Google AdWords and other PPC marketing platforms can be a bit of mystery to accountants. How do marketers use them, exactly? Moreover, do they actually work?
Unfortunately, PPC marketing one of those areas where accountants can lose a lot of money if they do not know what they are doing.
On the other hand, if you get it right then Google AdWords can be a very valuable marketing and lead generation channel for accountants.
In this article, we’re going to briefly look at how PPC works and then offer some thoughts about how to make Google AdWords actually work for your accountancy firm.
Google AdWords: An Overview
If you run a Google search right now, you will see a range of results appear on your screen. Some of these will be “natural” listings of various websites. At the top, however, you will likely see paid ads.
These ads are there because businesses have set up a Google AdWords account, where they pay Google for each click they receive. The exact amount you pay depends on how competitive the keyword is.
For instance, some local businesses might pay as little as 10p per click on a low competition keyword. On the other hand, if you target a popular keyword like “business loans” then you can face a cost-per-click of £20 or even more.
There is one other way Google AdWords works, other than showing ads to users in their search results. Sometimes, when you visit a website you will see adverts in the page header banner or sidebar.
Quite often, this is the result of a business’s Google AdWords campaign.
The intention here is that users will click on these ads whilst visiting various, targeted websites across the web and arrive at the ad publisher’s website to make a purchase, sign-up or other conversion action.
Why AdWords Goes Wrong
The above might sound fairly straightforward, so why do so many accountants fall foul?
The fact is, Google AdWords and other PPC platforms are actually very difficult to get right if you have little or no prior experience in them. Common reasons why accountants struggle include:
- Targeting keywords with insufficient search volume. If a keyword has less than 10 searches per month then you are unlikely to get many website visitors from them.
- Targeting keywords with the wrong search intent. Sometimes, your target audience makes a Google search with every intent to contact an accountant if they find the right website. Other times, they are just looking to educate themselves about an area of tax law, for instance, and just want a quick answer to their question. Targeting keywords which show the latter user intent are unlikely to produce many enquiries, no matter how well set-up your AdWords campaign is.
- Targeting keywords outside of your price range. The price you pay for a user to click on your ad is partly decided by how relevant your ad copy and landing page are. However, this is not the whole picture. You also need to be willing to match what others are paying for that keyword. Some keywords, however, are simply very expensive. If you cannot match your competitions’ bids, then your ads will show lower down the search results where fewer/no users will see them.
- Poor ad copy. Many accountants, unfortunately, do not know how to write an inviting ad! Either the ad has a boring headline and/or description, or it is too pushy or spammy.
- A bad user journey. Once a user clicks on your ad, what happens? If you are smart, then you will have set up a landing page with a powerful lead magnet which compels the user to take a conversion action (e.g. downloading your eBook). However, if your landing page is irrelevant, difficult to navigate, slow to load or has a poor value proposition, then these people will simply bounce away.
How to Make AdWords Work in Accountant Marketing
The way to make PPC work for accountants might sound straightforward, but it does require skill, patience and commitment.
The crucial first steps are to address the pitfalls above when you first set up your AdWords campaign:
- Choose keywords with sufficient search volume. Ideally, try and build a list of keywords with at least 10 monthly searches. The higher the volume the wider your marketing “fishing net.”
- Target keywords with high user intent. For instance, a keyword such as “how much should I pay for a tax return” might potentially be a good search query to target with your SEO strategy. However, because this person is clearly just looking for information, you are unlikely to see them convert if you target your paid ads at them. Instead, prioritise keywords with higher intent such as “help with tax return”.
- Set a reasonable budget. You might have to simply swallow the cost of some of the relevant, high-intent keywords which are pricier. However, do not go spending thousands immediately on Google AdWords. Try and balance your AdWords account between lower-cost keywords which potentially have less search volume, and pricier keywords which look like they will deliver more. Start small, and work upwards from there. Once you start seeing your ads deliver a return it can then make sense to start scaling.
- Write some great ad copy. Think about what will make your audience want to click on your ad, and what will put them off. Go for the former rather than the latter!
- Set up a great landing page. This is often the trickiest part, but it works wonders when you get it right. Offer something to your audience which they really would want, and which they would struggle to find elsewhere. Offer it to them in exchange for their contact details, so you can get them into your sales pipeline.