AdWords is Google’s branded search advertising, also called PPC (pay-per-click) or CPC (cost-per-click) advertising. You’ll hear all these terms used interchangeably. Since 65% of searches are done on Google, their AdWords system is the most popular.
It’s not hard to create and buy search ads. It does, however, take quite a bit of time to set up and experiment to learn what works and what doesn’t to create an effective search ad program that attracts profitable new business leads or direct sales. Smart of you to be looking for advice on what works and what doesn’t with AdWords. That will accelerate your success!
You may want to hire an expert in AdWords (a freelancer or agency) and have them set up your AdWords campaigns and manage it for you or train you how to run it yourself after they’ve done the hard work to set it all up. That’s like hiring someone to put in the sprinkler system in your yard vs. doing that yourself. You can then mow the lawn and maintain the garden.
AdWords success requires many doing many things well
1. Choosing the best keywords that people are searching for that are related to what you are selling or offering. Choosing keywords is the direct mail equivalent of choosing your list: very important. In direct mail, the list accounts for 40% of the success (or failure) of a direct mailer.
2. Writing relevant and compelling ad “copy” – the text or words that are in the ad. That includes the headline, text and the link/URL address the ad goes to.
3. Making a relevant offer – that will drive people to take immediate action (click your ad) and be profitable for you to offer them. You are paying for the ad and the offer to acquire a click to your website or blog. Some ads include offers and pricing, others don’t. Some PPC ads include an offer for a free report or information; others make a straight price off or discount.
4. When your AdWords ads appear. If you’re a restaurant, you may want to buy PPC ads during peak hours when people are searching for restaurants. If you sell during peak seasons, or times of the week or year, then you can control and tailor your ad buys.
5. Where your ad runs. You can choose to run your ad only on Google or choose to run it within their their “ad network” (other websites and blogs that have signed up with them). There are pros and cons of both options that you’ll want to understand.
6. A landing page that converts. Your AdWords ad will have a link in it or two links (one for the headline and one for the URL used in the ad). Where will someone go when they click on your ad? How well does that web page “catch” and “covert” someone to buy something or share their contact information for recontact?
7. Optimization, a word used to describe continuous improvement. Think of AdWords and any PPC advertising like it’s a science experiment. If you change one ingredient, does it improve your click through rate? What you really want is both click through and conversion. You can offer a free iPad and get people to click on your ad but will that convert to any cash or a new customer for you? Conversion may be someone sharing their name and email address with you which then allows you to begin an education (selling) process and relationship with them. It’s the online equivalent of leaving your business card in the fishbowl on the counter at a store or restaurant. You want them to know you.
Steps for a Google AdWords PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaign
Learn how to plan an effective PPC Search campaign. Identify effective keywords that people are searching for on search engines to use in your campaign.
Search ads are just a few lines of text. An effective PPC program is optimized in three ways: By selecting the right keywords to purchase, writing an effective ad, and creating landing pages that convert people who click to paying customers. Learn what to do to select, write and optimize your PPC ads.
Be careful in your ad spend. You can go through a lot of money buying search ads if you aren’t careful.
TIP to SAVE MONEY: Look for free ads Google is running with offers of $75 or $100 to try Google AdWords. They typically run the ads in magazines like Entrepreneur, Inc., FastCompany, Fortune, Money Magazine. You may also find coupons on sites like YouTube.
Any marketing method you use to drive traffic to your website should be developed to achieve your goals (purchase, registration, etc.). Creating campaign-specific landing pages is an important part of the lead conversion process. A landing page is a page that’s been created specifically to “catch” traffic that comes in as the result of a focused campaign (like a search PPC ad, an email program, or even a print ad) and convert that traffic.
Search ads work better when they are combined with online ads and social media programs to really get the buzz going online.
Web Analytics – This is the data analysis part of PPC advertising. A key reason PPC advertising is so popular is because it’s totally measurable. You can figure out if the money you spent on PPC advertising was a good ROI or not. And you can also work on improving your click-through and conversion rates to get more cash and customers.
Google has a whole area of their site dedicated to helping people learn how to use AdWords. It’s how Google makes money so they want you to learn to love AdWords. Google.com/AdWords
Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian has a video that explains how the auction system works if you want to understand the math used to determine the “ad quality score.” That’s on their AdWords training area.