Michael Utley: Hey, welcome to episode 33 of the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast. Michael, this is Chris.
Chris Raines: How you doing, Michael?
Michael Utley: Good, happy Friday. And we're going to talk about how to plan a successful paid search campaign. We're going to cover some basics. Chris is our resident expert in paid search marketing. So I'm going to sort of interview you for this one.
Chris Raines: Okay.
Michael Utley: So let's talk about this. Use bottom funnel and middle funnel keywords. What does that mean? Why do we want to do it? How is that important for paid search advertising?
Chris Raines: Yeah. So when we talk about funnel, we talk about where the customer is in their journey from being aware of their problem, to being aware of solutions and being aware of your particular solution. Usually, it's time-based, the more time goes on, the more people advance into the funnel, if they're going to advance in the funnel. So an example would be, if you're an orthopedic surgeon, a bottom funnel keyword would be something like “orthopedic surgeon in Nashville near me”.
Michael Utley: Near me, Or very high intent.
Chris Raines: Yeah. These are people that are, this is what I would call a professional search. They're searching for professionals to solve their problem or an external person to solve the problem. A mid-funnel search or top-funnel search might be how to stop chronic knee pain, right? That's someone who is now aware of their problem, and they're looking for solutions, but they don't quite know what kind of solution they want. They want to know if they can solve it with over-the-counter medication. They want to know if there's some kind of apparatus they can wear on their knee. So that's a mid-funnel search. They're not hot leads, but they're in the realm of possibly needing your services. Right? And so the point is, is we should target both.
Now, I will say that bottom-funnels should be priority. So if you have a smaller budget, you should probably only target bottom-funnel, because those are the people that are most likely to convert. As you max out your bottom funnel keywords, so if it's knee surgery, if it's a ortho... Back to the orthopedic example, if you've maxed out, if you're addressing all the searches for knee surgeon near me, orthopedic surgery practices in city, whatever it is, then you move up the funnel, right and you start trying to grab... Now, these clicks are going to be cheaper because they're less likely to convert.
Michael Utley: Little less competition?
Chris Raines: Could be less competition, probably more competitors because you're going to get all kinds of service providers. You're going to get, you might get pharmaceutical competitors. You might get people that are selling products to address knee by gels or whatever. But they're going to be less expensive per click. There's going to be way more clicks and they're going to convert less often, too. But so, as you go, make sure that you're saturating your bottom-funnel. And then as that gets saturated, you can move up funnel.
Michael Utley: Okay. Based heavily on budget and just how much you can do at one time.
Chris Raines: Right. Right.
Michael Utley: Good. All right. Yeah. That's great. And then next we're talking about how to make paid search campaigns successful. One of our questions, or one of our bullet points here, is give people a reason to click. It seems, on first pass, it seems kind of obvious. They're doing a search on the internet. They have a reason, but what does this mean? What does it mean to give people a reason to click?
Chris Raines: Yeah. So when people are searching, they are looking for the result that is going to come closest to solving their problems. So the first thing I would say in giving people a reason to click is make sure that your ads line up as closely as possible with your keyword targets. Right? And so, and back to the orthopedic example, if you're targeting knee doctor in Nashville, your ad should probably say knee doctor, Nashville knee doctors.
Michael Utley: So they know that they're on the right track.
Chris Raines: Yeah. And we all do this when we're searching. If we search for something and a result comes up that's exactly the same thing that we searched, you're more likely to click that. Now they might click orthopedic surgeons in Nashville as well, but that's less relevant because it's not the terminology that they used. So the first thing I would say is make sure that your ads line up as closely as possible to your keyword. So that's just arranging your ad groups to where your keywords and your ads are really tightly synced.
Michael Utley: And for this idea of giving people a reason to click. How about offers?
Chris Raines: Yeah. So the second thing is like how you qualitatively communicate your business. So the first thing is relevance, which is trying to match the terminology they used based on the keyword. And the second is if you have anything that's a unique offer... So an example would be save 25% on your first order. A lot of storage facilities do things like get your first month for free. So those are really compelling offers. Some people see that. It gives them a reason to click if it's a compelling offer.
Another thing you can do is put some kind of unique selling proposition in the ad text. So if you're a large flooring warehouse, for instance, you might say 78 hardwood varieties. So if you're in the market for hardwood floors, it's pretty compelling to go to a website that has 78 different, you can browse through.
Michael Utley: You know, oh, this is obviously the place. They're going to have what I need.
Chris Raines: Yeah. They're going to have what you need. They have a great chance to have what I need. Another one is any kind of differentiator that you can put forth for you in the marketplace. So an example might be, and now you have to back these up, you can't just say it. Google has rules and you have to sort of, you can't like, you have to be kind to be honest with this stuff.
But if you were voted by some entity as the number one LASIK practice in your market, that's a really compelling thing. It builds in trust and credibility with the user. And so if you're advertising for LASIK surgery and you are, you were voted the number one LASIK practice, that's a really great thing to put in your ad text. And it's going to get more clicks than say, just some other differentiators. So anything that you can find that's a differentiator or unique selling proposition to put right there in the ad is going to increase your click-through rate with your-
Michael Utley: And I'm noticing there's a lot of numbers, a lot of superlatives, and a lot of numbers.
Chris Raines: I love numbers. I love numbers. There's, for some reason, I mean, it's why blogs will do top 10 lists and 57 ways to improve whatever. We're drawn to numbers in a weird way that I don't really know how to describe, but anytime you can use, that's why the 78 hardwood varieties is so specific.
Michael Utley: So specific. Yeah.
Chris Raines: And it's people are drawn to that.
Michael Utley: Yeah. That's good. Next up. Make sure you're measuring everything that matters. What is this about?
Chris Raines: So this is conversion tracking. So one of the things that I see when I do campaign audits for maybe people that are doing PPC internally, or maybe they don't have, they've got a vendor that doesn't quite have it all together, is they're not really tracking conversion. So it's a really. . .
Michael Utley: Yeah. Maybe they have the toll-free number they've been using for 20 years since. I know that's our phone number.
Chris Raines: Yeah. So the primary way that you optimize a PPC campaign is that you want to know which clicks are getting you the results that you want. So what matters on a website? Depending on what your business is, it can be different things. For a lot of local businesses, it's who's picking up the phone to call.
So you can use services like CallRail or PhoneWagon, or other services to actually track in which visitors are calling. So you can actually trace the call right back to the keyword that the person used and the ad that they clicked and so on. So that's really valuable information. It can tell you which keywords and ads are successful and which ones aren't, and you can switch the ones off that aren't successful and bid up on the ones that are successful to get more bids.
Michael Utley: So we're talking about not just tracking to get as many clicks as possible, but we're optimizing to the conversion.
Chris Raines: Optimizing conversion. That's because—
Michael Utley: Sale. Yeah. Eventually the sale. Yeah.
Chris Raines: Right. And some of the things you convert are... If you've got a form on your website, you should always be tracking form- fill completions on that. And I would even back that down to, in terms of conversion tracking, if you've got maybe something that isn't going to have a large number of conversions, and you know that maybe there's something further up in the, what do we call it... Threat level that you can track. So let's—
Michael Utley: Like a lower threat level.
Chris Raines: A lower threat level conversion. It could be something as simple as a video view.
Michael Utley: Yeah. And we sort of talk about that as a, not asking for marriage on the first date.
Chris Raines: Yeah. So maybe you want to track, if you've got a service that is maybe really expensive, maybe requires a lot of consultation.
Michael Utley: A big ticket, complex B2B sale.
Chris Raines: Yeah. So maybe if you're called, maybe you have a video on the page that articulates whatever services maybe you want to track when people watch 75% of that video, because that's valuable to you. It's not quite there to like picking up the phone, calling, or filling out the form, but it indicates a level of interest that matters to you.
So for businesses that don't get a lot of form-fills or phone calls because of the nature of what they're selling, the micro conversion is a really good way to do that. But yeah, measuring everything that matters is probably foundationally important to any. . . Because you're paying for these clicks, you're paying for these conversions. So you want to know when the thing that you're after, the result that you're after, when it's actually happening and what's driving that result.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Even if the eventual conversions a little bit further afield of what's part of the online experience, if there's not a sale that's happening in that exchange, there are other things that are intermediary steps that you know are going to help you understand the health of your advertising.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: That's great. Next up, drive traffic to unique landing pages. We don't really run paid search campaigns where we throw traffic over to the homepage of a website, do we? We haven't done that for years and years. So what does this mean, drive traffic to unique landing pages?
Chris Raines: Yeah. So this is back to that question of relevance, right? Homepages are a unique page on the website in that really the goal home homepage is to communicate everything that you do. Right? So if you're a contractor, for instance, you want to put, "Oh, we do kitchen remodeling. We do custom homes. We do bathroom remodels. We do back decks." And so on. The problem with that is it's not really relevant to anyone's search intent. A more powerful way to do is, let's take the contractor example, is direct people to, so if they search for kitchen remodeling, they'll send it to the home page where they can see the whole 20 part menu.
Michael Utley: Where they essentially have to then start doing the work.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: To click the right place.
Chris Raines: Because they're thinking like kitchen, kitchen, kitchen, and then they come on, they visit a homepage that says, "Hey, we do all this as a contractor." They have to start looking for the service pages and look for... Better to send those people to a dedicated kitchen remodeling page because that's right in line with their search intent. And then you would take queries for say bathroom remodeling, send them to a bathroom remodeling page, back porch builds, send them to a porch, so on and on and on. And it's all about creating that relevance.
So when someone types, kitchen remodeling, they see a kitchen remodeling ad. And when they click that ad, they're at a kitchen remodeling page. So everything is super relevant and you're communicating with them. "We do exactly what you're looking for. Here's exactly what you need to see for your search query." So as much as you can, it's that three part, try of keyword, ad, landing page. The more you can line those up and make those as relevant as possible, the more success you're going to have.
Michael Utley: The better it's going to convert. Yeah. I think of it as a real shift from how a website works. When someone comes to your website, they could be there for anything that's on your website and you really want to kind of make sure that they've got the highlights of everything that you do. And you're just going to sort of hedge your bets on making sure that they know the breadth of what you're doing. But in paid search advertising, you're actually able to control a lot of that experience much differently. You can sort of pre-make those decisions and offer a significantly improved experience for them in terms of relevance.
Chris Raines: Yeah. And there's a lot of things that on the homepage that are absolutely irrelevant for people. An example might be about us, history and all that, employment. It's a reason a lot of times when you create landing pages for PPC, you're actually stripping out the entire navigation menu entirely because you don't want those things as a distraction. So you want to focus their, things that they can do on the page to as close to one thing as possible.
Michael Utley: Right. Yeah. Our headers tend to be a branding or a logo and then a click to call phone number and a button to fill out a form.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: Or request contact.
Chris Raines: Yep.
Michael Utley: Next up. How to plan a successful paid search campaign, make follow-up a priority. This includes automatic emails, texting, syncing up with your CRM. What's the importance of follow-up when we're doing paid search really well?
Chris Raines: It's incredibly important. And the reason is because people's, what am I going to call it? Hot/cold level is at the hottest on the moment that they fill out the form.
Michael Utley: And it starts dropping every second.
Chris Raines: And it drops every hour after that. And probably, maybe even every minute, it's a-
Michael Utley: It's a half-life scenario.
Chris Raines: They're at their hottest right then. So to the point where, if you're in a more competitive field, we go back to the contractor remodeling example. If you don't have an auto follow-up process, this is so important for highly competitive businesses where, especially consumer facing businesses. If you're in one of those businesses and say, somebody fills out a form on a Friday at 5:30 forget a kitchen remodeling quote. And you don't check your mail and you let Friday go by, Saturday go by, Sunday go by. And you get in the office. You've got stuff to do on Monday. And then finally at 12, you check your email and you see it and you respond. They're gone. They're gone.
Michael Utley: They are water under the bridge. They've already talked to two or three other people.
Chris Raines: They've already gotten the quotes. They've already been to Home Advisor. They've got a phone conversation. They've already got somebody out at the house. Right. You've got to capture those people right away, which is why, just things like answering the phone when people call. Having a system to intake those phone calls and setting up, it's really easy with email marketing softwares now to set up, if you know that you can't be there to like immediately respond, do things like send them an automatic email.
Michael Utley: So, set expectations.
Chris Raines: And say, "Hey, we got your quote". We will respond to you within six hours and we'll set up a time to come by your house and give you an estimate. Or even better yet, if you've got the phone number as part of the intake, the leap process, it's really easy now to set up an automatic text to those people and say, "Hey, it's Michael Utley with Epps Remodeling. Saw where you filled out the form. I'm out of the office for the next two hours." Or whatever, however you want. But communicate to them that like, "Hey, I got your inquiry. This matters to us." And here are the next steps.
Michael Utley: You did something there that I always think of, as soon as you can shift them over from, we're a company to this is the person you're dealing with.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: When it's personal, suddenly there, I think that people shift out of sort of scanning the horizon mode into more, "This is the person I think can help me." And they're only going to start so many of those types of conversations at a time. They really don't want to be deep in the weeds with three or four different people who are giving them quotes and pricing and building rapport. So, as soon as you can humanize it and you can do some of that with automated messages.
Chris Raines: Yep.
Michael Utley: The sooner you humanize it, you're sort of hijacking them out of scan the horizon mode and into, "This is my guy."
Chris Raines: Yeah.
Michael Utley: Or this is my girl. This is who I'm working with.
Chris Raines: So, if you're the remodeling company, don't send an automatic email from the info@eppsremodeling. Send an email-
Michael Utley: From jason@-
Chris Raines: Yeah. Jason@eppsremodeling. It's got his picture down there at the bottom with his role like sales associate.
Michael Utley: He's excited that he's going to get to talk to you.
Chris Raines: Smiling.
Michael Utley: And he's got expectations.
Chris Raines: And it's just a text email, Hi, insert name. Saw where you were interested in insert service. Remodeling. Like when can we set up a time to come by? We're looking forward to it. Just something as simple as that can really capture people like I said, at the height of their intent level.
Michael Utley: That's right.
Chris Raines: Rather than waiting to manually do it. And maybe they're out of market already, maybe they reached out to somebody else. So you really got to capture them early.
Michael Utley: That's good though. Yeah. There are a lot of ways to cut down on the leakage of a campaign with fast response, personalizing as quickly as possible. That's good.
Chris Raines: Yeah.
Michael Utley: Chris Raines, thank you. This has been great. Subscribe, drop your comments below. Say hi to us. Let us know you're out there and thank you for everyone who's engaged with us and let us know that you're listening to these episodes. We really enjoy hearing from you. Thanks so much. And we'll see on the next one.
Chris Raines: Later, later.