Google AdWords: A User Guide Q&A

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Internet Marketing: Tips and Advice From an AdWords Pro

Looking for help with messy marketing campaigns? If you have trouble orchestrating or implementing a comprehensive advertising plan, you wouldn’t be alone.

Recognizing that this is a common problem for many of our clients, I sat down with Verde Media Founder and Digital Strategist Jon Teodoro to discuss the popular online advertising tool Google AdWords.

My goal? To show how achievable it is for even small businesses to run successful Internet marketing campaigns that lead to big returns.

Teodoro takes what he learned using AdWords to grow Verde Media and applies it to help our customers understand and implement their own successful campaigns, leading to:

  • Increased website exposure.
  • Increased traffic.
  • Increased conversion rates.
  • Quicker ROI.
  • Lean marketing budgets.
  • Business Growth.

Broken up into three categories, this Q&A provides AdWords advice so that anyone can create successful online ads to meet their marketing budget and goals.

Before You Start Using AdWords:

Q) How do I decide what to set my starting ad budget at?

The first thing you should do is calculate your customer acquisition cost (CAC). The idea here is that you need to figure out how much you are willing to pay to acquire one customer and then figure out how many customers you want to gain from your AdWords campaigns. You’ll use these figures to come up with your budget.

Q) If I have a smaller budget, why is it smart to invest in AdWords over other forms of traditional advertising such as print, radio or working with a firm?

AdWords is smart for two reasons:

Flexibility – You can turn the ads on and off and adjust your budget as needed. With traditional media buys, companies often force you to commit to one large buy, which can be tough for small business owners.

Tracking – With AdWords, you can use specific URLs and landing pages to see which ads and specific keywords are driving calls (conversions) so that you can filter out the ones that aren’t working and focus money on the ones that are.

Q) How long will it take until I see results from my ads?

Typically, you want to invest at least 4-6 weeks to running and testing different keywords, ads and landing pages. This is important because 5-10% variation could mean a difference in hundreds to thousands of dollars in won or lost revenue.

You want to spend time upfront to find the “magic formula” and then scale up from there, always looking to analyze and maximize your campaigns and investment.

Q) How much creative power do I have when it comes to organizing/setting up my AdWords account?

With AdWords, you’re in complete control over:

  • Landing pages (all aspects)
  • Ad content (text and design)
  • Ad locations (on Google SERPs)
  • Targeted keywords
  • Keyword order

Q) Are there tools that I can use to discover popular search keywords that my potential customers might use so that I can target them with my Google ads?

Top tools we would use:

  1. Spyfu allows you to analyze your competition’s keywords and ads to find out what’s working for them and what isn’t.
  2. Keywordtool.io is a step above Google Keyword Planner. It’s more accurate and generates keyword ideas in addition to showing search demand and CPC.
  3. SEMrush is an organic and pay-per-click tool mixed into one. It’s good from a data standpoint to have this third opinion to validate your data findings from the top two.

Starting Out With an AdWords Account:

Q) How do I decide which keywords (out of the ones I found in the planning stages) are the best to target if I can only afford to target a few?

If you’re looking for sales right away, the best keywords to target are ones with buying-intent. For example:

  • You’re a plumber – target keywords “plumber near me” or “toilet repair near me”
  • You have an HVAC company – target keywords “heating and cooling coupons”
  • Shoe sales – Instead of targeting “shoes,” target “buy shoes” or “shoe store near me”

Keyword phrases like these signify that the searcher is ready to buy and is looking for deals. They’re further along in the buying process, which means you’re more likely to get the conversion.

Q) Why should I group my keywords?

It is a best practice to group keywords for organization and tracking purposes.

Grouping similar keywords together makes it easier to see which are working well and which aren’t. This allows you to restructure your campaign if need be,  maximizing your ad potential and increasing your quality score.

Q) What is my quality score?

This is Google’s measure of how relevant your ads are for their targeted searches. It looks at how relevant:

  • Your landing pages are to their particular ads.
  • Your landing pages are to corresponding keywords.
  • Your ads are to targeted keywords.

The lower your score, the less chance you have of showing up for your targeted keywords. There are only four ads featured at the top of a SERP and Google uses quality scores to decide which to place there. It is important for businesses to keep this score high.

Q) Is it OK to point my ads to the home page of my website? Why or why not?

Yes, only if your homepage is set up as a proper landing page for conversion. In other words, you need to:

  • Minimize distractions.
  • Have a strong call to action.
  • Clearly explain your product or service.
  • Show social proof like reviews and testimonials.
  • Make sure it’s mobile friendly.
  • Provide a clear point of contact.

If your home page doesn’t have all of these elements on it, then you shouldn’t be driving people there. Typically, ads should only be pointing to specific landing pages.

Q) What are the main features that my ads should include to be most successful?

Ads should:

  • Target the right keywords.
  • Have compelling copy.
  • Include a special offer that has some urgency behind it.
  • Feature a CTA.

Also, think about utilizing Ad Extensions. These are links added to the bottom of your search engine result. They can link to different site pages like contact info or hours of operation. They provide the searcher more places to click and also make your ad look more like an organic search return.

Q) What amount of my budget should I spend to target buying-intent keywords versus research-intent keywords?

This depends on a couple of questions you need to answer:

  1. How badly do you need sales?
    1. If you need sales right now, you should be focusing on only buying-intent keywords so that you can get the fastest ROI.
  2. How long is the buying process for your customers?
    1. If you deal in in B2B or sell high-dollar products and services, your customers are going to spend more time doing research before making a purchase. In this case, you would want to target some research-based keywords so that when they’re ready to buy, they’re already familiar with your brand.

A few months into Using AdWords:

Q) I’m getting clicks but no sales or phone calls – why is that?

A few common things could be happening here:

  1. Broken contact forms and incorrect phone numbers
    1. Solve it: Make sure the phone numbers and contact forms work correctly.
  2. Bad landing page design
    1. Solve it: Invest in tools like hotjar. With this tool, you can find out how people are interacting with your landing page.
  3. No conversion tracking setup
    1. Problem: If you have one phone number on all of your ads, you can’t know which source your calls are coming from (i.e. Yellow Pages or AdWords). You can’t track to analyze and maximize success.
    2. Solve it: Install conversion tracking with Google AdWords.

Q) I think I need to target more mobile traffic. Can I do this in AdWords?

Yes, you can create special mobile ads and target those ads specifically to mobile users only.

Q) I am getting conversions, but I am blind as to where they’re all coming from. How can I track my conversions from AdWords?

If you want to figure out where people are coming from, you need to integrate Google Analytics into your Google Adwords conversion tracking to figure out the source of each conversion.

Q) How can I utilize conversion tracking to optimize my ads and make them even more successful?

If you have tracking set up and you’re getting good results, you can change your bid targeting away from Cost Per Click to Cost Per Conversion. This means you would no longer pay for each click on your ads. Instead, Google will figure out the best way to display your ads to get conversions. In other words, it will show your ads to people that are most likely to buy, and then you pay per conversion.

If your conversion rate is low, it best to bid on cost per click until you improve it.

Q) I like AdWords, but have heard great things about the simplicity of AdWords Express. Should I consider using it instead? Why or why not?

AdWords Express is good if you want to get ads up and running right away, but you lose the ability to target specific keywords with your ads because Express only allows broad match keyword targeting. This means that if you set your ad to show for the word “shoes,” it would show up for “basketball shoes,” “ballet shoes,” “bowling shoes,” etc. You have no control over this.

Within the more flexible AdWords platform, you can get very specific, which means you can save yourself a lot of money from wasted clicks on irrelevant keywords.

We Have Helped Numerous Clients Optimize AdWords

If you’re interested in starting an AdWords campaign or would like to discuss how to optimize an existing one, we’d be happy to help you. Give us a call at 586-434-0678 or fill out our contact form. Be sure to outline some project specifics, and one of our team members will reach out to you shortly.

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