According to Google, businesses make an average of $2 from every $1 spent on AdWords.
With numbers like that, there’s no doubt that starting an AdWords campaign could be game-changing for your business. But, AdWords can be complicated and overwhelming if you’re using it for the first time and unsuccessful campaigns can be expensive.
Creating a successful AdWords campaign is like following a cookie recipe. In order for the cookies to come out right, you need to follow all of the steps.
The following 10 steps are the key ingredients in the recipe for AdWords success.
Step 1: Confirm that there is a customer demand for your product or service.
Before spending time and money creating an amazing AdWords campaign you need to ensure that people are searching for keywords related to your product or service. If nobody ever sees your campaign, then what’s point of creating it?
Google’s free Keyword Planner tool makes it easy to research the keyword phrases you’re looking to optimize. The tool provides a ton of data including information on how often people search for particular phrases and how much money you’re likely to spend per click.
The tool will also offer suggestions for similar phrases you may not have thought of before starting your research.
Step 2: Make sure the numbers make sense.
The entire point of starting an AdWords Campaign is to make money and the only way to do this is to make sure that you’re spending less on your campaigns than you’re making from conversions. Certain keywords can have very high cost per clicks, which could prevent you from achieving a solid ROI.
The following formula will help you figure out which keywords you should and should not be investing your money by calculating your maximum cost per click (Max CPC).
Max CPC = (average profit per customer) x (1 – advertising profit margin) x (conversion rate)
For example, let’s say your average profit per customer is $500 and 1 in 100 prospects turns into a sale. Assuming your profit margin on advertising is 20% then:
Max CPC = ($500) x (1 – .20) x (.01) = $4.00
Compare your max CPC to the estimated CPC in the Keyword Planner tool. If your max CPC is a lot lower than the estimated CPC, then that’s a red flag that the keyword phrase may not have a chance to be profitable.
Keep in mind that if you’re just starting out, you’ll need to estimate these numbers at first. Then, you can use historical data to calculate your real numbers down the road.
Step 3: Get information from your competitors.
Your competitors are an amazing source of data for your own campaigns. Tools like KeywordSpy and SpyFu allow you to track your competitors’ advertising campaigns and see which keyword phrases they’re using and how well they’re performing.
It’s also a good idea to analyze your competitors’ ad copy and see what types of ads seem to resonate with your audience. Then, you can work to find ways to differentiate your ads and build on the success of your competitors.
Step 4: Establish your unique selling proposition. (USP)
Evaluating your competitors’ ads should give you an idea of the type of ads you want to create. As you start to design your ads, you need to make sure you answer your prospects’ most basic question:
Why should I choose you over every other option, including not purchasing anything at all?
To answer this question you need to highlight your company’s strengths. What do you do better than your competition? Is it something that customers find valuable? How does that strength differentiate you from everyone else?
A great example of this is Domino’s 30-minute guarantee. Their ads don’t mention the taste or quality of their pizza. They placed their focus a single differentiating factor — fast delivery — and turned it into an empire.
Step 5: Create an irresistible offer.
Think about how many times you purchase something and justify it because it was “just too good of a deal to pass up.” The company created an offer you couldn’t refuse.
Irresistible offers prompt your prospects to make a purchase. To be successful, your offer must:
- Provide Value: The benefits of the purchase must outweigh the price.
- Seem Credible: Shoppers are skeptical, especially online. Explain to your prospect why something is on sale or free. This will make your deal trustworthy and believable.
- Reduce Risk: Provide a guarantee so the customer feels less likely to lose money.
- Include a Call to Action: Tell your prospect exactly what you want him to do next, and make it easy for them to do it.
Step 6: Draft compelling ad copy.
The ad copy is the way you communicate your message to your prospects. Use the research you completed in the 5 steps above to help compose your ads.
Each ad you create needs a compelling headline that relates to the keyword searched and convinces your prospect that you can solve a problem or fulfill a need.
You also have two lines of 35 characters each to describe your USP, benefits, and call to action. Get creative and make your ad stand out.
Step 7: Develop landing pages that work.
Your ad copy gets prospects to click on your ad but your landing page is what sells them.
Many business owners make the mistake of directing ads to their homepage. The problem with this is the homepage doesn’t always feature the deal mentioned in your ad and can leave prospects confused, causing them to bounce from your site.
The solution is to develop a well-crafted landing page for each ad and make sure that the landing page fulfills the promises made in the ad. Making the landing page congruent to the ad makes the experience much easier for the prospect and makes it more likely that she’ll convert.
Step 8: Track your conversions.
In order to know which ads are generating sales and which ads need to be tweaked, you must set up conversion tracking. Luckily, Google makes this easy to do.
To track online conversions, get the tracking code from the Google AdWords tool in your AdWords account by clicking on Tools > Conversions. Then, follow the steps to create the conversion codes you need to track phone calls, webform submissions, e-commerce sales, and even offline sales.
For example, to track webform leads or e-commerce sales, create a new conversion and add the code to your webform thank you page or receipt page. When a prospect or customer lands on this page, Google will track the conversion in your Adwords account.
Step 9: Change AdWords default settings.
The default settings in Google AdWords are not always the best for your business. Luckily, it’s easy to make a few changes that will benefit your campaign.
Make sure to change the Keyword Match Type from the default “Broad Match” to “Phrase Match”. By doing this, your ads will display when a prospect actually types part of your keyword phrase into the search bar. If you leave your keywords as “Broad Match” then you run the risk of Google showing your ads on completely irrelevant search phrases.
It’s also important to add a list of negative keywords to further ensure your ads aren’t displayed to irrelevant searches. For example, if your keyword phrase is “office space”, then make “movie” a negative keyword so your ad won’t display when people are searching for the hilarious film Office Space.
Step 10: Continuously optimize your campaigns.
You can think of your AdWords campaigns like getting a new car. When you drive off the lot, it feels great to have a brand new vehicle but you’ll need to put gas in the car and change the oil in order to keep it running smoothly.
It’s the same thing with your AdWords campaign.
Once the campaign is live, you need to be continually optimizing the campaign based on the tracking data. If keywords are profitable, raise your bids to get even more leads and sales. Or, if a keyword isn’t profitable, lower your bids or pause that keyword.
Test different versions of your ads to see which gets the best click through rate. You should also test variations of your landing page to see which one gets the most conversions.
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Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses create profitable digital marketing campaigns.
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