Your Google Marketplace
In our varied and mystical SEM travels, nothing has amazed us more that this: People will dedicate incredible amounts of time and money to SEM - but do not do a lot of research on Google. That is a mistake. To say the least. Why?
Because it's easy and valuable - and fun. You just go on Google. And type. You don't have to book flights or become an expert at corporate espionage. It's an open book test. Every marketplace is right there. Yours, similar ones to yours in other geographies. Your suppliers. Your distributors. Your competitors. You can even see how companies that actually do SEM go about advertising on Google.
We're not really sure what causes othewise rational business people to think they shouldn't understand as much about the Google marketplace they are competing in as they possibly can. We are sure it is costing those businesses a LOT of money. And they're missing all the fun.
Ignoring the fact that you're in a competitive landscape is not all that uncommon in business. But, in the case of SEM, it is a crime against profitability - and probably sanity as well.
It will help a lot if you have a good understanding of how your competitors use Google to get customers. Then you can use CampaignBuilder to do it even better. We hope you will develop some new innovations for selling on Google, but you’re going to need to know what’s happening first.
This exercise will REALLY help you to think like your customer. Your competitors may have some very creative ways they use Google Ads to get customers, so you need to do enough research to fully understand them. Do they ask you to call and talk about your problem? Sign up for an estimate? Come in for a free sample? Buy a product or service?
How do you determine which keywords you should be using to show your ads to real potential buyers and NOT show your ad to people with no buying intent? One way is to look at statistics about particular search terms in your "marketplace". But are you really more interested in "experts" telling you some statistical analysis of various keyword combinations - than you are in having your own people typing in hundreds of real world search terms and seeing what happens in your market and similar markets throughout the country/world?
Consider holding a weekly meeting where everyone involved in selling or customer service spends an hour (together; at the same time) going through every Google search possibly related to your market. You can even simulate searching from different devices and locations using tools such as Browserstack.com.
Don’t just click on competitors' ads. Take the time to understand how they get conversions. Call and talk. Fill out the forms. Buy the samples. Chat online. This can give you insight into the keywords and ads that work in your business.
There’s a lot of benefit to being exuberant Google researchers. One of them is discovering where your competitors have left “holes” for you to take all the customers from for very little click cost. In other words, where you might get a lot of business very cheaply.
Here’s some examples (each of which we have seen working in the marketplace) of how using Google to scan the marketplace can reveal opportunities that you would otherwise not find.
- You discover that your competitors have “free” as a negative search term. You decide to put “free” in your keywords, and feature an ad that tells us why you’re a lot better than any “free” solution, and you might get a lot of business very cheaply.
- You discover that your biggest competitor runs very high bids starting at 8am each day, but runs out of budget by 11am. You decide to start your campaigns at noon and you might get a lot of business very cheaply.
- You discover that your competitors all offer “free inspection”. You run ads that say: “no inspection necessary” and you might get a lot of business very cheaply.
- You discover that your main competitor runs call-only ads, but not on weekends. You decide to run call-only ads on weekends and, you guessed it, you might get a lot of business very cheaply.
- Your competitors just run a generic “Chicago Area” type of ad. You take the time to create ads customized for each suburb, and – well, you can fill in the rest.
There is a bad tendency for many search marketers to try to be successful without really understanding what is going on with their SERPs. We'd like to get you excited at becoming the master of your SERP's and to view this as an integral part of your successful efforts with SEM.
All the information that appears on the SERPs where your ads appear is a very important subject and an opportunity for creating higher performing campaigns
When you go searching on Google for anything, you type in your words (which you now know are search terms) and hit enter. What you get back is a page. This is what we refer to as: the SERP (or search engine results page). In other words, your search has created that page (SERP).