Fair warning: this Affect is for those people who hear “AdWords” and scratch their heads muttering to themselves, “copywriters, oy vey!” If you are already hip-deep in the world of search-engine marketing, forgive us and quit reading now. We’ll have more in-depth posts for you later.
So, you’ve built a bright, shiny new Website for your business. You’ve launched it to the world and now new clients and prospects should come flooding in, yes? Well, probably not. Sadly, the world is not out there waiting on any of us, or our sites. According to a story on Mashable, roughly 150,000 new URLs are registered every day. That’s 4.5 million a month last year, and that number is more than likely growing exponentially.
So, given all the chaos that is the Web, how do you find those people who are most likely to buy your product and service and either bring them to your site or, better yet, deliver your content to them? It’s one of the most significant questions facing your business in the coming years, but thankfully you have some options. With a little clear thinking and persistence, you can make your site both visible and relevant to the people that will sustain your business.
Google AdWords: the foundation of the Empire
It’s apparent now that Google owns the galaxy. And the foundation of their galactic empire is built from the text ads that appear every time you do a Google search — those four-line classified-type ads at the top of and to the right of your search results. Done well, those ads can be a powerful weapon for your business too.
But wait, a quick thought before we get into the specifics
When you launch your site, there are two ways to let people know about it and all of your awesome content. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEO is the art of making your site and your content so relevant to your audience, that Google’s algorithms naturally place your site at the top of search results for the most important terms your customers are searching. SEO derives from your content and linking strategies. For instance, if you are a credit union in Birmingham, Alabama, you want to naturally appear at the top of any search made for “car loan rates Alabama.” Satisfying the search engines means talking about “car loan rates” in language that your customers are using in their searches.
SEM is the art of divining what your customers and prospects are searching for and then buying advertising around their searches. Again, this is all about being relevant to their searches. This form of advertising is powerful because you are only speaking to people who are interested in your product at a time when they are actively searching for information.
How to make those tiny ads a big part of your success
Back to AdWords. Why are those tiny classifieds so powerful? Easy. When done well, they allow you promote your product or service at the exact time that your customer/prospect is in the mind to buy. And Google does a routinely fabulous job of helping you target those people most likely to fit your customer profile.
Your ad is simple. It consists of a headline (25 characters including spaces), two descriptive lines (35 characters each) and a URL that will link to a landing page within your site describing the product or service your customer is searching for.
Google ranks your ad, and where to place it, based on relevance.
For your campaign, you buy keywords. These are terms relevant to your product that customers are searching. For our credit union, these terms might be “auto loan rates” or “home equity loan rates” or, you get the picture. You bid on keywords how much you are willing to pay-per-click. It’s a competitive environment. The more you are willing to pay-per-click, the more likely your ad is to appear at the top of those search results.
Google also has a program called the Content Network. You’ve most likely seen sites that feature Google ads somewhere in their design. In the Content Network, Google places your ad on partner sites that feature content relevant to your keywords. So they might place our Credit Union ad on site selling used cars, if the content of the site is deemed relevant to our ad, our own site, etc. This is valuable because it places your ad in a context that is important to your prospects.
Google = Relevance
Clearly, there is more to using AdWords than how much you are willing to pay per click. Besides the Galaxy, what Google owns is the concept of Relevance. They judge your relevance based on your keywords, the language in your ad and the language on the landing page you are driving people to. If all three are tightly coordinated, you will appear more prominently on the search terms you’ve bought. Here are some tips for creating better AdWords:
Be relevant. If you are advertising auto loan rates, use that term in your ad and in the content of your web page. Don’t send people to your home page, but rather directly to the page in your site where you talk about auto loans.
Use specific language. Specifics improve your rankings. Broad, general terms hurt your ranking and reduce the importance of your ad’s position on the page; you don’t want to be on page of three your prospect’s search results. Specifics help your prospect identify exactly what they are looking for.
Create a call to action. Tell people what action to take. Be specific. Apply now!
Use negative keywords. Google will allow you to identify search terms that you do NOT want to appear on. Because search terms can be vague, negative keywords allow you to avoid advertising to people who aren’t really prospects.
Test. Measure. Adapt.
The beauty of this kind of advertising, of course, is that you can test it, track it and constantly improve it. The more you know what terms your customers/prospects are searching, the more you can target your ads and the higher Google will rank you, giving you better placement.
You can create groups of ads, built around various search terms. As results come in, you can increase your use of those that pull better and refine or eliminate those that don’t.
If you know want to learn more, let’s talk
Creating SEM strategies is one important way to improve your overall Web ROI. If you are interested learning more about AdWords, we’d love to speak with you more about it.