Unlocking PPC: The Three-Part Google Ads Strategy to Get 3x ROI

Nope, this is not just another article you stumbled upon. If you are running ads on Google and/or Bing, you are going to read this article, then once again and then another time s-l-o-w-l-y, and then you’re going to share the heck out of it with everyone in your firm. How do I know? Because I’m going to save you thousands of dollars. Ready?

Let’s go!

For over two decades, I ran ads, developed strategies, built tools, and helped other marketers with PPC. In 2018, I reached a total managed spend of $7.6 million, which means a lot of data. More importantly, it means I understand what works and what doesn’t. One obvious important insight from years of analysis is that ad vendors like Google and Bing make billions of dollars not from PPC winners but from budget leaks coming from advertisers who don’t understand the paid ads ecosystem – legal is one of the biggest contributors to that $$$ leak.

You can pay for all the fancy tools, tap into complex automation, hire content writers and designers and strategy developers (all who will gladly take your money), but you’ll barely move the needle. Why? Because all of that is not worth much when constantly suppressed by a failure to utilize cross-channel data, a lack of attention to buyer psychology and an impaired ability to detect budget leaks. Sound complicated? Let’s break it down.

I developed a strategy which I’ve deployed for the last 10-plus years across the accounts I manage. Use this strategy to guide you through auditing and optimizing ad accounts. I named this strategy DPL – Data, Psychology and Leaks – easy to remember. It’s the three factors that can cause your ad account to underperform. Let’s explore each one and take actions as we go.

No. 1: Cross-Channel Data

I rarely come across companies that manage their web marketing holistically. When channels are isolated and optimized separately, you are giving up an important resource that could amplify your return from ad spend. Companies like AIG, Cisco, GM, United and others invest in data warehouses to allow cross-channel data to dictate optimization. Want an example? Here is one:

If you run ads on Google and/or Bing, you likely take advantage of LSA (local service/search ads) – those ads with your headshot. When LSA became available for lawyers in September 2020, many rightfully jumped on board and took advantage of what proved successful in other industries. However, many who jumped on LSA continued to run Google Ads PPC for high commercial intent terms. STOP. This is a common mistake I see too often.

Having multiple listings to increase real estate on the SERP (search engine results page) is a known and great tactic. But when it comes to LSA it has been proven – by research and backed up by millions of dollars spent – to cause severe decline in performance. This setup at minimum doubles acquisition cost and significantly lowers your CTR (click through rate). This is how many killed their PPC performance without knowing the culprit is their competing LSA and PPC.

Take Action

Instead, you should check for which keywords you are showing up for on LSA (triggered by proximity) and make sure you don’t have overlap with PPC. Do that now and thank me later.

Prioritize LSA over PPC when you can.
Use LSA with high commercial/transactional intent terms.
Use PPC with research and shopping intents where LSA is not serving.
Use PPC with high commercial/transactional intent terms where LSA is not serving.

LSA is designed to capture buyers with intent to buy post research, while PPC users expect to next learn about you before they make a contact. There are dozens of cross-channel data examples, but I found this one to be one of the main reasons PPC accounts declined in performance in recent years.

More Cross-Channel Data to Examine

Create a list of PPC converting terms and use those in all your marketing channels.
Use your email marketing open rate metric to help write and design new PPC ads.
Harvest organic search terms from Google Search Console to create FAQ and blog post ideas.
Consider online conversion data when you decide on off-line marketing geographic targeting.
Review user engagement report to determine best times to send email campaign.
Discover new keywords for organic targeting by reviewing your incoming PPC search terms.
Fix your marketing attribution and use data-driven attribution model.
Use phone call scripts to make lead quality related changes.
Review acquisition data and work your way backward to uncover high-return assets.
Use Google My Business incoming search to discover new keywords.

No. 2: Buyer Psychology

In layman’s terms, the buyer psychology tactics are ways we optimize the user journey to fit into a known behavior and user expectation, specifically those that derive from subconscious actions. Why is it important? First, advertisers that fail to apply basic buyer psychology tactics end up with an ad account of poor quality and high CPA (cost per acquisition). Second, this is where many of your competitors are lacking, which creates an opportunity for you. Want an example? Here is one:

Trust and authority signals are considered one of the most influential page elements to assist in conversion optimization. Think about the last time you were the buyer and the psychological process you went through, specifically the questions you ask yourself while reviewing an offer. If you are like most people, you ask three questions: Who are they? What do they do? and Can I trust them? The first two are ensuring relevance that the offer is aligned with your search and needs, and the third question is related to trust and authority. Yep, most of us go through the same process every time we shop before we buy. You wouldn’t buy from someone unless you trust them, right? Well, this is a very simple yet overlooked type of content on ad assets and landing pages.

No, it’s not enough to have your BBB logo on your website. Trust and authority signals are much more than that including industry recognitions, credentials, seniority, niche experience, social proof (what others think about you), how professional you present yourself, what’s your story, case studies, and others – even your brand color affects trust and authority.

Take Action

For a given keyword or set of keywords you target, make a list of URLs that come up on the search results of Google (make a note of the paid listings as well). Open each URL (likely your competitors) and make a list of all the things they use to increase trust and project authority with their prospects. It doesn’t have to be complicated, simply use your own judgment. Whatever is obvious and important to you, would likely be important to your prospects as well.

Work to adjust your ads and landing pages based on your findings. Some of the changes might require you to obtain a certificate, recognition badges, or pay for promoted inclusions. DO that! Your conversion rate will go up and your CPA will drop. This is not a one afternoon change, rather could take a few weeks/months or longer. Don’t give up on this, it’s an opportunity which would impact your entire marketing operation both online and offline.

Here are a few places you can start with: Super Lawyers, Avvo, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, NCDL, ABA Board certifications, known publications (big one), Google star rating, Yelp star rating, ASLA, BBB, State Bar(s), AAS, Justia, US News, LCA, years in business, community work related to your business, niche clubs, sponsorships, networking events, and others.

More Buyer Psychology to Consider

Using emotional influence with specific words and imagery.
Crafting a value proposition that highlights benefits addressing pain points (not features).
Tackling pricing concerns right off the bat.
Simplifying the buyer journey. They’re busy folks!
Share possible outcomes. Help your prospects imagine themselves winning.
Help reduce fear of negative results.
Resolving customer frustrations and concerns.
Leveraging social proof in every way possible.
Finding ways to influence buyer decision-making, like providing free tools or services.

No. 3: Impaired Ability to Detect Budget Leaks

This is a whole topic by itself that I could expand on for days. But here too, I’ll give you top actionable insights that will help you save big bucks. If you want to dive deeper into this topic, I wrote a book called Unlocking PPC which you can find on Amazon.

Budget leaks are directly related to your PPC management performance. While it is indirectly tied to the other two parts of the strategy we discussed, I’ll be focusing here on what could be done inside your account to maximize return on ad spend.

The core of Google’s algorithm depends on relevancy to deliver results that match users’ intent. Yep, Google deciphers your search intent (informational, transactional, commercial, etc.) and in most cases knows enough about you to understand what you think and what your next move is. Wow, a bit scary even just writing it, but it is true! Google does that with precision and has honed this sophisticated algorithm for over 25 years.

This algorithm heavily relies on … drumroll please … YES, cross-channel data (now more than ever) AND user psychology. The two parts we just covered. Get it, my strategy is Google’s strategy, and it’s working so well I’m not sure why many marketers don’t stop for a minute, think, and get to the conclusion I got years ago. So many marketing agencies get caught up in A/B testing, trying fancy analysis tools, and reinventing the wheel while forgetting the basics and what matters the most – DPL!

So, relevancy is such an important aspect to Google, it’s almost everything and should be the same case for you. Lack of relevancy targeting your audience will result in poor return, period!

One of the most important areas you can work on to increase relevance is to keep consistent messages through the user journey. Make sure the keywords you selected show in your ads and on your landing pages. There is science and art in writing commercial content, but the basics are always the same – keep it relevant throughout.

You have your keywords, ads, and landing pages up, and you are ready to start showing ads. Hold on, one important part of running ads is to also specify what you don’t want to be known for and show up under. It might surprise you, paid ad managers spend the majority of their time on these areas than anything else. Never neglect your negative keywords, never skip analysis of your incoming search terms, and keep working these two lists at the highest frequency you feel is sufficient. I visit these two on most accounts I manage, daily! Why? When CPC (cost per click) is $200-$300, five irrelevant clicks daily can cost my clients $1000/day, that’s $30k monthly.

Take Action

Remove cities and state names using negative keywords (in addition to location targeting).
Remove informational terms such as image, video, picture, book, article, software, worst, list, etc.
Remove questions – why, where, which, whim, what, when, who, can I, should I, if, etc.
Remove adult keywords.
Remove job-related keywords such as career, employer, employment, full time, hire, intern, etc.
Remove media-related terms such as PDF, jog, png, ringtone, logo, etc.
Remove website names such as Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, eBay, Pinterest, etc.

Other Budget Leaks You Should Look Into

Use click fraud software, don’t rely on Google to catch all invalid clicks.
Remove partners-network and display from Google targeting!
Be selective and precise with your location and ad schedule targeting.
Remove high CPA terms that are exceeding your set maximum.
Decide on the max CPA you’re willing to pay and remove any keywords or ads that exceed it.
Replace the least performing ad extensions with something new you’ve never tried before.
Remove all keywords with three words or less.
Work on all keywords with low-quality scores. You are paying more for those.
Use alerts to monitor abnormalities within your acceptable KPI ranges.

You’ve just been handed years of PPC experience, and I am confident if you implement all the advice given properly, this post will save you thousands of dollars. This is not a magic trick but a focusing guide that points you in the right direction instead of messing with nuances like most, which favor only one side – the ad vendors.

Happy optimizing!

The post Unlocking PPC: The Three-Part Google Ads Strategy to Get 3x ROI appeared first on Attorney at Law Magazine.

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