Marketing for language service companies, especially smaller providers, is all about maximizing every marketing dollar.
In this series, we’ll be talking about marketing principles for small businesses that can help your language service provider grow.
Part One: Google Ads
If you’re in the beginning stages of marketing your language services company, the possibilities can feel overwhelming. Potential customers are in so many places online, picking where to spend limited funds is crucial to finding the right audience.
Fortunately, through a mixture of free and paid services, you can take some of the guesswork out of getting your language service marketing off the ground. Our marketing team has developed some best practices to help narrow your focus, target the right people, and engage with audiences most likely to convert to customers. In this post, we’ll be focusing on Google Ads – the first place most companies should invest marketing dollars.
Advertise locally first
As a math problem, the temptation to cast a wider net with marketing is understandable. In sales, more opportunities multiplied by your closing rate equals more revenue. Theoretically, national marketing or even global marketing does mean reaching more businesses than are searching in your area. If you can get in front of more eyes, you increase the amount of leads flowing in. However, in marketing the wider net you want to cast, the more money you need to cast it. Perhaps the most effective demonstration of the Smarter, Not Flashier marketing principle is Google Ads.
Think of Google Ads as a big auction where every business is competing to be at the top of the page in one of four slots. Just like in every other area of the market, the more people who are competing for that top spot, the more expensive that spot will be. Google uses keywords (what someone types in their Google search bar) as the item for companies to bid on. The more common the key phrase, the more people are going to be competing.
If we type in “interpretation services,” we’re going to see the companies with the biggest pockets leading our ad board. Additionally, we’re going to see translation, conference interpreting, and more wide net messaging. These companies can afford to spend tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars a month on Google Ads.
Now, do an experiment with me and type in your local area + interpretation services. I typed in Cleveland interpretation services to get a look. Rather than four results, there were only two. Alta Language still popped up (likely because they have a marketing manager targeting every US metro area with their keywords), but the first result was a completely different interpretation service with an obviously much smaller budget.
Google Ad tips with Maria:
Maria, our Google Ads super star at Boostlingo, increased our leads by 82% in six months when she started. I’ve tapped her to give some guidance for small language service providers trying to break into Ads.
1. Stay organized
Every Google Ads account is divided into Campaigns, Ad groups and Keywords.
Since your language service business has multiple types of interpretation to offer and can technically be categorized in different industries (ie. Interpretation, translation, language services), it is important to efficiently organize your Google Ads account. I typically suggest a macro division based on the Country or even the type of Service. Keep in mind each budget is related to the overall Campaign. The more specifically you segment your campaigns, the more granular you can get to edit campaign budget based on your performance. For each ad group, pick a narrow theme and create ad groups around that theme and use keywords related to that theme.
2. Run brand name campaigns
It might sound wasteful to start bidding on your own Brand Name Keyword, but it actually has important benefits for you paid search campaign. First of all, bidding on your brand name is a cheap investment because your website will be packed with that keyword placement, making your cost per click very low. Bidding on your name will also keep competitors away if they decide to start bidding on your brand! It’s likely that your ad will have a better position, higher CTR, and better Quality Score than competitors who are bidding. As a result, you’ll lower their ad position, reduce their traffic, lower their conversion rates, and increase their CPA (Cost Per Action) — all because they will need to increase their bids to compete for the same ad slot.
3. Choose negative keywords
Beyond focusing on the keywords you want to add to your campaigns based on your offer, you should also think about what you DO NOT want to be related to your business. For this, Google has created a section for Negative Keywords. In this section, you can add all the keywords you don’t want your business to appear beside. For example, there are tons of Google users searching “dreams interpretation.” Since the word “interpretation” is in that search, your interpretation services ad might appear as a Google result. As advertisers, we are charged a certain amount of money every time somebody clicks on our ad whether they are a likely buyer or not. It’s vital to narrow who is finding us through search!
46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. Distinguishing yourself as a local language service provider helps you match with interested customers looking specifically in your area. If you’re a customer with a platform like Boostlingo and have virtual options, this can seem limiting. However, you’ll never win a customer you can’t reach. Pouring all of your ad spend into beating companies with huge budgets decreases the value of every Ad bid and therefore puts you in front of less eyes. Less eyes means less clicks. Less clicks means less quotes… etc.
The longer and more specific your search term, the less you’ll be competing and the more likely you’ll be matched with a customer who is looking specifically for what you provide. A customer searching “Cleveland Spanish Interpretation Services” is further down the marketing funnel than a customer generally searching “interpretation.”
More than just an auction
While the above bid portion of this equation is essential to a great Google Ads plan for language service providers, it’s only one piece of the bigger ad equation. Think of the bid as a multiplier:
Bid value x quality of page = Ad rank
The way that Google measures quality of a page is composed of a few things: expected click-through rate, landing page experience, relevance of the advertisement and use of Google advertising extensions. We don’t know how Google distributes the score. For example, we don’t know if landing page experience is weighted differently than relevance of the advertisement or if using the Google phone number extension will give more of a bump than a page with a good click-through rate. We just know that each of these is essential to your ranking as an ad.
Each of these individual sections of your quality score are affected by the design of your site, the quality of your content and the overall organization of the information you are offering potential customers. Google ranks those top four slots by the total score achieved. Therefore, popping up online is more than just throwing money at the Ads auction.
For interpretation companies to succeed in their local markets and appear next to huge providers like Language Line, Alta and others in searches, they have to focus on providing really specific, quality content. The good news is that smaller metro areas or area-specific search terms are likely not getting a huge bid or high-quality content from even large companies. Just creating good content strategically can allow smaller, growing language service companies to remain competitive against larger providers.