Are you following the conflict between Russia and Ukraine? Normally, I don’t pay too much attention to what the media is covering, but I’m finding it hard to ignore this issue. Everywhere I look I see headlines and interviews about Russia’s “invasion” of Crimea.
What I’ve found most interesting from all the reports, analysis, and discussion is that many experts believe Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, does not have a clear plan of attack. It appears he’s making it up as he goes, rather than using a well thought out strategy. My favorite quote was in a recent NY Times article, from NYU’s Mark Galeotti, “We shouldn’t assume there was a grand plan. They seem to be making things up as they go along.”
Wow, can you believe that? No plan! If I learned anything from my elementary school history classes, it’s that wars are won and lost with strategy and planning. The best tactics in the world are simply no match for superior strategy. That statement has been proven time and time again in all the great wars.
But it’s not only true in war…
AdWords Success Depends on Strategy, Not Tactics
Like war, success with Google AdWords depends largely on what you do before launch your campaign. In other words, your strategy is more important than the tactics you use to manage your campaign.
The day you activate your ads, is the equivalent to the day Putin invaded Crimea. I can’t tell you how things are going to turn out for Putin, but if the experts are right and he doesn’t have a sound plan, then he’s in trouble. The same is true with your AdWords campaign. If you didn’t do the work before you “pull the trigger” (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one) and turn on your ads, then you’re probably not going to be able to salvage things with great ad management tactics.
How to Plan For AdWords Success
So what does it mean to create a sound AdWords strategy?
Well, it all starts with your offer. What are you going to sell? If you have multiple products or services, then you need to first determine which one (or several) you’re going to test first.
Then, once you know exactly what you’re selling, then you can define who you’re targeting. When it comes to AdWords Search, you need to understand who you’re trying to reach so that you can find the keywords they are searching in Google.com.
See how this all builds on itself? It’s a process. We haven’t even turned on the computer yet and we’ve already set the course for our AdWords campaign. In fact, I recommend you do this type of planning away from your computer so you’re not distracted. Set aside some time to really think about what you’re trying to sell, who you’re targeting, and what phrases you think those people are searching in Google.
Next, you need to answer these key questions:
- How many sales per month would you like from your AdWords campaign? Your answer will help to determine your monthly budget.
- How much can you afford to spend on a new customer? Your answer will help you calculate your target cost per sale from your AdWords campaign, along with your maximum cost per click.
- How will you measure success? Your answer will determine how to set up conversion tracking so you can calculate return on investment from your ads.
As you can see, your answers will lead you down the path to set up a successful AdWords campaign. By going through this planning exercise, I guarantee you’ll be head and shoulders above many of your competitors, and you’ll mitigate much of the financial risks of advertising.
Remember, don’t “pull a Putin” and launch an ad campaign without a plan!