Are you struggling to understand Google Adwords as a small business?
Are you about to throw the towel in because it seems to be costing more than it makes you in sales?
Are you keen to learn, but don’t know where to start?
If any of these statements apply to you don’t worry – you are not alone.
When set-up correctly, Google Adwords is one of the most effective sales and marketing tools available to sell your products and services online. When it isn’t, it just swallows up your marketing budget.
The simple fact is, Google Adwords looks on the face of it easy to set up, with the majority of features ‘hidden’ out-of-the-box. A cynic might argue that this is deliberately by design. Google would probably say this is to make it look accessible and easy for businesses to try.
After all, the process of creating a Google Adwords Express account looks as simple as visiting the Google Adwords Express homepage at https://www.google.co.uk/adwords/express/ , typing in a few business details and then clicking “Go!”.
Surely it’s that easy, right?
The default settings of Google Adwords favour Google. In our experience, they cost you money instead of getting results, if any. We see this time and time again.
Remember: Adwords is how Google generate their revenue. They are not going to make it easy for you. The default settings certainly don’t allow you to get the most quality clicks for as little cost as possible.
We can help you
- Chop your current Adwords costs, sometimes by more than half and help you get more sales or leads for less.
- If we take your business on as a client, we will first set up your Google Adwords in a way that makes it perform well, or better if you have an existing campaign.
If you are new to Adwords
If you are new to Google Adwords or have stumbled on this article and need help getting something going, we can help you with a new campaign, saving you money from the outset. We will help you leapfrog over the common mistakes and issues.
If you already have a campaign running
If your campaign is haemorrhaging money, our first goal will be to get this under control with a thorough audit. First, we look to reduce your click costs. Next, we will use the information gathered through the audit and pause your existing campaign and set up a new campaign in your Adwords account alongside the poorly performing one.
By doing this, it will help you compare your poorly-performing campaign with the new one and clearly see performance improvements made.
Many customers say that it is like a lightbulb moment once we have gone through their account and shown them how many of the common setup and ongoing mistakes have cost them real money.
Once everything is working well, we then go on to transfer the essential skills, if you have the capacity and inclination, to manage your own campaign.
Alternatively, many companies prefer for us to manage their campaign on their behalf, as an extension of their marketing department. Our goal, of course, is to save our account management cost many times over, so that it is effectively paying for itself.
Managing Google Adwords needs constant attention to get the most out of it. After all, each click is costing you money; you need to make each one count and to measure its effectiveness down your sales funnel.
Google Adwords PPC (pay per click) horror stories
All-to-often, customers usually find us after they have already had a bad experience, perhaps experiencing one of these all-too-familiar horror stories:
- A small business lured in by the apparent ease of setting up a campaign, allowing the default Google Adwords settings to take effect. This effectively sets a campaign to ‘automatic’ and the system then charges what it wants for clicks, automatically suggesting and setting up an automatic campaign with loosely targeted keywords.
- A daily click budget set in the Adwords system of perhaps £40 per day, equating to £1200 over 30 days. Every 30 days or whenever a pre-defined amount is hit in clicks, the Google Adwords system bills you card or bank account. The amount varies but is usually when the click costs have accrued to £50, £150 or even £250. This amount is then taken automatically from your nominated payment method by Google. Although an email is sent from the Adwords system warning of impending payment about to be taken, this sometimes ends up in a junk mail folder and then the small business gets a surprise when a chunk of money is debited from their account – and cash flow.
- In some instances, clients have not even known how to stop a campaign running, with click costs just continuing to add up.
- A marketing company calls you from a withheld number (usually a salesperson overseas) offering their services. They promise the earth, deliver very little, and charge a small fortune with no measured results.
The sad thing is, because of one of these or any other similar number of bad experiences, businesses then feel ‘burned’ and think that Google Adwords doesn’t work – vowing never to use it again.
Another example, a small business
A recent small business came through as a referral from another client who we work with. After burning through several hundred pounds in month one of their fledgeling recycling business, the telephone was barely ringing, let alone recovering the cost of the Google clicks. They were hoping for at least some recycling work from Adwords, but nothing materialised.
After one month of working with them, we not only chopped their click costs to less than half of what they had been paying but also actually made their telephone ring with real business leads. In fact, it got to the point that when we scaled the campaign and daily budget up because it was so successful they had to employ extra staff to cope.
Cold calling – again
It seems to be common in the UK for companies to be called several times a week by companies claiming (misleadingly) to be ‘calling from Google’, based on what clients tell us when we first meet them. While there is nothing wrong with a marketing company trying to help another, it grates a bit when we find out later they basically told them “you need to do x and y” without even learning about their business.
How to get results
There are many things to think about with an Adwords campaign. It looks easy on the face of it (to Google’s financial benefit); visit the link at the top of the page, feed a couple of keywords and phrases in, set a daily budget, and then click “Go!” is their message. All this does is potentially hand Google carte-blanche.
Products and services that work well on Google Adwords
Selling products and services with Google Adwords is very powerful. Great for targeting perhaps searching online for tv’s perhaps, or running shoe deals (think those new years resolutions) – pretty much anything.
Using Adwords to sell services also works. It is a slower-burn though.
Think for a moment about the journey you would follow if you were tasked with getting a custom website built for your business. Initially, you might perhaps fill out an enquiry form as a result of clicking a Google Ad. Next, you would then more than likely want to meet the design agency and discuss your requirements.
It still works, but the sales funnel is usually longer to get to the point of the sale. In fact, lead generation with Adwords can snowball down the chain when one client picked up refers you to another. The original return on investment of that first few hundred pounds spent to acquire the first client doesn’t then look so expensive after all.
Will Google Adwords work for all businesses?
Not everything sells online. Here is an example: several years ago, a company selling a gadget which the building industry used for ground mapping.
This gadget was used mainly in the building and geophysics type trade to map out the ground before building houses. Despite us advising the client of our initial reservations, they wanted to proceed and try to sell these devices online anyway.
A quick test campaign showed that although there were a few clicks, the people searching were not ‘warm’ searches, ie ready to buy.
As we first thought, it became apparent that the route to selling the product was through contractor companies in the building industry and word-of-mouth in the industry.
Putting it all together
There are many threads that need pulling together to run a successful Google Adwords campaign for your business, including:
- Setting up the campaign correctly
- Creating and writing an effective Google Ad to show to people
- Doing proper keyword and phrase research
- Honing the Ads over time to improve them
- Staying on top of the Campaign, filtering out searches and words that are identified to be costing, rather than generating, money
- Keeping the Google computers happy with good click-through rates and Adwords quality scores
- Actively caretaking the Campaign and checking it regularly, especially in the early, embryonic days. Make no mistake – the Google computers know whether you are a proactive advertiser, working to make your campaign effective. Those that don’t can end up paying more per click but also having their Ad pushed down the list.
When all is said and done, Google is an online advertising platform that fills up Google’s bank account. They know though, that for this to happen, several things need to happen, including:
- Advertisers on their Adwords system need to be showing relevant Ads
- Once an Ad is clicked, visitors need to be sent to a relevant landing page and website
- The all-seeing Google quality score system needs to be kept happy. Their computers rate your keywords, Ads and various other items on a scale of 1-10 (10 being perfect, 1 being poor), having a direct effect on the price you pay for clicks
Are you in it for the long or short term?
We generally say that as a rule of thumb, you need to be prepared to test the water as to whether Google Adwords will work for your business and not worry about spending £500 doing so. You should be prepared to gather click information and try it for at least one month.
If that sounds like a lot of money for a trial, consider what might happen if you ran a box advertisement in one of the local small local glossy magazines that you sometimes see in Doctor’s surgeries or coffee shops. They can cost £500 and then get put in the bin monthly when the new edition comes out, leaving you totally in the dark as to how many people have read it (apart from any generic circulation figures the glossy might provide).
You will also have no idea what they thought of your Ad and text unless they ring you to give you feedback.
This is where the online world wins hands-down nearly every time
If your Adwords account is set up correctly, not only can you see:
- Exactly what phrase people have typed in to find your Google Ad and website
- How long they spent on your website, by search phrase
- Which pages they viewed after they got there
This powerful information then allows you to find out what works best and continually improve your content and online marketing.
Adwords or Facebook
Done right, Google Adwords can be one of the most powerful online tools available to you, beating Facebook and Twitter hands down.
Compare this with Facebook for a moment. Sure, you can run an Ad on there, choose a demographic to show it to (perhaps ladies, 25-45, interested in painting) but it is always, in my opinion, going to be a ‘distractive’ form of advertising; you are trying to distract people to get them to click your Facebook Ad when they not in a buying state of mind.
When they are looking for things on Google, they are looking to buy a product or service – they have just typed in exactly what they are looking for.
Find out more about how we might be able to help your small business now. Call us on 0333 444 0283.