How to Create a Kick Ass Google AdWords Campaign
How to Create a Kick Ass Google AdWords Campaign
A good Google AdWords campaign can mean the difference between a few good sales and so many sales you can barely keep up with demand. But if you’re just starting out, AdWords can feel like something that requires a college degree. How do you really target your core audience? How do you compete with better-funded competitors? What are the true costs? How can you avoid big losses? There’s so much to know!
Fortunately, like anything that seems complicated at first glance, Google AdWords is totally something you can master, just as long as we break it down first. Without further ado, here is our complete beginner’s guide to Google AdWords.
The Beginner’s Guide to Google AdWords
1. Know Your Customer — And What They Want
Just like any other kind of advertising campaign, your foray into Google AdWords begins with getting to know your customer. In a more traditional sense, this means having your customer personas on hand, as well as any data about their buying habits and online behavior. You’ll want to know whether they live locally or halfway around the globe, whether they’re a business, individual, or family, whether or not they are a specific gender or age, and any other relevant demographic information.From there, you’ve got to do something that many newbies often miss (and pay the price for doing so): you’ve got to make sure that your target audience is actually searching for you. If, for example, you sell “rare popsicle stick model homes handcrafted by ants,” well, sorry to break the news, but a Google AdWords campaign isn’t going to help you, since absolutely no one is searching for that term. You may, on the other hand, sell something for which there is a rising demand, but not quite enough to merit an AdWords investment. Or you could sell a product that is well-enough searched that it’s worth a campaign.To determine what you’ve got on your hands, use the Google Keyword planner. Here, you’ll enter the kinds of phrases you would search if you were a customer on the hunt for your product. Then Google will tell you how many people are searching those phrases, while also suggesting similar phrases to incorporate into your campaign.When you open the Keyword Tool, you’ll find yourself presented with a number of options. Using Advanced Options, choose your target location and what kind of devices you expect your audience to be searching on.There are also several search options you’ll want checked, such as Competition, Local Monthly Search, and Cost Per Click (CPC). Then hit search.What you’ll see next is a whole bunch of data. Don’t get intimidated — it actually makes a lot of sense and is extremely useful.
- Competition tells you how many of your competitors are also bidding for similar keywords
- Local Monthly Searches tells you how many people are actually searching for your terms.
So, if you see a term that has high competition and a low rate of local monthly searches, that means it’s probably not worth bidding on. In contrast, if a search term has a low competition and a high rate of local monthly searches, you definitely want to jump on that. That tends to be a rarity, though, so it may also be a good idea to go for keywords with high competition and a high rate of local monthly searches, or keywords with high or medium competition and a high or medium rate of local monthly searches.
2. Determine Whether Or Not It’s in the Budget
Okay, so you’ve got some attractive looking keywords, and you know to some degree what your competitor is up to. But can you afford them? The answer depends on the CPC (Cost Per Click). First, you’ve got to determine your Maximum CPC, i.e. the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. While you can certainly estimate this, it ideally will be based on the average profit you generally reap per customer, your website conversion rate, and your advertising profit margin. Plug those numbers into this formula, provided by Kissmetrics:Max CPC = (profit per customer) x (1 – profit margin) x (website conversion rate)Then compare the result to the estimated CPC as provided by the keyword tool. If your Max CPC is lower than the Estimated CPC, you probably don’t want to go for it. If it’s bigger than the estimated CPC, then go for it.You’ll also want to consider the timeline for this as well — that is, how long you can afford to continue on at the Maximum CPC.
3. Think Before You Make
Now that you’ve officially narrowed down your choices, it’s time write your super compelling ad. While much of this will remind you of writing ads for other mediums, the AdWords ad is itself its own art form worthy of study.There are a few things you’ll need to do before you even start constructing your ad. First you’ve got to know your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What’s so great about your product? How is your product different than that of your competitors? This latter question requires a good round of competitor research, including looking at your competitors’ marketing materials, online advertisements, and websites.Ultimately, your USP isn’t necessarily a softer feature of your business, like the fact that you’ve been in business since 1972 or that you’re family owned. Rather, it’s that thing that makes customers sit up and say, “I’ve got to have this.”. For GoPro, for instance, the USP might be, “Capture yourself in action,” or “Capture yourself doing exciting things.” For a sandwich delivery service, it might be using all organic ingredients, or getting your sandwich to you in 15 minutes or less. Your USP is truly unique. In a Google AdWords ad, USPs matter more than ever, since you’ll have so little space with which to work.Next, you want to present a compelling offer. This could be your USP, but your USP is often most powerful when paired with a separate offer. For that sandwich shop, it might be something like “25% off your first order.”Finally, you want to have a clear goal in mind. That is, you want to know what you want your customers to do. Do you want them to redeem a coupon? Do you want them to order through your site? Do you want them to download your mobile app? Do you want them to call a representative today? Knowing this will make things simple in your customers’ minds, as they’ll know exactly what they should do next. It will also help you write a clear Call to Action CTA and to direct your web traffic accordingly.
4. Make a Great Ad
Everything you just worked out will go directly into the construction of the ad. There are four elements to consider: a headline, two lines of description (adding up to 70 characters total), and a display URL of 35 characters..
- Headline: Make sure that the headline includes your keyword, but in a natural way. One great way to do this is to ask a question, like, “Hunting for a sandwich delivery service?” You have 25 characters to work with, so make it good, and don’t be afraid to play around with a few different manifestations.
- Description: This is where you’ll state your USP and your compelling offer. Remember to keep your customer in mind as you write this very succinct ad. Appeal directly to them both in language and in approach, keeping their needs and wants in mind. Our sandwich company, for instance, might want to appeal directly to the office lunch crowd by saying something like, “From menu to your desk in 15 minutes or less! 25% off your first order.”
- Display URL: This is the URL that will appear beneath the headline and to which you want to drive your customers. This is pretty straightforward, but there’s one thing to remember: keep it short, make it targeted, and include a keyword. For our sandwich company, this would mean something more like, “thesandwichshop.com/lunch_deals” rather than, “thesandwichshop.com/wo;uwefweouwefo;iwuef.”
There’s something important you should note about this this last one: your ad shouldn’t just funnel to any old page (and especially not a home page, where you’re making a more general case for your business). You’re going to want to have a distinct landing page to drive people to. Here, the offer you’re making will be front and center, as will the manner in which to act on that on offer, whether that’s adding a meal to a cart or printing out the coupon.A few more tips for your ad copy:
- Numbers tend to be compelling
- If you’ve got a trademark or professional title, flaunt it (anything to prove professional credibility)
- Short quotes from customers or from a professional reviewer can help increase credibility, if you’ve got room for them in your description
5. Check Your Settings
Once your ad has been created, you’ll want to make sure all of the settings are correct in the Google AdWords platform.
- Conversion Tracking: This is how you’ll keep track of how many sales your AdWords campaign has generated. To set it up, go to to Tools and Analysis, then to Conversions. Then click +Conversion, and add that code to your eCommerce shopping cart.
- Search vs. Display: Select “search” and not “display,” which is a whole other beast to tackle.
- Negative Keywords: These are keywords that are associated with your keyword naturally but which you don’t actually want to be associated, either because they’re irrelevant or damaging. Kissmetrics offers the great example of an office space rental service, which wouldn’t want to be associated with Office Space the movie. To do this, the office space rental service need only to exclude this term in the negative keywords.
6. Publish. Analyze. Optimize.
Hooray! You’re finally ready to push your ad out into the world. But once your ad is published, your work isn’t done yet. The great thing about online advertising is that you have reams of data to tell you whether or not that ad is working. A few things you might want to do:
- Pause ads with low click through rates (CTRs). Search term reports will help you identify what these are.
- Tweak wording in ads to see if you get higher CTRs. Testing ads with different language is the best way to determine the optimal layout and wording.
- Bid more if your keywords are profitable but you’re not coming up #1 in search results.
- Bid less if you’re not pulling a profit.
- Check your conversion rates. Once people land on your page, do they take the action you’re hoping they would? If they’re not doing that, it’s worth playing around with the layout and format of your landing page.
- Use the Google Remarketing feature. Using a feature called Smart Lists, Google tracks who visited your website via AdWords (and by any means) and can tell you who is most likely to convert and why.
It can sound in abstract like there’s a lot to Google AdWords — and there is, but it’s all very manageable when you get the hang of it. It’s highly advisable to make a checklist of items to attend to as you go, so you’re getting the most out of the dollars you put behind those campaigns. You may trip up here and there, but remember that this is all a data-driven experiment. Persist, and profit is yours!