It’s the decade of startups. With new startups coming up each day, the level of competition has increased drastically. If you’re a startup in this era, Google Adwords could be one of the greatest customer acquisition tools you’ll ever use. Leveraging Adwords in the right way is still the most economical way to generate leads compared to all other forms of lead generation.

Which is why we highly recommend this insightful piece by Shiva Prabhakaran to help you get started immediately.

Having worked in the search industry for a few years, I can safely claim that there is an overwhelming number of marketers who do not fully understand the potential of Google AdWords. It would be an understatement to say that most of the highly successful companies have Google AdWords as a priority in their market efforts. Yet, many start-ups totally seem to have to pushed this tool to the backseat. It is not enough to just have an AdWords account and throw money at Google.

So, what do you do?

The magic word here is “Optimize”.

It is very important to have an optimisation led approach to SEM marketing, and in this article, I am going to outline actionable steps that you can implement which will make your investments into Google AdWords worthwhile.

However, I should warn you that the results are not the same for every brand. Hence, you should do your due diligence before deploying any of these practices.

1. Filter based on CTR:
For this, all you need to do is select your desired analysis time frame and look at the best performing and worst performing keywords based on their CTR and pause the non-performing keywords. Yes, it’s that simple. This will allow you to focus on fewer keywords and this, in turn, makes your job of writing Ad-copies a lot more streamlined.

2. Relevant ads:
This is the first opportunity to communicate with your customer. Hence, you need to make sure that you put your best foot forward. Writing ads that have high relevancy to your landing page is the key, and since this helps in improving your quality score (ratings), you will pay significantly less money per click than otherwise. Writing ads that do not represent the content on the landing page will give bad results or even worse could get your account blacklisted with Google.

3. Sales first approach:
It is very important for you to sell your products by communicating it in your ads than doing it for just branding. This is misunderstood a lot of times by marketers, just remember that this activity is taking money out of your corpus, and you need to justify your spending with a decent ROI to continue doing this in the future. Writing ads that are designed to sell are received much more positively that plain random messaging. Make sure your copy is convincing enough for the customers to check out within the first few visits to your site.

4. Landing Pages:
Choose user-friendly landing pages that are easy to navigate and have a clear call to action. The user must be able to complete whatever his intention was while clicking on your ad. If he is not able to fulfil his intentions, then the chances are that you will lose out to a competitor who gave a better landing page experience. As mentioned before, Google places a high priority on the relevancy of your landing page to your Ad-copy and gives a higher rating to the ones that meet its benchmark. Achieving a higher rating will, in turn, reduce your cost-per-click (CPC) significantly.

5. Use Match Types:
If you did not know that match types existed and have already invested in AdWords, then it is safe to assume that you have burnt your fingers. Match type is to AdWords what alphabet is to a language; they help you structure your account and help you segregate, prioritise and categorise your incoming traffic. Therefore, educate yourself on the different match types in Google AdWords and use that to structure your Campaigns and Ad-Groups.

6. Negative Keywords:
Negative keywords are nothing but adding those keywords that you don’t want your Ads to show up for. For example; A cruise ship company would use “Tom Cruise” as a negative keyword because it does not want its Ads to appear to people searching for the actor. Using negatives in your AdWords account is probably one of the most under-rated optimisations you can do. Negative keywords help put a filter on the traffic that your site gets and when employed well, this strategy will help you get highly relevant traffic. This a crucial part of any campaign that you might want to run and the best time to start doing this is right now.

7. Keyword Bid Optimization:
Start prioritising keywords that give you more ROI than the ones that don’t and bid higher for the same. Similarly, for keywords that do not give you good traction, the bids must be lowered. Keep the analysis window for a minimum of 30 days for bid optimisations. Starting by increasing/decreasing your bids by 3.5-5 percent should help you start off on the right foot.

These were some actionable items that you can implement with immediate effect. When deployed well these strategies can reap the best of return. For queries regarding any of these steps, you can also leave your feedback in the comments below.

The original version of this article was published on Bhive Workspace .

AUTHOR: Shiva Prabhakaran

Shiva Prabhakaran is Performance Marketing Specialist at Capricoast Home Solutions. He got started in pay-per-click marketing after his first job and hasn’t stopped learning since then. He has worked with a variety of different companies, ranging from Northern Trust, a U.S based custodian bank to the internet giant Yahoo.Shiva resides in Bangalore and can often be found cycling, playing soccer, or munching on popcorn at a theatre near you.

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