One topic I continuously discuss with practitioners is advertising; lately, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about Google AdWords.
Of course I’m a bigger proponent of public relations in lieu of advertising – and there are times when you want to run a joint PR and advertising campaign – but does advertising work?
Certainly it does, but I advocate that you must advertise on a regular basis with the same print and online publications in the same positions in order for any advertising to be effective. It’s not unusual to pick up a city business journal and find a CPA or accountant ad. Even a small ad works if – and again, this is a BIG if – you place the ad on a regular basis.
Now to Google AdWords. Many CPAs and accountants may find Google AdWords intriguing and effective, especially in (my opinion) smaller cities where there may not be a lot of apparent competition to the average person using Google to search for your services.
Here’s what you need to know about Google AdWords:
- Set a budget. While it’s true that you’ll only pay when people click-though to your site, you’ll still want to come up with a dollar amount you’ll want to spend on a monthly basis. Google will charge your credit card based on that cap amount. You’ll also be asked about something called “bidding and budget.” With “automatic bidding,” let Google determine how to adjust your bids to render the maximum number of clicks. You’ll spend too much time figuring this out if you do not let Google do the heavy lifting.
- Research best practices. You’ll want to analyze what other professional service providers are doing with respect to the content in an ad and how they are displayed via a search.
- Create Your Ads by Putting Yourself in the Searchers’ Shoes. Think about what you would put into a Google search if you were looking for a CPA or accountant. What would you search for? I find that the more generic the ad, the better off you’ll be. Be sure to put in your contact information with a phone and your website address. For example, a typical search of “Dayton Ohio Accountant” would render results if you practiced in Dayton.
- If you Specialize, then Point that Out Too. Yes, keep your ad generic, but also write it based on any niche industry expertise.
- Focus on Keywords. Google will want to know the keywords for your ad. This is very important and you’ll want to spend a bit of time brainstorming what they will be. After all, this is how prospects will find you.
- Test, Test, Test. I always advocate testing your ads and changing them often if you are not getting results. The worst thing you can do is create an ad, have it run 6 months with minimal results. You may as well thrown your money out the window.
There’s lots of help online for Google AdWords – simply “Google” the topic and you’ll get what you want. In addition, search for “Google Adword Best Practices” to see what others are doing and for step-by-step guides.