You’re paying for the results, so it makes sense to be getting the most out of a Google AdWords campaign. In some ways, running an advertisement through Google’s service is pretty basic. Create an ad, choose some keywords, select your budget, and you’re ready to go… right?
Not so fast. Before you get started, there are some questions that you’d better be asking yourself. Figure out the answers to the following questions and how they relate to you and you’ll be working a successful Google AdWords campaign.
1. What is the target market segment?
Most businesses who are using Google AdWords aren’t going to be running a mass marketing campaign. They want to run targeted ads on targeted keywords. To reach the right people, however, you’ll need to segment your markets before beginning to make sure you are putting specific messages to specific customers.
Here are some of the ways you could segment your market to tailor a more direct message.
- Decide if you are going to target families, individuals, or businesses.
- Determine what the average income is to develop a value price point.
- Discover if there is something about what is being offered that a specific segment would want right now.
From these determinations, you can then create a better advertising message. If you’re selling guitars and you want to target families that make less than $50k, then a campaign on Google AdWords about affordable guitars, entry-level instruments, or even music lessons might be more effective than general ads about guitars.
2. What problem can be solved?
It’s a basic business principle: is there a problem you can solve? This means getting to know each customer segment to see what it is that they find to be valuable. If you cannot solve a problem, then there isn’t a Google AdWords campaign on the planet that will be effective.
You can solve problems in several ways.
- Help the target segment save time and/or money.
- Provide a needed product or service.
- Satisfy a basic need or a long-desired want.
3. What keywords are going to be the best?
Once you’ve figured out the different customer dynamics that a Google AdWords campaign is going to be targeted, you’re ready to determine which keywords are going to be the best to target. No matter what your overall budget may be, it is important to group your keywords into two different categories: how relevant the keyword is and the predicted search volume of each keyword.
Don’t have your keywords yet? Use a keyword search to determine which keywords are the most relevant for the niche of your business.
For businesses that have a modest budget at best, running a campaign on very general keywords or one word campaigns is not going to pay off very well. Those are usually reserved for large budget campaigns that have equally large goals. Take the keywords that have the most impact that are specific to what you have and run with those.
4. How competition is there going to be?
Many AdWords campaigns focus on text ads, but that becomes problematic when entering into a keyword that has a high amount of competition. Remember this one rule: the more crowded an ad group tends to be, the less relevant a text ad is going to be. There are always exceptions to every rule, of course, but as a best practice, avoid text ads in a crowded space. They generate low CTRs and that ultimately affects your Quality Score.
A bad Quality Score means bad relative rankings in the future.
It is also important not to over-react and completely avoid keywords that have regular traffic. You might find that there is an associated keyword with no competition on it, but the search term only gets a handful of hits every month. Don’t focus your campaigns on those low volume keywords. There’s a good chance you’ll organically be ranked near the top or even #1 by following traditional SEO best practices instead.
5. Where will your customer segments be viewing your campaign?
In Google AdWords, you’ve got 3 marketing channels available to you. There are search, display, and search and display options available to you. Display advertising is the usually the most successful on a consistent basis, but it requires continual maintenance of the landing page or relevant evergreen content that can contribute to a conversion to locate that success.
The greatest rewards come from mobile search options, but this type of campaign also has the greatest amount of risk. A best practice in this area is to give yourself a combination of campaigns that are based on how your customer segments access the internet. If you have a lot of mobile customers, then stress mobile searches more often. If not, then consider more displays for desktops or laptops instead. A good mix will limit your risk over time.
6. How many people are actually converting?
Just setting a Google AdWords campaign isn’t good enough. You’ve also got to manage it in a reactive manner that is based on the results which are being achieved. This means defining precisely what a conversion will be and then tracking those conversions on a regular basis. Conversions don’t have to be a purchase for an AdWords campaign to be successful. Signing up for a newsletter, downloading a whitepaper, or even watching a video could all be considered a conversion.
Make sure your hosting plan or platform supports Google conversion tracking. Some platforms do not allow you to alter the Java of the site to implement this tracking.
7. Are there any negative keywords?
There are going to be some keywords that you don’t want to have associated with your business. For those that are on a limited budget, a Google AdWords best practice is to eliminate virtually all of the one-word keywords that would potentially bring traffic to your site. These keywords have a high cost associated with their high volumes and most of the traffic isn’t going to be beneficial.
Use exact matches on your negative keyword list and then continually update that list so that your goals can be better met on a consistent basis.
8. Are all of your products synced?
One of the biggest reasons why someone who clicks an ad decides not to follow through with that initial click is inconsistency. Your landing page must be consistent with the keywords that you have selected for your campaign. The language and branding of your landing page must equal the language and branding of your Google AdWords campaign. If the process isn’t seamless, then there isn’t going to be any conversions.
The best Google AdWords campaigns are usually quite keyword specific. Instead of just selling “guitars,” the campaign could be on “three-quarter sized acoustic guitars.” Now imagine clicking on that specific keyword campaign to be taken to a music site that talks about violins. They might both be stringed instruments, but someone wanting to look at guitars won’t usually be wanting to look at violins.
9. How often are you testing your advertising?
The creatives in a Google AdWord campaign are remarkably precise. If an advertisement is under-performing, then there could be a minor flaw within the actual textual components of the creative. Something has simple as a change in sentence structure could create bigger and better results for your campaign. Here’s an example:
Poor response: Affordable acoustic guitars are fun and easy to play.
Good response: Are you looking for affordable acoustic guitars that are fun and easy to play?
It’s all in the approach to the customer segment. Some segments are going to be very strict about grammar rules. Others aren’t going to care about grammar at all. Some younger customer segments might even respond better to the text of the ad if it looks like this:
AffOrDable AcOuStIc GuITaRs FoR YoU TodAy!
What you think about your advertisement doesn’t matter. It’s what your customer segments think and feel about the creatives that matters. Writing in multiple capital letters in one word might seem like a foreign concept and look wrong in every way, but when results come in because of it, the weirdness goes away.
10. Are you willing to be patient for white hat results?
The internet is not kind to those who would cheat to get to the top. Even the appearance of cheating is enough to drive people away from any association with a brand. Just ask JCPenny. They used black hat practices and it cost them dearly. Your black hat methods can result in penalties, domains not being indexed, and a number of additional issues.
It takes time for the Google AdWords best practices to begin generating results. If you’re not patient enough to wait for the white hat results to start coming in, then the final question to ask yourself is this: is Google AdWords the best medium to meet my needs.
When managed daily with a customer-first attitude, Google AdWords can be an effective way to reach targeted customer segments quite effectively. Implement these best practices today and you may just see your CTRs and Quality Scores begin to rise over time.