How to use PPC to connect with potential garage customers

Take a look at how building a PPC campaign can help you to connect with potential customers

Published:  27 January, 2021

Over recent years, we've seen a shift in the aftermarket, where newer, more sophisticated cars are becoming increasingly complex for professionals carrying out repairs. This has meant that garages looking to adapt to these new conditions have been required to invest in the latest equipment to ensure they can keep up with the demand for more intricate jobs.

For many businesses, we've also seen a move away from the traditional static local customer base, with savvy car owners willing to travel further for high quality repair work. So, it's understandable that many garage operators might be looking to capture this growing market, attracting a wider client base that could lead to increased ROI and an opportunity to expand operations.

With this in mind, it may well be the case that you're looking for the best ways to attract a wider audience to your garage. Pay-per-click (PPC) adverts are very well suited for targeting users who are searching for a particular product or service, and they could be the key to a successful marketing campaign. Here, I'm going to share a few tips on using PPC adverts to connect your auto-repair business with new customers.

Read up on PPC before you get started
Before you dive into the world of PPC, it's important to do some research. In a nutshell, pay-per-click ads are those sponsored results that appear on search engine results pages and sometimes in other locations. Text ads are likely to be most suitable for a garage business, which allow you to focus on specific phrases relevant to your business. You place a bid to appear for certain user searches, but don't pay the platform for the ad unless the user clicks through. By choosing the right keywords, they allow you to target the exact audience you're looking for, while allowing you precise control over your budget for bidding. I highly recommend you find a good introductory guide, such as this one from HubSpot, to get up to speed:

Choose where to advertise
There are a few options when it comes to PPC advertising, including Google, Bing, and Facebook ads, though Google Ads is by far the dominant market and where most businesses start their campaigns. The sheer volume of traffic available through Google means that you can find an audience for almost any niche you wish to advertise in and there is the potential for lots of conversions to be won via keywords with high commercial intent. However, it is possible to have success on other platforms, so it may be a case of trying out different options until you find one that proves fruitful.

Brainstorm and refine your keywords
To target the right audience with the right services in your PPC ads, you'll need to carry out in-depth research to identify the keywords you'll be bidding on. It can really help to define what you want out of the campaign from the start, so think about what aftermarket services you want to push and what services are your most popular or provide the greatest ROI. Then, think about what your customers will be likely to search to find those services to create your seed keyword list.

Once you have a list of seed keywords, you can begin to refine them using a tool like Google Ads Keyword Planner or SEMrush, which will give you accurate data on their search volumes, keyword difficulty, and their cost per click. You can also use the 'related keywords' search function these tools offer to see if there are any phrases you've overlooked.

In addition, you can check whether there are any phrases that are considered related but are likely to be a mismatch if your ad shows up for them. These can be a money sink, because if a user clicks through but finds your page is not what they're looking for, they will bounce, and your budget will be wasted. If you identify these phrases, you can add them to your campaign as negative keywords, and your adverts will not appear.

Look at what your competitors are doing
Do you know of any other garages that are having success thanks to their online marketing? Then they might have set up a good PPC campaign that's worth looking closely at to see if there's room to replicate their success or find a gap that they've missed.
There are specialist tools that can help you analyse PPC performance of other webpages — Neil Patel has a good round-up here — — but you can also use the keyword planners I mentioned previously to get an insight into what paid search terms your competitors are ranking for.

Set your budget
One of the advantages of PPC advertising is that you can exercise a great deal of control over your budget, allowing you to decide how much you want to bid for each keyword and set a cap on the total amount you want to spend in a week or month. This means that you can set yourself a budget and be sure that you won’t find you've overspent later.
When it comes to setting your limits, it's worth taking a look at Search Engine Journal's PPC budget and bidding guide — — to find out exactly how much you should be willing to spend per click.

Write a great PPC advert
Once you've chosen your keywords and decided how much you're bidding, it's time to write a great PPC advert. Now, your space is very limited in one of these ads, and you will only have limited room for headlines, description lines, and your URL. That's why you need to focus on making the copy as succinct but impactful as possible to attract those click throughs.
You'll need to start with the nucleus of your ad, which is the keyword you want it to appear for, but be careful to introduce it naturally in a way that doesn't sound spammy. This should not be that hard if you have chosen a good, relevant phrase to describe what's being advertised. You'll also want to include at least one USP in the advert to make your services stand out from the crowd. Whether this is a free initial estimate, guaranteed turnaround time on repairs, or something else, is up to you.

Finally, you will want to end with a good call to action, which is a phrase that pushes the user to click on your advert. To have the most impact, choose words that promote action like ‘get’ or ‘find out’, value words like ‘free’, ‘save’, or ‘best’, and those that are personal like ‘you’ and ‘your’.

By following my advice here, you should be able to set up a solid PPC campaign to connect your garage with a wider customer base. Remember, if you're not hugely confident in approaching tech-focused activities yourself, you can always get advice from an expert, like a digital marketing firm.

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