By Faith Bennett
“Should I run Google Ads this year?” As you begin creating your 2024 marketing plan, you may find yourself asking this question. While Google Ads can help some businesses, they’re not always the right investment for everyone.
But first, let’s back up a bit. Because Google Ads technically has another name: PPC ads. Let’s talk about what PPC means before you decide to add it to your marketing strategy or forgo it altogether.
What Is PPC?
Perhaps someone brought up PPC in a recent meeting, or you came across a marketing agency attempting to push you in the PPC direction. If you felt unsure about whether to commit to this tactic, you’re not alone. PPC, SEO—OMG, there are a lot of acronyms in the world of marketing. Industry lingo aside, the concept of PPC is actually very simple and something you’re likely already familiar with.
PPC stands for pay-per-click. It’s a method of advertising where you only pay money when someone clicks on your ad. Like a Google Ad. You might also hear PPC referred to as paid search.
When someone tries to sell you on PPC, they might bring up Google Ad statistics, such as that businesses typically make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 spent. Sounds good, right?
Maybe a little too good?
While many businesses do see such returns, we’ve come to learn that not all companies will see such success, especially in the case of the funeral profession. So, let’s get into whether your funeral home should invest in PPC.
When Should You Include PPC Ads in Your Marketing?
Say your funeral home is in a large town or city. Perhaps Boston, Massachusetts. If you were to search for “funeral home in Boston,” you would be inundated with results from many, many funeral homes.
No matter how much you work on building up your search engine optimization (SEO), you’re always going to have to contend with tons of competitors trying to climb their way to the top of the search results, too. But PPC ads can help you rocket your way to the top.
Similarly, you’ll likely want to use paid search if you only have a few competitors but they’re using PPC. A Google Ad will always come at the top of the search results. No matter how much you finagle your SEO, you can’t climb higher than a result that’s been paid for.
Another reason you might want to use PPC is if you’re working to expand into serving families in a new market that might not be in your immediate area. With SEO alone, you may struggle because you don’t have an address in that new city. If you’re a Boston company trying to gain traction in Salem, Massachusetts, your SEO will have to compete with every company that is actually based in Salem. That’s just the way Google’s cookies crumble.
When Should You Skip PPC Ads?
Okay, so now you know when to say, “Sign me up!” when someone says to give PPC a try. But how about when to say, “Thanks, but no thanks”?
Perhaps you live in a smaller town with fewer competitors. If your market share is already at or above 80%, you really don’t need PPC.
If you want to dip into another market in a different city, you may want to consider adding PPC to your strategy. Maybe you live in a small town outside of a major city and want to suggest that families come to your funeral home from that city. PPC could be beneficial since you’ll now be competing in a market with more competition. But if you’re busy enough with the families in your own community, PPC is just not necessary.
Speaking of being busy, how much attention are you getting organically online? If it’s quite a bit, maybe don’t mess with a good thing, especially if none of your competitors are doing PPC. You may accidentally create a bidding war. You could have avoided using PPC, but now you’re writing checks to Google that you might never have needed to in the first place. You know how the song goes: “War — what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!”
What to Know to Create and Analyze Your PPC Ads
So, let’s say you’ve decided PPC is a good fit for your business. The next step is understanding what makes up paid search. We’ve already discussed what PPC means, but here are a few other terms you should know:
- SEO: Search engine optimization, or a variety of tactics that aim to have your website ranked as No. 1 without using PPC.
- ESV: Estimated search volume, or an estimate of the number of times per month a keyword is searched, according to Google’s historical data.
- Keyword: A suggestion to Google of what you would like your ad to appear for when someone searches this phrase.
- Search term: The actual phrase that someone searched that resulted in your ad appearing.
- Keyword research: A process of brainstorming phrases that people may search in a search engine and checking those phrases for ESV to find those that are relevant and have a high ESV.
Is It Time to Add PPC to Your Strategy?
Adding PPC to your marketing strategy can cost thousands per month. And in some cases, it’s worth it. But not always. Carefully consider whether PPC is right for your funeral home before making this investment. And if PPC isn’t the best move for you, then you know you’re doing right by your funeral home.