Google Adwords is one of the most effective forms of paid advertising, which can help to make your business more successful in a relatively short period of time. Working on your SEO and securing a high ranking in organic search results is incredibly important for your company in the long-term and this is something you should continue to focus on, however, this can be a lengthy process. It will take time for your content to be trawled by Google and therefore have a positive impact on your organic ranking and this can be frustrating, especially for a new business wanting to make a big impact. Google Adwords is therefore the ideal solution, by running this paid marketing alongside focusing on your content marketing, you can see your company appear in Google search results instantly.
An overview of Google Adwords
What is Google Adwords? It is a form of paid marketing that directs your target audience straight to your website. When someone searches Google for products or services that your business provides they will be shown the advert that you have set-up on your Google Adwords campaign.
How does Google Adwords work?
To summarise the process, the first thing you will do is create an adwords account and set it up, linking it to your website. Then you need to create a campaign and write an advert for Google to show to potential customers. Next you need to select your keyword, i.e. the words that you think your audience would type into Google when looking for the services/goods your company provides. The next step is to set a daily limit, decide how much you are willing to spend on paid advertising each month and then work out how much this is each day. When you’re done your adverts go live and your adverts will begin to appear as sponsored listings.
How do I get charged?
You only pay when someone clicks on your advert and is directed to your website. You have full control over how much you spend on paid advertising and you can change your daily budget whenever you like.
Can I check the performance of my Google Adwords campaign?
Yes, Google Adwords has an excellent set of tools that allows you to track the success of your campaign. You can see how many impressions your ad has had (i.e. how many times it has be shown to your target audience) and you can even check how many people are clicking the advert and being directed to your website (otherwise known as click-through-rate). This allows you to monitor the success of your campaign and make changes where necessary to improve it.
Can I change or stop my Adwords campaign?
Yes, you can amend, change, pause or stop your adverts whenever you like, or you can even start a new campaign. You have full control over your Adwords campaigns through the Google Adwords control panel.
What devices will my advert be shown on?
It will be displayed on all devices, including computers, mobile phones and tablets.
Google Adwords Ranking
Every Adwords campaign you create is given a quality score by Google which determines your ranking, i.e. where and when your advert is shown. Using their own algorithms, Google estimates the quality of your adverts, keywords and landing pages to determine your quality score.
You can view your quality score in the “Keyword Analysis” section of your account. The quality score will show a number between 1 and 10, along with other components such as click-through-rate, landing page experience and ad relevance. Adverts and landing pages that are more relevant to the user will usually generate high quality scores, which could lower prices and improve your ad position.
For your campaign to be successful you need to make sure it sees a return on investment, which means you need to do some research first. You need to know if your customers are searching for your keywords, i.e. your goods/service, on Google, because if they aren’t Google Adwords may not be beneficial for your business. You can check whether your keywords are being searched for by using free tools such as Google Keyword Research.
Google Keyword Research: The Google Keyword Research tool allows you to search specific keywords to see: if people are searching for them, how often and how competitive the keyword is. The function also gives you an approximate cost for using this keyword in your advertising, by informing you of the ‘suggested bid value’ (i.e. how much it will cost you every time someone clicks on your ad). Using this you can estimate your return on investment, consider how much you might potentially make from your new customer against how much your ad would cost you.
Conversion Rate: Of course, you need to keep in mind that not everybody who clicks on your ad will convert into a paying customer, you might find that as little as 1% of those visiting your site go onto become a customer. The only way you can determine the conversion rate of your ad campaign is to begin running it and make sure your website is optimised, so that the people visiting it are encouraged to buy. Only by running this campaign for a couple of months, you will begin to get an idea as to how much the campaign is costing you and how much you are making from it.
To decide which keywords to use, make a list of all the words you think a customer might search to find your business, goods or services. Use Google Keyword Research to search for all of the keywords on your list and find one that is affordable for your business.
To help you to create a successful campaign that targets your audience and has a good return on investment, it is a good idea to see what your competitors are doing. By looking at your competitors and their marketing strategy, you can see what makes their Adwords campaign successful. There are free and paid tools that you can use that will provide you with information about your competitors campaigns, such as what keywords they are targeting and how much they are spending.
Unique Selling Point (USP)
To stand out from your competitors it is important that you establish what your company’s unique selling point (USP) is, are you cheaper than your competitors? Is your service quicker? Your unique selling point is whatever you think makes your business a better choice than your competitors for your target customers. You then need to make sure that you advertise this USP in your ads and on your landing page (i.e. the page on your website that the person clicking on your ad will be sent to.)
There are a number of benefits to advertising your USP, here are the main three:
- Increase in website traffic: by advertising your USP you encourage more people to click on your ad, which might improve traffic to your site
- Increase in conversion rate: by attracting a better quality audience and advertising your USP on your landing pages, your conversion rates could increase so that more of the visitors who come to your website, become customers.
- Converting through creating a need: some people will comparison shop, looking for the cheapest or cheapest option, by advertising your USP you can make these people reconsider the way they shop. If you give them a good reason why they should use your business they may forget about looking for the cheapest and easiest option and instead be sold on your USP.
Your USP can be anything, including:
- Your prices
- The speed of your service
- The experience/qualifications of your staff
- Awards you have won
- Guarantees you provide
- Your products or best selling item
- Reviews or affiliations with industry leaders
- Being featured in the media
To encourage as many visitors to convert to paying customers as possible you need to provide value for money, this includes a good and clear pricing strategy and things like promotions, sales and discounts. It is important that your service/goods are more valuable to the customer than the price you charge. This doesn’t mean the goods/services have to be cheap, it means that you need to show the customer where the value lies in the services/goods and why they need to use your business.
Be aware, if your prices are too low then this may put customers off using your business. Unfortunately the modern day online shopper is skeptical about good deals and wary about getting ripped off. So if your prices are lower than your competitors, you need to explain why, it might be that your processes are cheaper or quicker, or that you get a discount, or that you are having an end of season sale, whatever your reason is communicate this to your customers. It is a good idea to provide your customer with a guarantee, to reassure them that they are getting high quality services/goods.
Deciding on your pricing strategy before you create your Adwords campaign is strongly recommended, otherwise you may find your conversion rates are low and Adwords ends up costing your business too much money in terms of return on investment.
Google Adwords Campaign Set-up
Now that you have your list of keywords you can begin to set-up your ad campaign. If you don’t already have a Google Adwords account, the first step is to set one up.
Before you begin writing your ad remember the main functions of the ad:
- To attract high quality leads that are more likely to convert.
- To discourage people clicking on your ad that won’t convert.
- To improve your overall quality score.
If you create an advert that has a high click-through-rate, you will see an improvement in your quality score, with your keywords costing less per-click than they did before.
When it comes to writing an ad there are six areas you need to concentrate on:
Headline: this is the most important area to focus on as this is the first thing your customer will read. To make your ad stand out it is a good idea to include any USP’s in the headline, along with your keywords (which will appear in bold to make your ad stand out even more.
Description Lines (2 in total): these should summarise the qualities of your business and promote your services/goods. With only 35 characters in each line, this needs to be kept short, but should include your USP.
Display URL: most people will use their domain name for their display URL but this is a wasted opportunity to sell your business. Instead include your USP, a call-to-action, any promotions or offers etc.
Landing Page URL: the easy thing to do here is to send your customers to your home page, but this is a mistake and will not help your conversion rate. Instead send your customers to a page on your website that is relevant to your keyword and encourages your customers down the sales funnel. Your landing page needs to have a good headline that grabs the customers attention and should include: your USP, keywords, details about your goods/services, the benefits of using your business,anything that shows you are a credible business, offers and a call-to-action.
Reviews: adding a quote from a positive review to the bottom of your ad is an excellent way to improve your click-through-rate. People are influenced by third-party reviews and opinions, if you have good reviews about your business from your customers, you will find more new customers join you out of trust that you will provide a good service/high quality goods.
Extensions: this is basically extending your ad to include more details about your business which can improve your ad’s visibility and potentially your click-through-rate. Adwords can show one or more extension.
There are a number of ad extensions that could be used to improve your campaign performance. These include:
Call Extension: an extension that displays your contact number and a clickable call button that encourages the user to call you. If the user clicks the headline of the ad they will be directed to your landing page. The cost per call-click is the same as it is for a headline click.
Location Extension: this extension can show your address, phone number and even where you are on the map, which is ideal for local businesses. Clicks on ads with a location extension is a standard price per click.
App Extensions: for businesses that have a mobile or tablet app. An app extension will show the business app at the bottom of your ad. If the user clicks on the app it will either begin downloading the app or take the user to the app description on a platform they can download it from.
Sitelink Extension: this shows links to pages on your website (in addition to the landing page), at the bottom of your ad. This helps your customers to find the page they are looking for easier, to navigate through your website and through the sales funnel. You can add sitelink extensions when you create your campaign and you can edit and monitor its performance through the ‘ad extensions tab’.
Callout Extension: this extension allows you to add more text to your ad which you can use to explain your goods/services or any other relevant information about your business.
To avoid wasting money on choosing the wrong keywords and phrases, it is important that you understand the different keyword types.
The four keyword match types are:
- Broad: unless you change the settings, your Adwords will default to broad match keyword. This means that Google will show your ad whenever a search phrase is entered by a user that Google thinks is relevant. While this will make sure your ad has more impressions, it may also waste money by showing your ad to search phrases that aren’t relevant. Broad match keywords are generally not recommended.
- Phrase: if you use a phrase match keyword then Google will show your ad whenever your exact keyword is searched for, giving you more control over when your ad appears. For example, if your phrase match keyword was ‘leather jacket’ and someone searched for ‘black leather jacket’, your ad would be shown. To change your keyword to a phrase match all you need to do is add quotation marks around it.
- Exact: this gives you the most control over when your ad is shown. If you an exact match keyword, Google will only show your ad when the exact keyword is searched for. So if we look back at our previous example, your ad would not appear if someone searched ‘black leather jacket’ and will only if they search ‘leather jacket’, i.e. your exact keyword. To change to an exact keyword all you need to do is add square brackets around it, or select ‘exact match’ in the keyword list.
- Negative Keywords: this is another useful way of controlling when your ads appear, negative keywords help you to block phrases that might make your ad appear, but aren’t relevant. For example, going back to our ‘leather jackets’, we might want to block our ad being shown to someone searching for ‘fake leather jackets’, so we could add ‘fake leather jackets’ as a negative keyword. You can add negative keywords in your Keywords Tab in Adwords, scroll to the bottom and click on add negatives or negative keyword.
When you are setting up your campaign you will need to choose which keyword match type you want to use. If you do not want to use a broad match type then you need to remember to change this during the setup stage.
The last thing you should do before you run your campaign is to setup conversion tracking so that you can see which ads and keywords are a better return on investment. Here you will be able to see which are the most successful and which keywords and ads are actually losing you money. Google has a built-in Adwords conversion tracking tool which you can install onto your site.