Implementing a Pay-Per-Click Advertising Campaign

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Kevin Dean, Internet marketing consultant and president of auto repair industry marketing firm WSI Net Advantage, says Internet search engines are trying to make it easier for consumers to identify businesses that provide specific services they’re looking for. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is on the rise among auto repair shops that understand the relevancy of the Internet and the huge role it plays in buyer decision-making, he says.

When implemented correctly—with the right keywords, exposure, ads, and a powerful website—PPC campaigns have the ability to deliver the strongest job leads repair shops can hope for.

Dean discusses why PPC campaigns can work for you, and a few pieces of advice to do it right.


How do PPC campaigns work?

Business advertisements automatically appear on a search engine when consumers search a specific set of keywords relevant to the business. Businesses pay a certain price to the PPC provider each time the ad is clicked on, which brings consumers to a landing page on their website.


Why does PPC advertising work for auto repair shops?

Consumers who see PPC advertisements are already thinking about the services you offer and they’re located in your specific market. It’s a point in the buyer’s cycle when they actually want to buy your services; that’s why they’re searching for those specific terms online. Nobody searches for auto repair just for fun. If you can capture that conversation, the barriers for making the sale are as low as they will ever be.


How much does the effort cost per click?

In general, the cost per click for auto repair shops tends to range between $2.50 and $7. But the cost varies greatly depending on how aggressive you want to be. The ads are essentially an auction, and you can make bids dictating your desired cost per click as high or low as you want for certain keywords.
You can set a maximum daily expense to ensure you don’t overspend your budget. For example, say you bid $3 per click with a maximum daily expense of $60. Your ad will run many times based on your keywords, and will stop running after it has been clicked on 20 times. That’s very important to avoid spending more than expected.


Search engines deliver about a dozen PPC ads at a time. How are those ads ranked?

Your ad will be served a certain percentage of the time based on your budget, bid per click, quality of your website, and number of searches performed for your services in your specific geographic area compared to local competitors. The top three positions displayed at the top of the search result are awarded to companies with the highest budget, price per click and website quality.


What providers of PPC campaigns do you suggest using?

Google has roughly 65–80 percent of Internet market share so that’s the best place to start. Once you fine-tune your campaign strategy by identifying the best keywords, timing and geographic locations for the ads to run, then you can replicate the effort through the other major platforms, Yahoo and Bing. If you want to get more aggressive from there, you could also consider platforms with much smaller market shares such as City Search.

There are companies available that offer ad aggregation services that push your ads out to multiple search engines through one portal. Those types of services provide you with phone tracking services, reverse lookups on contacts and ROI analyses.


How do shops track results of their PPC campaigns?

You can easily track the number of phone calls you get because PPC ads can be attached to a unique phone number that can only be acquired through the ad. Google also provides users with information regarding when their ads were exposed and who clicked on them. That allows you to improve your strategy over time to garnish the best possible exposure.


How do shops determine whether this is cost-effective for the customers they obtain?

Regularly analyze what every customer who comes through your door is worth because you won’t land every customer who clicks on the ad. For example, say your ads generate 100 clicks per month at a $3 rate—a total cost of $300. If you have a 10 percent response rate, you would generate 10 customers a month, which equals $30 to land each of those customers. Then determine, on average, whether the revenue generated by each customer makes that $30 investment worthwhile.


How can shops optimize success from a PPC campaign?

Your website becomes the critical selling tool once people click on the ad. If it isn’t impressive, or if the landing page of the ad doesn’t quickly provide customers with the information they’re looking for, you could end up spending money on clicks with no return.

Think about the customer experience you deliver when people visit your site. Make sure that it illustrates professionalism, clearly labels basic information (phone number and address), and offers convenience tools such as online appointment forms for people who click on your ads after business hours.

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