Managing paid search campaigns can be a lot of pressure. You never want to be the person in charge of a paid campaign that loses the client money and helps fund the Google or Bing empire. Whether you are creating a campaign with Google AdWords or Bing, the most important thing to do when starting a successful paid search campaign is to create a checklist. A checklist is to a campaign, as a recipe is to baking a cake, you must have the proper steps (or ingredients) to achieve the desired outcome. Here is what you need to start successful paid search campaigns:
1. Search Volume- Before you create a campaign you want to make sure there is customer demand. If people are not searching for your product or service, paid search campaigns are not going to be beneficial. Verify the search volume using the Keyword Suggestion Tool for Google AdWords before you decide what you are going to offer. Enter the phrases you think your customer base is interested in, and the suggestion tool will give you relevant similar phrases, as well as, show you how often it is searched, how competitive the keyword is, and how much it will cost to advertise for those keywords. This will all help determine which keywords to use when implementing your campaign. Make sure, the Advanced Options are set to your location, language and device.
2. Calculate the Max CPC- To make sure you can afford to advertise on these keywords you will need to calculate your maximum cost per click.
Max CPC = (profit per customer) x (1-profit margin) x (website conversion rate)
If you don’t know these numbers, you’ll need to guesstimate or implement tracking to calculate effectively. For example, if your average cost per customer is $300, and out of 1,000 visitors you convert 10 into customers. That means you have a 1% website conversion rate. If your profit margin is say, 25%, here is how you would calculate you Max (CPC):
Max CPC = $300 x (1-0.25) x 1% = $2.25
Your Max CPC should be around the same number as the estimated CPC in the Keyword Tool. If not, then you either need to increase your profit per customer or conversion rate, in order to see profit.
3. Leverage Your Competitors- Now that you have selected what key words to use for your paid search campaign, the next step is to leverage your competitors. What this means, is to use software created for learning about what your competitors are doing. There are many different competitive intelligence tools that collect, organize and provide insight into your competitors’ historical advertising information, (MOZ, KeywordSpy, Spyfu, SEMrush just to name a few). Simply type in your competitors’ domain and the keywords you want to use to see all of the keywords your competitor is advertising on. The longer an advertiser has been advertising, the better, because that implies the keyword is generating sales. You can also search in the Ads tab to review your competitors’ ad copy. Here you will find what date the ad was tested and if it is performing well.
4. Powerful USP (Unique Selling Proposition)- This answers the question “Why should I choose you?” A powerful USP is important because it will generate more traffic from qualified aspects (encourage clicks), increase your sales and conversion rates, and eliminate price comparison shopping. To create a powerful USP the most important thing to understand is your customers’ needs and wants. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they don’t like about your product or service. Ask them for insight, and offer them quality customer service.
An example of a popular USP you may recognize is "Freaky, Fast Delivery."
Jimmy John’s tactfully used this line to build their well-known sandwich empire. They don’t mention price, quality, or ingredients, they focus on one key element, and that’s getting people tasty sandwiches as quickly as possible. Which let’s be honest, everyone could use a tasty sandwich right about now.
5. Irresistible Offer- To MAKE an offer is simple. Just follow the steps above and make one…but to CREATE an irresistible offer takes some thought. That thought is what will differentiate you from your competition. How? An irresistible offer must be valuable, believable, reduce risk, and be clear. Clearly define the value of the product or service and make sure it outweighs the price. If the price of your offer is too good to be true, you may need to reassure your customer that your offer has a purpose (end of the year sale, grand-opening, anniversary, or clearance) in order to be believable. Everyone is scared to get ripped off online, so in order to reduce risk, it is important to offer something in return (money back guarantee, free shipping, complimentary product or service, etc.) And finally, make sure you have a clear call to action that outlines the next steps.
6. Compelling Ads- Every step leading up until now will help you prepare to make more compelling ads. Compelling ads with a high click-through-rate (CTR) will increase your AdWords Quality Score and lower the cost per click of your keywords. The 4 key components to AdWords texts ads are as follows:
- Headline- Try to incorporate your keyword into the 25-character limit. It is the first thing your prospect will see. Another great tip is to try to include a question into the headline. For example, if the keyword is “south florida lawyer” a compelling headline would be “Need a South Florida Lawyer?” This will immediately entice your interested prospects and weed out the unqualified leads.
- Description line 1 and 2- Try to fit as much information as possible into this 35-character limit, using abbreviations whenever possible. Explain the benefits of your service, state your USP, and attach your clear call to action.
- Display URL- The display URL should include as much as possible as well. The more space you can use to attract a prospect, the better.
Here are three examples for a “south florida lawyer” to give you an idea:
7. Customized Landing Pages- Once your prospect has sparked interest and clicked on your ad, you will want to continue them through the funnel and reassure them they are following the right path. That being said, your ad should never be linked to your homepage. Your homepage is home to a directory of paths. To cut the confusion and make sure your prospect clicks the purchase now, or contact now button, create a specific landing page that is congruent to all the information displayed in search.
8. Conversion Tracking- You will not be able to optimize your paid search campaign once it is up and running, so it is important to set up conversion tracking. This will ensure you are informed with which keywords and ads are generating sales, and which are losing you money. Either use the AdWords or Bing conversion tracking code, or create a new conversion and follow the prompts. Once that is complete, add the code to your thank you page, or order form. Now that you have made it this far, it’s time to set-up your campaign! Be sure to follow the prompts carefully and make any necessary edits along the way to avoid the default settings hurting your results.
9. AdWords Settings for Success- Some of the default settings you may need to adjust are:
- Search vs. Display- make sure this option is targeting only the Google/Bing search advertising network and not the display network.
- Device Bids- Optimize for mobile. Mobile continues to increase in popularity and people are searching and purchasing on their phones more than ever. Unless you have a mobile friendly site, make sure those devices are shut off.
- Keyword Match Types- There are three types of keyword match types: broad, phrase, and exact. Broad is the default match type that Google will show to any search phrase Google thinks is relevant to your keyword. Phrase match keywords will ping ads when the exact phrase is part of the search. Exact match is simply when the exact keyword is typed into search.
- Negative Keywords- allow you to block phrases from pinging your ads.
10. Optimization- Yay! Your campaign is approved, enabled, and you can give yourself a pat on the back. Although you have overcome a large hurdle, continual optimization is just as important to have a successful paid search campaign from start to finish as creating one. There are three elements to improve AdWords performance: keyword bids, ad click-through-rate (CTR), and your landing page conversion rate.
- Keyword bids- adjust your bids as you generate clicks, continue to raise your bid if your keyword is generating sales and you are not ranked #1. Pause or lower your bid if your keyword it not generating sales.
- Click-through-rate (CTR)- Test various ads to see which ones get the most clicks. Always make it a priority to raise your quality score to keep your PPC as low as possible.
- Landing page conversion rate- Also test different versions of your landing page by using Google Analytics Experiments to see which one generates more conversions.
Now that you have what you need to start a successful paid search campaign, test it out! Use your checklist as your inbound marketing cookbook and stay organized. Remember that it is just as important to do your keyword research and prep your ingredients before you bake the cake. Keep an eye on the campaign as it generates clicks, and you will be on your way to a profitable paid search campaign!
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