Generating Affordable Leads for Your Small Business: Part Two – Search Engine Marketing
By: Michael | Published: August 6, 2010 | Filed under: Small Business Advice, Small Business Tools
This post is a continuation a series about how to utilize various internet advertising platforms to generate leads for your business.
Search engine marketing is a very effective, targeted way to help your business generate new leads. The beauty of search engine marketing is that you only have to pay for the advertisements when someone successfully expresses an interest in your offering. This is achieved by paying on a “cost-per-click” model. Let’s dive into which search engines you can advertise on, how this type of advertising works, what it costs, and some tips for successful campaigns.
Each of the three most prominent search engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN “Bing,” all have their own ad platform. Their respective platforms are AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and adCenter. Something very important to remember with this model is how the targeting works. On this platform, you can indicate which keywords are relevant to what your business is offering. When a surfer enters one of the keywords that you are bidding on into a search query, assuming you are one of the highest bidders, your ad will be displayed. Noting this, consider what type of information or services your ideal client would be searching for and target accordingly. A great tool to help you generate lists of relevant keywords is the Google External Keyword Tool. Start by entering a few phrases that your audience might search for in the “word or phrase” box. Then click “Search” and browse the keyword ideas. From here you can check off each keyword that you feel is relevant and download the list.
Search engine advertising pricing tends to be very reasonable. You are only charged when someone who sees your ad, clicks on it. For the most part, a click on your ad indicates that the person clicking is somewhat interested in your offering. Since you’re only showing your ad on relevant search results, and only paying when someone is clicking your ad, this is one of the most targeted advertisement platforms available. Pricing is set based on a bidding model. The higher your bid, the higher on the results page your ad will be displayed.
In addition to having to target relevant keywords, it is very important to make sure your ad copy clearly indicates what you are offering. This is crucial because you want as many relevant people to your site as possible. For example, if you are offering something for free in exchange for completing your lead form, indicate it. At the same time, make sure the verbiage of the ad clearly states what your company offers. It is not worth attracting people to click your ad if they are not interested in what you are selling since you have to pay for these clicks. Using numerous ad copies can help you determine which is driving the most relevant traffic for the cheapest price.
For best results, you will want to drive the search engine traffic to the lead page that you have created for your service offering. (For tips on how to create or optimize your lead page, read Part One of this series.) Each of the advertising networks will have a very useful feature called “conversion tracking.” it is highly recommended that you take full advantage of this functionality so that you can optimize your campaigns accordingly. Conversion tracking will give you a small line of code to place on the page after the successful completion of your lead form. This will pass information back to the advertising platform about which ad copy and keyword delivered the conversion. Data from conversion tracking can help you quickly determine which of your keywords and ad copies are performing the best, and which are too expensive to maintain.
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