By Craig Barrett
When it comes to getting the most from your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign, there's no one magic solution. Self-storage operators who pay for this type of online marketing need to be aware of what’s drawing customers in—and what isn’t. Here are five simple steps they can take to ensure their pay-per-click advertising is worth every dollar spent.
1: Watch your Quality Score
Did you know you might be paying $5 for a click from Google AdWords while the guys sitting one position above you pay just $2? It’s not fair, but it’s reality. The Google “quality score” is the black box by which Google ranks advertisers against each other.
How much you pay per click and where your ad appears is, in part, controlled by this score. No one knows exactly how it operates or how much it affects your campaigns, but we do know that keywords and ad groups with a higher click-through-rate (CTR) will get a better quality score than those with poor CTR. In turn, those with excellent quality scores will pay less—sometimes much less—than those with poor ones.
To start increasing your quality score, look at the keywords in your account that have a poor score (three or below) and pause them. If you think a keyword is highly relevant, consider changing the match type or increasing the bid so it can get more clicks and increase the CTR.
Google also considers the bounce rate of your landing page, so make sure you’re sending visitors to a highly relevant page.
Note that you cannot always increase a quality score. Each term should be individually considered.
2: Test More Ads
In every single ad group, you should be running two to three ads. The difference between a good ad and a mediocre one can mean 10 percent to 20 percent more self-storage reservations per month, so it’s worth your time to continually improve copy. Let each group run for 30 days, then prune the lower-performing ads and create two new variations. Remember to look at both conversion rate and CTR when determining which ad is more effective.
It’s also in your best interest to explore a wide variety of ad variations. Every season can have an entirely different type of ad copy. What works for students during the summer will probably not be the right choice to attract boaters storing their toys in the winter. Don’t be afraid to create some funny ads, show your best prices or test different specials. Your ad needs to stand out from all the others if you want to grab searchers’ attention.
3: Stop Using Broad Match So Darn Much
If you keep the Google defaults when setting up your PPC campaign, you’re letting the fox build the henhouse. If you let one of their representatives create your campaign, you’ve allowed the fox to staff and configure the henhouse as well.
One of the easiest things to overlook is how Google will default your keywords to broad match, one of three main match types. In broad match, Google will attempt to show your ad to anyone who searches that keyword or any variation of the keyword Google thinks might be related.
Trust me, Google thinks a lot of things might be related to self-storage.
How bad can it be? Well, if you buy a word like “Houston storage rentals,” don’t be surprised if your ad appears when someone searches “cargo shipping containers.” This means you’ll end up with a lot of junk clicks.