Guest post by Sophie Logan
Search campaigns can be a very powerful tool for Lead Generation businesses. This is because they can put ads in front of potential customers who are actively searching for a product or service they provide, a level of intent rarely found in other marketing methods.
However, before you jump into your PPC platform of choice and start running your first campaign, there are some important things to know about running Search campaigns for Lead Generation. These are applicable to Lead Generation businesses of any size or industry, and will help you to ensure you have the context and foundations ready to launch an effective Search campaign.
1. Search campaigns are designed to capture demand, not create it.
When someone uses Google to search for a product or service, they are actively seeking out additional information and/or for a provider. The role of Search campaigns is to capture those individuals by bringing them to the website to either make a phone call, submit some form of enquiry form, sign up or make an appointment.
You’re looking for a dog groomer for nervous dogs? Well, here’s an ad for our business which provides dog grooming services in the comfort of your own home!
What Search campaigns can’t do is encourage people to search for a product or service in the first place, as Search ads only show when a search is being carried out. If people aren’t searching for dog groomers who specialise in nervous dogs because they don’t know this type of service exists, then your ads aren’t going to be shown.
It is therefore important that your Search campaigns are a part of your marketing strategy, and not the entirety of your marketing efforts. You will need to work on demand generation to help build awareness and interest in the product/service you provide with your target audience. Whilst you can do this through other forms of PPC campaigns, such as Discovery and Video, you can also do it through organic methods. For example:
Blogs: Use this to address common questions and issues you see arise in your business, and explain how you can solve them. For example: Write an article about what dog owners can do when they have a nervous dog which needs grooming, and what methods you use to help calm anxious dogs.
Social: Create social media accounts where you post content about the product/service you provide and how they are the solution your target audience needs. For example: A before and after photo of a dog who has not been groomed for a while due to its anxiety, with an explanation of what you did to make them feel at ease.
Events: Attend local meetings and industry events relevant to your product or service, and get the word out about the product/service you offer. For example: Attending a local dog show and networking with breeders and attendees, where you explain what services you provide and your specialisms.
Video Content: Create video content where you address common concerns of your target audience. For example: A TikTok video where you talk about how common it is for dogs to be afraid of the loud noises in dog grooming salons, and how by grooming in your single dog, at-home salon, you can reduce sensory overload.
Remember, your Search ads can only show if people are making relevant searches. Work on improving the awareness and interest in your product or services, so that your Search campaigns can be ready to capture them once they’re ready to engage.
2. You need to know your target audience inside out.
Whilst knowing your target audience is always an important aspect of any form of marketing, it is very important when it comes to Search campaigns, for 3 main reasons:
Keywords: You need to understand the type of words and phrases your target audience use to best produce keyword lists which reflect how they search online. What are they going to be searching for? What words would they use? What abbreviations do they know?
For example, is your target audience more likely to use the acronym ‘DevOps’ instead of searching for ‘development operations’ because they are senior software engineers who are familiar with the terminology.
Ensuring that you are using the types of keywords and phrases your target audience is likely to use is crucial for ensuring your ads are shown in relevant searches. You don’t want to miss out on someone looking for something you offer because you weren’t using the type of language they use.
A great way to find out this type of insights is by reading content your target audience consumes or writes, such as blogs and social posts. Check websites you know they frequent, read blog sites specific to their industry and follow trending topics across social platforms.
Demographics: With Search campaigns you can implement demographic targeting to ensure your ads only appear for those within your target audiences demographics.
Depending on your location, demographic targeting options include age range, gender, parental status and household income. Adding these caveats to your Search campaigns can help to ensure that your ads are only shown to an audience relevant to your product or service.
For example: if you run aerobics classes for those over the age of 65, you can restrict your ads to only show for those who are in the 65+ category. You wouldn’t want your ads showing to those under the age of 65, as they would not be eligible to sign up for your classes.
However, platforms are not able to generate demographic information for all users or for those who have opted out, meaning that some will fall under the ‘unknown’ category. It is therefore recommended that you do not exclude this category from your targeting, as you could miss out on reaching individuals who are relevant, but who just can not be categorised as such.
Locations: Unless your product or service is eligible for everyone across the world, you will want to ensure that you utilise location targeting so that your Search ads only show in locations you serve. Not only will this save you wasting spend on Clicks which aren’t going to lead to potential customers, but it should also reduce the amount of irrelevant calls/leads/sign up/appointment bookings which come through.
For example: if you are an emergency plumber and will only travel 15 miles outside of your home location, then you need to ensure that your location targeting reflects this.
Think about the logistics of how your product or service is delivered before deciding on your location targeting. Be realistic and use data of existing customers to gauge where your limits lie.
If you can serve an international audience, and unless you have an incredibly large budget, you are going to need to start by targeting small pockets of locations. Look at where your highest value customers are based and start by targeting there, and then expand out once you are happy with performance and ready to increase the size of your reach.
3. Your ad copy can make or break your campaign.
Your ad copy is likely to be the first impression that a potential has of your business, so you need to make it count. To do this, your ad copy should not only demonstrate that you are a suitable provider for the product or service they are actively seeking, but also that you can do it better than your competitors. Addressing these two points in your ad copy will result in a perfect mix of persuasion and relevance.
– To demonstrate that you are a suitable provider for the product or service, make sure that your ad copy includes the keywords they have searched for. This not only instantly shows them that your ad is relevant, but brings a sense of familiarity to your messaging.
For example: If your keywords list refers to ‘custom-made chandeliers’, then make sure you use ‘custom-made’ in your ad copy instead of ‘made-to-measure’. Whilst the relevance is still there, people have used particular words and phrases for a reason, so your ad should reflect this.
– To encourage them to choose you over a competitor, you need to highlight what is unique about you, or your product or service. Don’t just highlight a feature or element which is standard for the industry, such as having a customer service team, define how you go above and beyond your competitions such as ‘24/7 customer service’, ‘Award-winning customer service team’ or ‘Dedicated account manager. Whilst this type of information is likely to already be on your website, you need to show off these points in your ad copy to encourage that individual to Click through to your site in the first place.
For example: If you are a hairdresser then don’t use your ad copy to just talk about the services you offer, but what is unique to your business such as your experience (Styling Hair for Over 25 Years’), your salon experience (Be Pampered in Our Beautiful, Newly Refurbished Salon) or your booking options (Book Your Appointment Online in 3 Quick & Easy Steps).
Remember, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’.
Search campaigns are a fantastic way to get your business in front of a relevant audience with the right intent to convert. Just make sure you pair them with demand generation strategy, that your targeting is tailored to your ideal audience and that your ad copy really shows off what makes your business the go to provider.
Now go capture those leads!
About Sophie Logan
Sophie is the Head of Paid Media at Victress Digital, a PPC and Social Media agency based in Nottingham, UK. A lover of all things Lead Gen, Sophie has a particular interest in B2B and SaaS brands, and specialises in both Search and Display Campaigns.