Paying for Google Adwords is the only guaranteed way to get your photography studio on the front page of Google immediately.
How Google Adwords Work
When you type in a search phrase on Google, some of the results displayed are organic (natural) search results, and some are paid ads. Both link to a business website. The difference is that the paid ads are shown because you pay Google to display your ad anytime someone in your area searches for a specific keyword or keyword phrase (like “wedding photographers”).
Adwords uses a pay-per-click (PPC) model. This means that unlike Yellowpages or newspaper ads, you are only charged when someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website. If someone sees your ad but doesn’t click on it, you don’t pay Google anything.
Google Adwords works like an auction – the more you bid on a keyword phrase, the better the chance you’ll be in the top position, and the more likely your ad will be clicked. Studies have shown that being in the top position of Google Adwords increases the likelihood of your ad being clicked on 10x higher than other ads. Studies also show that while organic search results are clicked more often, being the first 1-2 ads on the top of page 1 in Google is 10x more valuable than being on the bottom of the page or on page 2.
Google Adwords can cost anywhere from 5c to $50 per click depending on how many other people are also bidding on the same Adword keyword. In general, expect to pay in the $1-3 range every time one of your ads are clicked on Google.
Should You Use Google Adwords for Photography?
The answer is a qualified “yes” if you use them properly. While a good Adwords campaign will more than pay for itself, a bad one is no better than throwing your money away.
First, you need to have a great page to send visitors to when they click on your ad. This means that if you’re a baby photographer, you need to send visitors to a page specifically targeted at moms, with a clear call to action on that page. Sending visitors to your website’s home page is generally a waste of money.
Second, you have to know your potential clients. What motivates them? When do they shop? The more you understand your “perfect” client, the better your Adwords ads will be, the better your target web page and the more likely they will hire you. If you have a Facebook business page, you can use Facebook’s Insights to learn more about your clients.
Tips for Success
For a profitable Google Adwords campaign, you have to put time into managing your Adwords account. Once you’ve set up your account and entered your budget, you need to selectively pick your keyword search phrases. For example, “wedding photographer” might cost $3 per click, whereas “wedding photographers in Detroit” might only cost you 50c because it is searched for less often. However, if you’re only showing ads to people in the 48012 zip code, you should pay $3 per click for “wedding photographer.” Figuring all this out takes time (about an hour a week). The more time you put into it the better your Adwords campaign will perform.
The same goes for your ads. Start by writing at least 3 ads for each group of keywords, then pay attention to how many people click on each ad versus the cost per click. Once you have a good performing ad with a low cost per click, delete the others, then write 1-2 new ads and repeat the process.
You should group your ads by types of photography. Make a separate group for each type of photography you offer.
Don’t run all your ad groups at the same time. You know when moms are looking for Easter bunny photos, so only run those ads for a few weeks a year.
Start small. Pick 3-5 keyword phrases, and set a budget for $100 per month. Once you’ve learned how to use Adwords you can increase your budget.
Measure your results. When you set up your Adwords campaign, you should also set up Google Analytics since it will show you how well your Adwords (as well as your overall website) is working. However, the simplest way to measure your results is to ask every prospective client that calls, “how did you hear about us?” If the number of people who say “I found you online” goes up, chances are your Google Adwords are the reason why.