There’s a good reason why Google AdWords is popular with online marketers, it provides an effective means of driving new prospects to a company’s website and converting them into customers. Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords but others make very little or no return on their investment. This means some are doing very well – and some are just spending money – we want to help your small business be in the first category.
What exactly is Google AdWords and how can it help your business?
You have a business, service or product.
You know people are looking on Google for what they want… and that you could provide that service BUT you don’t appear on the first page of Google searches.
Google Adwords can make that happen.
Think of it in another way…
Imagine you could advertise your business in a magazine and that you only actually had to pay if someone actually read the ad and thought the content was interesting and relevant enough for them that they clicked on it? Your lead is partially qualified before you have actually spent any money.
Google Adwords is a form of Pay-per-click advertising and the whole concept of pay-per-click advertising is built around the premise that you only pay when someone clicks. The bonus with Google Adwords is that it is pay-per-click advertising that displays your ads on the front page of Google (if you get the advert and advertising strategy right). It can also display your ad on other websites, but let’s keep it simple for now.
When someone clicks on your advert they are taken to your website, and you can choose which page they land on (this is called a landing page).
What this means for your business is that you can use Google AdWords to bring targeted traffic to your web site by creating ads that are relevant to your target customers and by choosing keywords related to your business – and that is where the skills lies.
Advertisers do not pay to create their adverts with AdWords, it is totally free and as many ads can be created as required. This comes with a word of warning. The same as any DIY, the cost can come in time and the risk of creating an advert that doesn’t achieves the desired result (which then costs you money because you are paying for clicks that don’t deliver results).
AdWords can also get complex very quickly. Google does make it simple to get setup… but to do Google Adwords well, with high-performing adverts that go through to highly relevant, optimised landing pages that convert… can take time, knowledge and expertise to perfect.
If you are willing to put the time in, Google Adwords can return good results.
When would I include Google Adwords in my digital marketing strategy?
Google Adwords is a great way to show up on page 1 of Google for certain terms and generate leads in a short time.
This can be especially helpful if you have a brand new website that is still making it’s way up through the rankings and being noticed by Google.
It also complements traditional SEO because many customers respond to Adwords listings even though they know it’s a form of paid advertising and others don’t realise that Google Adwords are paid listings.
Google Adwords does however favour those that use best practice and have relevant content on their landing page (the page that the ad clicks through to). In fact you can pay less for your clicks if you follow best practice and have a well-constructed Google Adwords campaign. This is where the complexity comes in. It is tempting to add many, many keywords for instance (so that you appear wherever someone may be looking for you) but this can also cause you to be penalised by Google Adwords.
But I heard Google Adwords isn’t practical for small business…
The New York times did a piece which concluded that Google Adwords isn’t practical for small business, and because it’s the New York times of course it got a lot of airplay. This is what Search Engine Land said in response
“The real tragedy of the latest piece isn’t that AdWords has been singled out – it’s that the Times (and the business owners it interviewed) have once again missed the point… when it comes to PPC. It’s not about the cost per click – it’s about how much effort advertisers put in…empowering businesses to take control of their paid search initiatives is about evaluating what isn’t working – and why – before making decisions based on real insight. If you just throw money at a problem, it should be no surprise when it turns out to be expensive.”
Basically they were suggesting that the amount of effort you put into your Google Adwords advertising reflects the ad performance. Which makes sense. Putting thought and effort into anything usually yields greater results. Search Engine Land summarised their findings in this graphic:
It’s not just about the ad but also about the landing page:
Optimising your landing page is also important. It should be relevant to the advert and useful to the visitor. For you, as a business owner, it should also lead to a result… whether that is a sale or a lead.
Search Enginge Land once again helps us out, with their article on optimising landing pages by creating clearer text structure they state:
“By eliminating unnecessary words and keeping paragraphs short, your marketing messages become clearer. In all of our testing, direct wording and the active tense led to more conversions as well.”
and that is important, because if you are paying people to come to your website – you want them find what they are looking for. When people are using the Internet they are on a mission and the very quickly get an itchy finger and press the ‘back’ button if they can’t see what they are looking for.
Additional tips for getting the most out of Google Adwords:
Use Negative Keywords:
You can hone your AdWords campaigns by using negative keywords – keywords that may make you show up in non-relevant Google searches / searches that don’t fit your products or services.
For example, if you sell photography equipment for consumers but not professionals, you want your ads to be served in response to searches for “photography gear” but not for “professional photography gear.” To accomplish this, sign into your Adwords account and select the campaign or ad group you want to modify. Select the “Keywords” tab, and scroll down past the main keywords table to the negative keywords section. Click on the “+” to open up this area. In this example, you’d add the word “professional.”
Also on the “Keywords” tab you can select “Details” and look at all the search terms that found your campaign or ad group to determine any keywords you can exclude.
Advertise on Your Own Brand Name
Even if your company already ranks highly in Google’s organic search results for your brand name, there are two important advantages to paying to advertise it on AdWords:
- Advertising your own brand name prevents the competition from doing so — and offering their own products and services to your prospects and existing customers.
- Bidding the highest for your brand name virtually guarantees that people who search for your name, and who are therefore most likely to convert into paying customers, see your search results (both organic and paid) at the very top of their results page.
Direct People to Specific Pages on Your Website
Your website’s home page may be great, but you’ll get more conversions when you send searchers to information that’s specifically aimed at the keywords through which they found you.
People feel more comfortable and spend more time on web pages that provide direct matches to the ad links they’ve clicked, such as a “snow shovels” page instead of a “hardware store” page. One reason: It satisfies their immediate interest without demanding time and effort to find the “snow shovels” on the hardware store’s larger site.
In general, you’ll get better AdWords results when you link to highly specific web pages that reflect and enhance exactly what each campaign offers.
Keep Testing Your Ad Copy
With consumers and markets changing constantly, testing new ads against old ones should be a regular part of your campaign-management efforts. Start by trying two variations on your most successful headline. Next, keep the headline the same, but use different pitches and calls to action.
Vary just one element for each test, and give each variation enough time to garner at least a hundred views. Any fewer won’t provide significant proof of its improved or weakened effectiveness at generating click-throughs or conversions. When one variation outpaces another, replace the weaker performer with another variation.
You also can test whole AdWords campaigns that support your most effective web pages. For example, build a campaign that links to whatever page on your site already generates the highest rate of conversions. Over time, continual testing in these ways will nearly always produce significantly better AdWords performance.
I hope this gives you some good information for how you might successfully promote your small business on Google Adwords.