Many facility operators are focused on obtaining a high-ranking on the front page of Google and pay a pretty penny for the privilege when undertaking a Google Ad-words campaign.
Logically, this explains why one competitor’s facility ranks higher than that of another, even if the web user has searched for a self storage facility in a location that is closer to that of a facility who may have bid less for search result listings under particular ad-words. Darren Vowles, Internet Marketing Guru with Reach Local suggests, that depending on how a facility targets their advertising and who they direct it toward, the owner may actually achieve a greater return on investment (ROI) and lower click-through costs from being positioned on one of Google’s 3500 partner websites (e.g. YouTube, Gumtree and Smartcompany). Darren offers a word of caution prior to deciding where to place an advertisement, when first advocating the need for a facility operator to understand what their customers like, what their buying habits are and, importantly, where they live.
Every time a potential self storage customer searches for a facility on Google, Ad-words runs an auction to determine the ads that show on the search results page and their rank on that page. To be ‘in the game’ and place ads in the auction, a facility operator fist has to decide what type of customer action they would like to pay for.
Bidding options include:
1. The number of times the facility advertisement is displayed, (cost per 1000 impressions). This is a good strategy for facility operators intent on increasing widespread awareness of their brand.
2. The number of times the advertisement receives a ‘click’ (cost per click).
Cost per click (CPC) is often a good initial on-line marketing strategy. Costs accrue based on the number of clicks the facility gets on their ads, allowing for easier management of advertising costs. Many operators will be acutely aware that as words such as ‘self storage’ are bid on, then clicked on, the price goes up. By way of example, ‘asbestos’ is now $42 per click; ‘real estate’ is about the same. Importantly, some software providers have platforms that can work out which keywords get an enquiry or a phone call from a customer, rather than just a click and no follow-up purchase intent. This software can determine, for example, whether paying ‘top dollar’ for terms such as ‘self storage’ actually provide a sufficient conversion rate to warrant a sometimes substantial investment. Inquiry calls to self storage facilities by potential customers can also be recorded and replayed for training purposes.
3. Each time users take a specific action on the facility’s website after clicking on the ad
This is known as cost-per acquisition and is useful for self storage facility operators who are interested in tracking conversions like purchases, phone calls or sign ups. Maximum cost per click limits can be set when users click on ads. If for example, the self storage facility operator sets a maximum of $1 for a cost per click on their ads $1 is the most they would pay when a customer clicks on their ad. Often, much less than this $1 maximum may be paid, remembering that during the ad auction, they would only pay what was required to rank higher than the advertiser below them.
These directories mimic on-line telephone directories and sell advertising space to generate revenue. In the event this listing is undesired by the self storage facility operator, their use of appropriate search terms enables their website to gain a more prominent position in search results for specific key word searches than that achieved by the on-line directory.
Ask yourself whether the web company controlling your on-line marketing budget can definitely demonstrate which ad words lead to sales conversions and which don’t.