chapter 26

Pay for Google Adwords

AdWords is Google’s advertising network that allows online retailers to place advertisements on nearly every Google search results page, Youtube video and partner website.

No other advertising network will give you faster sales results than AdWords. The reason for this is that your ad can be on the first page of a Google search query in less than five minutes after signing up. 

Below are typical locations for Google AdWords units on a search results page:

Your advertisements can also show up on Google’s content network which places your ads on websites wishing to monetize with Google Adsense.

The way it works is very simple. You tell Google what ads you want to show up on their results page based on keyword searches from their users. Every time someone clicks on your AdWords advertisement, Google will charge you for that click. The costs of clicks vary on your bid amount and the price other advertisers are willing to pay for the same keywords.

Advertise for Free on Google: Get $100 in AdWords Credits When you Spend $25

As a new business, we recognize how important it is for you to leverage digital advertising products like Google AdWords to create awareness of your brand and products, and drive traffic to your shop. We’ve partnered with Google to help you get noticed!

Shortly after you signed up for our free trial, you should have received the email below. Follow the instructions to get an advertising budget boost on us!

The Basics

To start advertising, go to adwords.google.com. They are quite helpful at getting you started and whisking you into the world of pay-per-click advertising.

The anatomy of an AdWords advertisement is very simple, but it’s also very important that you understand the components that make up an ad and how they play a role towards converting business.

  • The headline is probably the most important text. It’s the first line in your advertisement that is colored blue like a hypertext link. A good headline will determine if a searcher will click on your ad or not. You’re going to want to test a lot of headlines to hone in on what works best for increasing click-throughs on your ads.
  • The description plays a slightly minor role compared to the headline. You can also test different descriptions to help increase interest in your offering.
  • The display URL is simply your website address. It can be different than your destination URL, which is the webpage you send your ad traffic to. 

The headline, description and keywords are your testing “levers.” You’re going to spend a lot of time adjusting them to see which combinations bring you the most profit.

Let’s get into how you can use Google AdWords intelligently, so that your budget turns into profit.

Start Small  

There's no reward for wasteful spending.  

Before you choose 1,000 keywords and a budget bigger than you can handle, it’s best to start with a small and manageable campaign. The key with AdWords is to hone your skills before scaling. You need to learn what works and what doesn’t work for your business.

So, start by choosing a few items that you know will probably move without much persuasion. Next, select a handful of keywords and create a couple of different ads for each item.

  1. Make an ad group for each type of product you sell –  The more specific, the better. For example, if you sell shovels, make an ad group for “snow shovels” and one for “gardening shovels”.
  2. Create at least two ads for each ad group – You are going to want to test these ads out against each other. This will be critical for scaling and improving your profit later. We will discuss this more further along in this chapter.

By starting with a few ad groups and a few keywords, managing and testing your campaigns will be much easier. If you try to test too many ad groups at once, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and make poor decisions.

Choosing Smart Keywords

Once you feel you have AdWords down, think about setting up some smart ad groups that may convert better for you.

Your Brand Name 

If you have a somewhat popular brand name by now, and your brand name is closely tied to your main product – or is actually your product (like the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, for example), then you should create a specific ad group around keywords related to that name. Here are some keywords that you might want to group into a branded ad group:

  • Roomba
  • Roomba Vacuum
  • Roomba Robot
  • Roomba Vacuum Cleaner

Branded keywords generally convert the best and provide the highest return on investment of any keywords you can choose.

Survey Your Customers 

Every time you convert a prospective customer to a paying customer, ask them: “Why did you choose to do business with us?” The goal of this question is to find out what made these new customers decide to trust your business with their hard earned currency. Hopefully, you’ll collect a wide array of answers over a long period of time. You’ll begin to notice some recurring patterns in the answers you get. Use the language your customers use as your keywords and advertising copy.

The reason for this is that this language is unique to your online store and how you do business. Chances are it will convert really high and there will be less competition for these keywords.

For example, let’s say you run an online coffee bean store. And from surveying your customers you find out that a lot of customers came to you because they heard you sell “non-bitter espresso”. This would be a unique keyword finding and could be a great ad campaign to get more customers looking for this style of espresso beans.

In the example above, using the language your customers use makes for great AdWords campaigns. Be sure to send them directly to the buy-now page related to your ad.

Advertise Locally 

You can take advantage of your geographical location by advertising to local customers exclusively. Not only can you tailor your ad copy to target a specific geographic area, you can also set your AdWords preferences to target customers in a certain radius.

In the example above we’re targeting kayaking enthusiasts in Ely, Nevada

To adjust your geographical settings, go to Campaigns and then to Locations and you can designate your geographical preferences.

Additionally, you can advertise locally and choose specific keywords like:

  • Specific products with serial numbers
  • Specific brands that are high in demand

You may end up cornering your local market on these products and even unseating large retailers. Spend time testing a locally targeted ad group. You may find a lot of ways to exploit your local presence.

A Note About Choosing Competitive Keywords

In every industry, there are a group of keywords that drive a lot of traffic and cost a lot of money to bid on when it comes to AdWords advertising. 

These keywords are usually a race to the bottom. 

Unless you have a really big budget and are masterful at AdWords, it’s best to pick a smarter strategy to gain a positive ROI (return of investment). Otherwise, what will happen is you’ll blow through your advertising budget and make the worst mistake possible when it comes to advertising on AdWords, quitting altogether.

The problem with stopping and starting AdWords advertising is that you’ll ruin your quality score. Quality score is a metric Google gives advertisers and generally, the better your quality score, the better position and rates you’ll get for your ads. Google likes to reward advertisers that stick with their program and don’t jump ship.

What if You Sell Something Unique and Relatively Unknown?

Having your own product that is new and hopefully revolutionary is the best marketing position to be in. Ironically, it can be more difficult to market on Google AdWords since the AdWords audience already knows what they are searching for. And if they don’t know about your products, they aren’t going to be searching for it.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get any success from AdWords. You just need to approach it a little differently.

  1. Survey your existing customers  –  Ask them why they like your product and try to find out what problems it solves for them. Those answers will likely contain useful language that will help you craft your Google AdWords advertisements. For instance, if you’re selling fuzzy neon-green tennis ball material shoes, your customer might tell you that they like their “feet to stand out”.
  2. Determine the benefit of these products –  Similar to surveying your customers, determining the benefits of your unique product can help you craft keywords and specific campaigns to help solve problems. 

Content marketing is another great tool to help raise awareness of products with no active sales volume. Here's the first video of a series of 15 that goes in-depth into content marketing for beginners, with a heavy focus to help merchants selling items with no search volume.

Tracking Conversions  

This is an extremely important part of doing pay-per-click advertising correctly. A conversion means that someone clicked on your AdWords advertisement, came to your online store and actually purchased from you. Conversions are the most important metric that governs what keywords you choose and what advertising copy you run with.

Let’s say you’re running an ad group for shovels:

By tracking conversions, you see that even though the keywords “Heavy Duty Shovel” has the highest click-through rate (CTR), it actually has a lower conversion rate than the keyword “Shovel”.

After doing some math, you realize that you’re actually losing money on the keyword “Heavy Duty Shovel”. In this case you have a few options:

  1. Wait – Be sure enough time has elapsed before you know that the keyword isn’t profitable. If you make your decision too soon (say within 24 hours), you’re not getting enough data to support your decision.
  2. Pause the keyword – Let’s say a couple weeks have passed and your keyword just isn’t performing – then it’s probably time to pause it. This will put a stop to your ad from being served when someone on Google is searching for the keyword “Heavy Duty Shovel”.
  3. Create a new ad group and ad – Maybe you know this is a great item that should sell well. Perhaps it just needs more attention and refinement. In that case, create a new ad group for this specific merchandise and craft a more specific ad. In most cases, using the specific merchandise name as a keyword and as the headline results for better ad performance.

As you can see, without knowing the conversion rate of your keywords and advertisements, you won’t know your return on investment. Therefore it’s vitally important that you set up conversion tracking.

Testing

The beauty of conversion tracking is that it allows you to test new keywords idea and advertising copy. The general goal of your AdWords campaign should be to iterate on new ads and keywords that outperform your old “guesses”.

For example, for a particular ad group, you can have two ads running simultaneously for the exact same keywords. Over time you’ll notice that one ad will lead to higher conversions than the other. When this happens, you may want to consider pausing the lower performing ad and switching to a new ad that hopefully outperforms the current winning ad.

For example, let’s go back to our shovel example. Let’s say you have been using the same generic ad in all your ad groups:

You can run a competing ad to try to ascertain which one results in more conversions. You then decide to craft a more specific ad for your “snow shovel” ad group:

After a week you find that this second ad has a much better conversion rate than the generic ad. What you would do is pause the generic ad and run a new competing ad like:

The idea is to keep running this competition amongst your ads so that you continually get better and better conversions and thus profit. This entire world is about honing your campaigns for maximum profit.

The Entire World at Your Fingertips

The truth about AdWords is that it gives you access to the entire world’s search audience (because you can place yourself on any Google search results page). It’s just a matter of how intelligently you craft your campaigns so that you can make it profitable. 

Our advice is to start out slow and careful, but don’t quit. Stick with it and keep testing new ideas. And don’t forget that you’re not only advertising to sell your products, your gaining new customers, some of them for life!

Next chapter

27. Buy Banner Ads

4 min

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