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Rethink How You Attract New Customers

Posted on April 24, 2024

Are Pay-Per-Click Campaigns Still an Essential Investment?

By Eric Nolan

Coming out of a challenging winter, everybody is asking the same question. “How do I get the most from my marketing budget and attract the best possible quality leads?”

There are many tools available in the digital space to drive traffic to your business, grow gallons and increase your customer base. Many of our clients have noted that paid advertising on search engines — what we call Pay-Per-Click — is becoming pricier. It can be tempting to look at this as an expense line in your marketing budget and wonder if you can do without it.

Google studied what happened to 400 business when they paused their paid search ads. These accounts saw an average of 89% of traffic lost that was not recovered through organic clicks.

Pay-Per-Click is a crucial tool for attracting leads. It is an integral component of any digital marketing strategy, as important as an attractive and informative website, a social media presence, targeted email or virtually any other component of your brand strategy. But the key is, as in everything, you have to do it right. With the perfect storm of greater need and less money to work with, you can’t afford to make any mistakes.

Think Past the “Last Click”

For many years, marketers and businesses placed immense importance on the “last click” — or the last digital place that a consumer visited before making a purchase. Attributing 100% of a sale to this last point of contact is misleading because the way users make purchasing decisions has changed dramatically.

Someone looking to switch heating oil or propane providers or to upgrade their furnace will engage with many online spaces — search ads, Facebook posts, news articles, blogs from fuel or HVAC providers, etc. — before choosing which company to go with. Google calls this period of extensive research the “messy middle.”

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A prominent paid ad on a Google search is the beginning of this process. It establishes your company as the starting point for this journey and enhances your brand as an authority that customers are more inclined to return to. Taking Pay-Per-Click off the table ends these customer journeys before they begin. If you don’t invest in getting the user’s first click, you will never get the last click — or the sale.

Focus on Lead Generation — not Daily Spending

It can be tempting to tinker with a Pay-Per-Click campaign to try to lower your daily spending. More often than not, this results in fewer, lower-quality leads. Focusing on reducing your daily spending ends up having the effect of increasing your cost per new lead.

That’s where a partner like Warm Thoughts comes in. As the leading provider of marketing and advertising to the industry, we have solved the puzzle by incorporating state-of-the-art software (especially AI driven machine learning) paired with our decades of industry-specific experience — to optimize your keywords, market regions and spending levels. When you have a marketing partner like us, you benefit not only from our assessment of your campaigns; you benefit from the broader insights we’ve developed from managing comparable campaigns that generated nearly 35 million impressions, roughly 2 million clicks and over 400,000 contacts for our clients since 2017 alone.

With this guidance, you can be confident that your marketing mix is in balance and your budget is the right size for your goals.

Evaluating Your Campaign’s Success

If “last click” and daily spending aren’t helpful in evaluating your Pay-Per-Click spending, what is?

Let’s look at HVAC equipment sales, which have required more active engagement across a range of digital and offline spaces. During the pandemic, more people were investing in home comfort upgrades, but that has slowed as things have gotten closer to a pre-Covid normal. You can’t count on your existing customer base or referrals to provide as many sales. Consequently, this is the best time to pursue an aggressive, sustained Pay-Per-Click campaign as part of a balanced marketing strategy aimed at growing your customer base.

Warm Thoughts will be there to provide regular updates about your digital marketing progress, including how often people are seeing and clicking on your ads, as well as what calls, chats and leads a Pay-Per-Click campaign has generated. With this information, your team and ours can make informed, results-driven choices about your ongoing strategy.

The upfront investment in Pay-Per-Click can yield a significant payoff. Acquiring a new customer expands the reach of your brand, bringing invaluable word-of-mouth business, stellar reviews and still-higher quality referrals.

Since the customer journey is a long and winding one, you need to evaluate a campaign over a longer timeframe. That first engagement with a user becomes a phone call or form submission only after extensive research.

How to Support a Pay-Per-Click Strategy

Pay-Per-Click is getting pricier because businesses know it works and are willing to commit funds to it. It continues to be an integral tool for attracting new leads, but you need to invest in the resources to ensure that the leads you receive turn into sales.

Having a search-engine-optimized website that regularly updates with informative content not only attracts organic traffic to you but also keeps users on your site.

One of the most exciting investments our clients are making is an AI-supported chat feature that talks to users when they arrive at their websites. Customers do their research at all hours, often when your office is closed. This chat feature can turn a click into an actionable lead. It engages with the user, confirms what product or service they’re interested in and refers them to the correct team member for a callback.

And coming soon, we will be releasing an AI bot that can listen to your inbound phone calls and classify them by quality of lead and next steps required!

Warm Thoughts also offers ongoing training to your customer service reps to give them tools to convert prospective customers.

At Warm Thoughts, we provide support and guidance for Pay-Per-Click campaigns and the online and offline assets that support them. From helping you manage your paid marketing to optimizing your website, leveraging new technology and providing sales training to your staff, Warm Thoughts is your full-service marketing partner.

The Warm Thoughts team is always available to discuss your Pay-Per-Click strategy to ensure you’re reaching the best prospects while not overspending. Reach out to us today.


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