If you know little about Google advertising then it’s definitely a skill you want to invest in this year. Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can win you a constant stream of new clients when done properly, but there are steps you need to follow to ensure that the people clicking on your ads are genuine, potential customers who are looking for your services.
However, before we get into these, let me emphasise: for the best results you should be advertising some kind of offer that directs to a landing page. On this landing page, people need to provide their name and contact details so you can email them a generic voucher or booking code.
This structure has two major benefits: 1. You can state on the voucher/email that they must quote the booking code to receive the offer. Record that code with each booking so you can track how many new appointments your advert is producing. 2. You can add their contact details (name and email address) to your client database so you can send them booking reminders and further marketing.
Like all digital platforms, it’s easy to chew up your Google Ad spend with little return if you don’t follow some key practices. I advise implementing the following five factors to keep your ads lean and profitable.
1. Split test your ads
Create two adverts for your salon with slightly different wording so you can split test them, then after a month, pause the one that’s costing more per click (CPC). Make sure your offer is the first or second headline of each ad and in the advert description list the various treatments you offer, as well as what makes you awesome (for example, 'award-winning' establishment, exclusive products). Also, including some sense of urgency in the ad description helps, such as “Offer closes soon. Order now”.
2. Add your call extension and salon location
It’s important that your salon phone number is displayed with your ad, as some customers may want to speak to you (and hopefully book) immediately. Adding your location is also crucial to avoid wasteful spend.
Unless you’re in a very rural area, use the “advanced search” to set a search radius of three miles from your salon address. If you’re in a busy city centre, I recommend reducing that to two miles. The further away from your salon people are, the less likely they will be to visit. The exception to this is if you’re a mobile beauty business, of course.
3. Manage your budget and bidding wisely
I recommend starting on a £5–£10 daily budget (per location if you have multiple salons). You can always increase spend after four-to-eight weeks once your campaign is profitable. Bidding is also important. Setting your bidding strategy to maximise clicks is fine but I recommend you set the maximum cost per click (CPC) at £2. I run ads for beauty salons in several countries – and with the exception of high-priced skin clinic treatment searches – £2 is the most we pay.
Without this cap, you run the risk of being overcharged on certain searches. However, if you’re a skin clinic providing higher priced laser and aesthetic treatments, then be prepared to pay up to £5 per click.
4. Choose your keywords carefully
Your keyword choices are crucial to ensure your ads are put in front of the right eyes – it’s where the most money is wasted in Google advertising. Only use search phrases that are entirely relevant to what you provide, set to “exact match”. This means that people have to type in those keywords word-forword in order for your ad to appear. Use the specific beauty treatments you offer, plus your town/city, or the words “near me”, to conclude. Examples of this include:
• Beauty salons (your town)
• Beauty salons near me
• Nail salon (your town)
• Nail salon near me
• Facials (your town)
• Facials near me
• Laser hair removal (your town)
• Laser hair removal near me.
Create keywords in this vein for all your treatments – you should ideally make a list of 15–25 keywords. With these set to exact match, and keeping the ad to a three-mile search radius, most of your ad clicks should be genuine potential clients.
However, if you’re a mobile business, include the word “mobile” at the start of each keyword – for example, “mobile nails (your town)”. This is important as we’ve found people searching for a mobile therapist will usually use “mobile” in their searches.
5. Improve and optimise your ads
After four-to-eight weeks of using that code to track your Google bookings, you can evaluate whether your campaign is working. You can also view exactly which treatments Google clients are booking to see if some are more popular than others. If that’s the case then pause some keywords and focus your budget on the treatment keywords that are bringing in the most revenue.
But, what if you’re not getting enough clicks each day to spend your budget? Then, change each keyword’s search type from “exact match” to “phrase match”. This means instead of having to type in only those exact keywords, people can now enter those words but also other words before or after them – for example, “best beauty salon near me” or “nail salon near me open Sundays”.
This will boost impressions, clicks and hopefully bookings and, once profitable, you can then increase your daily budget to whatever you’re comfortable with. PB