When it comes to digital strategies, there are two basic forms of reaching consumers: organically and through paid media strategy.
For businesses looking to increase scheduled services in 2021, both methods will be important. However, paid media strategies are one of the most effective and immediately viable options for businesses of any size looking to convert online leads into paying customers.
For companies in the business of providing services, being present online is no longer a nice-to-have; it is a must. As Small Biz Genius pointed out, 97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. This number makes it clear how critical it is for a service-based business to ensure its name is front and center when customers are searching.
In this way, a paid media strategy can be a highly profitable choice. A paid media strategy can effectively reach a desired audience and drive qualified leads to your business when run well.
For businesses looking to increase scheduled services in 2021, this guide will look at the best practices this year, why having a strategy around paid media is critical, and how you can put this information to work for you. The result is that your business should feel equipped to have important conversations around paid media strategies.
Best Practices in 2021
Advertising is an age-old practice, with its roots reaching back to early civilization. By the mid-1900s, the newspaper opened up a whole new opportunity for paid advertising, and when radio and television took center stage, paid ads grew rapidly.
Today, while these paid media strategies still exist, there’s a new dominant force: the internet. And when attempting to locate a local business for services, typical consumers immediately reach for their phone and perform an online search.
For 2021, the following four best practices should be central to any paid media strategy.
1. Expanding Your Social Media Footprint
According to Statista, a remarkable 80% of the U.S. population has a social networking profile. As of 2020, this equated to approximately 223 million U.S. social media users.
With the use of social networks only growing, it is more critical than ever for businesses to invest marketing dollars into paid social media strategies.
Social media offers significant opportunities for service-based businesses.
Think about this: according to Qualtrics, young millennials check their phones an average of 150 times a day, and during waking hours, 42% of millennials don’t go more than five hours without checking their social media.
With the right paid media strategy, social media allows businesses to surface relevant information in front of potential customers in a highly targeted manner. By using the powerful data sets available, businesses can focus on creating high-conversion ads that customers will see throughout their day.
2. Embracing the Power of AI
According to Statista, the global artificial intelligence (AI) software market looks to grow leaps and bounds, reaching around 126 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.
It is no mystery that AI is influencing an increasing number of daily activities. Harnessing the power of AI will be critical to paid media strategies going forward. Digital marketing is bursting at the seams in regards to data available. However, making sense of this data, especially in real-time, is a task no business owner or marketing manager can fully unravel.
This is where AI offers clear opportunities for optimizing paid media strategies in real-time, reacting to data the moment it is unearthed. AI will play a huge role in 2021 and beyond to ensure that marketing dollars are spent wisely.
3. Understanding that Google Still Reigns King
It is easy to jump on every new bandwagon when it comes to paid media tactics. However, one thing remains true, Google is still king.
According to Global Stats, Google owns a whopping 90% of search engine shares.
In addition, the Google Display Network reaches 90% of internet users across the globe.
What does this mean for businesses looking to increase scheduled services in 2021?
It means that any intelligent paid media strategy should focus heavily on Google paid ads. While it is always worthwhile to experiment across new platforms, this experimentation should never come at the cost of sacrificing Google ad spend.
To this day, Google still provides one of the lowest costs and most effective means for reaching interested customers.
4. Focusing on Conversion Attribution
This year, the only way to constantly optimize a paid media campaign is by gathering the right data and adjusting your strategy accordingly.
For this reason, businesses need to focus on understanding the paths people took to complete conversions. Without crediting the right ads for the right conversions, it is difficult to know what investments are having the biggest impact on results.
For example, within Google Ads, a tool called data-driven attribution (DDA) uses Google’s machine learning to understand how much credit should be assigned to an ad interaction along a customer’s journey. This model constantly analyzes conversion patterns, surfacing important information about what ads are most effective and which paid strategies cost your business the least.
Regardless of the channel, understanding attribution and learning from patterns will be critical to maximize paid media spend in 2021.
Why Paid Media Strategy Is Critical
Acquiring leads online occurs primarily through organic methods or paid media strategies. While both are valid and have their own place at the table, paid media will be a dominant player this year.
Paid Clicks Are Dominating
Small Biz Genius notes that traffic driven by paid-per-click (PPC) advertising yields 50% higher conversion rates than organic leads.
The reality is that paid clicks are still playing a fundamental role in any successful digital marketing strategy. Without a well-crafted PPC strategy, businesses will quickly be left behind in a highly competitive landscape.
According to Google, businesses that surface paid ads see an average 80% lift in brand awareness. For service-based businesses, this brand awareness is critical.
Even if consumers don’t convert the moment they see your ad, becoming a top-of-mind brand in your space can lead to future scheduled services and long-term loyalty.
Your Competitors Are Already There
For businesses that have been reluctant to spend money on paid media, the time for skepticism is over. Your competitors are already spending their money on paid media campaigns. According to Clutch, 65% of small-to-midsize businesses have already invested in a PPC campaign.
To remain competitive, businesses must ensure they are receiving as much, if not more, visibility online than competitors in their vertical.
Your Customers Don’t Notice
One of the biggest concerns businesses have had, and rightly so, has been whether customers will want to click on an ad rather than use organic search results.
Interestingly, even today in an increasingly digital-savvy world, nearly half of search engine users cannot tell the difference between paid and organic search results.
This is great news for brands that have struggled to gain a foothold in the organic search market. If your customers don’t notice the difference between a paid ad or an organic result, you have the chance to convert leads immediately through the right paid strategy.
Come With the Budget You Have
Another common concern of small-to-midsize businesses is that they will not have the budget to compete or to make back the money spent. However, Google posits that businesses make an average of $2 for every $1 they spend on AdWords.
PPC is within reach no matter what budget you have. Backed by the right strategy, any budget can lead to high-profit margins for businesses promoting consumer services.
Practical How-To’s: Increase Schedule Services Through Paid Media Strategy
It is easy to see that the right paid media strategy can reach your target audience and increase scheduled services this year. However, as is true with any online marketing tactic, paid media strategies have to be optimized to ensure the best return on spend. The following practical how-tos are great places to begin your journey into paid ads.
Start Small and Measure
For businesses just venturing out into the waters of paid media, starting small is key. Focus on one to two channels, and, before expanding, learn how to measure the conversion rates within these channels.
For example, an HVAC business might start by launching a small PPC campaign with a limited budget. From here, data can be gathered, allowing the business to learn what is working well and what isn’t before sinking in a large amount of spend.
Focus on Creative Best Practices
According to Facebook, people spend on average 1.7 seconds with a piece of content on mobile. This means that capturing the attention of your audience has to be quick and focused.
Practically speaking, this means that if your business is looking to convert a customer to schedule a service, you need to make your ad copy concise, clear, and creative. With such a short time span to convert a customer, focusing on creating a quality ad is key. Copy matters, placement of your ad matters, and the landing page you send the customer to definitely matters.
Try Something New
When it comes to online marketing, it’s easy to get into a rut. This is particularly true for service-based industries, which might not see the benefit in expanding to new online channels. However, consumers are spending more and more time online, checking their phones, and expanding into new social networking platforms.
Perhaps historically, you didn’t see the point in building out a Facebook page for your plumbing business. Maybe you didn’t think there’d be any reason to spend advertising dollars on Instagram. However, for companies interested in increasing scheduled services, trying out new channels is key.
Make Conversion Easy
In today’s fast-paced world, consumers expect simplicity when it comes to scheduling a service online. You could create the best ad copy in the world, surface your ad in the most meaningful locations, and reach your audience perfectly, only to lose a conversion with a poor experience.
Be sure that converting is easy. Fortunately, most paid media channels now offer the ability to build in forms, offer one-click scheduling, and other methods for lowering any conversion resistance.
Not sure how easy it is to convert from the ads you are running? Give it a test! Try following your own workflow. Is it simple to schedule a service online? If not, optimize this before spending any more marketing dollars.
Choose the Right Partner and Optimize Your Strategy
At J&L Marketing, we understand the importance of a paid media strategy backed by data-driven insights. We believe that businesses can see remarkable growth in scheduled services in the year ahead by investing paid media dollars wisely.
Our team has years of experience optimizing paid media for businesses of all sizes. We can assist you not only in building out a robust paid media campaign, but also in constantly assessing data, testing out new strategies, and increasing your return on marketing dollars spent. Talk to us today about how you can leverage paid media in the year ahead to book more services.