Savvy business owners know that nowadays, people don’t just go online; they live online – reaching for the nearest device the moment that they want to know, do or buy something. Being where potential customers are means promoting your business online. But how do you know you have the money to advertise successfully?
- 1. How does pay-per-click work?
- 2. Set your goals to set your budget
- 3. Connect your AdWords and Analytics accounts
- 4. Stick to your budget
- 5. Save the Google Display Network for later
- 6. Target specific locations
- 7. Target a lower position in search results
- 8. Try long-tail keywords keywords
- 9. Create specific campaigns
- 10. Monitor & adjust
Try new strategies and campaigns continuously and, guided by data from AdWords and Analytics, keep making changes until your advertising is helping you meet your business goals.
Because of how it works, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising like Google AdWords puts you in control of the amount that you want to spend, as well as where and how you spend it. Through AdWords budget management, you bid on keywords – the terms that people search with on Google – related to your business for a chance to show ads in Google search results. Then you pay whatever you bid if, and only if, they click your ad to visit your website or call you. If you’re curious, you can find out more about how keywords work in AdWords right here.
In addition to picking your keywords, you also set your own budget and decide what your bid amounts are, depending on your business goals. So with some planning and monitoring, you can have a strategy for maximising your AdWords budget and connecting with a new audience online. Let’s go over some helpful tips for making the most of your PPC budget.
What do you hope to accomplish by advertising online? Do you want to draw more traffic to your website? Get more phone calls from locals? Are you looking to build awareness of your business in a particular location, or among a certain customer demographic?
Having an idea of the results that you’re looking for can help you to decide which goals you want to spend more of your AdWords budget on trying to reach. Then, you can design specific campaigns or try certain strategies to help you to meet those goals and make the most of the budget that you’ve set. Keep reading for some specific strategies and tips to try.
While AdWords will tell you how many times your ads have shown in searches (called 'impressions') or when they’ve been clicked, you won’t know if those interactions led to conversions on your website – customers buying, calling, filling in a form, or whatever action you want them to take to help your business reach its goals. However, Google Analytics, a free tool, can show you what customers do once they’ve clicked your ad and visited your site.
Say that you own a photography studio providing both portrait and event services, and that you’re running ads that take visitors to your website’s home page when they click. But when you look at the Google Analytics data, you see that the majority of your visitors are immediately clicking to the 'Services Offered' page. This could mean that visitors are finding this other page more relevant to what they searched for and to the ad that they clicked, so you might want to change your landing page to the 'Services Offered' page.
Likewise, Analytics could show you that visitors are immediately leaving your website after clicking a particular ad, indicating that the keywords you’ve chosen to try to trigger your ad into results might not be as relevant to your business as you thought. You could try different keywords to see if your data changed (and stop spending money on keywords that aren’t leading to conversions).
What does this kind of information have to do with your budget? Making changes like this might help you serve potential customers better, which could lead to more conversions if they have a good experience with your business and website. Plus, a more relevant landing page or different keywords could raise your ad’s Quality Score – an important factor in how your AdWords budget is spent that can help to lower your average cost per click. Find out more about Quality Scores.
And if you’re ready, see how to start using Google Analytics with your AdWords account.
Decide your monthly AdWords budget, and then stick to it for a while. AdWords lets you set a daily limit on how much of your budget is spent to show your ad, and some days, it might seem like your daily cost is higher. This is because Google analyses daily search traffic and on days when more people are searching, AdWords will show your ads more frequently, and less frequently when traffic is down. This means that your daily cost could vary by as much as 20%. Don’t worry, and try to avoid tinkering with your budget limits too much – allow time for the results to roll in before you make another adjustment to your campaign. AdWords also automatically averages your daily limit across the entire month to prevent your campaign from overspending.
If your budget is limited, you might do better to wait on trying display ads on the Google Display Network at first. While display ads can reach a wider audience than search ads, this also means that conversions from display ads tend to be lower, because you’re not necessarily reaching people looking online for what you offer at that exact moment. Meaning, a good deal of your AdWords budget could be spent on a smaller return. So you might wait until you’ve seen success in search campaigns and refined your online marketing strategy, and then give the Google Display Network a try.
If you have a local shop front and your primary goal for online advertising is to get customers to visit, showing your ads the next state over could use a lot of your budget without getting you closer to your goal. In this case, you could use AdWords targeting settings to show your ads only to people searching close enough to visit, or in other locations that are important to your business, to help spend your budget more effectively.
Location targeting can also be useful if your business goals aren’t locally-focused. Do you want to deliver nationally from orders on your website? Start by targeting your campaigns to a few areas you think that your business will do well in, or to major metropolitan areas. Then watch your AdWords metrics and if you’re using it, your data from Google Analytics, to see which geographic areas your traffic and conversions are coming from. This information can help you see where your potential customers are located, and where it might be more beneficial to spend your budget.
Your first instinct might be to believe that your ad will only be successful if it shows as high as possible in search results, in one of the top three positions. Remember though, ads that show in the fourth position or below may still get traffic and with the benefit of a lower cost per click.
Plus, there could be a great benefit to showing up in a lower position. The fact is, customers may not be ready to purchase, order, or visit your business on their first search. They could be doing research on what they want to do or buy, or exploring their options ahead of making a decision. In these cases, an ad in a top spot may receive clicks and website visits, but those won’t necessarily lead to conversions. By showing up in a lower position, you might avoid being clicked by these early-stage explorers, and receive traffic (and spend your budget) only on people who are more carefully reading results and clicking because they know exactly what they want in that moment.
Consider trying out some 'long-tail keywords', or keywords made up of three or more words. Because they are less obvious or popular, competition for these keywords is smaller, which means they also tend to have a lower average cost per click. Since they’re more specific, this means they may attract customers with more potential. This could be someone who is more sure of what they want, and therefore much readier and likely to buy, call or visit your business the moment that they’re searching. For example, if you want people to know about your studio’s portrait services for students in the weeks leading up to university graduations, instead of choosing 'portraits' or 'photography studio' as your keywords, you might try the long-tail keyword 'graduation portrait special,' to draw clicks from users who are looking for that exact thing.
AdWords includes a free tool that can help you find long-tail keywords for your campaign. You can see how to use the Keyword Planner tool here.
If you’re thinking of creating just one campaign for your entire PPC budget, or are already running your AdWords account with just one campaign, it’s probably a good idea to try to extend this and run at least a couple of different campaigns. Since yourve set your budget at the campaign level, if you have only one running, your entire AdWords budget could be exhausted before customers can search using a variety of keywords more specific to the different products or services that you offer – keywords that could be more likely to bring business, as discussed above.
A best practice that you can follow is to create campaigns based on the sections that your website is divided into. No doubt your site has different pages for different product categories, and following those categories can help you organise your campaigns. If you’re creating an AdWords account for your photography studio, you probably don’t want to just run one campaign around 'Portraits'. Instead, your campaigns may look something like this:
- Campaign: Wedding Portraits
- Campaign: School / Graduation Portraits
- Campaign: Events Photography
This way, you can set different budgets for each campaign, shifting your spending based on your goals (for instance, putting more of your budget toward your 'Graduation portraits' campaign in the weeks leading up to graduation season). Plus, you can show potential customers adverts that are more specific to what they’re searching for, and sending them to the most relevant page on your site.
Think beyond setting your AdWords budget and campaigns once and then just accepting the results if they’re not what you wanted. One of the biggest benefits of AdWords is that you can track your results and then change your strategies, and your budget, whenever you want. This lets you test what works and make adjustments. Try new strategies and campaigns continuously, and guided by data from AdWords and Analytics, keep making changes until your advertising is helping you meet your business goals.
By being a little savvy about how it’s spent, any size AdWords budget can have an impact on helping your business reach its goals. Just apply smart planning using these tips, and then test and tweak your ads, and you can make the most of what your business has to spend on connecting with new customers.