Search engine marketing is tough when you first start.
You’re competing against established companies in AdWords. To add to it, the organic-SEO section takes a while to start showing your site. Not easy.
Here are seven tips and tools you can use to hit the ground running.
1. APPROVE ADS BEFORE LAUNCHING
Major platforms like Google and Facebook have an approval process. Your ads don’t go live the moment you click “Save.” For Facebook, it’s usually pretty fast but Google can take over a day. Keep this in mind when launching. Here are two pitfalls:
For Google, trademarked terms in ad copy will often lead to disapproval. This may not apply to you, but keep this in mind especially if you’re reselling and haven’t gotten permission to use their trademark. Here is Google’s trademark policy.
For Facebook, a common disapproval reason is too much text on your ads. FB is a visual medium versus Google search which is the opposite. Personally, I no longer put text on images for Facebook unless I’m boosting a post.
2. ‘AD PREVIEW’ TOOLS TO TEST YOUR ADS
If you click on the wrench icon in the upper right in AdWords, there’s a tool called “Ad Preview and Diagnosis.” This allows you to see if your ad is visible on Google. It also provides helpful insights so you can get your ad to show. You could just Google your own name but too much of that can hurt your Ad Rank.
This tool is very helpful for gauging how you are performing. I love that it tells you if your ad ranked on the first page.
3. KEYWORD PLANNER TO FIND NEW SEARCH TERMS
Located in the same place as the Ad Preview tool is the Keyword Planner. This is the most important AdWords tool when launching your business.
You’ll need it for estimating your budgets.
Think of terms people might use when searching for you. The planner estimates the cost and volume of them.
This process is called keyword research. It’s a preliminary step you need to perform before you launch.Remember that you’ll need to be adding keywords and negatives every month going forward.
4. TEST YOUR LANDING PAGE
Test your landing page BOTH internally and externally. Have someone outside your company fill out your online form. The form might be confusing or too burdensome to complete.
Without an effective landing page, all your campaigns will be little more than branding.
Finally, never direct people to your home page. Your landing page should have a purpose like gaining a web fill, down load, phone call or purchase. Choose the best page or pages and streamline them.
5. DEVELOP A FREE OFFERING
When you see this, you may object for obvious reasons: Why give away products and services? The free offering is primarily for branding purposes. When you first launch, your brand has little identity. The free give away is a great opportunity for you to find testimonials and evangelists. Having written endorsements on your site builds credibility. At the same time, finding influencers to evangelize your company on social media will gain you exposure.
Keep in mind that the free offering does not need to be on expensive items. You can offer free consultations or even samples.
WARNING: “Free” often sounds like “cheap.” Be careful that you’re not devaluing yourself.
6. AD EXTENSIONS FOR YOUR FIRST DAYS IN BUSINESS
The next time you look at a Google ad, notice what’s around it. You’ll see terms like “Free Shipping” or “30 Day Trial.” There could be a link to a phone number or a link to a promotion on the site. These are ad extensions. You should always have them but especially when you launch. When you first start, ad extensions will add value in two main ways:
First, the location extensions boost your local presence. Local marketing and local SEO are critical for many businesses. However, the SEO side can take a while. Claiming your Google Business page can be slow. Often, you have to wait for a postcard to verify your business.
Location extensions give you instant local-awareness.
Second, remember the free offer from above? You can use call-out extensions to promote that.
7. BRANDED CAMPAIGNS ARE CRITICAL
Branded campaigns are when you bid on your own name in AdWords. Different agencies have different opinions on whether they’re a waste of money. Some say that anyone who searches for you would find you anyway. So why pay for your own name?
Because Google takes time to show you organically. The organic results are right below the ads. LinkedIn and Facebook pages could show before your Google results.
That’s where the branded campaign comes in. By bidding on your own name, you’ll appear at the very top of the page. You can totally shape your message however you want. In short, in the early stages, a branded campaign might be your best presence on Google.
These seven tips will prove essential in the pre- and post-launch period. A little preparation will help build local brand value and give you a good start for finding your first clients.