content marketing and video production




Someone interested in starting up an exercise business asked me this question at a social event and the answer is yes, you should invest in advertising and the right choice might be pay-per-click (PPC). But the answer is no, until you have done your homework. Small business owners should not consider PPC until their site is optimized and inbound tactics are in place. PPC has to be managed closely or you will waste a lot of money for a trickle of web traffic. If you don’t have someone on staff to handle marketing and dedicated to making adjustments, you should hire a PPC bid management provider. Before you start advertising, it is important to understand how keywords work to bring customers to your site. There is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) groundwork to carry out before you are in the right shape to even launch your site and well before you run a PPC campaign.


Keywords are descriptive terms used to describe your service or product.  They are important because anyone looking for a business like yours has to put words in a search engine field to find you.


You can put essential keywords in the name of your company and URL, for the ultimate edge.  It’s no mistake that when I look for a cross-fit exercise class in Denver and type in “cross-fit Denver” that I am served up  It’s not imaginative or evocative but it works.  If you have an unusual business offering with a unique name such as “Zumba”, that also could be a search home run but you’ll spend a lot of time and money to get that term to known and probably should start with press and display advertising instead to build your name recognition before you turn to PPC.


Make a list of keywords people might use to describe your business.  Check your search terms in a Google Search field and review the descriptions that show up for similar businesses to see what keywords they have under their company name.  If you know your direct competitors, check their sites and look over their page title, headers and body text. If your competitor is using search marketing you can look up their organic and paid keywords for free with SEMRush. This is a moving target if you are in a competitive online business but it is the key to outperforming them in online search.  Set up a keyword spreadsheet and keep track of what keywords your competitors are using at least on a quarterly basis.  If your site is up and running, you should explore what organic search terms are already finding your business by checking your free Google Analytics tool.  Finding keywords and modifying the headers and body text of your site is not a once and your done exercise.  You need to continually review your analytics, test and improve.


Creating quality content and easy navigation to relevant information are the two most important steps to improve PageRank (your site’s authority on Google and how you reach the top of the search results).  Google has sophisticated algorithms that look for semantically relevant answers to search queries so how you talk about your services is as important as the words you use.  There are many places on your site where you can flag down search traffic.  You should describe your service in the:

  • Name of Page
  • Header
  • Metadata
  • Body text
  • Photo and Video Tags


Pay-per-click advertising is what you see everyday when you carry out a search and at the top are a few “sponsored” ads or links.  The benefit of PPC is that your ad is being delivered to someone who has put in the search terms that align with your business, so they are considering a purchase.  

This is how you outdistance your competitor:  pay the least money for the most leads.  If you don’t plan ahead, you won’t get much traction and might drain your budget quickly.  Once you set up a Google AdWords account you will have access to the Google Keyword Planner and can enter in keywords to see how much they will cost per click in particular ad groups.  For example “exercise” or even “fitness” will be too expensive for a pre-revenue business or small business, so you should look for long-tail keywords that are more specific and affordable such as, “cross fit training” or “new personal fitness trend”.  There are great tools to check terms that are less popular and cheaper.  Wordstream provides a leading keyword tool that is free and  FreshKey, though subscription based, is a powerful intelligence tool that is fueled by Amazon buyer data. For a small cost, this service is ideal for e-commerce businesses and will save you hours of time by quickly providing keywords with the least competition.

For the PPC campaign to work best, you need anchor text in the body of your site page that is relevant to the keywords you are bidding on.  It provides a signal to ad networks that your landing page is ready to receive those visitors with exactly what they have been searching for.  Let’s say your gym has various classes, you want to make sure your paid ad uses the terms that describe a particular class and drive them to the page where they can find out more and easily navigate to a purchase. INBOUND TACTICS

Small businesses are so eager to get more business that they rush and skip the most important step.  You have to be prepared for the online customer who is visiting your site but not ready to buy your service or product…yet.  You are starting a relationship with this kind of user and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to convert that visitor into a customer at a later date.  It is vital for you to try to get their email so you can give them information and offers down the road.  Many businesses use pop-ups to get people to register but more pleasant and effective is a pop-up or form to gather emails after they are interested in a free white paper with well researched tips, a tool, a screensaver or other giveaway.  When you send this customer an email, you can direct them back to your site with an offer.  Whatever your email marketing strategy is, it should be up and working with your website and sales team before you begin PPC advertising.  It would be a shame to increase traffic to your site and not be ready to convert those leads.


Facebook advertising is a great first step into digital advertising for small businesses because it's relatively cheap and you can deliver to a target segment of the population with granularity.  For example, you can target residents of a particular zip code with certain behaviors, such as interest in fitness and health.  This information will not only shape your advertising; it should help shape your business.  If you found out that most of your customers were high income, perhaps you would want to modify some of your amenities and the way you present and communicate to customers.  What if you found out that more of the customers who actually clicked to your site were interested in diet than health, then you might want to stress weight management benefits of your exercise services.  These types of answers will help you plan ad campaign keywords and where to advertise. 


Hint: Consider PPC advertising with Microsoft and Yahoo, which have proven to produce more results for spend time and again.


Learn how adjusting your content strategy will improve search engine traffic results.
DATE: 7/26/2016

Share this article

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *