If you’ve ever run a Google AdWords campaign, you may have felt that its comparable to gambling. The House (Google) makes the rules and you either play by them or they’ll have you escorted out. There’s real money on the line, and if you bid just right, if the numbers line up, you can win big, big, big! After all, it’s a game of chance…right?
While it may feel like you’re at the mercy of fate, there is a fair amount of skill involved with developing and executing a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. That means it’s time to ditch that lucky rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clover, or (please!) those lucky socks in favor of these three “lucky charms” that will actually improve your odds of hitting the jackpot.
1. It’s all about the numbers
Your product or service may have the capability to change lives but if no one knows about it, what good is it to you or to anyone? When running an AdWords PPC campaign, getting your ad on the first page is vital. However, if you can make sure your ad doesn’t blend in with the competition it won’t be as essential for you to land the coveted top of the page spots. One way to ensure your ads stand out is to include numbers. Any numbers: Prices (especially special sales), varieties, quantities in stock, and number of locations are just a few to consider including.
For example: An ad without numbers versus one with numbers.
2. Stack the deck in your favor
Another way to make the ads in your campaign stand out is to carefully build them so that certain words (your keywords) are repeated multiple times. Google does not allow you to format PPC ads using different colors, italics, underlining, or different font sizes. You’re limited to utilizing capitalization, spacing, and punctuation to dress-up your ad and even those few tools are regulated by Google.
What you can do though is take advantage of the fact that if the word or words used to search Google are in your ad they will appear in bold. Multiple instances of bold text are certain to make your ad pop. This method does take time and patience! For PPC ads you’re limited to 25 characters in the title, 35 characters on the first line, 35 characters on the second line, and 35 characters for the display URL, so getting a keyword in multiple times and ensuring that the ad still makes sense can be a challenge.
For example: Different ways to arrange multiple instances of the keyword paper.
3. Don’t gamble $5,000 for a $50 jackpot
If you’re running an AdWords PPC campaign the goal shouldn’t be to simply get clicks; it should be to get conversions at the lowest possible cost. With Google just about anything can be made to count as a conversion. If a customer visits a certain page, clicks a link, purchases something, or fills out a form it can be counted as a conversion. It is up to you to determine what customer action(s) has value to your business. You also need to determine how much value that action(s) has. Once you’ve implemented conversion tracking for your AdWords campaign, you’ll have statistics available to you on how much each conversion is costing you. Be aware of this number! Make sure that your investment is paying off.
For example: You run a car dealership and the average car you sell is $15,000. You’ve set up a Google AdWords PPC campaign with conversion tracking. Whenever someone fills out the form to get more information about a car that’s counted as a conversion. AdWords says your cost per conversion is $250 (meaning that for every $250 dollars you spend with Google you’re getting 1 person to fill out that form). However, not everyone who fills out that form actually “converts” (buys a car). In reality, only 1 out of 3 people are purchasing a car. Your cost per conversion is actually $750. Is that worth doing a PPC campaign?
Running a Google AdWords PPC campaign can feel daunting. Sometimes it seems like it all depends on the way the cards fall, a roll of the dice, or a spin of the wheel. It all seems to be out of your control. It really isn’t. Once you take advantage of all the educational materials, helpful articles, and forums available, not only from Google but other highly reputable sources on the Internet, you’ll find that PPC campaigns are more like a Sudoko puzzle than gambling. It takes a pinch of patience and a handful of logic to be successful.
Remember, Google AdWords campaigns may not be right for every business. You don’t have to run a PPC campaign. There are many, many other options available to you including more “old fashioned” types of marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media, and mobile marketing (websites, apps, and etc. for cellular phones). Explore all the options open to you to find the right one (or combination) for your business.
Now, let me ask you, are you feeling lucky?
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight