Any financial services firm should already have a marketing strategy in place. If you do, it probably involves a variety of tactics to generate new business, retain clients and build brand equity with a budget of zero dollars (right?). While we all love operating with a lean budget, every company should invest in measurable paid tactics like Google AdWords.
Here, we define what Google AdWords is, discuss key terms associated with it, review why your financial services firm can benefit from AdWords, and how to get started.
What Is Google AdWords?
Google AdWords is the internet giant’s paid advertising platform that works just like an auction. A company will make monetary bids on certain keywords for their ads to appear at the top of Google’s search results.
For example, your firm creates an ad designed to attract clients in need of financial services. You learn that the best keyword to use in order to appear in those search results is “finance” so your company bids $4 on the word. Since “finance” is very broad term, other companies have probably placed a bid on the word too. These companies could be financial firms that are not in your line of work and even competitors. So, always make sure you are putting in the maximum bid so you can own the market share for that word in AdWords. If your bid is accepted as the highest, your ad will appear as the number one non- organic search result in Google. We say “non-organic” because organic search results are based on websites that have not paid for AdWords but rather have a lot of traffic driven to their website.
So now your ad will appear at the top of Google every time someone searches “finance” for as long as your ad budget will allow. Once your ad budget has run out, your ad will no longer appear and be replaced by the next highest bidder.
While there is more to the process, that is Google AdWords in a nutshell. If you are ever unsure about the process, bring in an expert to guide you along the way. It will help clarify how AdWords works and determine which keywords are the best to bid on.
Now that your company is at the top of Google, pay close attention to the analytics and how your ad is performing. What is great about AdWords is you can measure the performance in real time. Not only that, but having that data in your back pocket for future marketing efforts does not hurt either. Think of it as a two-fold win: your company is getting more traffic to the website and conducting market research at the same time. What could be better?
Key Terms to Know When Planning your Google AdWords Strategy
Before getting started with AdWords, you must understand a few important terms to avoid confusion later. While these are not all of the terms needed to be an AdWords expert, they serve to help guide you through key high-level ideas.
- A quality score is a measurement that Google bases on how relevant the headline, description, keywords and URL are to your potential target market. If you have a higher quality score (mixed with the bid amount that was described above), your ad has a better chance of receiving top placement in search results.
- An impression is the measurement of how many times your ad appears in search. That means someone may see the ad but does not click on it. How awesome is that? Your firm is getting noticed without having to even pay if you set a bidding strategy using CPC.
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC) or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a bidding strategy on Google AdWords. It means your company pays every time someone clicks on your ad. You can set parameters of the maximum cost so you don’t go over budget. This is great because if your company’s ultimate goal is to drive traffic to your website in order to contact your team, you don’t pay a cent until someone actually clicks on the ad.
- A click through rate (CTR) is probably the most important metric to note. It measures how many people click through to your page via the ad. Hypothetically, if you paid $5 for a Google ad, with two people clicking on it and one person reaching out for more information on your firm, the ad practically pays for itself.
- Ad retargeting is a cookie-based technology that follows your customers through the web. Say, for example, someone visits your website, takes a quick look around and leaves. Even though they left your website, a cookie has been attached to their IP address if you use the retargeting tactic. Then when that person visits Facebook or other platforms that display ads, your website will re-appear as a new ad.
How Your Financial Services Firm Can Benefit from AdWords
Many companies are skeptical about using Google AdWords. The platform can carry a negative connotation that it is an expensive marketing tactic with little ROI. In some cases, that may be correct, but there are definite benefits to the correct setup of Google AdWords.
Now, let’s take client demographics into account. As Millennials are getting older and Baby Boomers are retiring later in life, we have an aging workforce. This is great, especially in the short-term while Google AdWords marketing tactics are popular. An aging workforce also means that more people will be seeking out financial services firms for investing or retirement.
While it may not necessarily be true for all industries, older generations tend to be more prone to click on one of the first items they see in Google or be influenced by other traditional ad tactics. Consider your audience when building your ad strategy and do an analysis of your ideal client. Knowing your audience will help give you more bang for your buck without figuring out why your ad did not perform correctly later.
What’s beneficial about AdWords is you can narrow down your audience by location, device type and more. If you are a financial services firm located in Chicago and targeting only U.S. clients you can narrow down your audience by geographic location. So, if you want to only target people in downtown Chicago as opposed to the state of Illinois, you can. That means your ad will be visible to more of your target audience.
Using AdWords can help a company appear at the top of search results which can be extremely important for firms who struggle with search engine optimization. Realistically, when was the last time you scrolled through search results past the first page on Google? And it was likely that your attention was also focused on the results that appear above the fold. Search engine optimization (SEO) can take months or years, so using AdWords is a way to be seen quicker without the hassle. However, even if you are benefitting from paid ads, always make sure to focus on ranking better on search because it will help your business in the long term.
Another useful tactic is to create an advertisement around a promotion your firm is running. Perhaps your team is offering a free consultation for potential clients. Create an informative landing page on your website that allows people to contact you. Then create an eye-catching ad explaining the promotion like “contact our brokers now for a personalized consultation.” Once the ad is clicked on, viewers are taken to a thoughtful landing page with a chance for you to capture their email address if they contact you. Not only are you getting a new lead but also a contact to add to your email list.
Do Your Homework
Before investing your time and money into Google AdWords, always make sure to have a good foundation of knowledge about it or consult someone else who does. Blindly going into creating your first ad will result in abysmal numbers and wasted money. Be calculated in your approach and allow yourself time to do the homework before diving in.
All good things take time, and while you may not see an ROI overnight, you should be able to get an idea of effectiveness within a couple months which is much shorter than traditional SEO. And while you should never underestimate the power of a strong SEO strategy as part of your company’s marketing plan, when strategically used, Google AdWords can play an enhancing role in boosting your firm’s visibility and lead generation, all while displaying the metrics to justify your return on investment.
Interested in learning more about Google AdWords? Contact Gate 39 Media