Digital banner advertising online (also known as PPC advertising or pay-per-click advertising) is a great way for business owners to get hefty returns on a marketing investment — if done correctly.

There’s no shortage of Internet advertising opportunities available to local businesses (social media, search engines, display, retargeting, maps and directories, to name a few). However, the most popular and effective way to reach a local audience that is ready to take action is with PPC advertising on search engines.

A quick overview of PPC

PPC gets results by showing ads to customers alongside the results that a search engines provides. In addition to customer targeting and segmenting capabilities, PPC is a popular advertising vehicle because you pay only for people who engage with and take an action with your ad. 

Unlike other online advertising Local businesses that use PPC Typically advertisers bid on a keyword or phrase that is relevant to their target market. On search engines, like Google, there is no fixed price for a keyword and the bidding system show demand for a keyword. Once keywords have been chosen and ads created, they are shown in search engine results with related content to the keyword.

where to find PPC ads in search results on Google

What does a PPC ad look like?

PPC ads through AdWords consists of three main parts:

  • A headline of 25 characters
  • The display URL that can be 35 characters
  • Two lines of body text comprising of 35 characters each

anatomy of an adwords ad

What makes up a successful PPC ad?

PPC ads don’t include a lot of text, which makes it seem impossible to grab consumers attention, especially when you’re competing with organic search results, but there are a few things you can do to stand out from the crowd.

Create a list of targetted keywords or phrases

When bidding for keywords you can go after the top keywords where you will have a lot of competition or you can go after ones with low competition and are more focused on a niche audience. As a local business you have a smaller market than national companies, you aren’t looking to grab every consumer from Portland, Maine to San Diego, California and this should reflect in your keywords.

Create a list of general keywords then start narrowing that list into more specific ones. For example a shoe repair business in Omaha, Nebraska could start with:

  • shoe repair
  • cobbler
  • boot repair
  • leather repair

All of these words get thousands of searches monthly, which would be great if no one else was creating ads around them. But this cobbler is located and serves just the Omaha area and has a few specialties like leather repair above and purse repair, so they want to focus their area by adding “Omaha” and the local area codes to their keywords

ppc exampleHave a clear goal for each ad

After you create your list of keywords you want to really focus your text around a single keyword. You have a finite amount of characters available so you want to have a strong action call in each ad, attracting consumers to act now. Using the cobbler in Omaha that repairs shoes but also repairs leather and purses, they wouldn’t want to create and ad that speaks to each of those aspects, but just one.

Lead your ad to a specific landing page

After you’ve created your ads to drive a certain action you need to connect to a URL that will make that action possible. If the shoe repair business out of Omaha just connected every ad to the homepage of their website a consumer could find the information they are looking for, but you make them work for it. Make the action as easy as possible, if someone clicks on your ad for shoe repair in Omaha and you have locations across the state, connect a landing page with just your Omaha locations, hours and contact information, sharing examples of the various before and after shots of your shoe repair.

Not only will a related landing page drive action, it will make your ad more credible to Google who will then improve the placement of your ad.

Online advertising examples

I’ll present three different online advertising examples, from different industries and different areas of the country, looking at the pros and cons of each ad.

Maid in Foxboro, MA

ppc example merry maids foxboro

merry maids ppc ad example landing page

This ad is focused on Norfolk county, specifically Foxboro, MA, where the Merry Maid service is based. The headline uses their Foxboro specific URL as the grab, which could be improved by using words instead. But the URL being focused adds to the community they serve, which is exemplified in their body text which shares the area they serve and why you should choose them.

The landing page is really just the homepage of their website, which could be cleaned up to have a clearer message, but it does provide all the necessary information a consumer would be looking for upfront.

Gyms in Denver, CO

In Denver, there were many results for gyms and, therefore, ads back to back.

denver gymn ppc ad examples

Looking at these two ads they each have a clear agenda. Pura Vida Club wants to attract people using qualifiers “Best Health Club” and providing information on why their gym is for everyone, while the second gym, Gym Uptown wants people to sign up for a free pass.

Pura Vida Club takes you to their homepage where they want you to sign up and explains why they gave so much information about their offering in their ad.

Pura Vida membership

Gym Uptown’s ad doesn’t take advantage of their second body text line, instead leaving their CTA without question at all. Their URL delivers consumers to a page that shares more information about the free pass, which could be included in the ad and streamline the landing page for a faster sign-up. Sign up today

Both of these ads have a goal of getting people to sign up for their gyms, but they focus on that goal in two different ways. Pura Vida wants consumers to see their best-in-class qualifier while Gym Uptown wants people to try it out before they commit.

Dentist in Santa Barbara, CA

This last example is the best example, it is a focused message with qualifiers and a clear CTA on the landing page making for easy consumer navigation and a better experience overall.

santa barbara dentist ppc ad example

Looking for a new dentist? Johnson family dental

This ad delivers two different experiences, reaching a broader audience, but could also be broken down to each specific audience. It speaks to people looking for a new dentist and those looking for a free exam and updated x-rays and the landing page helps direct those two different consumers.

Begin running your own PPC campaigns using the online advertising examples as a base as to how to create you copy and focus your ad to present the best consumer experience.