The “cost per click” model was coined by Google, and is ideal to capture those potential clients who are at the brink of consumption – a product, a service, etc. As explained in the “Free Listings” part of our Growth Blog, the ideal is to have your profile or website pop up organically under Google search. But Google and other search engines allow you to pay to be put in front of consumers and even pay only if consumers click on your ad.
What’s the deal?
Google Adwords allows you to present any advertisement (about your company) at the top of Google whenever someone is searching for certain keywords. And those keywords can be chosen (or “purchased”) by you. Even the ranking of your ad can be purchased by you.
If you are – for example – a personal trainer in Des Moines, Iowa, you can purchase keywords like “personal trainer” and “Des Moines, Iowa”, so that when people are searching for those very keywords in Google, you can set a short advertisement with a link to your website where “clickers” will get sent to. Ads will appear either at the top of search results or the side.
Google Adwords are great if you want to pay to drive traffic to your website. And not just random traffic, but traffic of those people who were actively searching for topics or needs that are related to you and your business. You’ll be able to set bid prices on these keywords in your Adwords account, set daily budget limits, and choose any number of keywords or combinations of keywords.
How do I set it up?
Setting it up is pretty easy. In fact, I personally like the very clean “How It Works” page to help you get a sense before you get started.
You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Google account (if you don’t have one, then you can set one up for free), and you’ll be guided through how to set up your first campaign. Free tip of advice: call the Adwords Setup Support team at the # (1-800-848-9256), and ask for free Adwords credits…they are pretty generous in giving you $100 in credits to start things off.
What are the risks?
Conversion is the key thing to look out for with Adwords. That is, you need to make sure that when those people click on your ad on Google, they are sent to a place (like your website) that has helpful content with a clear call-to-action (to book you, or call you, or email you).
Conversion is key to look out for on the Adwords platform for a couple reasons:
(1) It’s very easy to spend a lot of money with absolutely no results. Be careful setting up those daily budgets and cost per clicks. Don’t be tempted to chase up cost per click bids. Constantly analyze your clicks and traffic and see if that’s turning into real bookings. It’s easy to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on Adwords after a few months without seeing any real results.
(2) If you do not convert a click to at least collecting client’s contact information (through a sign up flow, for example), then there is no way to re-market to these potentially interested clients. On other platforms, when someone engages with your ad or profile, you can see who they are (take Facebook for instance) and follow up with them or re-market to them. But on Adwords, you don’t know who is engaging with your ad unless the person emails you or calls you or takes up some effort to reach out to you.
What’s the deal?
Most people don’t think about Yelp in the “cost per click” type of way, but they released a relatively new advertising product/platform to drive people to your Yelp profile and engage in specific ways. And you can pay only if they engage in ways you want the profile visitors to.
You’ll be able to pay to drive people on Yelp to:
· Click on your profile
· Click on message the business (that’s you!)
· Click on request quote
· Click on your website
· Click to call you
Those are some more popular ones. You’ll also be able to set up deals/discounts and have Yelp promote them and then pay Yelp a fee if that promotion is booked through Yelp. Some visuals (always helps give you some context) of how potential leads will be directed to take certain actions can be seen below:
Also, a pretty cool dashboard is set up for you to view the trends of how effecting your advertising has been:
How do I set it up?
Simply go to the Call-to-Action landing page on Yelp: https://biz.yelp.com/support/call_to_action
If you’ve already claimed your business listing, then it should be pretty straight forward. If you haven’t, then sign up and create or claim your business – then you can get going.
What are the risks?
Unlike other ad platforms where there is no minimum spend, on Yelp you need to commit to a minimum budget amount and timeframe. The average spend per advertising business on Yelp is $5,500 per year (sourced from recent earnings) – so that can be a sizeable budget if you’re just getting started with your business.
For ad packages Yelp forces to you sign contracts so you can find yourself stuck in ad deals even if you aren’t seeing good returns.
There’s also a lot of chatter from folks who have spent money on Yelp, and then withdrew advertising because they weren’t getting enough business. As a result, their Yelp profiles all of a sudden became filled with 1- and 2-star reviews out of a no where. You can Google more stories such as this one about Yelp extorting its business for not advertising or for pulling advertising on its site.
Mitigating this risk goes back to getting as many clients and friends to give you legitimate 5-star reviews and building up content on your profile. Just be weary of the large budget requirements and the sketchy dealings that are widely reported with Yelp.
There are other platforms that offer pay/cost per click ads – like Yellow Pages and the Yahoo! Bing Network – but Google and Yelp are probably the most well-known. However I would urge you to check out a number of them. Check out this good comparison piece.
Cost per click can be both time and capital intensive. It can take up a lot of your time to monitor different keyword campaigns and make sure your cost per click is low enough where the spend makes sense, and to make sure you’re experimenting with different keywords based on the business you run and where you operate. In addition, budget minimums can be a hurdle for businesses if you’re just starting out and don’t have such a large marketing budget.
The interesting thing about platforms like these though is (in theory) you’re getting yourself in front of the right customer. That customer who is searching for a specific business or service type, will see your name at a time when they are prime for consumption. Not only that but they are given clear calls to actions to continue – click or buy or call, etc.