Google will promise the world. Sign for a Google AdWords account, run an ad and you will reach new customers at just the right moment, on the right devices. They make it sound so simple. All you need to do is:
- Define your marketing goals
- Choose your campaign type
- Select your keywords
- Create your ad
- Select geographic locations
- Set your bid budget
- Choose your bid strategy
- Sit back and wait for the customers to roll in.
So simple, anyone can do it, right? They aren’t lying, it is easy to set up a Google AdWords campaign. Setting up a high-quality campaign, now that is a different story. Here are just a few common traps novices fall into.
Ignoring Negative Keywords
This is a word or phrase which will prevent your ad from being triggered. For example, if you are a heating and air conditioning contractor using Google AdWords your negative keywords might include words such as car, truck or portable. Clearly, people looking for these types of air conditioning are not looking for your service.
The challenge? Every day there are new searches. As a matter of fact, 15% of all Google searches (about 500 million every day) are unique, never searched before. So every day you will get new phrases popping up and driving irrelevant traffic to your website. The more clicks you get, the more likely Google is to show your ad the next time someone does a similar search. So if someone searches “ac for Ford” and you don’t flag that as a negative match you may be paying for daily multiple clicks for auto air conditioning.
How often should you be checking your keywords? That depends on your budget. How much can you afford to waste?
Skipping or Misusing Ad Extensions
Beyond your basic landing page, Google will let you add different pieces of information which actually generate lots of high-quality clicks. The first is a phone extension where searchers, specifically on mobile can click to call. This works great during business hours, but it doesn’t make sense to have someone click to call if they are going to be dumped into a general voice mail box.
Another extension is the site link. This feature allows you to add links to other pages on your website which provide additional information for searchers. The right ones will anticipate other questions your prospective customer might have and the wrong ad extensions won’t appeal to your users and might even overwhelm or scare them away.
Failing to Refine Your Ad
If you are paying attention, you will notice trends in your ad results. Certain times of day deliver higher clicks and better conversions. You can adjust your bids so you are spending more money during peak times. Or you can simply let the ads run, and you will reach a wide audience between midnight and 6am who might click, but probably won’t be ready to buy.
Forgetting to Clearly Define Geographic Dimensions
Don’t want leads from North Vietnam? Well then you probably should have defined your geographic boundaries more carefully. But simply selecting a zip code isn’t enough. Just like the time of day, adjusting bids to display ads in certain areas and not in others will let you get the most from your investment.
Driving Traffic to Your Home Page
When people conduct a search, they have a specific question in mind. Driving them to a generic home page, with no clear conversion path will typically result in a rapid bounce back to Google for the next company on the list. If you are going to invest in the ads be sure you invest as much time and effort in creating relevant landing pages. The page should include the answer to the question and a way to take the next step in your sales process.
Before you invest in AdWords, invest in your website. Make sure it is a conversion machine.
Failure to Track ROI Correctly
Repeat after me. Clicks do not equal sales. Clicks do not equal sales.
It is great if someone comes to your website, but are they filling out a conversion form, making a phone call or buying when they do? The cost per click may be $8.00, but if you only convert 1/100 visitors then the cost per lead is $800. Is a new client worth that investment? If you aren’t sure, you might want to check out my webinar on Marketing by the Numbers where I talk about the Lifetime Value of a Client.
Do Google AdWords campaigns work? Absolutely, if they are done well. If not, you can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars without any results.
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