We’ve seen that 60 percent to 70 percent of the leads for local businesses come in the form of a phone call. Furthermore, phone call leads tend to be higher-quality leads because someone who’s really a hot lead is most likely going to pick up the phone and call rather than just submit the information through a form on your website.

If you’re not tracking call conversion, then you’re missing out on not only 60 percent to 70 percent of your leads, but also your hottest leads. Not tracking call conversions also means you’re not going to be able to optimize your AdWords campaign well. You can throw a ton of money away on bad clicks if you’re not tracking calls and have the data that shows you which keywords and ads are making the phone ring and which ones are not.

4. Poor campaign structure.

With all the AdWords books, articles, and training courses available, it’s somewhat surprising we even have to mention this. However, we still see AdWords campaigns every week that are set up poorly (many times by agencies that should know better) and don’t even adhere to basic best practices.

One example of poor campaign structure is a single campaign that runs on both Search and Display Networks. Search and Display are two utterly different beasts, and they should never be lumped together in a single campaign (in fact, we urge you to avoid using the Display Network to advertise your local business, until you develop strong AdWords chops and seek additional training). Other examples include only having one ad group, having too many keywords, and going too broad with the keywords in your campaign.

AdWords may not work all the time for every local business — there are some situations where due to high click costs, budgets, internal sales problems, or other issues that even a well-structured AdWords campaign won’t generate a high enough ROI. However, in our experience, that’s the exception much more often than the rule.”

via 4 Key Reasons Local Businesses Fail When Using Google AdWords
We hope this clarifies why local businesses should consider using adwords as part of your local marketing and advertising approach.  For more information and a free audit of existing adwords account, or a market projection for a new adwords account, please visit us at www.b2bresourceteam.com/adwords/