There can be no good commerce without proper marketing. Marketing campaigns are a must for businesses wishing to boost their sales. Online marketing has become more and more a distinctive and important aspect in the development and evolution of any company, big or small, which aims at reaching a specific range of potential customers.
With the emergence of Google's AdWords service, online marketing has changed. It is now possible to target potential customers more accurately than ever, taking into account that Web search is the second most used online application after e-mail.
What is AdWords?
AdWords is Google's tool, meant to help you advertise your business. It can be used to create simple, yet effective ads that will be displayed to people performing online searches for information related to businesses such as yours. Basically, a Google AdWords campaign is one way of doing online keyword-based advertising.
At the core of any pay-per-click campaign lays the commercial links (the ads) associated to keywords, displayed on the right side of the result page when a Google search is performed. What Google offers is actually placing certain Web sites on top of all the results for a specific search (i.e. keywords). Against a fee, naturally. These sites are placed systematically on the right on the right side of the result screen and marked as "commercial links" so that the user is not mislead, since Google's goal is, above all, to maintain the credibility of its search engine.
The AdWords ads are very simple. They come in a verity of formats, amongst which the most common are the text format and the image format. There can also be animated ads, video ads, mobile ads, etc. The text ads usually consist of:
- An ad title (up to 25 characters, including spaces): must attract users that may have an interest in your products or services
- Two description lines (up to 35 characters each, including spaces): should be clear and compelling enough to convince the user to visit your site
- The display URL (up to 35 characters, including spaces): this is where the user will be directed when clicking on the ad.
Don't assume that this is an easy task. It's not. Remember that Google is a tough nut to crack, but with the right set of tools and a lot of hard work and dedication, it can be done. Therefore, it is good that before creating a pay per click campaign, you have a clearly established goal. According to this goal, begin creating your AdWords campaign.
As with Search Engine Optimization, AdWords campaign management is a must and must be done properly. There are many aspects that can be overlooked. Some of the most common AdWords campaign mistakes come from superficiality or insufficient knowledge about the targeted market and the way the Web works.
Among the worst mistakes being made in such cases are:
- Bidding too much in order to be placed on the top position
Even if this seems like the best choice, being "Number One" in this case is not necessarily the best. Keep in mind that Web users are accustomed to searching, and they usually don't stop at the first ad.
And, since they are first prospecting the market, it is highly possible that you only get an unqualified click. It seems that being no. 3 in paid search is one of the best (i.e. profitable) rank.
- No geo-targeting
Try to relate to the potential customers in your area first. They are more likely to take their business to a local company. Add, for example, the name of the town or of the area where your company is in your ad and the effects will be noticeable.
- Bidding on broad keywords
Broad keywords are very likely to take your CPC (cost-per-click) to a very high level. Therefore, try to brush the keyword list that you wish to use for your PPC campaign and retain only highly searched-for keywords. Those are worth bidding for.
- Boring content
Don't say what others have already said. Be creative. Be fresh.
- Non-relevant landing pages
Make sure that when the Web user clicks on the URL in the ad, it will take him/her to a relevant page. You don't want the user to get frustrated by not finding the desired product/service advertised in the ad.
- Directing users only to the home page
Unless you have a really cool Web site that will captivate the users and make them browse through it for endless minutes, they will get frustrated if they have to search throughout the site for what the need, starting from your home page. You should send them directly where they will find what was advertised.
- No keywords in the ad text
Do insert your keywords in the title and description of the ad. Nevertheless, remember to keep an eye on the clarity and relevance of the ad. The visitors must understand exactly what they will get when clicking on it.
- Not tracking the results
You should monitor the keywords that you use in your Google AdWords marketing campaigns. The most at-hand tool is Google Analytics, built into the AdWords interface. You should be able to see and rule out the keywords that are not helping you get the desired ROI (return on investment).
- Same bids for the content network
AdWords gives you the possibility to have two separate campaigns, one for the content network, and the other for the search network. You should set different bids for the content network. Otherwise, the CPC will be much higher than anticipated.
- Suggesting that what you offer is free
Don't try to lure the visitors with false statements. All you'll get is irrelevant traffic, but no conversion (or not significant enough).
- Not identifying the uniqueness of your product/service
Identify what makes you and your product/service unique, what makes you stand out from the large crowd of competitors. Find the keyword(s) that supports this uniqueness.
- Failure to create multiple ad groups and ad campaigns
Don't fall into that trap. Unorganized campaigns will fail to produce the expected results. Group all the single ads that target related keywords. If you're advertising more than one product/service, it's best to have the ads grouped by category.
Also, don't use just one campaign. Split your ads into separate campaigns. You will be able to see which of them gives you more satisfaction in terms of conversion rate.
- Failure to test with more that one ad
Don't limit your advertising campaign to just one ad. It may not contain the best keywords. Create more ads and see which one works best.
- Not using targeting options for keywords
Broad matches may or may not improve your conversion rate. But if you use the keyword targeting options, you may notice significant improvements. The targeting options are the square brackets - [blue tulip] - and the quotation marks - "blue tulip".
Also, you can use the negative character (minus sign) in order to specify certain keywords for which you don't want your ads to be shown: -tulip. This will also prevent you from paying for such words. A penny saved is a penny earned, they say.
- Not using company/brand name keywords
Don't leave out the name of your company or of a brand you've created. You wouldn't want the competition to make profitable use of it, would you?
What's In It For You?
To make it short (taking into account that your Google AdWords campaign is a good one): an improved conversion rate. After all, this is what you were aiming for. If you only take a look at the possible AdWords campaign mistakes mentioned above, it is easy to figure out the disastrous consequences of a poorly managed advertising campaign.
Ultimately, it can put you out of business. On the other hand, a well-directed and properly instrumented pay-per-click campaign can go a long way. You gain notoriety and make a profit.
There are so many ways in which you can save money when creating an AdWords campaign. If you manage to avoid the above-mentioned mistakes, you will surely notice an increase in your sales or amount of contracts for your services.