There’s no doubt that Google AdWords can be an important lead generation tool for marketers and business owners. By carefully structuring your AdWords campaigns, you can quickly drive highly relevant, cost-effective traffic to your website.
And, contrary to what many people might assume, there is most definitely a place for paid advertising within the context of an inbound marketing strategy. By using AdWords to drive traffic to your most valuable asset – your content – you can extend your reach, grow your audience, and introduce your content to the very people who are looking for it.
7 Tips for Using AdWords Without Blowing Your Budget
AdWords can be an extremely effective tool for driving traffic to your content, for generating qualified leads, and for getting in front of your target market. However, if you’re not careful, it can also burn through your budget in a very short amount of time.
The following 7 tips will help you make the most of your AdWords campaign, without blowing your budget. By making sure your campaign is structured in a way that you’re only reaching out to highly qualified searchers, and that all aspects of your campaign are specific to what they’re looking for, you can achieve the best results at the lowest cost.
1. Start with exact and phrase match.
When selecting keywords, you’ll be given the option to select a ‘match type’. Three of the most commonly used match types are broad match, phrase match and exact match.
While many marketers will start a campaign by using broad match, this often ends up being a costly mistake. Selecting broad match means Google gets to decide what search terms are related to your chosen keywords. For instance, if you decide to bid on “divorce attorney Sydney”, Google may decide to also show your ad when someone searches for “estate lawyer Sydney”.
Using broad match is like casting a wide net: you will undoubtedly receive many clicks, however a large percentage of those costly clicks will never lead to new clients. Using exact or phrase match, however, will mean your ads will only be shown when someone searches for your chosen keywords.
Broad match can still be used effectively with the + modifier. However, generally speaking, you only want to use broad match for things like data mining and when you want to absolutely dominate your industry with an almost unlimited budget. For the 99% of business owners with a limited budget, phrase and exact match is the way to go.
2. Research your competition before you advertise.
Particularly in highly competitive niches, marketers must be prepared to do some research on how their competitors are using AdWords. Your goal should be to find out what keywords they’re bidding on, how they’re structuring their ad copy, and how high they’re ranking in the paid search results.
There are certain tools that will help with competitor analysis such as SEMRush, KeywordSpy and SpyFu. By typing in the domain of your competitor, you can find out every keyword they’ve bid on, what ad variations they’ve used, and which ad copy has worked best for them.
Gathering this information will allow you to find lucrative keywords to bid on, will give you insight into how to potentially improve your own ad copy, and will allow you to find ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
3. Create a unique AdWords landing page.
Oftentimes marketers will send their AdWords traffic to their homepage. However it’s important to have AdWords-specific landing pages in order to best capture the attention and trust of those clicking through to your site.
In order to maintain consistency between your ad copy and your landing page, be sure to include your keywords in your landing page headline, and within the content of your page. The story must flow from the ad to the landing page to the offer. Consistency of the topic and offer is key for a high performing landing page.
It’s also extremely important that your landing page acts as a tool for capturing the contact information of your visitors. Whatever your goal is for your AdWords campaign, it will be your landing page that helps accomplish this goal. For instance, if the goal of your campaign is to have potential clients contact you for a free consultation, every aspect of your landing page should work to entice visitors to fill out a free consultation request form.
4. Use your keywords in your headline and ad copy.
Your text ad copy consists of a headline, 2 description lines, and a display url. To make your ad appear as relevant as possible, as well as to increase click through rates, it’s important to incorporate your keywords into your ad copy.
You will likely want to include it in your headline, once in your description, and once in your display url. Keep in mind that your display url doesn’t have to be your actual url; for instance, if you’re advertising a 2-for-1 pizza deal, and sending your AdWords traffic to www.bobspizza.com.au/1h7dfs.html, you may want to choose a more appealing and relevant url like www.bobspizza.com.au/2-for-1.
5. Make sure you target by geographic location.
If your business is confined to a particular city or geographic region, you’ll want to make sure you’re using geographic targeting. Otherwise, you may end up paying for clicks that will never end up converting.
By default, your geographic targeting will be countrywide. This means that anyone searching for terms on your keyword list will see your ad, regardless of where they are within the country. To ensure that your ad is only shown to those within your region, make sure to remove ‘Australia’ (or your country) under targeting options, and instead add your city and nearby regions.
6. Bid on highly relevant keywords only.
When selecting keywords to bid on, be sure to focus on ones highly relevant to your products or services in order to qualify your traffic. Because you’ll be paying for each and every click, it’s important to make sure your ads show only to qualified potential clients. Otherwise, you’ll be left paying for clicks that will never end up being profitable.
For instance, if you run a commercial photography studio, make sure you bid only on keywords that are that are relevant to your specialty: like business photography, advertising photography, realtor photography, etc.
7. Use negative keywords to further qualify your traffic.
To further ensure you’re only paying for qualified clicks, it’s helpful to make use of negative keywords. Negative keywords are words and phrases that you are telling Google you don’t want your ads showing for.
For instance, if you don’t wish to have your ads shown for ‘’fake Louis Vuitton bags”, you’ll want to make sure you’re adding ‘fake’ to your negative keyword list. If you are selling apples, the fruit, and not apple, the computer, make sure you add keywords such as “computer” into your negative keywords list.
Don’t be afraid to develop a long list of negative keywords; they will help ensure you maintain the proper control over your advertising strategy and budget.
Integrating Paid Advertising with Your Content Strategy
I’ve talked a fair bit about inbound marketing, both here on my blog and elsewhere. With traditional marketing techniques becoming less and less effective, attracting customers by providing valuable content is the best way earn trust and build long-term relationships.
So at first blush, a paid advertising campaign may not seem like it fits within a content marketing strategy. In fact, it may seem like the two are mutually exclusive, or even contradictory: rather than ‘attracting’ visitors, aren’t you essentially ‘buying’ them?
However if you think of paid advertising as a way to get your content in front of the people who are looking for it, it quickly becomes a highly effective tool to extend the reach of your content. It’s not about shoving your content down peoples throats, it’s about meeting the needs of your target market by creating and promoting high-quality content.
As your PPC visitors find and engage with your content, your influence will continue to grow. And as it’s shared via tweets, Facebook shares and +1’s, your SEO will continue to improve. Although we’re still not exactly sure how strong a role these social signals play when it comes to SEO, we know that they’ll only become a more important factor in search rankings as time goes on.
To recap: Content marketing is where it’s at. But a well-planned paid advertising strategy can be an extremely effective way to promote your content and get it in front of the people who need it most
Are you using AdWords successfully? Have you integrated your paid advertising with your inbound marketing strategy? Why or why not?