A lot of our clients compete against the “mega brands,” including the likes of Target, Home Depot and Crate & Barrel. These companies have giant budgets, numerous perks and endless resources. While this represents a huge challenge for some businesses, the opportunity is there when you play your cards right.
Following are some tips we’ve found that can help companies compete against their big brand counterparts. With the right investment and attitude going into PPC, and a good understanding of what sets you apart, you can level the PPC playing field to make yourself a serious contender.
1. Invest Wisely in PPC
Spending hundreds of thousands annually on PPC like some of the mega brands may seem out of reach, but it’s important to be open to growing your budget if you want to stay competitive.
We have a few clients who started out spending as little as $1,000 a month on PPC, and now spend upwards of $30,000. In most cases, these clients were hesitant to adopt the idea of an “open” budget. However, when you work with a PPC professional who is making your business more profitable, spending more isn’t an issue.
Talk with your PPC managers and get their thoughts on your current budget. If they think there are ways for you to increase your PPC ad spend in a smarter way, it can pay.
In a post about how much to spend on PPC, we talked about the difference it can make to your finances when your accounts are properly managed. Bottom line: Well-maintained accounts are more likely to open up your PPC budget.
2. Be Competitive and Offer Something Good
Sometimes you have to play hard to stay in the game. If the big brands offer free shipping, you should too. If this isn’t an option due to various business or logistical reasons, think creatively on how to compete. Look at options like slightly lower price points, free gifts or discounts for repeat purchases.
When it comes to offering something your target market really wants, look at both your new business prospects and loyal customers. The first group can be enticed to buy initially with promotions, and the latter should get something special for their continued business.
As the underdog, figure out something you can do that the mega brands can’t — even if it’s a small sale; customers love saving 10 or 15 percent, and doing that little something is far better than offering nothing.
And finally, when it comes to being competitive, be brutally honest with yourself about your website and the experience it is creating. Does it look and work like a mega brand’s site? If not, it’s time to think about making tweaks to it.
Consider performing a quick landing page audit. Fabulous ads are great, but can’t do much once visitors get to your landing page. Incorporate your ad’s keywords on the landing page to help visitors know they are in the right place, and make certain your call to action is clear and effective. A little A/B testing could also be helpful.
For a site really in need of updating, I usually suggest concentrating on a site redesign before ramping up any PPC spend.
3. Pay Attention to the Advertising Details
Work with your PPC manager to ensure your text ads are specialized, descriptive and on par with your current promotions. A little creativity, strategic wording and testing can differentiate your brand.
And really, that’s what it all comes down to: Differentiate or die. You can stand apart when you push differentiators within your ads. For example, so many retailers shout about their large selection, huge inventory and great customer service. Instead of touting generic characteristics, figure out what makes you special.
The good news is, you have several options in your PPC ads for drawing attention to the things you’re offering:
- Ad extensions do all sorts of things, like keep your location and reviews visible. Learn more here.
- Sitelinks on your ads can send customers to specific pages of your site.
- Callout extensions let you highlight special features and benefits of your goods and services.
Keep in mind that one benefit smaller businesses have over large ones is agility. The mega brands might have massive marketing and PPC budgets, but a lot of it may be automated. Or, a simple ad change could take a long time for approvals for big brands.
You, on the other hand, are more nimble and agile, and capable of faster implementation of these small PPC alterations that can drive big results.
Competing in PPC in 2015
The truth is, most of us will never possess a budget to match that of the mega brands. However, there’s always room for improvement, and with a little creativity, you can create new ideas to set your business apart in the paid search results.
Remember to think of your budget as a fluid thing, which can swell open when managed well. Look at what the big brands are offering, and figure out ways to stand out. Finally, don’t forget about the details – keep those ads and landing pages accurate and strategic.
Take advantage of your agility to keep pace with the big guys, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.