Rock Google Adwords Without Blowing Your Budget
Google AdWords is an incredibly powerful marketing tool for small business owners. It allows you to show an ad to people who are searching for businesses similar to yours as well as to those looking for products/services in your area. The ad displays on Google's search results page and looks almost identical to the standard search results, with the only difference being the small green “Ad" indicator nearby. This type of advertising, where you pay per click (PPC), can be a great way to drive interested, targeted visitors to your website.
Of course, it's never that simple. The countless options and settings in Google AdWords can often be overwhelming and difficult to grasp, which can cost you dearly in terms of money, effort and time. Below, we share four tips for maximizing your chances of getting the most out of this advertising platform.
1. Get Targeting Right
AdWords is known for its wide-ranging targeting filters. But the bountiful of options can often result in poor targeting choices, especially for businesses on a budget. We suggest limiting the targeting of your ads to Google Search and avoiding the Display Network and Search Partners. The Display Network will show your ads to a variety of publisher sites, whereas Search Partners will display your ads on affiliated Google websites (think annoying banner ads).
The traffic you'll get via Google Search will be much more targeted and conversion-oriented. Google Search, on the other hand, will only show your ads when a person explicitly searches for the keywords related to your business using Google's official search engine.
If you own a business with a physical storefront, use the geotargeting options to your advantage. Geographic targeting ensures that your ads are only displaying to people within your defined location. In addition, you can configure your ads to include state- and city-specific phrases, or even provide tailored offers and promotions that speak directly to the specified audience.
2. Pick The Ideal Keywords
When setting up an AdWords campaign, you can select the keywords you want to trigger your ad. The most obvious keywords to include in your campaign are branded keywords. These are keywords that include your business name and the product or service you sell (e.g., "Don's Johns Portable Restrooms"). Additionally, AdWords will suggest keywords ideas for you to use based on your website and also tell you how many monthly searches a keyword gets.
If you are looking to include more keywords after you activate your campaign, Google has a useful feature, called Keyword Planner, that you can access in the Tools section of your account. Keyword Planner will help you gather ideas for other phrases and terms your target audience could be using. And because Google has data on every keyword, you can see uncommon searches that you may not have realized were used to find your kind of businesses.
3. Choose The Right Match Type
Besides keyword selection, you can define a “match type" for your keywords. Keyword match types are parameters that users can set on keywords to control which searches on Google trigger your ad. AdWords allows you to choose from four different match types for your keywords.
- Broad Match: This match type is assigned to your AdWords account by default. It displays your ad to the widest audience with respect to keyword searches that have close variations. For example, if your search term is “Kentucky restaurant" your ad could show up for the query “best burgers in Kentucky".
- Broad Match Modifier: This match type offers a little more control than the previous option over who gets to see your ad as you can instruct it to lock specific keywords into place. You just have to put a plus sign (+) in front of a phrase and AdWords will let Google know that a search needs to include that word for the ad to be triggered. For example, if your restaurant specializes in seafood and no other types of cuisine, you can bid for “+seafood in Kentucky" so that your ad doesn't appear when someone searches “burgers Kentucky" or “Kentucky restaurant".
- Phrase Match: This match type tells Google that search terms need to be in the exact order as your defined keywords for triggering your ads, but there can be other words before or after the phrase. So if your keyword is “Kentucky seafood" your ads won't appear for searches like “seafood Kentucky" or “restaurant Kentucky", but could show up for “best Kentucky seafood" or “Kentucky seafood options". You'll have to put quotation marks around the keywords to indicate to Google that it's a phrase match.
- Exact Match: This match type works just as the name suggests. It triggers your ads when someone's search query includes the exact keywords, in the same order, with no phrases before or after. So if you mark you want an exact match on “Kentucky seafood" your ads won't appear for “best Kentucky seafood" or “Kentucky seafood options". You'll have to put brackets — [keyword] — around the keyword if you want to define it as an exact match.
Experiment with a combination of these match types for some time and then pick the best performing one(s) for their ongoing campaigns.
4. Make The Landing Page Highly Attractive
The landing page is where people will arrive once they click on any of your ads, so make it attractive. Use these elements to increase your conversions:
- An enticing headline
- Compelling videos and images
- Benefits of buying from your business
- Elements that establish trust, for example reviews or customer badges
- A clear call-to-action (CTA)
For the landing page CTA, choose a phrase that reinforces the page messaging rather than a general prompt like Submit. For example, if you are advertising a service to improve online reputation, a CTA that reads “Improve My Reputation" carries a lot more emotional weight than prompting people with a call to “Buy".
Bonus tip: Create a unique landing page for each ad variation. Most AdWords campaigns consist of dozen versions of an ad, each with a different description, headline and CTA. Because not every ad refers to the same service or product, it's wise to create separate landing pages to appeal to the different variations of search terms and phrases. To boost your appeal, include the most important keyword in the domain for the landing page. Top-level domains (TLDs) such as .pro, .lgbt, .llc, .pet or .organic are perfect for use in search engine ads, because studies have shown that searchers are more likely to click on a descriptive domain name than .com in a digital ad, increasing your CTR and decreasing your spend.
With the many features that make up Google AdWords, the basics can often slip through the cracks, costing you money and sales. These four tips for managing AdWords campaigns will allow you to set things up right from the start, giving you and your business a realistic chance of seeing a healthy return on your investment.