As a small business it may seem like a daunting task, but it needn't be. With a little forethought and a bit of planning you can lay the groundwork for a successful AdWords campaign. Begin by asking these questions...
1. Who’s my target market?
It kind of goes without saying, but if you’re running highly targeted ad campaigns you need to know the customers you’re trying to reach. List out a few demographics of your customers such as:
- Are they a local market?
- Are they businesses, individuals or families?
- Would they be searching for you on mobile, or from a laptop?
- What level of knowledge do they have about your products?
- What do they want right now, when they are searching for you?
For example, let’s say you’re a family-run Italian restaurant:
- Customer is local
- For this ad campaign - reach the business lunch crowd
- They are searching on their work computer
- They've likely seen our restaurant, but never been a customer
- They want to find a great new place for lunch
2. What’s my offer?
Like any good marketing campaign, you need to create or solve a problem. You also need to show why your business is the best at getting the desired results for your customer.
Answer these questions about your campaign:
- What makes your business unique, and different than your competitors?
- What are your key unique selling points (USP)?
- What are you offering right now to get your customer to click your ad?
For example, for the family-run Italian restaurant:
My irresistible offer:
- We're local (on your block) with great authentic home-made Italian food
- We get your food fast (for the business lunch crowd), we cater, and we deliver
- We're offering free delivery on catered lunches in the area, and a one-time 25% off deal on purchases over 50%
Of course, you can run multiple campaigns to market different offers and selling features.
3. What are my customers searching for?
Google AdWords is intent marketing. You are getting seen by potential customers exactly when they are searching for your offer, product or service.
Think like your customer. List out what you think they would be typing into Google when they want what you’ve got.
For the Italian restaurant, a few of your keyword phrases might be:
- pizza deals
- lunch catering in [location]
- pizza near me
Your keywords are one of the most important parts of your AdWords campaigns. They’re what gets your ads sorted through Google’s algorithms. Use the AdWord Keyword Planner to get keyword statistics, or if you’re stuck for ideas.
There’s a number of AdWords Tools that can optimize your keyword selections for you.
4. What do I want out of my ad campaigns?
Think about the results you need to achieve from your campaigns. List out your campaign objectives.
Do you want:
- Increased foot traffic
- Increased website traffic
- Online sales conversions
- Lead generation
- More coupon participants
The better you know what you want you need from your paid ads, the better results you’re going to get. You can fine tune your targeting, ad copy, and ad groups.
5. What do I want my customer to do?
Determine what it is you want your potential buyer to do when they see your ad. This will be based on what your business objectives are for your campaigns, but specifically what actions you want your customer to take when they see your ad.
Do you want interested consumers to:
- Click through to your coupon landing page
- Phone you
- Make a reservation online
- Like your Facebook Page
- Buy a specific product
6. How will I get my customer to take action?
So, how are your going to motivate your customer to take the action that you want? Before you write your ad copy, list out a number of results-oriented Call-to-Actions (CTA’s).
A good CTA is short, actionable, and simple. The clearer your ask, the higher your conversions will be.
In this example, Panago uses two CTA’s: “Order Online” and “Give Us A Call”
You can also motivate action by making time limited offers, exclusive discounts or other key USP’s with a sense of scarcity.
7. What are my competitors doing?
It’s always wise to keep attuned to the choices your customers have. Check out what your competition is doing with Google ads, or other advertising strategies too.
Research your competition by searching for the keywords you’ve chosen, or search for your competitors names directly in Google.
Put together a simple competitive analysis. Then list out the strengths and weaknesses of their campaigns. Determine how you can outsmart them, to win more customers.
Do you offer better service? Are you more value oriented? If they are on Google Places, are you? Are there different keywords you could be using? Can you make a clearer CTA? Do you have a phone number for increased mobile optimization?
By checking out your rivals, you gain a better understanding of what your business is up against - and you can act to optimize your campaigns.
8. What’s my budget?
Money, money, money. You need your PPC ads to give your business profits. Plan out your Google Ad budget, before you dive right in.
Google AdWords are priced on a per day basis. If you’ve never run online advertising, this could be something new to you, so make sure you understand how the pricing system works.
Google has a number of costing structures. The main one you need to know as a newbie (or busy person) is the standard PPC (also known as CPC).
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) allows you to set your ad spend based on the number of clicks your ad. It’s the default costing you see when you make an ad campaign.
Calculate a daily budget that works for your business needs. If you’re new, I’d suggest starting in the $20 - $50/ day range. You can monitor your ads, and adjust your budget as you go. So, if you’re getting great results - increase your ad spend!
There is also a Maximum Cost-Per-Click (Max. CPC bid). This is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for one click. Here’s where a bit of strategy comes in. The more you’re willing to pay for a click, the more likely you’ll get traffic. The less you’re willing to pay, the more likely you’ll get less traffic. You are bidding against your competitors for your keyword phrases, and other factors. Basically, the highest Max. CPC generally gets the higher ranking in where your ad shows in Google Search. But always be aware of your own optimal ROI.
The bottom line is: you need to know your budget limits. Base your ad spend on the returns you need.
9. What’s my time frame?
How long are your ads going to run? The answer to this question may vary from one of your campaigns to the next. But you need to plan this out before your start your ads.
For example, you might be hosting a short term sweepstakes on your site. You need to get the word out, so you promote it through AdWords. Your ad campaign should stop when your sweepstakes ends.
You might be running a longer ad campaign for brand awareness, or ongoing traffic to your site.
Be sure to plan out your ad campaign duration, so that you’re not accidentally paying for ads for eternity!
10. How am I going to measure my results?
With Google AdWords, there’s almost a limitless number of ways to track and measure your campaign metrics.
What you measure will depend largely on what you want out of your campaigns. List out the metrics you need to watch such as:
- Number of clicks to your contest landing page
- Number of email leads
- Number of sales
- Value of sales
- Return on Investment (ROI)
Then set up your results tracking system before your campaign starts. You might link up your Google AdWords account to your Google Analytics.
By measuring your results, you can test variations of your ad and optimize them in real time. You also get to track (in detail) the most important business metric: your bottom line.
Once you’ve gone through the questions, you’re ready to make a better Google AdWords campaign. Draft out your ads. Make a few of them. Start small, and test as you go.