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First, it’s important to distinguish what we’re talking about when we say Google MapPack. This is a different thing from Google Maps. Google MapPack is a small map populated with search results that appear in some regular Google searches.
To see it in action, open a new browser tab and navigate to the Google homepage. Search for any sort of business category followed by your city and state. For example, “dentists Kansas City MO“.
At the top, or just under a few regular-search style ads, you’ll see a map. It’s populated with results and has the top 4 or so listed underneath. This looks pretty powerful, right? It’d be pretty great to be among the 4 dentists there if you were a dentist!
Now let’s make this personal. Google your own industry in your city and state. Does your business make the list? Is it #1? If not, keep reading. You need this tip.
Go back to your search results and look closely at the top result or two. Sometimes you’ll see a little green box with the word “Ad” in it. This means exactly what you think it does: that dentist (or IT services firm, or whatever) paid Google for the privilege of being #1 on the list. That’s exactly what we’re going to show you how to do.
Google MapPack is part of Google’s AdWords service. It’s buried kind of deep inside, so it’s easy to miss. To start reaping the benefits of being listed in Google MapPack, open your AdWords dashboard (that’s ads.google.com to get started). In the leftmost sidebar, select the campaign you’re wanting to work with (if you have more than one). Next, click Ads & Extensions in the sub side menu. From the list that pops up, click Location extension.
You’ll see a window now with a number of options that you can customize to your liking. Under Show my ad with:, the option that gives you the finest control is Specific locations you pick. Next, you just select the cities and communities that your business serves, save the extension, and you’re done.
So, to review: Open AdWords; go to your campaign; click Ads & extensions, then Location extension, and configure. Just as soon as you save your settings, try your original search again. You should see your MSP listed in the #1 slot—and so will your prospective clients.
There’s a lot of chatter out there saying that AdWords isn’t worth it. With Google AdWords, you don’t pay per ad listing or per search, you pay per click. And not every keyword costs the same. Some of the animosity then comes from the sticker shock that some people in certain industries experience when they go to set up AdWords. If you’re in a high-speed, high-return market like car insurance, Google may charge as much as $100 per click, according to SEO consultant Jason McDonald. Other keywords are just pennies per click.
McDonald observes that it’s foolish for folks to get upset at the cost of certain keywords. He says, “It’s as ridiculous as getting upset that a Tesla costs $100,000 and a Toyota costs $25,000.” He concludes that AdWords is usually worth it, so long as you’re making more off those clicks than you’re spending to get them.
Yes, If You Make More Than You Spend
To determine whether AdWords is really a good choice for you, you need to know how much you’re making off those clicks. It’s important to track your AdWords spend not per click, but per conversion. If every click costs you $3, and you average 1 conversion for every 3 clicks, then your AdWords spend per conversion is $9. If your average conversion makes you $100, you’re killing it! If your average conversion makes you $7, you’re toast.
The solution, then, is to find the right balance of keywords for your MSP. You want keywords good enough to lead to conversions and cheap enough to be worth the spend.
The other reason we say AdWords is worth it is exactly the point of this article. People don’t search for things. They Google them. Especially when it comes to local and map-based results (including Google MapPack), Google rules. Unless you’re already the undisputed leader of your local market and thus coming in #1 in local search, you need Google MapPack (and thus Google AdWords) to get your company in front of searchers.
Google’s MapPack is powerful and worth using, but here’s an important observation from Dr. Peter J. Meyers at Moz: clicking MapPackads doesn’t automatically route to the advertiser’s website. Google wants to keep you in its ecosystem a bit longer. If you just click on the search result, you’re going to end up on the company’s Google My Business page.
You can test this yourself, but Meyers backs it up with research:
This is not an anomaly: 100% of the 3,768 local pack ads in our study linked back to Google. This follows a long trend of local pack results linking back to Google entities, including the gradual disappearance of the “Website“ link in the local pack.
Since your Google My Business page is where your customers will first land when they click your ad, make sure it’s in good shape. Check out this guide on one way to keep your Google My Business page looking current.
This Google MapPack strategy is just one of many tools in our arsenal. If you like what you’re seeing, Grade your MSP website now at https://www.ulistic.com. We can help you take your MSP strategy to a whole new level.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.