Insurance marketing: How to use pay-per-click without getting robbedBlog added by Heather Sloan on April 9, 2012
Heather Sloan

Heather Sloan

Lake Oswego, OR

Joined: March 05, 2012

If you believe that pay-per-click advertising is equivalent to highway robbery, you're not alone. Every week I talk to many insurance marketers, and I've only run into one or two who embrace PPC advertising as a viable insurance marketing idea.

However, many industries successfully use PPC advertising, including most major retailers. So, why is the insurance marketing community averse to the pay-per-click idea?

Primarily, because many insurance marketers have never tried it. And secondarily, because they've heard that PPC advertising can burn your budget fast.

This is true — if you don't set up any controls or parameters.

But that's true of every medium of insurance marketing, isn't it? So let's take a moment to separate fact from fiction and to explore how to use pay-per-click insurance advertising in an ROI-enhancing way.

What is it?

For those of you who aren't familiar, pay-per-click advertising is a service offered by Google and other search engines. Google's program, known as Google AdWords, is the largest and most commonly used.

How does it work?

Essentially, you pay for ranking. For example, if you want to be ranked for the term "Ohio business insurance" and you aren't achieving page-one ranking through organic methods, you can pay to place an ad at the top or in the right column of the page.

Is first page ranking worth paying for?

Yes, PPC should be part of your insurance marketing mix if the keyword phrase has a high volume of traffic, and you can't organically achieve ranking in the short term. A couple of points to keep in mind:
  • According to iProspect, 92 percent of search engine users only view the first three pages of search results. If they don't find what they are looking for in three pages, they modify the search.

  • Hubspot research indicates that 70 percent of clicks are on organic listings (not paid ads). Personally I believe this statistic is slanted toward web-savvy users. My own testing with a largely baby boomer demographic shows that paid ads perform just as well as organically-ranking keyword phrases.
How much is PPC worth in your insurance marketing mix?

This is the interesting question. You want to rank on the first page, but you don't want to go broke doing it. No problem. Within the Google Adwords tool, you can set up:
  • A daily maximum budget
  • A maximum per click budget
  • What days and hours you want your ad to show within
  • What states and countries you want your ad to show within
  • The time frame of your campaign
So, by setting up parameters, you can easily control your spend. For example, I've noticed that most of my insurance B2B clients' websites get virtually no traffic on the weekends. So we don't waste our money advertising on the weekends.

We also don't waste budget advertising in states like Alaska where the volume of potential B2B insurance clients is minimal.

An example

In my own competitive landscape, the term "insurance marketing" is highly competitive. I have only achieved an organic ranking on page six, despite the fact that my website is all about insurance marketing.

I don't want to give up on this phrase because I can tell from my keyword tool that insurance marketing gets more monthly searches than most of my other targeted phrases. So, when I'm not swamped with work, I occasionally run a PPC campaign to target the "insurance marketing" keyword phrase.

By carefully setting up parameters, I can spend just a few hundred dollars to enjoy first page ranking some of the time, which is better than none of the time. I don't call this highway robbery. I call this a smart tool that I can add to my overall insurance marketing mix. Best of all, I can easily measure the results, and I can shut it off at any time.
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