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Irrigation Association of New York

Advertising More Effectively on Google

Way back in 2010, I wrote one of the irrigation industry’s first how-to guides for Google pay-per-click advertising. I didn’t predict then that it would become such an important advertising tool!

A huge number of companies, including your competitors, have tapped into the incredible benefits of paid search. If you’re not familiar with pay-per-click, a quick overview: Pay-per-click allows you to place ads on search engines (usually Google) that are triggered to display when a searcher makes a specific query. If the searcher clicks on your ad in the search results, she is transported to your website. You pay for the click!

Pay-per-click is praised because it’s fast to set-up, incredibly effective at generating leads and provides real-time data on results. It’s easy to start, but not quick to get right. Amateur set-up can lead to an inefficient and costly program. Achieving success takes a precision and ongoing continuous improvement.

Many users don’t know the right things to look for to know whether they are spending their money wisely. Any company can generate lots of clicks. But are they good ones?

When I am asked to review a campaign, it’s not because the results are low, but because the client suspects there are inefficiencies. And there usually are.

Here are a few of the places I find mistakes.

  • Improper set-up of negative keywords. These prevent your ad for “lawn irrigation” from showing up for those seeking nasal irrigation or farm sprinklers. Using proper negative keywords can cut your monthly costs by 25 percent or more by simply preventing “wrong” searches from seeing your ad.
  • Too many “bad” keywords. Accepting all of the suggested keywords offered by Google is always a mistake. There’s a difference between lawn maintenance services and lawn mower parts. Hire someone with tons of experience in your space to aid in developing your search terms. He/she knows what works and what doesn’t in your industry.
  • Ad messages should match the search term. Someone searching for tree trimming should see an ad talking about arbor care services, not an ad about landscape installation.
  • Use modified broad match, not plain broad match on long-tail search phrases. I won’t explain this here, but email me if you need to understand the difference
  • Opt out of the display network for most landscape industry campaigns. Display traffic comes from ads placed on secondary sites. This traffic is more “browsers” than “immediate need.” (Google Adwords defaults the display network on, which adds clicks and expense quickly.)

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what you need to look for, but it should help you start fine tuning ahead of the spring rush. Do it now to enjoy more leads AND lower costs next season.

Jeff Carowitz is a respected adviser to leading landscape industry firms. Connect with him on LinkedIn or email Jeff@StrategicForceMarketing.com.