Running PPC campaigns in Southampton
If you’re looking to run a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign in Southampton, then there are various options available to you. Let’s take a closer look at the platforms that you can use, together with the best approaches for delivering results that are tailored to the needs of your business?
PPC advertising explained
We all know that an increasing number of purchases are being made online, meaning that visibility in this area is critical for most businesses. When deciding to buy online (whether for personal or business use), most of us begin the process by using a search engine. In fact, the latest data for the UK market suggests that more than 85% of online transactions begin this way.
This means that, in order to ensure that your business has the required level of visibility, you need to ensure that you can be found nice and easily within the results displayed on the main search engines. In the UK, the landscape is dominated by Google, with both Yahoo and Bing also drawing a level of searches. Aside from the search engines, social media plays an important role too, with many us particularly keen to listen to personal recommendations.
PPC advertising provides a quick way for you to place ads for your business within the search engine results pages and on to key social media platforms. You typically pay for each click that you receive onto your business website. If used effectively, PPC represents a great way to get highly targeted traffic to your site.
Why target Southampton?
Should you use your paid search campaigns specifically to target Southampton and the surrounding area? There are clearly advantages to doing so, particularly if you already have a local presence. Southampton’s population was estimated at just over 250,000 people in 2010 and the area along the coast, including Portsmouth, has a total population of around 900,000. This means that there is a substantial market in place. If you want to win local business, then it’s evident that there’s plenty to play for.
We’re all aware that many consumers and business clients will tend to make use of local service providers in the first instance. If you have that local presence, then a targeted advertising campaign would have the ability to deliver results.
How can you target this area?
If we turn our attention to Google in the first instance, then we can see that there are a number of targeting options that can allow for precise results. The core platform for PPC advertising via Google is what is known as their Google AdWords system. You’ve probably seen a lot of AdWords ads over the years, even if you’ve not realised that this is what they are called!
It’s free to sign up for an AdWords account and you define the budget each month. Google are always keen to encourage new sign-ups and run regular offers, often providing “free” advertising, if you’re prepared to spend a certain amount yourself. Here at Search South, we are a Google Partner agency, meaning that we have access to special offers for our clients.
Within an AdWords account, you can create standard search campaigns that seek to target specific locations. Let’s say that you are plumber, specialising in work for large commercial clients. You might be interested in appearing when Google users enter the search term: commercial plumbers. But you may only want your ad to appear if the search is carried out by someone who’s currently located within Southampton (possibly because you don’t want to travel greater distances). Google’s location targeting options allow you create an ad that fulfills this exact purpose.
But what if someone is currently in London and is searching for commercial plumbers Southampton. Although they aren’t currently in Southampton themselves (they could be away on business), it would appear that they are seeking your services. Once again, you can create ads that cover this exact eventuality.
As you can probably see, flexible targeting of this type enables advertisers to really focus on their core audience. That level of targeting is a necessity.
What can go wrong?
We’re often approached by businesses that have tried using AdWords or Facebook Ads and have found that these channels “don’t work”. Given that we help numerous clients who do produce positive results from the same channels, it’s safe to say that the idea that they “don’t work” doesn’t really hold water! In reality, those who have failed to get results will often have fallen into the following traps:
- Incorrect targeting: This is a key problem, whereby an advertiser may have selected keywords that are too broad in their nature. This may result in ads being seen frequently and clicked often, but rarely by those who represent the real target audience and are thus ready to part with money. This particular issue usually results in a significant level of spending, with disappointing results.
- Poor ad copy: Ad copy needs to be appealing and relevant. If your ads are of poor quality, then you can expect to receive fewer clicks than you should be getting, while Google’s algorithm will punish you for those poorly performing ads, actually increasing the advertising costs. On the flip-side, there may be a temptation to over-promise within your ad copy. This can also be fatal to your advertising hopes, leading to plenty of clicks, but few conversions.
- Landing pages that aren’t optimised: The ads are only part of the story. What happens when a visitor reaches your website? Are they likely to give you a call, drop you an email, or complete a form on your website? Would they even be aware that this is what you want them to do? The landing page experience has a huge impact upon the performance of any advertising campaign, making it absolutely critical that you focus on getting it right.
- Lack of conversion tracking: In order to understand whether a PPC campaign is performing to the required level, it’s necessary to track visitor behaviour. How many people click on the ad, but then bounce back off the site? When you do receive leads, which keywords triggered those interactions? Which ads did Google users click on? Without that level of data, it’s unlikely that you’ll be making the most of your campaigns.
- Assuming that all platforms work in the same way: Your approach on AdWords should be different to your approach on Facebook or Twitter Ads. If you imagine that you can basically role out the same campaign to a wide variety of different audiences, then it’s likely that you’ll run into trouble.
Want to know more?
As a Google Partner agency, we can help with your Southampton paid search campaigns. Contact us today to discuss your requirements. We look forward to hearing from you.
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