Before you start thinking about running a paid search campaign, you need to make sure that your website – and your company – are ready.
You’ve heard about this Paid Search thing… or, perhaps, been told that you should use Google Ads… or maybe you’ve noticed that your competition is using it and you figure you should too, maybe.
But before you even begin to think about and learn the “how tos” of running a paid search campaign (or a social media campaign, or an affiliate marketing program) for your business, there are some starting points that you need to make sure are in order.
Therefore, here are a few signs that you’re ready to start thinking about – and to start learning about – running a Paid Search campaign to promote your business.
SIGN #1 – Your Website Works
This may seem like an obvious starting point, but all too often people launch a PPC campaign prematurely and the site itself is not ready for primetime. Make sure that people can use the site the way that you intended… order products, browse your services, contact you through a form or call you at the phone number you have prominently displayed. Check your site analytics to see what your traffic is currently doing and what – if your site is ecommerce enabled – your conversion rate is. (Don’t have Website analytics??? See Sign #2)
If your current visitors, who are likely coming to you through direct traffic or organic search, are all leaving the site within a few seconds of arriving and are not engaging with you or your company online at all… you’re probably not ready.
And it’s not enough to check your website on your computer to give it the thumbs up. You need to test your website on a variety of devices, including mobile devices, and the most critical browsers. Yes, it might look great in Firefox on your laptop, but if it doesn’t render in Chrome or an iPhone, you could end wasting a LOT of money.
SIGN #2 – You Have Analytics
Website Analytics help you understand what is working (and what is not) on your website by showing you what traffic does on your site, how often they convert and where they are leaving.
There are tools available such as Google Analytics that can be integrated into your site relatively easy to provide you with this information. If you can’t or don’t know how to read this information, take some time to make sure this is setup and being used correctly before investing in paid search.
SIGN #3 – You’re Ready for More Customers
Ignore what you see on TV where a site gets launched and 37 seconds later orders start streaming in… that simply does NOT happen. Even when you launch a PPC campaign, you will not likely be inundated by more customers than you could possibly ever image.
However, the whole point of a PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign is to bring in more customers. If you’re already swamped or have limited products (or time) available, this is likely not the time to generate more interest in your business.
If, however, you are actively seeking more customers or your sales are a bit softer than you’d like, and you’ve passed Signs #1 & #2, Paid Search is a great next step.
SIGN #4 – You Have Some Money to Test & Learn
Unless you are a PPC Prodigy, you’re not going to get it right the first time. Don’t feel bad about this, most people don’t.
Your bids might be too high or your keywords might be wrong. You may target the wrong geographic location, or use the wrong ad copy, or forget to add the appropriate negative keywords. You might not even know what any of those things are! All of these things can be corrected over time to create a very powerful marketing channel for your business. However, that also requires a financial investment in order to obtain that “education.”
Don’t go into a PPC campaign with the mindset of “I’ll try it for a few weeks and see what it does”. That’s kind of like saying “I’m going to adopt a puppy, but if it pees on the carpet… I’m sending it back!!!”
SIGN #5 – You Have Some Time to Test & Learn
PPC campaigns are rarely (if ever) a “set it and forget it” piece of the business.
You simply cannot launch a paid search campaign and then not look at it ever again. It requires an investment in time to look at the campaign reports and see what is working and what is not.
However, if you’ve passed signs #1 – #4, don’t let #5 stop you from tapping into this valuable part of the market. You can – instead – turn to a PPC Marketing Agency that specializes in small business programs and work with them to manage the hands on optimization of the program that you don’t have time for.
All 5 Signs Point to Go?
With a solid mix of time, budget, patience and a fully functioning Website, paid search can and should be the next logical step for any small business. There are always people online searching for the products or services that you offer… just make sure that you’re ready to be found.