Many SMEs we meet with tell us they have had bad experiences using Google Adwords. They tell us Adwords wouldn’t suit them, they can’t afford to allocate budget to PPC campaigns or they simply do not understand how to use the platform and so avoid using it. We have also worked with SMEs who are utilising Google Adwords to help them effectively compete within their market and are increasing their sales and revenue.
Google has said that its search engine processes trillions of search queries each year. More importantly for businesses, ‘60% of consumers start their research on a search engine before heading to a specific website‘ [Retailing Today]. So when your customers begin searching for what you offer, you need to appear in the search listings. One of the ways you can get there is by using Pay Per Click advertising.
We know that learning how to use Adwords can be a fairly overwhelming experience especially if it is your first time using Google’s advertising platform. So we have put together our list of 9 Google Adwords Tips for small businesses to follow when creating their campaigns.
9 Google Adwords Tips for Small Businesses
Tip 1. Establish Clear Goals for Your Campaign
Before starting any marketing campaign it’s obviously important to set clear goals and objectives (we took that from page 1 of the ‘Marketing 101 Handbook’!). This is even more important when you will be spending time and money on a digital advertising campaign. Decide what it is you want to achieve and the purpose of your campaign. Do you want to increase brand awareness within a specific target segment? Are you seeking to increase traffic to your website or generate more leads? Or maybe you want to make cold hard cash! Google Adwords can be used to achieve each of these objectives. But before you start, you’ll need to establish your goals; a campaign to increase brand awareness will look very different to one aimed at increasing sales.
Tip 2. Perform a Full Keyword Analysis
Google’s Keyword Planner allows marketers to get an insight into what keywords and phrases their customers are using to search for their products and services. The Keyword Planner will provide you with figures on how many times each month users search for these keywords and phrases. You will then base your advertising campaign around these keywords.
Google can also provide you with ideas for adwords you should bid on or include in your campaign using the Find new keywords and get search volume data feature. We advise all of the businesses we work with to use this feature as it usually helps them discover phrases and search terms that their audience is using but they may have not previously considered.
(We had to think of something to search for on Google and we do enjoy a coffee or 4 in the office each day!)
Tip 3. Create Separate Adgroups for Different Keywords
Group semantically related keywords into the same Adgroup. This allows you to create tailored adverts for similar search phrases which should increase the Quality Score of your advert meaning it competes better against other advertisers and you pay less.
For example, the fictitious Belfast Cafe Company have cafes in Belfast and also offer outside catering. So they offer two very services which they want to advertise online. One Adgroup would advertise their sit in lunch service including keywords like ‘lunch in Belfast’ while the other would promote their external catering service and could include keywords such as ‘event catering’ or ‘outside catering Belfast’. It’s clear that these two services are very different however we have seen businesses that lump all of their keywords into one Adgroup and pay for the same advert to be shown to each of their very different target markets.
Tip 4. Design Landing Pages for your Adverts
The landing page, as the name suggests, is the webpage on your site users land on once they have clicked on your advert. It is your chance to get your potential customers to convert by either buying your product or completing a contact form. The landing page MUST be relevant to the advert the user has just clicked. Google will even check the content of your landing page and this affects the Quality Score of your advert. So it is so important to use correctly designed landing pages that include calls to action, make it easy for users to navigate and complete actions on and contains easily understood content that will encourage visitors to convert.
Don’t simply direct people to your homepage or contact page of your site – this isn’t what these pages were designed for and ultimately your campaigns will never meet their objectives. If you need advice on creating a great landing page check out Dave Chaffey’s article.
Tip 5. Create Different Versions of Your Advert for Mobile and Desktop
It is important to understand the intention of users as they perform their search. The proliferation of smartphones and mobile technology has greatly influenced how we are able to understand users’ intention. For example, when someone searches for ‘restaurants in Newry’ on a desktop computer in their office at 11am, it is likely that they are in the researching phase. However if someone performs the same search on a smartphone at 5pm, it’s likely they are in the local area and want to make a booking and eat there and then!
Google gives you the option to tailor your adverts based device. So adverts on mobile will differ from desktop ads and can include mobile-specific features like ‘Call Now’ extensions.
Tip 6. Improve your ad with Extensions
Ad extensions show extra information about your business and they give your ad more prominence on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). As Google says, this is going to give your ad more visibility and ad value to your listing which should improve your click through rate (CTR). When you are competing against other advertisers and potentially up to 9 other listings, why would you not make your ad more enticing?
Tip 7. Use Negative Keywords in your Campaigns
Negative keywords will stop your adverts being shown on phrases relating to products or services that you don’t offer. It will also stop your ads being shown to unqualified leads, it will reduce your costs and will ensure you are advertising to your target market. For example, John runs a golf store. He won’t want his adverts promoting the latest golfing equipment to appear to users searching for the latest model VW Golf – John won’t get any sales but will get disgruntled visitors to his site. So he could add ‘VW Golf’ and ‘Volkswagen Golf’ to his Google Adwords campaign to stop his appearing when people search for these terms.
Tip 8. Include a Call to Action in Your Ad
This seems really obvious but you need to include a really strong call to action in your Google ad. Within the strict limit Google sets of a 25 character headline and 35 characters per description line, it can be hard sometimes for marketers to include a clear call to action. But you need to provide your audience with a reason to click through to your website; you need to create interest. Your audience may already have the desire for your product or service but you need them to complete the action.
In the limited space available, go with the less is more approach. Decide what you want your key message to be and include it with a strong call to action.
Tip 9. Target the Right Audience
Adwords allows you to target users based on geographic location, age, gender, marital status, income levels, interests, browsing patterns and much more. It is important that the audience you select to view your ads matches your actual target market.
Our Adwords tips for small businesses is not an exhaustive list but it is a fairly comprehensive guide for any small business owner or Marketing Manager beginning to use Google’s advertising platform. Even if you are currently engaged with a PPC Agency, our tips will ensure you are that bit more informed the next time you review your PPC performance.
If you are an SME and would like assistance with your digital advertising, we are one of many good agencies out there that can help. Get in touch and we can get your PPC campaigns off to a great start!