iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for the ‘PPC’ Category

How Can You Attract More Website Traffic?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Your website is the core of a successful digital marketing strategy. After all, 95% of customers find businesses online through their websites. But having a website with an attractive design, eye-catching calls-to-action, and friendly navigation doesn’t mean prospects will actually see it. A website that potential customers can’t find may as well not exist at all. Driving traffic to a website is what makes a digital strategy work.

Finding methods to pull more traffic to a contractor website is a core part of how iMarket Solutions helps our customers succeed in a competitive marketplace. Just as a strong digital presence through a website is essential for digital marketing success, so is a well-considered strategy created to channel traffic to the site.

You have a great website—What marketing tools will drive more traffic toward it and toward your business?

Top Marketing Tools for Stampeding Customers to Your Website

There are an immense number of digital marketing tools available to send potential customers to your contractor website. Here are a few we consider essentials:

Search Engine Optimization: SEO is still the number one tool to make your website visible to search engines and people searching for your services. A website optimized to garner traffic needs relevant keywords and phrases that search engines can easily locate and interpret. The landscape of SEO continually shifts, so any strategy to attract customers to a website must evolve to stay current with the algorithms and guidelines of the major search engines.

Social Media: Mid-sized businesses require social media to send people to their sites. Social media may seem like an impossible maze to navigate, but all these platforms have the same basic use: to develop “word-of-mouth” campaigns with a wide range. Your customers are already “hanging out” on social media, where you can approach them with a casual pitch rather than an aggressive hard-sell. A strong social media presence not only increases website traffic, it achieves other goals like building trust with customers and increasing the chance of conversions.

Search Engine Marketing: Search Engine Marketing (SEM) means using pay-per-click ads on search engines to attract traffic to your site when customers are looking for relevant services. You pay a variable amount to the search engine based on how useful customers find the ads. The better your SEM strategy, the more traffic your site receives and the less you pay for the pay-per-click ads.

Responsive Website: When we call a website “responsive,” it means the site responds to a visitor’s screen size and orientation, then alters the layout for the best visitor experience. Your potential customers use a plethora of devices to access your website. From screens as large as smart TVs to smaller smartphone screens, a successful website must adapt to whatever device a visitor uses. Don’t let customers slip away because they can’t easily navigate your site on their device of choice.

Managing Tools Into an Effective Strategy

This isn’t a comprehensive list of methods to increase website traffic. No list can be comprehensive, because digital marketing technology sprints toward the future with the speed of a cheetah. You don’t have to worry about exhausting yourself chasing that cheetah—with iMarket Solutions, you have the perfect ally to keep pace with both current and future tools. We specialize in creating success for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical contractors, so we understand how to design a strategy to drive relevant traffic to your website. We use cutting-edge technology to see that your contractor website is not only visible to prospects, but engages them, creates trust, and drives them to contact you.

For the help you need to grow your business and website traffic with an exceptional digital marketing strategy, contact a member of our team. We have the experience, knowledge, and tools to make your contractor business a success by increasing website traffic. For more than a decade, our team has sailed atop the churning sea of digital marketing, making the sailing smooth for contractors like you.

iMarket Solutions is a leader in digital marketing solutions to help contractors thrive. Contact us today to assess how you can boost traffic to your website and boost conversions.  

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The Top Myths about Paid Search (SEM): Part 2

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

In our previous blog post, we outlined some of the biggest myths out there regarding paid search, also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or Search Engine Marketing (SEM). We want to continue that discussion here. Even though those myths are the biggest, they’re not the only misplaced beliefs out there. Keep reading for a few more arguments we’ve heard against paid search and see how marketing experts debunk them.

Myth #1: Paid Search Doesn’t Work

Paid search works, if you’ve structured your account the right way. Advertisers only get charged by Google if someone clicks on their ads, so if the ads don’t get clicked on, Google Ads wouldn’t be a viable revenue stream for Google, and they would not offer it as a product. Research has revealed that Google actually makes over $1 million revenue in a day from Google Ads alone!

Myth #2: Nobody Clicks on Paid Search Ads

Let’s put it this way—if you’re meeting what the searcher needs, they are going to click on your ad! Small business owners are often worried that customers don’t trust paid ads. But the truth is, customers click on whatever looks like it’s going to get them what they need.

Additionally, Google has changed their paid ads to look more and more organic, so even if that is a factor, customers might not even see a noticeable difference. But as it stands, according to research from Moz, people are clicking on paid search ads vs. organic search results more. In fact, sponsored search results account for 64.6% of clicks for high commercial intent keyword searches.

Myth #3: You Don’t “Need” Paid Search—You Rank for Organic

That’s great that you rank for organic! There are a number of benefits to SEO. SEO is, in a sense, the long-term “big brother” to PPC and SEM. You should be using both! PPC gets you traffic immediately, but SEO is building in the background and growing your exposure and ownership in the organic world at the same time.

SEO offers a great long-term ROI, fantastic exposure, branding, and awareness, and it is cost effective. PPC gives you the ability to only pay for results, target a highly specific segment, and provide time sensitive offers that are not always possible with SEO.

Myth #4: Paid Search Isn’t Worth It for Small Businesses

The question isn’t whether paid search is right for small businesses in general—the question is if paid search makes sense for your HVAC, plumbing, or electrical company.

In order to determine whether paid search advertising (or any other marketing strategy) is worth it, you have to know your numbers. First and foremost, you should know how much you’re willing to pay for each lead you receive.

Google Ads enables clients to set a daily ad spend and a maximum bid value meaning all businesses will only spend what they can afford.

Myth #5: You Can’t or Shouldn’t Use Google Local Services, SEO, PPC and Reputation Management Together

We covered this in our previous blog post—this couldn’t be further from the truth. Any marketing methods you choose for your contracting business is going to depend on the specific needs of your business. Your needs may change over time, and you can adjust which products you invest in accordingly. But the ultimate goal is to use the right marketing products together in order to build authority and trust in your brand.

If you want to run a successful PPC campaign, you want the right people on your team, who know how to run your PPC account and integrate it with your other marketing products. That’s what you get with our team!

When you’re ready to discuss how PPC advertising for contractors can impact your brand, contact iMarket Solutions. Speak to a representative today about our full suite of contractor marketing services.

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The Top Myths about Paid Search (SEM): Part 1

Monday, May 13th, 2019

Running a contracting business without an online presence isn’t an option anymore. But what type of online marketing is right for your business? One method of marketing that’s gained popularity, but also skepticism, over the years is paid search. Also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), paid search is all about building strong accounts and analyzing the data to see how you can best optimize the data you find.

2018 Search Statistics

According to SE Leads, 43% of internet searches performed today use a local keyword and 86% of those searches convert to a phone call or visit to the physical location of the business. 61% of searchers consider local results to be more relevant than standard, organic search results, according to Resource.com.

Without knowing these statistics, however, or understanding why they are important, it’s easy to fall for one or more of the following misconceptions:

Myth #1: Paid Search Is Expensive

The thing many small business owners miss about paid search is that you pay for the clicks that your ad actually gets. So, if your ad campaigns are set up correctly, each click is going to ideally be from someone who is interested in your services.

Each of these clicks’ costs will vary depending on your keywords, keyword match type that you are bidding on, competitors bidding on that keyword, and the quality of your account. So, sure, you can spend a lot of money. But you don’t have to. You’ll want to work with a PPC expert to see how you can maximize the spend for the best ROI.

Myth #2: Clicks Don’t Convert

Have you set up tracking to actually learn whether or not your ads are converting? The fact of the matter is, about 97% of consumers go online to find local services. They’re looking for you, but it’s up to you to take steps to give them the information they need to make a decision.

With paid ad tracking, you have the ability to eliminate wasted spend on irrelevant keywords, provide a true cost-per-lead, retarget previously missed leads and sales, and improve your cost-per-click and ROI on your paid campaigns.

Myth #3: You Can’t Track the ROI of Paid Search

Yes, you can! Refer back to Myth #2, and know that with the right conversion tracking tools and KPI’s (key performance indicators) you can create highly effective strategies that convert into leads. Google Ads and paid search are not “set it and forget it” strategies, which we’ll get to in myth #4.

Myth #4: You Can “Set It & Forget It”

Paid search is effective, and it’s an excellent online marketing tool to utilize. But we never said it’s easy to implement! If you set up a Google Ads campaign without knowing how to find the right keywords, target audience, how to write good ad copy, or set up proper tracking, then it likely won’t work the way you want it to.

Beyond knowing how to run a successful paid search campaign, you also need to learn how to maintain the success of a campaign once it’s live. Once you have this down, paid search/PPC advertising can provide you with the same flexibility and opportunity for success on day 100 as it can on day 1, as long as you are consistently doing keyword research and updating your information as you track your business and conversions.

One of the perks of using this Google product is that Google tells you what people searched for that triggered your ads, and you can look at that report to make sure that those are the types of keywords you are bidding on. If your ads are showing up and you’re getting impressions (views) but not clicks, then your ads may be coming up for the right keywords but you may have to adjust the ad copy, as something is preventing viewers from going further. Then when they do click, you want to look at whether they’re converting once they get to the relevant landing page.

Myth #5: Position 1, Page 1, Is All That Matters

Page 1 is important, yes. But position is not as important. Allow us to elaborate—you want your ad copy to work on making people choose you over the other people in the 4 ad spots on the page.

If you get a top spot in the search result, it doesn’t guarantee that your ad will be clicked. It has as much chance of being clicked as the other 3 showing on the top of the page. There’s also a probability that you’ll have to pay too much for the clicks in position 1. In short, you don’t want to bid to position, you want to bid to profitability.

Myth #6: You Must Own Single Word Keywords

The majority of searches now are long tail keywords with at least 4 words and full questions. This is becoming even more common with voice search from things like Alexa and Google Home. For instance, a consumer may say, “Hey Google, find me an air conditioner repair in Dallas” which would stick you in their results if you used that long tail keyword.

The types of keywords you choose depend on what works best for your advertising campaign and budget. That’s why you have to look at what you have available for budget to spend and bid on the keywords that are going to bring in the most leads with the budget you have. Shorter keywords can be good for mining for how people are searching. But if you want to bring in leads, you typically want to have long tail keywords.

Bonus Myths!

There are two more myths we want to talk about. The first one is that many business owners believe that competitors can click on ads and drive up costs. They can. But, Google has an extremely sophisticated click fraud program in place that detects and filters out invalid clicks in real time so that businesses only pay for authentic traffic.

The second myth is that you shouldn’t use Google Local Services, SEO, PPC, and Reputation Management together, which is far from the truth! While it will depend on the specific needs of your business, using these together will help you build trust as an authority.

“What If I’ve Tried PPC Advertising and It Didn’t Work for Me?”

To put it simply, and to reiterate the points made above, the key to successful PPC advertising is proper account setup and ongoing management of your PPC advertising. It must be updated on an ongoing basis, and you need to have the right people who know how to run your PPC account.

Looking for some expert help with your PPC for contractors? Look no further than iMarket Solutions. Contact us today and learn about our full suite of contractor marketing services.

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Upgrade Your Marketing: Digital Marketing Tips for Contractors

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

You have many options when it comes to developing a marketing plan for your contracting business. Creating the right strategy is a vital part to helping your business thrive. This includes traditional marketing methods as well as newer, digital marketing strategies.

We mentioned this briefly in our last blog post about selling in the shoulder season, though it applies year round—forming a reputable digital footprint in today’s online and mobile environment is not optional. It’s key to helping you build your brand, attract leads, and build customer relationships.

If It’s Not Digital, Is It Even Marketing?

There is of course still value in traditional marketing practices, such as sending direct mail pieces that advertise your products and services, promoting your business and services from a booth at a home show, or even setting up charity events in your local area. But there is no denying that today’s consumers are increasingly mobile and web-based. Therefore, it’s essential to have a solid digital marketing plan in place.

What does this look like? Here are just a few digital marketing tips for you to keep in mind:

  1. Create a Well-Designed Website: It’s not enough to simply have a website up—it must be well designed. This means creating a site that is visually appealing, allows site visitors and customers to figure out what you’re about right away, is user-friendly (customers can find what they’re looking for instantly), and properly optimized. Don’t forget that it has to be fast and responsive—this means it works on any online and mobile device.  
  2. Optimize Your Web Pages and Blog: Weak keywords are the worst enemy to a well-designed website and blog. Choosing the right keywords to attract your target demographic requires a long-term strategy that includes understanding your competition and knowing exactly what web visitors are searching for. Trusting an experienced marketing company to create your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy will ensure that this is done correctly and that you avoid what’s known as “black hat” SEO practices—tactics that can get your website flagged by Google and other major search engines.
  3. Invest in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads: Also called “paid advertising,” PPC ads are an essential component of any effective digital marketing plan, especially in highly-competitive markets. A PPC ad is what you see on the top and right sides of search engine results pages. They’re named as such because advertisers pay each time a web visitor conducting a search clicks on one of those ads.
  4. Have a Social Media and Email Marketing Plan in Place: There’s a lot still to be said for “word-of-mouth” advertising. Social media has taken this form of marketing and amplified it. Businesses can now easily reach customers where they’re at, not necessarily to make a sale, but to engage directly with potential consumers in order to build a relationship. Email marketing is another way to effectively get the word out about your business to leads and members of your community. From eNewsletters to promotional announcements, email allows you to get your business top of mind when the recipient needs a home services contractor down the road.

Not all products are right for each and every contractor. You’ll want to work closely with a qualified professional who specializes in marketing for contractors to help determine the right mix of products for your particular contracting business. When you work with our team, you don’t have to worry about your knowledge of the digital marketing space—that’s what we are here for!

iMarket Solutions is your resource for the leading digital solutions, and other great marketing tips. We would love the opportunity to assess your current digital campaign and see where your lead opportunities are. Contact us today!

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Are Automatic Location Extensions Hurting Your Paid Search Campaigns?

Friday, October 5th, 2018

Google is gearing up to automatically enable location extensions in Google Ads for all accounts. Starting at the end of October, owners of accounts will have to opt out if they don’t want this feature to start showing up in their existing pay per click advertising.

What is a location extension?  Why is Google automatically enabling them?

A location extension is a callout in a Google PPC ad that displays your company address and links directly to a map showing the location of a business.  

In Google’s own words…

Why are location extensions important for your business? Three quarters of people who search on their smartphone for something nearby visit a related business within a day. Using location extensions, consumers can find your business locations directly from your search ads and help you drive more store visits.

Why is iMarket Disabling Location Extensions for Our Clients?

After careful consideration, iMarket has decided to proactively disable this feature across all of our accounts.  While location extensions may help certain business types, we actually consider them harmful to contractors running paid search ads for multiple reasons:

  • If a user clicks on a the link in a location extension they are immediately taken to a Google map showing the location of your business.  This feature assumes that a customer will want to visit your business. While this might be a great idea for a business like a store or restaurant, for most contractors the exact location of your business is not relevant to a customer looking for your services.  In fact, you may not wish to discourage people from using your business based on location if they are within your dispatch area.
  • Since the link in the location extension is part of your ad, you’ll be charged if a user clicks on it. This will ultimately hurt your overall pay per click performance – it deducts from your budgeted ad funds on low quality clicks.  To be successful with paid search, it’s really better to chase demand from people who have a strong interest in evaluating your company.

In our experience, we’ve rarely seen contractors convert customers using a location extension so we’ve decided to disable them. Please contact your online marketing coordinator for additional questions or further clarification.

iMarket Solutions provides digital marketing solutions for home services contractors, including Website Design and Development, SEO, SEM, Social Media, Reputation Management, Email Marketing and Live Chat services. Contact us today!

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New Google AdWords Ad Format Brings Lead Generating Click-Through Rates for Home Services

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Big news this summer in the pay-per-click advertising world – In July, Google announced the launch of a new ad format: Expanded Text Ads (ETAs). As the name implies, these new ads significantly increased the available characters in search ads, allowing advertisers to include clearer and broader messaging. They also restructured how headlines and descriptions worked. Below is what you need to know and what we here at iMarket have been doing to adapt to the change for our clients.

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Amazon Pay Per Click Ad Gone Wrong: 4 Year Old Boys for Sale (Free Shipping!)

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

As one of our employees was shopping online for Christmas presents, he ran across this pay per click ad from Amazon: a sale on four year old boys (Free 2-day shipping w/ Amazon Prime)!

Amazon Pay Per Click Ad: 4 Year Old Boy for Sale

Since he wasn’t interested in buying a child, this ad came as quite a surprise. But with free shipping…

Seriously though, how can this happen? Amazon must spend millions on its pay per click campaign, and you would think that their budget would be devoted to products they actually sell. This ad highlights why pay per click isn’t as easy as you’d think, and that careful management is needed to not only convert clicks into sales, but also prevent embarrassing ads like this one from appearing.

As a quick refresher, pay per click (PPC) ads are the results you get from a search in Google that are surrounded by a light yellow box above and/or to the right-hand side of organic search results. This is a very successful marketing tool for many companies because you only pay if a searcher actually clicks on the ad (hence the name). Advertisers essentially write an ad, include a link to their website and then bid on keywords they think prospective customers will search.

However, there is a lot more to it than that. You can tailor your ads to appear only to users in specific regions or at a specific time of day. For instance, a Florida plumber who works 8am to 8pm would not want to have his PPC ad appear at midnight to a searcher in Texas. If someone in Texas clicked on that ad, it would obviously not result in a call and that plumber will quickly waste his PPC budget. There is also dynamic keyword insertion (which is probably related to what is causing Amazon’s problem above), in which you are able to replace certain words in your ad to match the search used to trigger it. While this can tailor your ads to a searcher for a higher click through rate, it has to be carefully managed so you don’t, like Amazon, wind up advertising something that makes no sense.

This is only scraping the top of some of the elements of PPC management. There are things like quality scores, which affect where you ad is shown, and negative keyword lists to prevent your ad from displaying when people search for certain phrases. A good PPC manager will take all of these into account and be able to increase your conversion rate from PPC ads and lower your cost per click. Your PPC campaign also needs to be examined on a regular basis to ensure that the clicks you are getting are turning into sales and leads. Certain keywords work better for certain businesses and regions, and careful attention is needed to create ads that will get you as many customers as possible.

Since even retail giants like Amazon can make mistakes, it’s clear that PPC is not something you want to turn over to the amateurs. iMarket not only offers professional PPC management, but with our call tracking service, we are able to determine what PPC ads are leading to sales. We have the tools to make your campaign worth every penny you spend on it. And to ease your mind, Amazon is not selling 4 year old boys. When you click on the ad, it takes you to their Toys & Games page, filtered by items for “4 year old boys”.

Amazon PPC Result

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