Running Effective AdWords Campaigns: The Race is On
AdWords Campaigns are like high school track races.
Most people who compete are still figuring themselves out; some are trying to win approval, and others are just happy to be on the track. Everyone wants the attention, and everyone wants to win. No one is racing for third place, and doing really well can mean big rewards if you get the right attention (like the pro scout sitting in the bleachers).
Like track and field, AdWords campaigns (now just called Google Ads) require the three T’s: training, tenacity, and traction. When people tell me that they ran an AdWords campaign and it didn’t work for them, I usually picture them running against high school athletes in jeans, a sweater, and dress shoes. How you approach your AdWords campaigns determines your results.
Here is my advice for running a successful AdWords race.
Eat something on race day
Your body is a powerhouse, and so is your business. Both depend on fuel. Budget more for AdWords than you think you need to. I cannot stress this enough. Starting with a bigger appetite for the cost-per-click needed to test and tweak your campaign means you won’t run out of steam or get frustrated if initial efforts don’t produce results. Like running, it takes time to start seeing results that matter.
Eat your Wheaties. Combine analytics data with AdWords to correctly lump your keywords and test your ad position. Research the keywords you think will get the best traction and begin with as many of them as you can afford.
Training is what you do while your opponent is sleeping
Run Daily and run often. AdWords campaigns take mindfulness and attention to results, and the time to see how results pan out. Keywords are subject to changing popularity, and even really great search terms can go through peaks and valleys. You have to look at the net profit over time, and build on your successes.
Work with a trainer. In running and in AdWords, the best way to truly accelerate your success is to work with a specialist. Partner with a skilled SEO agency or contractor, and a content strategist to mind your search results and successful keywords, and to make sure your content is strong and relevant enough to hold onto the success.
Stay away from sugary drinks and junk food. An SEO specialist can recommend negative search terms to remove you from searches which aren’t relevant, and solid content strategy can help you to avoid the trap of empty buzz content.
Eat and train towards a goal weight. Weigh the cost of your campaign against the lifetime value of your customers in the same way you weigh yourself against your target fit weight. If you’re adding costs and see results, then it’s working. If it costs you $5-7 to acquire a customer that makes you $15 on average, you’re doing great.
If you’re spending more than you’re making, it’s time to cut back, or make changes. Put down the PowerBar and eat some granola and yogurt instead; change out keywords that aren’t working for ones that will, eliminate keywords that just don’t work. The leaner your campaign gets over time, the better.
Limber up. Flexibility and responsiveness give you the ability to react to a blow or big change without taking an injury or limping off the field. Be willing to adapt to changing keywords and search, and don’t mistake search terms for marketing terms and brand identity. In fact, make a point of trying out words which are outside of your norm.
The reason we use the term ‘organic search’ is because the best words to drive people to your brand aren’t necessarily the same words you use to define the brand itself. Be willing to put budget into AdWords that will keep your momentum going, even if it means going in a different direction.
Reach. Running a successful race means having goals and milestones. When you complete a successful AdWords campaign, whether it’s per quarter or per annum, set a bigger goal. Maybe it’s increasing the content generation on your site, or doubling-down on your social generation (pointing your AdWords to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook). Have a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) in mind. When you’ve finished your first 5 km marathon, start training for your 20 km.
Reflect. A lot of the above can feel stressful, and even sometimes painful if your expectations don’t match your results. You might get half-way through a run and you find you’re enjoying yourself, or that it just doesn’t hurt to run anymore. With AdWords campaigns, spend time analyzing the data and re-evaluating your goals. Analysis and reflection are the best times to sit down, call the team together, and look at what got you to this place. Have a post-mortem meeting on every successful campaign, not just the unsuccessful ones —it’s consistency which will keep you limber.
The Forge team provides crafted strategies for all types and sizes of business, including monthly digital strategy work with our trusted SEO and paid search partner. Learn more about our SEO and content services.