$200 Available For New PPC Accounts
Google AdWords released a new incentive this Tuesday. Businesses who try Pay-Per-Click (PPC) for the first time can receive up to $200 in matching AdWords credit. It’s for a limited time (thru 3-31-13) but it’s a great deal for those who want to launch Search Engine Marketing (SEM). As we’ve mentioned before, businesses who appear in Search Engine Results Pages both organically and via a paid ad, get a 30% boost on organic clicks. Before diving in, here are 5 tips:
1. Keyword & Competitor Homework
Google AdWords is based upon a bidding system. You’ll be bidding on keywords; the higher your bid the greater chance your ad will appear in the coveted top spots. Understanding your keywords — including the long-tail ones that are a telltale sign that a prospect is closer to making a purchase — is critical. Knowing the progression of keywords in user search/buying cycle will help you bid on the right keywords.
Your PPC competitors may be dramatically different than those you’ve identified for organic SEO rankings. Maybe not. Doing research to understand who you’ll be bidding against is powerful. Let’s use an hypothetical example. Imagine you’re a local PC repair shop. Your PPC competitors are big box stores like Staples and Office Depot. You know that you can offer quicker turnaround or an on-the-spot diagnosis. Check out your competitors’ ads to see what they are offering. You might not be able to compete on hundreds of locations nationwide but you can compete on personalized and fast service. Maybe mentioning in the ad that you take the time to educate your customer on how to avoid typical issues in the future can entice a click.
2. Measurement Infrastructure in Place
Google AdWords requires spending actual money. You want to make sure that each click gets the desired result — a phone call or contact form — so you can make a sale. If you can’t accurately measure phone calls, consider using a Google Voice number or similar service (e.g., Convirza). We’ve found that by asking personnel to ask a caller “where did you hear about us” and manually track provides sketchy intel at best. You can’t accurately calculate ROI without knowing how many prospects came in from PPC and then how many you’ve converted. We’ve used Google Voice to fine-tune when (day of the week, time of day) an ad should optimally display.
You also want to enable cost attribution in your linked Google Analytics account. You’ll be measuring your PPC ROI by gathering data in both your Google AdWords and GA Account. Before spending any hard-earned dollars, map out the measurement process and plug any leaks.
3. Set Google AdWords Limits
You can set spending limits in multiple ways:
- Limit the targeted keyword bid value (thru Target CPA Bidding and Maximum CPA Bidding)
- Daily spending limit
- Manage shared budget to control monthly limit across ad campaigns
There are many levers to adjust in an AdWords account, helping you maximize your effort and limit your spending exposure. If you aren’t using a PPC professional, we suggest using Google AdWords Support to get educated about budgets and bids.
4. Experiment with Ad Copy
You’d be surprised at what influences a higher Click-Thru-Rate (CTR). Word choice in a headline can make the difference between a winner and a loser. You’ll want to create ad groups where you are testing various versions of ads focused on various keywords. Let the ads run and measure which performs best. Then tweak some more. If you haven’t gathered already, PPC management is a labor of love. You can’t set it and forget it.
5. Special Landing Pages
We suggest designing one special landing page per ad group (or at least an ad group category), as it leads to more online conversions. Directing your Google AdWords prospect to your homepage is a waste of money. You want to make an easy and clear path to a conversion. Eliminate clutter of sidebars and extraneous calls to action.
The landing page has one goal: to convert them to take the next action.
You are gently guiding them (by showing your difference and value) further into your sales funnel. Of course, testing landing pages is another more advanced element that can help improve your conversion rates. You can test landing pages via Experiments in Google Analytics. Modifying images, ad text, placement of Call To Action buttons, etc can all affect your success.
Have you used Google AdWords? What other lessons have you learned?