Marketers often get asked about the value of search engine optimization (SEO) vs. paid search advertising as if it were an either/or proposition. While SEO is valuable, it shouldn’t be your only tactic for inbound marketing. If your organization has the budget, you should consider adding paid search to your marketing mix. Today, 80% of search results now contain AdWords placements. And those AdWord placements are covering as much as 85% of the space “above the fold” on a results page. In addition, Adwords provides faster results than SEO alone. Oftentimes it can take weeks or months before you notice any results from SEO. With paid search, you’ll get instant feedback on the effectiveness of your campaign.
If your organization does decide to utilize AdWords campaigns, you have to make sure that your budget is being put to good use. You can do that only if you are careful about every aspect of your campaign, right from the selection of keywords to what action you want your visitor to take on the landing page.
Have a clear and measurable goal
Unless you have a clear purpose, you are unlikely to invest money for getting visitors. Except in the rare situation where the goal is only to create brand awareness or increase the popularity of a website, paid traffic will usually be linked to revenue in one way or another. In most cases, it is about increasing sales or generating leads, which will translate into higher revenues immediately or in the future.
Regardless of the purpose of your campaign, ensure that you have a measurable goal. Increasing sales by a certain amount in a month, adding a certain number of subscribers or customers are all examples of measurable goals. Without measurable goals, it is hard to gauge the performance of a campaign or fine-tune it.
Limit your ads to people who are likely to convert
Keyword selection helps you target people who are looking for things that are related to what you are offering. However, this alone will not eliminate people who are just looking for information and are not likely to convert. Displaying your ads to them will only result in a lower click through rate or wasted clicks.
Google provides several options like location targeting and targeting based on browsing behavior, which can be used to narrow down the audience and minimize wasted clicks. It is also important to use negative keywords. Negative keywords are search terms that are similar to your target keywords, but indicate that the person is looking for something other than what you are offering and is unlikely to click or convert. For example, if you are selling marketing services, someone searching for “marketing jobs” is unlikely to buy from you. There is no logic in displaying your ad to them. You can eliminate these people from your target audience by using negative keywords.
Keep landing pages relevant to the ad
Your landing page must be relevant to your ad text. No one likes being tricked into visiting a page that they are not interested in. If your landing page has nothing to do with your ad text, you risk a high bounce rate and wasted money.
Regularly monitor, test and adjust your campaign
It is important to monitor your campaign and fine-tune it for the best performance. This also helps you keep track of the return you are getting from your investment.
When your campaign is not doing as well as it should, there are several possible causes. The problem could be with the design of your campaign, your keyword selection, poorly designed landing pages or poor follow up. To arrive at a combination that works well, you have to experiment.
You have to try various combinations of keywords, ad design, landing pages and follow up emails to see what works best for you. However, make only one change at a time and observe its impact before you make another. If you change many things at once, it will be difficult to find out what works and what doesn’t.
When properly designed and executed, an AdWords campaign has the potential to give you a good return on your investment. You can expect a steady stream of high-quality traffic and it will translate into increased sales, revenue and profits. Make your ad dollars work hard to give you the best traffic at the lowest possible cost and then do your best to convert your visitors.