A recent query received from a member gave cause to speak with Reach Local about strategies competitors use to generate maximum return on investment with on-line sales leads.
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 AdWords 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. It has been suggested however, 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. You Tube, Gumtree and Smartcompany). Before deciding where to place an advertisement it is important 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, AdWords 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 owner/operator first 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 those 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.
3. Each time users take a specific action on the facility’s website after clicking on the ad
This is known as the cost-per acquisition and is useful for self storage 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 cos 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.
Another concern often expressed by members relates to on-line listings of their company on free on-line business directories. 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, 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 your web company controlling your on-line marketing budget can definitively demonstrate which ad words lead to sales conversions and which don’t.