With over 85% of online searches completed on Google it’s the world’s largest search engine, so when it comes to pay per click (PPC) advertising, Google AdWords is a popular choice for small businesses wanting to invest in online advertising.
Google AdWords features ads prominently in search results. For example, if users were searching for “plumbing repairs” they would see adverts from local plumbers. The difference is that unlike advertising in a magazine or on TV, you only pay when someone clicks on your advert.
Google AdWords is one of the best tools for lead generation. If your campaigns are set up properly, it has the potential to send targeted leads to your website, giving you the opportunity to convert the prospects into sales.
If you haven’t participated in any form of PPC before, then Google AdWords can feel like a daunting and complicated process. With this in mind we have created a 2 part guide into the 7 basic steps to ensure that you maximise the reach of your business through PPC.
First and foremost, we start by defining common AdWords terms:
- Ad position –The placement of an ad on the Google search results pages. Position #1 is at the top of the first page.
- Bid price –The maximum amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay for a click from a given keyword.
- Call to action-Directions within an ad or a web page for the reader to take an action.
- Campaign cloning –A process developed for the purpose of testing under controlled circumstances that yield the highest odds of success before cloning those testing efforts into more speculative areas of AdWords.
- Conversion – A desirable action by a website visitor, including joining a mailing list, buying a product, calling a phone number, or downloading a file.
- CPC (cost per click) –The amount an advertiser is charged for a single click. Different keywords cost different amounts, depending on competition.
- CTR (click-through rate) – The number of clicks an ad receives divided by the number of impressions. The higher the CTR, the more effective Google considers the ad.
- Display network –Websites, forums, or blogs that aren’t owned by Google, but have Google AdWords ads (also known as Adsense ads) on them.
- Impression –The display of an ad on a web page.
- Interruption Marketing –A term we refer to when discussing the display network and the fact that someone wasn’t actually looking for a solution to a problem, but might be reading about something related to the problem or solution that is being advertised.
- Landing page –The first webpage shown after an ad is clicked. The page is constructed to appeal to the same desire as the ad.
- Permission Marketing –A term we regularly refer to when discussing the search network, and the fact that someone is actively searching for a solution to a problem.
- PPC (pay per click) –The advertising model that charges advertisers only when their specific ads are clicked.
- Split test – Test that divides online traffic randomly between two or more creative approaches (ad, website, e-mail, and so on) and measures which one generates more conversions.
- Search network –The online network people go to when searching for a solution to a problem they’re having.
- Traffic –The number of visitors to your website.
- Visitor value –How much money, on average, a single visitor to your website is worth.
STEP 1: Establish Your Account Goals
It’s important to set out clear goals and objectives before you begin. How you structure your Google AdWords account and the features you choose to take advantage of will impact on the response you receive. Realistic measurable goals are the foundation of every good AdWords account. It’s likely you will have a specific goal in mind. Common ones include selling more products and services, improving lead quality and lowering cost per acquisition. The key is to make them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed), which will enable you to more effectively measure the success of an AdWords campaign.
At the beginning of your journey, take the time to step back and reflect on your overall business goals, as reaffirming these will help develop parallel goals for your PPC efforts.
STEP 2: Determine Your Audience
As with any marketing activity, it’s imperative that you understand your target audience to allow you to reach them effectively. Asking yourself questions such as the below, will help you to deliver a more concise and targeted plan and will increase the efficiency of your AdWords campaign.
- Who is your target audience?
- What do your ideal customers do?
- Where do they do it?
- When are they actively searching?
- What device (e.g. mobile, desktop, tablet) are they searching on?
With 3.5 billion daily searches on the Google platform it’s tempting to ‘go big’ and try to get your ad in front of as many people as possible, however while it may sound counterintuitive to limit the number of eyeballs eligible to see your ads, doing so will ensure that your offering and messaging are as relevant to a searcher as possible, ensuring your ad’s reach to the right audience.
Understanding who your customers are allows you to use demographic information like gender, age and location to adjust bids and develop a more targeted approach.
STEP 3: Conduct Keyword Research
By bidding on keywords relevant to your business, you can place your ads in the search results for these terms.
Keyword tools can help you discover cost, competition and volume for search terms. Finding those relevant keywords which best represent your business can be a difficult task. There are synonyms to consider, alternative meanings to negate, and long tail terms to unearth, all of which take time and the navigation of specialised tools. Without this research, you can end up overpaying for unrelated keywords or worse, identifying queries that are searched for so infrequently that you never get the chance to do any advertising.
Spend time researching what keywords are going to be best suited to your products and services. Ask yourself how much a keyword is worth to your website? For example, if you own an online shoe store, do you make more sales from visitors searching for “brown shoes” or “black boots”?
The keywords that visitors type into search engines are often available to webmasters, and keyword research tools allow us to find this information. However, those tools cannot show us directly how valuable it is to receive traffic from those searches. To understand the value of a keyword, we need to understand our own websites, make some hypotheses, test, and repeat—the classic web marketing formula.
Going back to our online shoe store example, it would be great to rank #1 for the keyword “shoes” … or would it?
It’s wonderful to deal with keywords that have 5,000 searches a day, or even 500 searches a day, but in reality, these popular search terms actually make up less than 30% of the searches performed on the web. The remaining 70% lie in what’s called the “long tail” of search. The long tail contains hundreds of millions of unique searches that might be conducted a few times in any given day, but, when taken together, comprise the majority of the world’s search volume.
Another lesson search marketers have learned is that long tail keywords often convert better, because they catch people later in the buying/conversion cycle. A person searching for “shoes” is probably browsing, and not ready to buy. On the other hand, someone searching for “best price on Air Jordan size 12” practically has their wallet out!
Setting solid foundations
So if you are thinking of investing in Google AdWords, it’s key to set realistic and measurable goals, understand your audience and conduct keyword research. Honing in on these elements will create a solid foundation and deliver a stronger and more effective PPC campaign which has a higher rate of converting sales.
Stay tuned for the second part of our AdWords blog next month.