Still a stronghold in the world of pay-per-click advertising, Google AdWords is a great advertising tool in the online world. If you are looking for a way to immediately reach your audience through search, AdWords is a great place to start.

AdWords 101

When you search for something on Google, have you noticed the results that appear on the right hand side? These are AdWords; they’re sponsored advertisements. If you were to click on one of these, the advertiser would be charged a certain rate for your click. That’s why they’re called pay-per-click ads.

The rate you pay per click is based on the keywords you want your ad to appear for. If someone searches for, say, “internet marketing,” your per-click fee will be much higher than it would be for the keywords “internet marketing in el cajon.” The more competition you have for placing an ad for a certain keyword, the more you will pay for the privilege. And the more generic the keyword is (“internet marketing”) the higher the rate.

Why Use AdWords?

Depending on who you ask, pay-per-click ads can be the greatest thing since carb-free, no fat sliced bread. They provide you a way to connect with the people who are searching for what you’re providing, and you only pay if they click.

Now, of course, a click doesn’t guarantee a sale. There are all kinds of metrics around what percent of sales you should expect from a good, targeted ad campaign. But let’s assume you make a sale with 1% of the people who click your ads. That means you need to have a great deal of clicks to make it worth your while!

AdWords are great for specific promotions or to advertise a certain product. They work better for products than services (anything that people can buy directly from your site, versus having to call to order), and the more targeted you are, the more clicks you’ll get.

Mastering the Ad

Google provides tutorials for writing great ad copy for your AdWords. I suggest you watch them before trying it. So many businesses don’t study the art of ad writing and then wonder why they’re getting lots of clicks but no sales. Likely, their ads were poorly targeted, and led the wrong people to click on their site, only to realize it wasn’t for them.

Here’s an example. A company selling specialty dog food for small dogs might have the following ad targeted for the keywords “dog food.”

Treat Fido Right!
All organic dog food makes for happy dogs. Click here to save 20%.

At the face of it, there’s nothing wrong with this ad. It’s not particularly engaging, but that’s fine. However, upon clicking the ad, a visitor discovers the dog food is specific to small breeds, and he’s got an English Bulldog. The company just wasted a click by being too generic in its keyword targeting (A really wide range of people search for “dog food”), when it could have targeted in better by focusing on both keywords and ad copy that addressed smaller breeds.

It’s wise to test a few different ad versions to see which gets the most clicks and sales. Monitor this and modify as necessary. Create a different campaign for each product line or promotion that you’re trying to draw attention to.

Keep in mind that your pay-per-click rate is your cost of customer acquisition. Don’t pay more than you can afford to. Work to lower this by targeting your keywords with laser focus. So, if you were looking at using the keyword “marketing consultant” to drive traffic to your ad, understand that that will have a higher cost per click than “San Diego marketing consultant” would. The more you can target in on keywords, the lower the cost per click.

Include AdWords as part of your overall marketing strategy, and if it’s bringing you a larger portion of revenue than other areas, up spending for it.