13 Ways to Make Google AdWords Work for Your Business

google-adwords-logoGoogle AdWords works.  You don’t have to take my word on that, how do you think Google makes so much $$$?  If it didn’t work, we would know by now.

The problem is, most companies that use it don’t know how to take advantage of it.  Too many companies make stupid mistakes that will cost them valuable money and front page positioning.  In this economy, low cost online advertising with Google can be the best way to drive new business.  I am searching for something that you’re offering, I want to click to your website, help me out.

Below are 13 things you need to be paying attention to in order to maximize your AdWords returns.

  1. Unique Landing Page. Please stop sending me to your homepage.  If you are advertising a specific product and I click on your ad, I want to see that product.  It’s what drew me in, it’s what I need, give it to me.  And please, make it look good; images, colors, easy to read text, etc.
  2. Price in the ad. One thing you will notice when searching for products, some ads display a price, and others don’t.  Why wouldn’t you display a price?  It makes the whole ad stand out, and lets the user know what they are getting.  You aren’t hiding anything by not including a price, because when I get to the product and I don’t like your price, you just wasted money on an extra click.
  3. Keywords in the ad. If you haven’t noticed, Google puts the keywords of a search in bold every time they appear in the search results.  Well, they do the same thing with the ads.  When you put the popular keywords that you are targeting in the ad, they stand out over those competitors who do not.  Be smart.
  4. Use reporting tools. When you set up Google Analytics and connect it to AdWords, there are some great reporting tools that you can use.  I recommend setting up these reports to email you daily about ad positioning, click through rate, and conversions at the very least.  This will allow you to see how you are doing in a matter of seconds.
  5. Change your bids. The entire AdWords system works on bids for each keyword.  That is how Google selects which ads to show, when, and in what position.  If your ads are not showing up high enough, increase the bid, if you are spending too much and your positioning is always good, maybe drop them a bit.  Remember, this is going to be constantly changing based on what your competitors do.
  6. Monitor the competition. One thing that a lot of companies forget to do is monitor Google AdWords after you start using it.  Like I said, things will change, so keep an eye on them.  Run searches, check your positions, see what your competitors are using for their ads.  You don’t want your ads to look stale or obsolete in a crowd of new ones.
  7. Test ad variations. Neither you or I know what the best ads look like.  No one does.  So do yourself a favor and run a couple of different versions at the same time.  Google will do the hard work for you and show the best performing ones more often.  Or you can run them all the same amount of times for a month or so, then decide what works best and get rid of the losers.
  8. Be relevant. I can’t tell you how often I see these sponsored ads that have nothing to do with my search.  Do these companies just go after the most common keywords.  Warning: You will waste money if you use this strategy.  Go for the keywords you are best suited for, the unique ones that will let you reach YOUR customer base.  And then make the ad copy relevant to those keywords.
  9. Be the first. Be the first to advertise on a particular phrase.  Be the first to offer your product in a different way.  Are you the first company in your niche? Tell us that. It’s all about standing out, you have to be different, which reminds me…
  10. Be different. Sometimes I think that some companies look at what their competitors say in their ads, and then copy them.  You can’t fake your way to success on AdWords.  Define yourself, differentiate yourself, and tell us why we should click on your ads over the competition. Use words that stand out, prices, brands, etc.
  11. Headlines. Just like in traditional media, headlines of your ad on Google AdWords stand out.  They are the first thing we read, and therefore go a long way in determining whether or not I click.  Show me something there, the name of the product, the name of the company, or even use it to show the price.  If I like your headline, I am going to read your ad first.
  12. Make a decision on the content network. Google utilizes their vast network of advertisers to deliver your ads all over the internet, this is called their content network.  With an account from AdWords, you can easily choose to advertise across this network, or to limit yourself to just Google searches.  For some the content network might work, for others it won’t.  There is no harm in trying out both for a time and determining what works.  You hurt yourself by limiting yourself.
  13. Discounts convert. If you advertise specific products on Google, why not offer a discount specific to that ad.  Discounts convert people.  If I click on your ad and see that I am getting 10% off what I would have gotten if I came directly to you site, I am that much more likely to buy.  I feel like a smart shopper who just got a great deal.  I have seen it utilized many times, and each time it gets my attention.

There they are, 13 steps to a more successful advertising strategy.  Did I leave anything out?  Tell me what you think and offer suggestions of your own below.

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16 Responses to 13 Ways to Make Google AdWords Work for Your Business

  1. Paul Miser says:

    Great post Zach. In the world in which we live, everyone is talking social media. But what people forget is that social media is only one online tool. To help start the dialog or conversation with visitors, you first need brand awareness and to get them to raise their hand. AdWords is a perfect solution for this. It creates a highly targeted, steady stream of possible conversations. Needless to say that Google is becoming way more than a search engine and becoming almost like a homepage for all businesses. Excellent information.

  2. Zach Heller says:

    Thanks Paul. What Google has done with AdWords has transformed what advertising is. They developed the novel idea to show ads to people who are already looking for something in that area. Wouldn’t you know it, it works. Show ads to people who want to see them and you are more likely to have an effective campaign.

    Now if other media could figure out how to apply that concept, maybe these big companies wouldn’t waste so much money on advertising every year.

  3. Aaron Putnam says:

    These are all great ideas in line with Google’s best practices. Now, more than ever, advertisers are looking to maximize their return on investment. I just posted some other common AdWords mistakes and quality score killers on my blog last night that compliment the 13 action items you have listed here.

  4. Zach Heller says:

    Thanks Aaron, I checked out your post. All very good ideas for managing your AdWords campaigns, some of our tips are very similar (ie. more than one ad variation).

    For those of you who are interested in Aaron’s post – here is a direct link: http://www.paidsearchspecialist.com/2009/03/05/adwords-mistakes-quality-score-killers/

  5. pruett says:

    Good stuff. A lot of great and sometimes overlooked AdWord strategies. An informative lecture for a relatively “green” AdWord user like myself.

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  12. Thanks for the article Zach. I like the 13 points you are highlighting here.
    With regards to the point 12 about the content network there is a new really cool tool that works great in terms of conversion and is a mix between Adwords and Retargeting called RLSA.

    I thought it would be relevant if you want to take a look at how it works; http://digitalmindlondon.com/rlsa

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