Online Advertising 101: Build Paid Campaigns that Drive ROI

By Chris Damico


When you do a Google search, chances are the top results are digital ads paid for by businesses that want to get found for your search term.

While organic SEO is still an important factor in online success (especially locally), investing in Google AdWords gives you a boost to the top of the results page when your paid keywords align with the keywords someone searched.

Want to get to the top of page one on Google?


Let’s get started

A good place to start is by searching some common industry keywords on your favorite search engine and seeing how your competitors advertise. Reviewing existing ads can help you understand what your ads will look like and how potential customers might interact with them.

Most of the big search engines offer PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, but we’ll focus on Google AdWords in this article.


Craft a killer headline

Your killer headline is the first thing searchers see, so it needs to capture their attention. Work in some of your keywords to help your ad stand out. More specific headlines such as “New and Used John Deere Tractors” or “Full-service Toro Dealer” will serve you better than a generic headline such as “We Sell Outdoor Equipment.”

The headline should be tailored specifically to the content of your ad. If you’re advertising a sale, make sure your headline reflects that with a headline like “20% Off All Lawn and Garden” or “$300 Off Chainsaws Through Jan 9.”



Picking the perfect display URL

Your display URL should give potential customers a clear idea of where they’ll go when they click on your ad. For example, if you’re advertising a sale on accessories, your display URL should be something like instead of just so customers who find you from your PPC ads know what they can expect to see when they land on your site.

Make sure your landing page reflects what you’re advertising! If your display URL says it will take users to a page with sale accessories but they land on your home page instead, chances are they’ll get frustrated and exit your site without looking at (or buying) any of your merchandise.


Honing your description

The description is arguably the most important component of your ad. This is where you tell searchers what you’re offering and give them a reason to click through to your website. Google continues to change the character limits in ads, so make sure to pay attention and update your ads accordingly to make every character count.

Most importantly, be sure to include your keywords in the description. Keywords in your ad will be bolded when a query matches the searched terms. This makes your ad “pop,” and validates that it’s relevant to the viewer. A description such as “We sell the main brands at great prices” doesn’t tell the reader much about what they can expect from your site. A description that reads “Local Dealer of Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, Used Lawn Mowers and More! Visit Us” has much more impact.

You can make your ad stand out even more by writing a full sentence for the first description line. When there is punctuation at the end of the first line, Google will add it to the headline, creating a larger headline, which will grab the attention of more prospects.


Include a quick-hitting CTA

Finally, include a clear Call-to-Action (CTA) in your ad copy. End your second descriptive line by telling searchers what they should do after they view your ad – maybe you want them to “Call today!” to set up an appointment, or if you’re advertising affordable financing, maybe you want them to “Apply now!” Make sure they’re able to follow through with those actions from the landing page after they click on your ad.


Make your ad stand out with extensions

You can optimize your ads even further by using ad extensions. These allow you to display additional information along with your ad. Ads with extensions offer additional information that can encourage more customers to click through to your site.

Google offers a variety of extensions, including:

  • Call – Lets people click a button to call your dealership
  • Sitelinks – Adds links to help people find what they’re looking for
  • Reviews – Showcases positive third-party reviews
  • Locations – Helps people find your nearest location by displaying your address and map information
  • Callouts – Adds additional descriptive text to your ad


How can I measure success?

One red flag that your ads aren’t succeeding is a high click-through-rate (CTR) with a low conversion rate. Every time shoppers click on your ad it costs you money, so you want to make sure they’re taking steps toward making a purchase each time they click.

If you have a high CTR but a low conversion rate, it likely means that your ad is engaging, but shoppers aren’t finding what they need on the landing page. Take a look at where they land on your website, and figure out how you can make it as easy as possible for them to take an action when they get there. For example, if you’re advertising a discount on service, take them to a page with your service menu and an appointment request form instead of your website’s homepage. This makes it simple for them to take advantage of your offer.

Having an effective PPC campaign can drive traffic to your website, collect more leads, and ultimately move more inventory, and it all starts with well-written ad copy.


Chris Damico serves as marketing manager at ARI Network Services. He’s helped hundreds of dealers across the country with their digital marketing, including the content and search engine optimization (SEO) of their websites, social media presence, and advertising and e-mail marketing campaigns. He’s dedicated to the mission of helping dealers improve their operations through the implementation of ever-evolving best practices paired with ARI’s suite of award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services that help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 23,500 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website ( and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”


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