This isn’t a typical PPC list. Before reading any further, you should have a general understanding of SEM. Know the difference between broad match, modified broad match, phrase match, and exact matches in your AdWords campaigns. Setting up ad extensions, and not letting competitors take your branded keywords. If you don’t, you can easily have a Google AdWords rep walk you through and explain this to you over the phone for free.
Here are a few AdWords Tips I’ve learned over the years:
1. Never lowering your bid
Do you keep increasing your bids, never reducing them? You could be spending a lot of money you don’t need to.
If you were at a real auction, would you keep bidding higher and higher on every item you see? No, you would adjust your budget per item based on the perspective competition, and how much you desired it.
Too many people set it and forget it, only going into AdWords to update their bids. I enjoy researching the variable CPC (Cost Per Click) rates, knowing the going rate for each keyword at any given time.
2. Always trying to be First
You don’t always want to be first in Google AdWords. People are more likely to click on the second ad. This is because people know the first link is an Ad. This process will most likely evolve over time.
3. Not testing your conversion funnel
Someone else built the landing pages, so they must work. No one has ever sent me a wrong link. The dev person would never assume I wasn’t going to test things, so he/she must have double-checked that everything works.
See what I’m getting at here? It’s essential that you check your ads, web pages, and contact forms and be sure that they work correctly.
Assuming someone else must have checked it isn’t enough. Even if you were the last person to make sure they were all working correctly, check again, then keep checking, systems are bound to break. Not testing could cost you thousands in lost revenues.
4. Not knowing your conversion rate
You need to know your numbers; What is your CPV (Cost Per Visit), CPL (Cost Per Lead), CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), and finally your ROI (Return On Investment).
You need to know how many people you need to send to your webpage (CPV) to get a lead, then how many leads (CPL) you need to understand before you can make a sale (CPA). Then you need to know how that compares to your other marketing efforts (email, phone, in-person sales…)
If my product costs me $100, and I sell it for $140, that gives me 30% gross profit margin. With that, I need to pay employee salaries, office space, R&D… If I used 10 dollars of that for advertising/marketing, and my CPA was $10. I would use that approach all day long because, with every sale, I’m guaranteed another. I might even consider spending $20 on advertising to get 2x the customers in return.
Spending money on marketing shouldn’t be frowned upon. If I made 2 million dollars profit, but it cost me a million in advertising. In the end, I still made a million bucks!
On the flip side. Just because you have an allotted marketing budget, this doesn’t mean you should automatically need to spend all of it.
I cringe thinking back at the times I’ve seen people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on useless ad campaigns because that’s been the status quo for years, and patting themselves on the back for a job well done.
5. Not Knowing Your Customer Lifetime Value
Do you have friends who are always around to lend a helping hand? Do you have certain friends that cause you endless grief, which leads you to question why you are even friends with them in the first place? That might be a bit overdramatic, but your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) follow something similar.
You want loyal customers that are easy to get along with, keep coming back, and spend more than the other customers. A prime example of this is how much effort Casinos go into retaining “whales”/high rollers in Las Vegas.
I’d rather have 3 big clients that cause me zero grief, then 30 small ones that always cause me problems.
6. Not following your customer’s Buying Cycles
Do you have a busy season? When is the best time to market? Before the busy season, during, or after? PPC campaigns shouldn’t be left running 24/7.
I used to do marketing for a college; I quickly learned the best times to run marketings campaigns was during the holidays. That is when relatives would inquire about their plans for the future. These ads were giving a solution to those questions. With prospective International students, I’d market them a little bit before and during the visa application window. This focused my efforts/marketing budget on the times’ students make those tough decisions on where they want to attend post-secondary education, maximizing the ROI.
7. Not using PPC/SEM and SEO together
The higher your quality score, the more frequent your ads are shown, even over higher bidding ads.
Google wants to show the most relevant content to ‘Googlers,’ that is why Google won over Bing, it showed people what they wanted to see.
The second part to this asks the question: Why have two different websites? If I’m pushing 5,000 people to a landing page, why can’t it be to my official website and not PPC landing pages? With tools like Optimizely, you can easily hide your navigation when paid traffic hits the page, and do other amendments to make it more PPC friendly.
Your SEO pages should be optimized to convert visitors into a sale, and your SEM/PPC pages should have useful content on them. Paid traffic will help increase your overall SEO scores, so why waste it on throwaway SEM pages.
Prospective customers really don’t care about you, you need always to consider what’s in it for them (WIIFT / WIIFM). If you can add value to your product or service to customers, it will hopefully turn into a sale.
8. Creating General Remarketing Lists
If I just purchased something from your company, please stop showing me ads, it’s annoying! After I hit your order confirmation page, I don’t want you following me around with ads. You are wasting your money, money that could be spent on people that haven’t purchased your product yet.
When creating a remarketing list, you need to make several. Analyzing what part of the buying cycle that prospective client is in. What will it take to win them over? How much effort do you need to exert? Are all potential customers created equal? No, so don’t group them all into one list!
I hope this article helps you to increase sales while lowering your overhead costs.
Bonus: Reverse-Engineer the Path of Success
Start with want you wish to accomplish. When you find a particular concept, method or strategy that works for your industry. Study the process in reverse, so you can refine it and use it across all marketing efforts.