A few paid search tips we’ve picked up along the way…

You’re reading this blog, which means you’re probably in the limo industry, and most likely you excel at all things ground transportation. But digital marketing – one of the most popular advertising channels in the limo industry – is a completely different landscape, and one that poses a bit of a hurdle for many small businesses due to its complex nature. Since we learned paid search (one type of advertising under the broad “search engine marketing” or “SEM” umbrella) on the fly, we wanted to share with you our thoughts on a few of the not-so-obvious questions we had.

1) Why should I pay to advertise on my own brand name?

We agree, it doesn’t make sense at first…but the benefits of doing so vastly outweigh the costs. It’s cheap, it’s easy to rank highly, and it signals legitimacy in the marketplace in the minds of your customers. And, perhaps most importantly, your competitors will likely bid on your name in an attempt to steal your customers, so it’s imperative that you outrank them. There’s a reason nearly every large brand you can think of advertises on their own brand keyword.

2) Negative keyword? Say what?

Negative keywords are those keywords for which you specify that you do not want to show your ad. A good way to see what negative keywords you should be using is to look at the search data itself (available in your search engine’s advertising dashboard) to see what types of search queries are drawing clicks. If, for example, your bid on the broad phrase “car service” is bringing in clicks from people searching for “car service mechanics”, you need to add the word “mechanic” as a negative keyword.

3) $10 per click? $100 per click? $1,000 per click? Where’s the manual on how much I should bid per click?

Generally speaking, what matters is conversions – that is, the number of times a user completes a specific action on your website (for example, booking a ride). It’s a bit misleading that you bid on a “pay per click” basis; the number most people measure is “cost per conversion”, or your total spend divided by the number of conversions the campaign produces. Ensure you’re using the free analytics tools the search engines provide to track conversions and measure and enhance your marketing effectiveness. If you know what you want to pay per conversion (which is, of course, a function of the financial value of the conversion and the long-term financial value of the customer), it’s easy to back into the math on what you should pay per click to keep your business humming.

4) One ad is all I need, right?

Always, always run two ads against each other on a rotating basis in each ad group that you have. Once you feel that you have enough data to say one is better, write text for a new ad and run the test again. Always be testing!

5) Is it worth advertising on mobile?

Mobile accounts for roughly 25% of total paid search spend (according to search marketing agency Covario) and the cost per click tends to be significantly less on mobile than on desktop. Need we say more?

Paid search marketing is a great way to attract new customers, and can be an exciting new avenue for your business. We hope these tips were helpful!