How do you make sure your franchise website gets found in search results? Well, you can see to it that you have a well-designed, responsive website that is optimized for search engines. But that’s only part of the equation! That will get you in natural (or “organic”) search results, but in today’s online search world, those don’t start until several listings down the page.
Google and Bing now more heavily promote paid listings — in the form of pay-per-click (PPC) ads — at the top of each search engine results page (above organic search listings). These are paid ads by businesses that want to ensure they have prominent placement in search results. With PPC ads now dominating the most desirable section of the page, it becomes easier for your franchise to get overlooked, even if it ranks highly in organic search results.
What does this mean for you as a franchise? It means you need to get more competitive with your online search strategy. You need to be present in both organic and paid search (PPC) results so you can be effective in driving more business to your franchisees.
How Do PPC Ads Work & Why Are They Effective?
With PPC ads, you only get charged each time your ad is clicked on, as opposed to each time it’s displayed. This type of advertising model helps you better control your costs, and it is also more targeted in that you are reaching people who are more likely to be interested in your services (people who are searching for keywords related to your franchise and people who are choosing to click on your ads). Meanwhile, it allows you to easily track the performance of your ads, such as through clicks and online conversions.
Are you about to get started with PPC? Here are a few best practices to follow:
Choose the Most Effective Keywords
To ensure that your PPC ads show up in the right online searches, you need to use the right keywords. These should be words and terms that are related to the services you offer, as well as words and terms that your target audience would be more likely to type into a search engine.
In addition to thinking about what the most popular keywords are, you also have to consider the competition. The more competitive the keywords are, the higher the cost per click (CPC) will be. As a result, you may find it best to choose more specific keywords that are less competitive and less costly, but still effective in converting online visitors into customers. One example is using “Hollywood exterior painter” instead of the more competitive term “Los Angeles house painter.”
Another helpful strategy is to use negative keywords, which help you prevent your ads from appearing when certain words are entered into search engines — such as service areas that you don’t want leads for or service areas that don’t apply in the current season. Remember to test out different keywords and negative keywords in your ad campaigns, and to continually research changes in the search behaviors of your target audience using tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends.
Before you get started with any PPC ad campaigns, you need to get organized. Your service or product categories should be divided into separate ad campaigns, which will consist of their own ad groups. Each ad group should consist of a set of relevant keywords, which will be used in your individual ads. You will also need to set your daily budget (or how much you are willing to spend on PPC advertising per day on average) and your maximum cost-per-click, or max. CPC, bids (the highest amount you are willing to spend per click). You cannot run an effective PPC campaign without the right amount of planning and organization.
Refine Your Campaign with Additional Targeting Strategies
In addition to using the best keywords, there are also many other ways that you can target the right audience. The beauty of PPC ad campaigns is that they can be easily customized by factors such as location, language, device, specific times of the day, frequency, and more. You can even use ad extensions that provide important business information (such as a franchisee’s phone number) with your text ads. There are plenty of ways to make your PPC ads more competitive!
Close the Loop from Clicks to Clients
To get the best results from your PPC strategy, you will have to focus on more than just getting people to click on your ads or call your franchisees. Your key focus should be “closing the loop” and getting them to convert from leads into customers! You can do this by writing persuasive ad copy that features strong selling points and calls to action (CTAs), and also by providing high-quality, informative content on your landing pages and website to assist with the online conversion process.
Watch, Learn & Adjust
Your job isn’t over once you start running your PPC ads. The next step is to keep an eye on the results and make adjustments where needed. It can take time to find the combination of settings that works best for your campaigns. Remember that PPC advertising should ultimately be measured by the new business acquired from your ads and your overall return on investment (ROI) rather than just click volume and cost per click (CPC) or cost per lead (CPL). As a result, you will need to consider which keywords, ads, landing pages, and so on are bringing in the most customers.
PPC advertising can get very complex, so you may want to consider working with an online marketing specialist who fully understands the ins and outs of PPC. Call Scorpion so our franchise marketing experts can help you create a PPC strategy that will give your franchise the exposure it needs.
Want to learn more about how to measure ROI for your franchise marketing efforts? Download our free guide!
About the Author
Jordan Wilson is the Senior VP of Franchise and Multi-Local Brands at Scorpion. For nearly a decade, he has worked with businesses of all sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to franchises at the local level. Professionally and personally, Jordan fosters the relationships he develops with his clients, always striving to exceed their goals and expectations. Jordan graduated from the University of Mobile where he played college soccer and won the National Championship in 2002. He is an avid traveler, loves a good Irish Pub, LSU Football, and spending time with his family.