CPA Growth Trends, Marketing

Beginner’s Guide: Paid Search Campaign- What Works for You?

Paid search advertising is not only a digital marketing strategy, but a cost-effective way to target users who are specifically searching for your services. “Pay-per-click” or PPC is one of the most common forms of this type of advertising, as you only pay if a user clicks on your advertisement or website link. Google fields billions of searches per day, so a search campaign is a great way to set your company apart and have them stand out among the rest in the online world.

As one of our very own AAM members, Becky Livingston from Penheel Marketing stated, “What works for my clients is the hook. It has to be compelling and simple. It must meet a pain point that drives back to a marketing initiative that supports the firm’s goals.” She goes on to explain how the success of a paid campaign is important to note as she has had many campaigns get high impressions, great click-through rates, low cost per click, but the conversion rate in the end was low which ultimately didn’t meet the goal of leads for her client.

Becky also went on to share a success story with paid campaigns where a client was spending less than $500 on a tax campaign and it did amazingly well. The key in this example was the timing of the ad, during a high-profile time-tax season. The need was there which led to a successful campaign as the search was highly sought after. She explained how important it is to have a compelling hook or title to your ad to draw attention and interest for users to click through. Gaining attention in this way can and will tend to lead to higher conversions.

Now you may be wondering, what exactly is a “Pay-per-click” (PPC) and how can I use it within my own marketing strategies? Let’s take a look:


Location: As previously stated, this strategy is a great way to expose your company and is based on keywords that users are typing into search engines.  First you would set up location settings for your ad, targeting certain zip codes, etc. where you would like the ad to appear upon search.

Keywords and match types: You would then choose the specific keywords that are most applicable to your business, and tools such as Google Keyword Planner can help with this, assisting with research on what users are most commonly searching for within your industry. You would then be instructed to pick a match type, which ultimately lets the search engine know how specific you want your ad to match user’s searches. Further details on match types and the PPC set up process can be found here.

Ad creation and bids: Next comes the actual ad creation which includes the appropriate keywords, phrases, calls-to-action and more. Including the correct information will help to create the most profitable ads for your company. You would then set the bid amount for each keyword and how much you would like to pay every time that word is clicked on. The higher bid price, the higher your ads/keywords will show in the search engine results. Paid search platforms will give suggested pricing, so that is a good place to start if you are unsure.

Ad launch: Once you have all of the parameters set up, it is time to let your campaign work its magic! Normally ads will start appearing within hours of you launching them, and you would be billed on a certain schedule, for example once a month or when you reach a certain amount.

Quality Score: Each keyword is assigned a quality score ranging from 0 to 10. This is determined based on a number of factors such as relevancy and the expected click-through rate, as well as your landing page for the word. This score is put in place to avoid companies from paying tons of money to have all of their keywords appear first in a search, even if it is not relevant to the topic.

As you can see, there are a multitude of tools to assist and steps to explore when setting up your own paid search campaign.  I suggest you explore and dive deeper into this topic as there are many resources out there that can help. As mentioned previously, this site gives a great overview and further detail on the process. Becky Livingston’s advice above also contains some great information to keep in mind when developing your strategies and campaigns.  As we learn and continue to understand our customers, it is tools like this that can help you to promote your accounting services, promote leads, optimize your content strategy and raise overall awareness of your brand.


Keywords: Paid Search Campaign, SERPs, PPC

About Jenna Ward

Working as the Marketing Manager for a regional CPA Firm, I work alongside the Chief Growth Officer, the Firm Partners, and Staff. With three locations throughout Western New York, I lead the firm through our day-to-day internal marketing efforts and managing our public relations relationship. I also oversee the proposal process, community sponsorships, social media, firm volunteer efforts and assist with our wellness program.

Welcome to CPA Growth Trends — your source for information, insights, tools and best practices to drive growth within an accounting firm.

Subscribe to our blog

* indicates required

This field is required.

Featured: Season 5 Episode 1

The Digital Lead Gen Process For Accounting Firms

with David Toth of Winding River Consulting

Explore expert strategies for digital marketing success with the latest insights on SEO, content strategy, lead generation and more.