If you’re running a business in this day and age, you absolutely must have an online presence. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an accountant, artist, antiques dealer or dog walker. You need a functional, responsive website for your business – and more important still, you need plenty of traffic coming into that website to generate new leads and produce sales.
What’s the best way to attract footfall onto your company’s website? There are plenty of digital activities connected to your website that should be a part of your marketing mix. Social media engagement, guest blogs and portal listings are all fantastic ways to lift your brand’s online reach. But one of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your company’s profile is to use Google AdWords.
Over the last ten years, Google’s flagship Pay-Per-Click (PPC) service has grown to become the undisputed king of online advertising. AdWords can offer your business a wide range of options to increase leads based on your own unique size, budget and goals. But before you run off and start tossing money at Google, you should have a firm understanding of how AdWords works.
To help you get started, we’ve rounded up 10 top tips that will enable you to plan, write and deploy Google AdWords campaigns that are sure to succeed.
What is Google AdWords?
First thing’s first: what is Google AdWords? Simply put, it’s a PPC service that helps companies to track down individual web users who are likely to go on to become customers with targeted advertisements.
Unlike more traditional advertising methods, AdWords does not charge a company for displaying an advert. Instead, your business only pays for an ad when somebody clicks on it, gets in touch with your business or views a video with your advert in it. The AdWords system is designed specifically for companies looking to get their ads in front of likely consumers – and the PPC model is perfect for small companies without a big marketing budget, because you’re only asked to pay Google when somebody clicks through to your website.
There are four different types of advertisements you can take on as part of Google AdWords: text-based search ads, graphic display ads. YouTube video ads or in-app mobile ads.
Search advertisements are the most common AdWords method – and whether or not you’re familiar with AdWords, you’ll have seen plenty of AdWords search campaigns. When you type a set of keywords into Google, you’ll often see several websites pop up at the top of a results page that look exactly like ordinary listings. The only difference is, next to the site’s URL, you’ll see a tiny ‘Ad’ icon. This means you’re looking at a targeted search advertisement.
Using Keyword Planner, Google allows you to conduct intuitive market research on the types of keywords you should be using to launch an AdWords search campaign. You then write an AdWords listing before ‘bidding’ to appear ahead of organic search results for certain keywords.
Once your AdWords search advertisement is up and running, you’ll be able to view analytics, monitor adjustments and make changes whenever you’d like.
Google display ads follow the more traditional online banner style. Google’s display ads appear on more than two million websites and 650,000 apps – and there are plenty of styles to choose from,
You can choose a text display ad featuring a headline and a couple of lines of text, a Google Mail ad that displays shareable custom ads in people’s inboxes, rich-media banner ads or a display ad targeting specific mobile app categories.
Either way, you can’t go wrong. The Google Display Network reaches an estimated 90% of web users worldwide – and so there’s no way your ad will go unseen.
AdWords video ads are shown to users in predefined demographics, and just like search advertisements, you only need to pay Google for your video ads when somebody watches them. If somebody presses ‘skip’ before 30 seconds of your ad have gone by, you won’t be expected to pay a penny.
Video ads are deployed via YouTube, which reaches more 18 to 49-year-olds than any cable TV network. The video sharing site boasts more than a billion users – enabling you to segment your ad campaign by age, gender, location, interests and more. You can then gain access to detailed analytics tools to tell you who’s watching your ads, how users are interacting with them and how you can adjust your ad spend.
Finally, you can invest in one of AdWords’ universal app campaigns. This method helps you to promote an iOS or Android app your business has created to billions of Google users. Universal app campaigns use machine learning to analyse up to 300 million signal combinations to tailor your adverts to the users most likely to download your app – thus generating a great return on investment for your digital ad spend.
No matter what AdWords method you decide to go for, it’s difficult to go wrong. Google AdWords is a fairly low-risk, high-reward method of online advertising. Yet as with any marketing activity, you’ll get out of AdWords what you put in. That’s why you’ve got to think long and hard about the message you’d like to convey and how best to engage with users.
How can I write engaging AdWords ads?
Although AdWords features a fairly wide range of options in terms of how you can get your brand in front of web users, many business owners also find it somewhat difficult to sell their passion and livelihood in just one or two lines.
AdWords campaigns don’t offer much space for beating around the bush. When you write AdWords copy, you’ve got a strict character count you cannot exceed. In the case of search advertisements, sometimes that character count won’t even get you two whole sentences. Bearing that in mind, you need to be very thoughtful and creative about how you pull customers onto your website through your ad campaigns.
So, how do you write engaging AdWords campaigns? Here are our top 10 tips:
1. Use your keywords
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when writing search advertisements is failing to use crucial keywords in their ad copy. You can understand why – after all, when you’re bidding to appear in the results page for a certain keyword, why bother including that same word as part of your already limited character count?
Simply put, for your user. When users search for a term and see an 80-character blurb without mention of that term, they’re going to scroll right past your ad and onto the next result. That’s why you should always aim to include up to three keywords or phrases designed to capture the attention of users with information you think will be relevant to their search.
On the flip side, don’t do any keyword-stuffing, either. If you fill your ad space with keyword gobbledygook, users will perceive your ad to be clickbait and leave it alone.
2. Be time-sensitive
Another fantastic way to engage users is with ‘of-the-minute’ copy that is relevant in the here and now. Most web users are overly familiar with the concept of SEO and so-called ‘evergreen’ copy. But by keeping your copy up-to-date and changing ads to reflect new offers or news-related promotions, you’ll be able to turn heads and take advantage of new trends and ideas.
3. Use numbers
Most meta descriptions are a sea of words – which means that most AdWords campaigns are full of words, too. One way to mix things up and have your search advertisement jump out at potential customers is by including numbers or digits. If you’re getting rid of stock at 50% off, or your new exhibition is only on until 31 July 2020, use your ad space to share that information. It will engage users and make them far more likely to click through to your website.
4. Personalise your ad copy
Whenever you’re writing ads, you should be talking directly to your potential clients. That means writing in the second person wherever possible. You should also avoid talking about ‘me’ or ‘us’. You’ve only got a few dozen characters to speak to your audience, so you need to be straightforward and direct.
5. Stay local
Unlike many other ad platforms, Google AdWords allows your business to geotarget users based on where they live or access Google services. As a result, you can focus your ad energies on people in individual locations. That means if you’ve got an offer on at one of your company’s specific locations, you can cater your terminology to that specific neighbourhood or region.
You can also draw from product research to promote goods or services that sell historically well (or historically poorly) in specific areas. When in doubt, consumers love information they can tell has been written specifically for them or people who live in their local area.I want to start a business: how should I market and advertise my business?
6. Be mobile-friendly
In this day and age, you cannot afford to waste time and money on ad campaigns that aren’t mobile-friendly. Before linking your AdWords campaign to a landing page on your website, you absolutely must ensure that page is responsive for mobile users.
It’s also worth exploring Google’s call extensions. This tool enables web users to call your business straight from your ad rather than click through to your website and then phone.
7. Take advantage of extensions
Google might like to limit your character count in AdWords ads, but it also gives you the chance to make your ad pop by adding extensions. Extensions expand your ad with additional information about your business, and normally increase an ad’s click-through-rate by a few percentage points.
Potential extensions include call buttons, location information, links to specific parts of your website, additional text and more. Best of all, extensions are absolutely free. They don’t drive up the cost of your campaign, and clicks are charged as normal.
8. Try out custom URLs
If you can, you should always try to promote a URL in your ad that is nice to look at. That might sound a little bit trivial at first, but users are actually less likely to click on messy URLs with too many slashes and dashes. When in doubt, go for a short URL with no more than a few memorable words.
With a short, customised URL that is specific to your marketing campaign, customers will also be able to remember that URL and click through to it later.
9. Do lots of tests
One of the best features about Google AdWords is that you can continue to alter your headlines and copy during a live campaign. You can also run A/B testing by deploying simultaneous campaigns that use different features to figure out what type of content users are responding the best to.
As a result, you’ll be able to put more money into better-performing campaigns. Testing makes for cost-effective campaigns that generate better results and will give you a better impression of what your potential consumers actually want to see.
10. Proofread your adverts
Google AdWords might be a cost-effective and affordable method of digital advertising, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to waste your ad spend on silly mistakes. You can do irreparable damage to your brand by sending out advertisements with misspellings or poor grammar.
That’s why it is absolutely critical that you proof your ads before you submit them. Sure, you can always fix your mistake during a live campaign – but by the time you notice an error, the damage may have already been done.
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask a friend to look over your copy beforehand.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, your business cannot afford to ignore Google AdWords. It is without doubt the most effective online advertisement platform available – and as far as PPC goes, AdWords is an incredibly cost-effective solution for small business owners looking to increase their online reach and generate new sales leads.
If you’re on the hunt for more information about advertising and marketing your new company, it’s worth checking out our Ultimate guide to starting your own business. There, you’ll find detailed information on how to write a marketing plan, other ways to advertise online, engage users on social media and more.