Is your online presence operating in the shadow of bigger brands? Are you finding it difficult to cut through the clutter and get your business seen?
Luckily, you’re not alone!
Today, there are plenty of platforms that can help you increase your company’s visibility, but with an abundance of options, it can become intimidating to know where to start.
According to a Google’s Economic Impact Report, 97% of Internet users searched online for local products and services in 2014. With more than 280 million Internet users in the US today, you need to make sure your business is visible in search engine results if you want to market to this huge number of potential customers.
One incredibly useful tool that can help you is Google Adwords. This is Google’s online software that allows you to create ads that can be displayed on the search engine and its network of partner websites.
Google is the most visited website in the world, receiving more than 1 billion visitors last May. As of 2014, 1.8 million businesses were using Google Adwords. If you weren’t a part of that number, keep reading!
When utilized correctly, this tool can help any business, regardless of your service, niche, or industry. Whether you operate a law firm, or a goat rental service, getting visibility online with Adwords can be your path to successful online marketing.
But what exactly is Google Adwords, and what does it do? In the following steps, I’m going to outline the specifics to help you and your business along the quest for visibility and recognition.
What is Google Adwords?
Google Adwords is what we call a “Pay-Per-Click” advertising platform. In other terms, you only pay when someone clicks your ad. If done right, using Google to increase your online visibility can be an affordable move to make. Indeed, it is the most known search engine, referencing billions of web pages, and processing more than 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
By using Google Adwords, you can reach customers at the right time — directly when they are searching for something related to your business.
Google Adwords allows you to target queries presenting keywords of your choosing, which you set up at the same time as you setup your ads. However, you want the keywords to be directly related to what you are promoting through the ad but you also don’t want them to be too broad. As matter of fact, using keywords that are too general can bring in searchers who may have no interest in what you’re selling.
With that in mind, figuring out the intricacies of Google Adwords can be essential for your business.
How does it work?
Basically, Adwords allows you to create your ad that will be displayed either at the top of the results’ page or on the side, next to the results.
However, your ad will have to stay within Google’s specific guidelines:
- Headline (Maximum 25 characters)
- Display URL (Maximum 35 characters)
- Description line 1 (Maximum 35 characters)
- Description line 2 (Maximum 35 characters)
Here’s what a final ad looks like:
Before you implement your ads, let’s review how to get started.
It is crucial to start with keyword research in order to evaluate the potential of each keyword related to what you offer. Work on a list of keywords in accordance with your landing page (the page you are directing people to through the ad) and what people will find on it.
Once you have your list of target keywords, check each keyword’s suggested bid, competition, and then what traffic it can generate. This will help you to avoid keywords that might be too expensive (Cost Per Click), or those in which competition is way too high. After that, you will have a shorter list in hands, but with keywords that will potentially generate traffic to your website.
If you don’t know where to start your research, I would recommend checking out these resources:
- The Fastest (And Easiest) Way To Identify Keyword Opportunities
- SEMrush, a search marketing tool that is specific to finding profitable keywords.
- Keywordspy, an online tool that helps you find keywords and data on your competitors.
- Google Adwords Keyword Planner (need to have an Adwords account)
I strongly suggest Adwords’ keyword planner because it is easy to use and the available data is directly taken from Google’s database. You can find it under the “tools” tab in your account, by clicking “keyword planner”, and going to “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”. Input your keyword or website and it will take you here:
With this tool, you can get a nice amount of related keywords and a lot of information about them, including the monthly search volume and level of competition.
Writing Your Ad
Now it’s time to write your ad. Let’s begin with the headline. Try to come up with something that will attract people’s attention, but be sure to keep it related to what you offer.
In his rebelytics article, Eoghan Henn explains, “All keyword combinations in one ad group should have at least one element (the more, the better) in common. This is the only way of making sure that a big part of the user’s search query appears in the ad headline.”
The more your headline’s text will be in accordance with people’s search, the more clicks you are likely to get. Try to incorporate some of the keywords you chose into the headlines, and always keep them all relevant.
The display URL lets you show people the address of your website. However, if your landing page is not your homepage, you can just display the basic URL of your website. That way, people will not see a complex address full of numbers and letters.
Next comes the tricky part: description lines.
Description lines are the two lines under your headline (limited to 35 characters each) where you can tell customers what your business is about, what you offer, and more.
Start the first line by presenting the most unique quality of what you offer. This is known as your unique value proposition (UVP). You want to be clear and specific, so people understand why your offer is attractive and why they should choose your business over a competitor’s.
Don’t lose space saying unimportant things. Get the most out of your 25 available characters by getting right to the point and encouraging clicks.
On the second line, you can either continue the sentence of the first line, or start another sentence here. You can be creative here. However, don’t forget to include a call to action.
Your call to action may be a short sentence, or combination of words that requests an action from the reader, such as, “sign up now,” or “get your report today.”
Choose something that is both related to your product/service and will engage potential customers.
Another tip is to include some of your keywords into your description lines. This will help to attract people’s attention but also can increase your quality score if the landing page also contains these keywords.
A great way to utilize your ad copy is providing an incentive. If you promote any discounts or coupons on your website, mention them in the ad as well. People love discounts and getting the feeling that they’re paying less for something worth more.
Finally, it is important to note that even if you bid higher than your competitors, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be ranked higher. Adwords takes many things into account in order to rank your ad. The bid is only one of them. The sum of all of these factors is what becomes your quality score.
Google Adwords checks for your ad’s relevancy to queries (if it matches the keywords you are targeting), the quality of your text in terms of grammar, and the quality of your landing page. For an even deeper analysis, you can read more on quality score analysis.
Obviously, you want to be sure that your ad stands out from competitors. A simple way you can do this is with the help of “ad extensions.”
Ad extensions are really helpful in distinguishing your ad from the competition, as well as improving your quality score. There are different types of extensions, so let’s look at the most important ones that could be useful for beginners:
The call extension displays your business’ phone number under your ads, so people can directly click on it when browsing on a mobile device or smartphone.This is a great way to encourage people to take action upon finding your ad, and an easy way to differentiate your business from any competition not taking advantage of the extension.
As you can see on the picture above, the phone number is shown, as well as a “call to action button,” making it easy for people to reach out to your business, directly after making a search.
Sitelinks are additional links within your ads that redirect people to other pages on your website rather than directly to the ad’s landing page. In other words, sitelinks give you the opportunity to redirect potential customers to other pages on your website that are not the landing page of your ad, but could be interesting for people searching for your type of business. You can add up to 6 sitelinks per ad.
On the example above, three sitelinks are displayed. One links to a landing page about services offered by Local Marketing Solutions, one to more information about the company, and the last one to the home page where people can get free reports about their online visibility.
Sitelinks are a great way to attract people to the multiple facets of your website, and it makes it easy to access the information they want, directly from a search results page.
As stated in the name, a location extension allows you to display the exact location of your business as a part of your ad. In other words, you can display every important piece of information for your potential customers, directly on a results page.
Upon clicking your address, the user is redirected to Google Maps, where directions to your business are displayed. This is a great extension to use if your business is locally operated and your target customers live in your area.
There are other types of extensions, and if you want to have more information about them, check out wordstream’s “Adwords Ad Extension Cheat Sheet”.
Benefits of Using Adwords
There are many different benefits of using a Pay-Per-Click platform, especially Adwords, but I’ll give you my top 5 in this article.
1. It Reaches a Large Audience
Google has an important network and is undeniably the most used search engine of all time. Therefore, advertising with the tech giant is an opportunity for any business, as it allows them to reach an important audience. You can target millions of people at a time, or just local shoppers. Everything depends on the nature of your business, your target audience, and your budget.
2. It Can Be Cost Effective
Indeed, there is no minimum budget. You can choose the amount of money you want to spend and set up a daily budget that will not be overpassed. In addition, you pay only when someone clicks your ad, but you don’t pay for displaying your ad, unlike newspaper or television ads.
3. Everything is Measurable
Adwords’ platform gives you access to a lot of information. Many metrics are available on Adwords’ home dashboard, and even more when you go to the campaign page. On the home page, you will be able to access a ton of important metrics on your campaigns, including:
- The number of impressions (times people saw your ads)
- The number of interactions (clicks)
- The interaction rate or click through rate (the number of times people click your ad divided by the number of impressions, giving you an idea of your ads’ performance)
- Your cost per click (the average you are spending for every click received by your ads)
- Your overall cost
4. Everything Can Be Scheduled
Moreover, Adwords gives you the opportunity to schedule your ads to show only during certain periods of the day. If your activity is based on business-to-business, therefore you might want your ads to show only during business days. You can also choose the number of hours per day you want them to be available. In the example of business-to-business, you might to run your ads from 9 to 5, when you have more chances to reach people searching for your services.
5. Geo-Targeting Capabilities
Google lets you target your audience geographically via its “geo-targeting tool,” so you can choose where you want the ad to appear.
Let’s say you have a real estate agency that operates on the Philadelphia area. You probably don’t want your ad to be seen in LA, because the chances that someone in LA wants to buy a home in Philadelphia are tiny. Instead, you choose to target people in your business area.
You can target by using zip codes, city names, county names or even setting a radius (that you can adjust) around your business’ location.
As a small business owner, you certainly want to advertise in the area you operate. This part is made easy, thanks to the its geo-targeting tool. Read more about this feature on Wordstream here and discover more specifics of how it works.
Why small businesses should use it
So now that we’ve already covered some great qualities of Google Adwords, let’s talk about why, specific to small businesses, it can be a valuable tool to use.
First, let’s talk money. Whether you have thousands of dollars to spend, or only few hundreds, Google allows everyone to use its platform whatever their budget may be. This is especially beneficial for small businesses that are not making large amounts of money per year. Anyone can get his or her business’ name out in the Internet ecosystem without having to spend hard-earned money.
No Time Constraints
You can stop whenever you want. There are no time commitments; you can advertise for two days or two years. This means that if you have trouble getting good results with the platform, you can stop at any time and prevent spending money that is not bringing you new customers.
As I mentioned before, you can track pretty much everything you want within Adwords, and therefore can have a pretty good idea of your ROI (return on investment). This helps you allocate your budget as well. Indeed, among all the metrics calculating your ads’ performance, Google also gives tips and suggestions. Google can identify what your bid should be for each keyword, in order to rank higher, or tell you why your ad is not showing, if that is the case. These tips are extremely useful and can help you get better results.
While managing your campaigns on Adwords may not require a large amount of time, it is really important to at least monitor them on a regular basis to get good results! If you spend even a little bit less than an hour per day, you can keep track of decent campaigns that will help your business get visibility.
Next Step: Growth
As a small business owner, there are many advantages to using Adwords, but keep in mind that it is not the only thing you need to consider if you want to kill it online!
There are plenty of other aspects that you need to take care of in order to attract people to your website.
In addition to having strong paid ads, you will want to make sure your business brings in organic (non-paid) traffic to your site from search results.
While PPC covers the paid side of search marketing, SEO (search engine optimization) will take care of where you rank organically, without paying Google to promote an ad for you.
Check out how we can help explode your organic traffic at Local Marketing Solutions with our different citation-based packages to take your business online visibility to the next level.
I hope this small guide can help you get started with the platform as well as make your experience easier as you learn and grow your business.