How to Drive More Traffic to Your Door Using Google Ads
Leveraging This Powerful Tool is Easier Than You Think
This MTD exclusive was provided by Dan MacDonald, a freelance writer and former public relations vice president for Bridgestone Americas Inc. Dan founded MacDonald Communications, which focuses on public relations and digital marketing. He can be reached at (615) 681-5387 or dan@ maccomm.net. Website: www.maccomm.net
I’ve been preaching the “Gospel of Google” for several years now. I lecture about it in the college marketing classes I teach. I talk to my PR clients about it. And I’ve written about it in MTD.
The digital revolution has fundamentally changed how we shop for products, the way we communicate and other aspects of our everyday lives. Go sit in a coffee shop for half an hour and look around the room. How many people have their eyes on their phones?
We are all glued to our phones for seemingly everything. And Google sits at the center of this digital universe.
On the Internet, Google is the sun and all websites orbit around it. Google’s search engine market share is more than 90%. Simply put, Google is one of the most powerful customer-influencing tools ever created. Consider these numbers:
• There are more than 700,000 Google searches every second of every day;
• There are tens of billion of Google searches worldwide every day;
• Google has more than 246 million unique users in the United States alone.;
• Fifty-three percent of shoppers say they always perform research on Google before they buy a product;
• More than 90% of consumers seek out and read customer reviews prior to visiting or using a business and most of them trust reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.
In my February 2022 MTD column, I wrote about why every tire dealer must claim his or her Google business profile. In this article, I will discuss what you should do after you have claimed and built your business’ Google profile.
First, it’s time to start running ads on Google. Having a solid business profile on Google is great. But to really attract new customers, you need to put your message in front of more eyeballs.
And you can control the whole process. You don’t need a high-priced agency to create and place ads for you on Google. That’s the genius of Google. You can make this a do-it-yourself project. Google allows you to target your ads to people who are searching for tires and auto repair service locally by selecting key words and phrases for your ads.
You control how much you spend – there’s no minimum - and you will be able to measure your success through Google analytics. You also will be able to manage your ad campaigns right from the comfort of your computer.
You can increase the spend and put more money behind the ads that are working and cut spending on ads that aren’t working. You are in the driver’s seat. So how do you get started? You simply Google the term “Google Ads.” It’s that easy.
When the page pops, you just click the “get started” button and you are off to the races. Google will walk you through the process step-by-step.
A menu will pop up, asking about your main advertising goal. After you select an option, Google Ads will continue to walk you through a series of questions. It will ask where you want to advertise your business. You can target an area within a certain set of miles of your location or select specific zip codes, cities or regions. Again, it’s up to you.
Google will ask what products and services you sell. It also will ask you about your competitive strengths and unique offerings. It will ask if you want to include a Google map to your store. (Yes, you do.) And it will ask for a link to your website. (I recommend that you provide this.)
Using all of this information, Google will create a custom digital ad for your business with a link to your dealership’s website, a map to its front door, a compelling headline, a description of your business and a call to action.
Once the campaign has been created and you have approved it, Google Ads will ask how much money you want to spend. Google Ads will suggest an amount or you can create your own budget.
After you decide what you want to spend, you provide Google Ads with a payment source and you are now advertising your dealership on Google!
Now when people search for tire and automotive service in your area, your custom digital ad will pop up on their screens. That’s powerful. And the whole process will take you less than 10 minutes.
Even if you think you don’t have time for this and want to just keep running ads in the local newspaper, I urge you to go to Google Ads and give it a shot. You have nothing to lose.
I also want to take a few minutes to talk about the two most widely used ad formats offered by Google - responsive search ads (RSAs) and expanded text ads (ETAs.)
ETAs are fully manual text ads that allow for three headlines (30 characters each), two descriptions (90 characters each) and two paths (“vanity” URLS with 15 characters each.) ETAs provide the advertiser with total control over ads and lots of ways to gure out what is or isn’t moving the needle. But ETAs also require a lot of work and require you to make a lot of decisions.
RSAs, on the other hand, let you add up to 15 headlines (30 characters), four descriptions (90 characters) and two paths. You also get to choose your own landing page URL. From these headlines and the description you write, Google will automatically use artificial intelligence to test different combinations and determine which combinations perform best - thereby putting less pressure on you to create and test a winning ad.
Google does this so effectively that it would behoove you to lean into this service. I believe your best bet is to click on the RSA format when placing your Google Ad campaign.
RSA campaigns are easier and faster to set up and they enable you to harness the powerful algorithms that Google creates. Your campaign will be specifically calibrated to put your ads in front of people in your area who are on Google and searching for the products and services you offer. It’s the most eggective, targeted way to advertise locally.
Like anything you haven’t done before, investing in a Google Ad campaign may seem complicated. It’s not. If you visit Google Ads, you will be amazed at how easy this is. You don’t need to invest a lot of money either.
If you feel like your advertising is stagnant, this can be a relatively affordable way to invest in a new strategy and create a digital buzz around your dealership. It’s time for you to get in the Google game.