Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide To Drive Your Competition Crazy
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Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide To Drive Your Competition Crazy

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A 10 step guide to getting the jump on your competition when you start using Google Adwords.

A 10 step guide to getting the jump on your competition when you start using Google Adwords.

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Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide To Drive Your Competition Crazy Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide To Drive Your Competition Crazy Document Transcript

  • Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide to Drive Your Competition Crazy! by Kunal Kripalani. kunal@babyadwords.com Highlights Unintrusive and highly relevant, search engine marketing offers the most cost-effective and fiscally sound advertising option on the Internet. It works because your ad is only shown to people who are actively looking for what you sell. While it is touted as being good for increasing brand awareness (through the content network) this should be treated as a fringe benefit. Paid search is a direct marketing channel, and its performance should be measured accordingly. How many customers did you get and how much did it cost you within a defined period of time? Every campaign begins with a goal, from which you can formulate a strategy and decide which metrics have meaning. You can measure everything on the internet so there is no reason to go on hunches. Every decision should be driven by your analytics. The three primary pay-per-click (PPC) search networks are: Google (including the Google Search Network and Google Content Network), Yahoo and MSN (which now uses Bing, a Google Search Network partner). This article will focus on the dominant network, Google, but the principles are transferable. Here are 10 steps to creating an industry winning Paid Search Marketing strategy. 1. Define Business Objectives: What is for sale? Who is the target market and who is the competition? It is essential to have a clear business objective. 2. Determine marketing objectives. What are you trying to accomplish? Increase sales, attract new customers, increase brand awareness or reduce customer acquisition costs? Your specific goals will determine what your KPIs should be, what keywords you use and how your whole campaign will be structured. 3. Define Key Performance Indicators. What are the KPIs you want to measure? Where possible, determine what these currently are and benchmark your progress from this point forward. Use tools like Adwords and Analytics reports to automate your reporting processes. 4. Manage Expectations: Ensure you know what the possibilities and limitations of the medium are and how pursuing one course of action may be counter-productive in another area. For example, a brand that wants to increase their visibility in the market place, should invest in the content network and image ads. However, this tends to be expensive and does not necessarily lead to sales. ©2009 Kunal Kripalani BabyAdwords.com – It’s child’s play! 1
  • Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide to Drive Your Competition Crazy! by Kunal Kripalani. kunal@babyadwords.com 5. Define your Campaign Structure & Settings The common sense approach to campaign creation is to follow the hierarchy of your website. For example, if you sell books, CDs and DVDs, then it follows that you create campaigns for each of these three product categories and then have ad groups for different genres. This is a good starting point for a new campaign, but over time, you will need to optimise the structure dramatically as you segment your most profitable keywords from your mediocre and poor performing ones. Campaign Level: Define who and where your target market is; your bidding strategy and at what time you want your ads to display. Adgroup Level: Create a new adgroup for each keyword or keyword phrase. This lets you maintain finer control over the ad text that is displayed. The other alternative is to have tightly themed adgroups and then you can get the most benefit from Dynamic Keyword Insertion. Keyword Level: Pack these into tightly themed adgroups. For example, "iphone" and "iphone 3G" should be different keyword groups. It’s not uncommon to have just one keyword in an Ad group. Choose keywords around your product and also questions that lead to your products. It's important to target 'long tail' keywords and common misspellings that your competition has neglected making them a very cheap source of lead generation for you. Remember that the search query reveals a lot about what part of the buying cycle the prospect is at, so your ad-copy should cater to them accordingly. Define negative keywords as appropriate If you sell iPhones and don't repair them, then make sure you define [repair] as a negative keyword. Another example: You would not want searches for “Vodafone customer service” to serve an Ad, since these searchers are obviously not looking to make a purchase, so you would add the phrase “customer service” as a negative phrase. One way to avoid dealing with negative keywords is to only use [exact matches]. This means that only what you put inside of these brackets: [] in that exact order will trigger your ad to display. You will see a lot less impressions, but your click-through-rate (CTR) and Conversion ratio will both increase while your cost-per-sale (CPS) will decrease. A key optimisation principle over time is to move from broad match to exact match keywords. ©2009 Kunal Kripalani BabyAdwords.com – It’s child’s play! 2
  • Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide to Drive Your Competition Crazy! by Kunal Kripalani. kunal@babyadwords.com 6. Write your Ad-Copy Headlines People will quickly skim over the multitude of ads displayed. The headline is where you need to grab their attention. Include the keywords that they searched for. Having tightly themed Adgroups and using dynamic keyword insertion are powerful tools to employ that can save you time. Dynamic Adwords look like this: {KeyWord:Buy Travel Insurance} Going on holiday? Get protected. Best rates Guaranteed. www.someinsurer.com/Travel_Insurance In brief: {KeyWord: Buy Travel Insurance} means that if a keyword in this ad- group is searched for, it will appear in the headline of this ad and with the first letter of each word capitalised. You can also include keywords in the body of ads in the same manner. Body You grabbed someone's attention with your headline, so now's your chance to convince them to visit your website. Repeat your keywords here. A user's search terms are always highlighted in an ad, so this gets you extra attention. The body of the message is your only opportunity to convey your value proposition. You have to convince your audience that they should buy the available product (which is most likely a commodity and available from x number of other websites also) from your website and you've only got about 70 characters to do it in. No fluff allowed, just make your sales pitch. Display URL This is another opportunity to convey value to your audience. Show the viewer that will convince them that they will get what they want from you and then make sure you deliver on your promise. Ad Variations It is important to try multiple variations of headlines and ad-copy. We all think we are creative geniuses when it comes to writing ads, but it's always best to let your customers decide. 7. Landing pages (Destination URLs) "At its best, selling is taking a doubt and turning it, jujitsu style, into a powerful push. Selling is making the customer feel better about spending money — or investing it — than he would have felt by keeping his wallet zipped." - Ben Stein Do not disappoint the user! Your homepage is not necessarily your landing page. If your ad promotes a specific product, then the deliver that product and an easy purchase path when they click on the ad. It’s all about satisfaction. The goal of your landing page is to convert the lead into a sale. You should provide all necessary information that the user will need to make a purchase ©2009 Kunal Kripalani BabyAdwords.com – It’s child’s play! 3
  • Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide to Drive Your Competition Crazy! by Kunal Kripalani. kunal@babyadwords.com decision without making them have to leave your site to gather more information. If they do, chances are they won't come back. The most critical information needed to make a purchase decision should be visible above the fold. Additional supplementary information should be geared towards turning doubts into incentives to buy. Make sure it is displayed in easy to navigate and easy to read, manageable chunks. Your call-to-action button should dominate the page since this is what you want the user to do next. Furthermore, it should take them directly to a checkout page where you can collect their delivery and billing information. It's important to guide the user through your desired navigation path by highlighting what you want them to do next, and also eliminate friction along the way. Put yourself in the buyer's shoes (no pun intended if you happen to be selling shoes!) pre-empt any questions and present answers to them. Most importantly, adhere to the principle 'Don't make me think.' Online shoppers are very impatient. They will buy from you only if they choose to and if the trust you. 8. Measure everything Don't look past paid services like: http://www.webtrends.com/Products/WebTrendsAdDirector.aspx It's easy enough to install the three lines of JavaScript tracking code provided by the search engine, after that, you need to define what reports you want based on the KPI's you established earlier. Measurement and analytics is a key component of your campaign and Is essential optimisation ingredient. At the very least, make use of the free Google Analytics tool. 9. Reporting Set up an automated email reporting system and use these to make analytics- driven-optimisation-decisions. Everything can be measured on the internet, so there is no excuse for wasted resources and making decisions on a hunch. 10. Optimize Your Campaigns Display your ads only on the Google Search Network. Opt-out of the default content network placements. Using the content network, your ad will display on any website that has relevant content. These browsers may not be interested in what you are selling, but you get charged regardless on a CPM basis. The content network now gives you the option to serve ads using Placements, so you can choose precisely which websites you want to display your ads on. While this is an improvement, it is still tends to deliver a lower ROI than the search network, but it could serve you well to increase your brand visibility which can have positive flow on effects for your search network campaign. ©2009 Kunal Kripalani BabyAdwords.com – It’s child’s play! 4
  • Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide to Drive Your Competition Crazy! by Kunal Kripalani. kunal@babyadwords.com Competitors If you really want to, you can see what keywords your competitors are bidding on using keywordsy.com. This could help or hinder your progress depending on how you make use of it. It's great if you are just starting out in a crowded space as it can save you a lot of time on initially setting up your Adwords campaign. Stop fighting for the #1 ad position It isn't always the most favourable position because it is usually the subject of competitor ad-bashing. Aim for #2 or #3 instead. Sometimes the top 2 or 3 sponsored results are placed above natural search results rather than to the right, where a lot of people are accustomed to look for ads while shopping. As such, many users suffer from a phenomenon know as ad-blindness. A benefit of the #1 spot is that Google search partners (AOL, Ask.com, Amazon, etc) typically only serve a single ad spot, which goes to the highest bidder. Only bid on exact match keywords Your ad displays less often, but it displays more often to relevant prospects. You also don't have to agonize over what negative keywords to choose. Ad-Scheduling Depending on what type of business you run, it makes sense to serve ads at certain times only. A blatant example is a hairdresser that is open 9am to 5pm and serves an ad encouraging you to call to make an appointment. There is no point serving ads after 5pm since no one will be around to schedule the appointment. Hot Tip: Schedule your ads to display at times when your competitors have switched theirs off. The lack of competition means that you can potentially secure a lot of low-cost traffic. However, remember that your competitors have switched off their ads at certain times for a good reason, probably because sales volumes aren't very high at those times and the directly measured sales results look poor in comparison to other times of day. One man's trash is another man's gold. Corroborating your Adwords reports with your sales reports will help you determine at what times and on what days you get the most conversions. Obviously people shopping for your product are most inclined to buy at these times, so make sure you serve your ads at these peak times, and turn them off at off-peak times, where the ROI isn't worth it. Increase your clickthrough rate. Your ad position on Google is determined by: CTR X bid. Therefore, to increase your CTR, ensure you have improved your quality score. Your quality score is determined by how well your keywords match your ad copy. Improve this by being more relevant with tightly themed ad groups, Compelling ad- copy and narrow Geographic targeting. You can now even narrow this down to the city and post code. There's simply no point showing your ad to people who will never become customers. ©2009 Kunal Kripalani BabyAdwords.com – It’s child’s play! 5
  • Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide to Drive Your Competition Crazy! by Kunal Kripalani. kunal@babyadwords.com Use Comparison Shopping Sites These paid for niche search engines are where bargain hunters flock to find the best deal on an item sold by multiple stores. Examples include: ♦ Shopping.com (which powers Yahoo’s product search and has a global presence)Google Base ♦ Google base which displays products with prices at the top of SERP pages. Limited to the USA, UK and some other parts of Europe. Google Checkout Integrating Google Checkout into your ads is one way to bypass a landing page completely. You get the user to 'add to cart' straight from your ad. By reducing the number of steps to completing the purchase, chances are you are more likely to close the sale. This is a great way to distinguish your ad on search result pages. The Adwords API This is a great tool to make your marketing department redundant. Once setup, correct use of the API means that new ads can be automatically created and published for products added to your catalogue. While making your entire marketing department redundant may be pushing it, the API can definitely save your business some personnel costs. In closing, understand that search marketing today is not just about Google, Yahoo and MSN. Today you have to consider comparison shopping websites and social media opportunities. I encourage you to check out my blog posts on Facebook Advertising and Twitter. I also suggest glancing at the Common Search Engine Marketing Pitfalls checklist on the next page. kunal@babyadwords.com skype: kunal.kripalani Twitter.com/Kunal_Kripalani ©2009 Kunal Kripalani BabyAdwords.com – It’s child’s play! 6
  • Adwords 101 The Essential Start Up Guide to Drive Your Competition Crazy! by Kunal Kripalani. kunal@babyadwords.com Common Pitfalls – Things to avoid with search marketing campaigns A keyword approach: Rather than just listing every possible relevant keyword you can think of and spend all you money on broad match terms, make use of Google Insights and The Adwords Keyword Tool to create a more measured list of keywords. Avoid large Ad groups. Throwing wide nets at narrow targets is wasteful. Adgroups should be laser focused so you an associate real meaning to your metrics and see what changes have had an impact. At the keyword level, you want to know that relevant ads are being served. Categorical Campaigns based on how your website is structured: It’s better to stomp out averages and segment your campaign by performance. Eg: Best performers, mediocre performers, low performers and brand. Once you eliminate averages, you can clearly see where you are making money and where you are losing money. Minimal Ad Testing: It’s important to try several variations of headlines and ad-copy. Too few exact match or negative keywords: This is characteristic of a poorly optimized campaign. Like an ad-group with too many keywords, too many broad-match keywords means that you are fishing without one of them fish- finders. Not assessing Impression Share (IS): If you’re budget is too low or your ads are not of sufficiently high quality, then you might be missing out on profits. Using meaningless metrics: Measuring things like Return on Ad spend is not a useful metric: For example, if you spend $1 and you make $10 but your COGS is $11, then it's not worth it. kunal@babyadwords.com skype: kunal.kripalani Twitter.com/Kunal_Kripalani ©2009 Kunal Kripalani BabyAdwords.com – It’s child’s play! 7