How Not to Lose Your Shirt with Google AdWords

Daily Flugelhorn Google AdwordsIt’s really easy to lose your shirt when advertising online with Google AdWords. Choose the wrong keywords, your keyword bid price goes up and your ad group will cost more per click. Choose the right keywords, and, sure, maybe you’ll get a ton of traffic, but you could end up spending a lot of money for people to click-through your ad and do nothing, instead of signing up for your newsletter, buying your products, or giving you their contact information. And that’s money wasted.

Luckily, tried and true methods exist to make sure you get the most bang for your buck with Google AdWords. So, in this month’s newsletter, I’ll be covering some of the easiest methods to help you save some money on your ad groups and make sure they bring in new clients.

Think Global, Advertise Local

Whatever your future goals are, if, right now, you’re a small business with local clients, why advertise globally (or even nationally)? At the end of the day, the clients who are most likely to make a purchase from your business will be in your own backyard. That’s who you should be trying to reach.

Google lets you choose the locations where you’d like your ad to show up. You can find this setting under the Campaigns tab.

Before you launch your campaign, take a few seconds to think about where most of your clients are located, and then choose the cities or states where you’d like your ad to appear. This can be done on the same page a little further down.

While these settings won’t have a profound impact on your bid prices, it will help you control the type of traffic to your ad group. Rather than paying for a lot of random clicks on your ad, you’ll restrict it to the population of people that are most likely to make a purchase from you, and that will help your conversion rate and increase your chances of gaining a client.

Word, Words, Words…

Selecting the right keywords for your ad group is probably the most important step in creating a successful Adwords campaign. It’s also pretty important in keeping your bid prices down. Google counts your ad’s relevancy (how relevant your ad and keywords are to the services offered on your website) and your bid price in where it ranks your ad. So, the more relevant the ad, the less you have to bid to get the same ranking.

Too often, though, business owners gloss over this step and end up paying a lot more per click than they should. Google provides some great tools to generate keywords for your ad group, but you can do some work outside these tools to help Google see your ad as more relevant and get that bid price lower.

First, let’s talk basics. What are good Adwords keywords? They should at least meet these criteria. Your keywords should be:

  1. Used extensively on your Adwords landing page. The link you provide in your ad group should send the client to a page that has the ad group’s keywords all over it. Google will see this as a very relevant ad, and you won’t have to bid as much to get the same rank. You can get the bid prices even lower if you include the keywords in the title of your ad group and in the copy.
  2. Specific. If you’re a small catering company specializing in weddings and parties and based in Mobile, AL, you don’t want to use “food service” as a keyword. It’s too broad. You’ll generate traffic from people looking for commercial contractors that set up cafeterias in university dining halls around the country, just as an example. The downside is you’ll pay for clicks that don’t lead to business. So, use keywords specific to your services, whatever they are: wedding caterer, catering 36608, catering Mobile, AL, small party catering, etc.
  3. A word or phrase your prospects (not you, your clients or prospects) think about when they think about your business or industry. Admittedly, this one’s a little tricky, but dig deep. I’m sure you can come up with a few.

If you’re still having some trouble narrowing down your keywords, even after plugging your list into the AdWords keyword generator, here’s a sneaky trick you can use:

  1. Search Google using the keywords you would use to find companies in your same industry. What companies rank highest both organically and in the ads on the right side of the page? Which ones most closely match your own company’s products, strategy, or business model?
  2. Copy the URLs of the sites you think are most like your own business from your browser’s address bar.
  3. Go to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool and paste the URLs into the website edit box.

Now, check out the list of keywords that were created. Do they match ones already on your list? Which ones didn’t you think of? How do they rank?

If you think they’re relevant, then add them to your list. If they match ones you already have, keep them.

This trick should at the very least give you some confidence in your keyword selection. Hopefully, what it does is give you keywords you may have overlooked and help you get rid of ones that might not be relevant.

Why Have One, When You Can Have Two?

So, you’ve got your keywords, you’ve selected the localities where you’d like your ads to show up, and now you’re ready to write your incentive-laden, enticing, irresistible ad copy. Here’s the last tip. Write two ads.  Let me explain.

Different people respond to different incentives. One prospect might be looking for a great price, and another might be looking for a quick turnaround on your service. If you’re an established business and you’ve been in the market for a while, you probably know what your clients are looking for, and you probably know it’s more than one thing. If you’re a new business, you might not know, yet, so you need to test the market.

Take a look at these two ads:

Ad #1:
Just a Pretty Website?
Get a Website that Produces.
Grow and Generate Leads Online.

Ad #2:
GroundSwell Web Designs
We Design Websites that Build Business.
Initial Consultation Costs Nothing.

Ad #1 is a little in-your-face, which is fine. It wakes up the person searching, and it may actually be someone who is tired of not getting any value from his site. If that’s the case, this ad speaks directly to him.

Some prospects might have heard about us and are searching for us by name. Ad #2 addresses this case. It’s also a little softer with an incentive added: free consultation.

Once you have your two ads running, it’s important to keep a close eye on them using Google Analytics. Which ad is getting the higher click-through rate (CTR)? Which keywords are generating the most traffic? And, most important of all, which ad is leading the prospect to do what you want? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can kill the ad and keywords not pulling their weight, and keep the one that’s producing. Then create another ad group and measure it!

Be Ever Vigilant!

There really are a lot of ways to get better bid prices with Google AdWords and keep your ad campaign costs under control. These are just a few and among the easiest to do. The important principle to remember is be ever vigilant! Google AdWords is a great way to earn new clients, but it’s not a “set it and forget it” system. You have to experiment, measure, and refine.

Follow the tips in this newsletter, keep a close watch on your ads, and you’ll keep your shirt firmly affixed to your back and your money in your wallet.

About Chris Sholler

Chris Sholler is the co-founder of GroundSwell Web Designs and leads most of its marketing and sales activities. When he’s not meeting with clients, aching miserably over his writing, and obsessively redoing everything on his Illustrator art board, you can usually find him somewhere drinking coffee strong enough for him to see time slow down. Follow Chris on Linkedin. See all posts by Chris.