Regardless of whether or not you have money to invest in ads, I strongly believe every business should go through the process of setting up a Google AdWords campaign.  Even if you never turn on the ads, I guarantee you will improve your overall marketing.

That’s a bold claim and of course, there is one catch.

If all you do is create an AdWords account and let a Google rep (or some automated tool) set up your campaign, then you’ll get nothing out of this exercise. To get the benefits in this article, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and do all the work required to set up a profitable AdWords campaign.  Most of the work involved in setting up an ad campaign has nothing to do with the AdWords platform.  In fact, you can substitute “Google AdWords” in this article for any type of advertising and you’ll still walk away with these 5 benefits.

5 Benefits of AdWords Without Spending a Dime


Benefit #1: Find Your Max Cost Per Sale

One of the most important steps in creating an ad campaign is to set your max cost per sale. Your max cost per sale is the most you’re willing to invest to acquire a new customer.  In many businesses, this number will be at or above the initial transaction value because of repeat purchases.  In other words, if you sell a $200 product or service, but each customer on average buys 5 more times, then you can likely afford to pay more than that first $200 sale.

Calculating Lifetime value is outside the scope of this article, but it goes without saying that you’ll need to understand the value of your customers in order to calculate your max cost per sale.  A lot of businesses I talk to who are thinking about advertising do not yet know this critical number, which makes it impossible to evaluate different marketing and advertising options.

That’s why just going through this process is going to be such a big benefit to your business.  Once you find your max cost per sale, you’ll be able to more accurately estimate whether or not certain marketing tactics will work for your business.


Benefit #2: Identify & Locate Your Prospects

Do you know how your prospects shop for your product or service online?  Do they start by searching in Google?  Do they read articles, watch videos, or download white papers?  Do they look for recommendations on social media?

Clearly, you need to understand how your prospects shop online if you want to have any shot at targeting them via advertising.  For example, not every business is a good fit for Google Search advertising.  Search only makes sense when your prospects use Google’s search engine to find your product or service.  Is that true for your business?  Do your prospects use Google to find exactly what you’re selling? Or, are they looking for something else and you would need to steer them in a new direction?  I’ll warn you, the latter situation does not typically work well with search advertising.

By understanding your prospects’ online shopping behavior, you’ll be able to narrow your marketing focus.  Plus, you’ll be able to better match your message to your market, which is what marketing is all about.


Benefit #3: Identify Competitor Strengths & Weaknesses

When you’re building a new ad campaign, competitor research will help mitigate a lot of the risk.  Your competitors who have been advertising for several months or even years, have most likely ironed out a lot of the kinks.  Their keyword and placement targeting, ad copy, offer, and website design and layout have been tweaked over time through trial and error.  They have essentially done a lot of the R&D work for you.

Don’t let your competitors’ R&D dollars go to waste! :) Use that invaluable information to your advantage so you can get your ads started off on the right foot.  And even if you don’t plan on turning on your own ad campaign, you can use competitor research to improve all of your other marketing campaigns.


Benefit #4: Create a Compelling Offer & Call to Action

To be successful with Google AdWords, you absolutely must have a compelling offer and a strong call to action.  Otherwise, you’ll either end up with very few clicks on your ads, or worse, a lot of clicks but few sales.

Your offer and call to action is how you transform Google AdWords (or any other online marketing channel) from a traffic source, to a customer source. If you’ve done your homework up to this point, then you should know exactly who your prospect is, what she is looking for, and what type of offer would be most appropriate.  Plus, you know what seems to be working for your competitors so you can start there and then improve it.

Of course, this same offer can and should be used to improve other marketing channels like SEO, social media, and email marketing.


Benefit #5: Improve Website Copy, Design, & Layout

Finally, by setting up a Google AdWords campaign, two things will happen:

  1. Knowing that you’re going to invest money to drive prospects to your website creates real urgency to improve the copy, design and layout.  Nobody wants to invest in ads that send people to a crappy website.  So you’ll take a more critical look, and you’ll most likely improve your website during this exercise.
  2. When you decide to flip the switch and turn on your ads, then you’ll have a steady stream of visitors to split test different copy, design, and layout elements to optimize your website.  Then you can use the test results to improve other areas of your website.


So even if you know wholeheartedly that you’re not going to advertise, I still recommend you go through the process to set up a Google AdWords campaign.  In my experience it’s the best way to find areas to improve your online marketing.


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