In 2017, marketing’s shift in preference to a digital format is no longer news. Although the industry is relatively young, digital marketing has become the norm for forward-thinking businesses and corporations. It is fast, wide-reaching, and entails comparatively low costs. Not taking advantage of these opportunities could prove detrimental to companies working in the oil and gas industry, especially if competitors are making the most of paid advertising.
If you operate in or around the oil and gas industry, integrating digital marketing through pay per click ads must be on your calendar, if not already in practice.
A Brief, Basic Review
At present, Google doesn’t just host the most widely-used search engine but also the most popular pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform: Google Adwords. This is a system that enables advertisers to bid on keywords with the intent of showing their ads for certain keyword searches on top of organic search results. It’s proven useful to just about every industry, including oil and gas.
With traditional marketing, you pay a fee for ad placements in various media channels to increase brand visibility. PPC is a cost-effective alternative because the platform charges you only when your audience responds to your ads by clicking on them. This very nature of PPC brings companies working in the oil and gas industry a twofold advantage:
- Visibility to targeted audiences
- Potential for gathering healthy leads as audiences who click on your ads will have entered the first stage of the conversion funnel
Additionally, PPC through Google Adwords is cost-effective because it allows you to control and manage the important facets of your campaign, particularly the target audience demographic and the campaign budget. With guidance from an experienced advertiser, your company can make the most of your marketing funds by focusing advertising efforts at audiences who have a high potential to convert, in one form or another, as opposed to posting ads just anywhere.
Ads that are visible to a large number of audiences may generate impressions, but there’s no guarantee that they will yield conversions or healthy leads. By focusing your marketing tactics on a specific audience that already showed interest in your product or service, you may experience better returns. We’ll discuss this further below.
PPC for Branding and Reputation Management
There’s no reason to lag behind on PPC advertising this day-in-age. As early as 2010, the largest oil companies in the US and the world were already well into running paid ad campaigns. Their main goal is often to market their CSR and humanitarian efforts to show the public their dependability as social and economic partners.
Oil companies intensify their reputation management efforts in Google Adwords, in particular, when industrial disasters that greatly impact the environment occur. The Deepwater Horizon Spill in 2010 and the British Petroleum (BP)’s subsequent online reputation management campaign are perfect examples. By competing for keywords like oil spill, oil leak, or oil slick, BP could direct Google users to pages and ads featuring the company’s response to the maritime calamity.
Some critics argued that BP’s methods were unethical. Regardless of your personal views, this entire matter proved that PPC through Google Adwords does work for the oil and gas industry. It’s just a matter of knowing how to execute a strategy while keeping principles intact.
Workable Strategies for Oil and Gas Companies
Like with traditional advertising, a Google Adwords campaign requires a clear perspective and defined goals. The three most important questions to ask are:
- What are you campaigning for?
- Who is your target audience?
- How much is your budget?
The answers to these questions serve as the starting point for any Google Adwords paid ad. When your company has nailed these down, integrate the following strategies into your campaign:
- Conduct a website audit.
Before you can begin promoting online, you have to establish a solid online base. This being an esteemed industry, the public expects your company to have a dynamic, modern, and informative website. But more importantly, Google Adwords requires a link for your ads to direct traffic to. Having your own functional and optimized website maximizes this feature.
Determine which pages on your website have high or low traffic and engagement. Those that score low on both counts may not be the best landing pages for your ads, and you might be better off creating a dedicated landing page which gives an excellent on-page experience. This is one of the more effective ways to gain leads and returns from PPC ads.
- Refine your keyword selection for effective targeting.
The success of an Adwords campaign greatly depends on keyword choice. A common advertising mistake is to spread the budget thin and spend on too many keywords at once. Refining your campaign goal solves this issue, fortunately.
Keyword research is vital, too. By analyzing high-volume search terms, you can determine the search habits and primary concerns of your target audience.
Use the findings to your benefit. Bidding on keywords with high search volumes is a given, but you have to temper that with budgeting (these keywords are usually costly). Also, pay attention to keywords with steady search volumes as they have a high probability of converting your audience.
- Compose effective Call-To-Actions.
We touched on landing pages on item number one. Allow us to add this important tip: craft high-performing and compelling CTAs.
How you formulate your call-to-action depends on the goal of your campaign. Do you want the reader to sign up for a newsletter? Invest in your company? Participate in a seasonal promotion? Tell your audience what to expect from following a link. Informing your audience of where a link leads to makes them high-value leads once they get there.
Furthermore, remember this: Ads that are vague or obviously baiting can work in certain situations, but they also run the risk of raising questions about ethics.
- Incorporate content marketing into Google Adwords.
Content marketing is a gem in SEO and a useful complement to PPC. From landing pages to the ad texts itself, you need high-quality and effective content to reinforce your brand, products, and campaign. This creates a smooth and coherent narrative, which is more convincing than segmented marketing messages.
When writing the text for Google Ads, maximize the 140-character ad extension. Depending once again on your campaign goals, you can attach a map, product images, additional website links, clickable phone number, Google Plus +1 function, or reviews and ratings.
If you’re considering affecting a modern voice and riding along with popular culture, that’s okay — as long as your content is inoffensive. Recall how the American Petroleum Institute’s ad at the super bowl angered many for carelessly promoting petroleum’s non-gas uses seemingly without regard for environmental issues, for instance.
- Aim for a high Google Adwords Quality Score. (QS)
Google rates advertisers based on the user experience quality that your ad and landing page provide for audiences. On a scale of 1 to 10, aim for 10. To achieve this, write ad copies that align with your chosen keyword, write compelling CTA’s, and make sure you have a working landing page.
Although Google hasn’t confirmed it, it is widely accepted among SEO and paid ads experts that a high QS for certain ad groups have a positive impact on new keyword campaigns. Unsurprisingly, Google also updates QS factors, so it pays to be on alert for news once you’ve rolled out your Adwords campaigns.
- Monitor campaign performance and manage budgets.
When your ads start making impressions, track the conversions and use the data to guide your next move. If a campaign is not working as well as expected, examine if the copy needs tweaking. If it doesn’t, you might be better off shifting funds from one keyword campaign to another. Check if your website is ranking organically for the same keywords that you’re campaigning for on Adwords, as well. You can divert the funds from that campaign to another high-priority keyword.
By observing the performance of keyword groups and analyzing the quality of conversions, you can maximize your marketing fund and enjoy better results, besides.
Traditional + Google Adwords Marketing: A Winning Combination
Whether your company is just starting its Google Adwords campaign or already fully immersed in the digital marketing landscape, it’s important to align your organization with experienced and certified Google Adwords campaign managers. It will even be better if they have experience in running digital marketing campaigns in the oil industry. Note that these professionals are different from SEO specialists who, while undoubtedly knowledgeable about how paid ads work, may not have practical experience with running Google ads.
Many in the oil and gas industry are reaping the benefits of digital marketing and PPC in particular. Don’t allow your organization to be left in the dust.