I have a confession to make: I don’t know the first thing about Google Ads. As a small business owner, I know I should advertise online to drive more traffic to my website, but the thought of navigating the labyrinth of options leaves me paralyzed with indecision.
Do I choose search ads or display ads? What’s the difference between CPC and CPM? How much should I budget for my campaign?
The jargon alone is enough to give me a migraine. Still, I’ve heard success stories of businesses doubling their revenue after launching a Google Ads campaign.
If they can do it, so can I…right? This is my journey into the confusing but potentially lucrative world of Google Ads. Wish me luck – I’m going to need it!
Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Google Ads Campaign
Choosing keywords for your Google Ads campaign is an art form. You have to find the magical combination of phrases people actually search for that also relate to your business.
Think like your customer
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what words or questions they might use to find a business like yours. For a dog grooming business, it could be things like:
- Dog grooming near me
- Pet salon
- Dog washing
- But don’t stop there. Also consider:
- Dog nail trimming
- Dog haircut
- Mobile pet grooming
- Do some research
Use free keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to see how often people search for terms and how competitive those keywords are. Aim for keywords with high search volume and low competition.
Don’t forget long-tail keywords
While short keywords like “dog grooming” are important, long-tail keywords like “dog grooming for Cocker Spaniels” may be less competitive. People searching with these ultra-specific phrases may be more motivated to convert.
Match keywords to your ad copy
Make sure the keywords you choose match the actual product or service you’re advertising. If you bid on “dog grooming” but your ad talks about pet photography, that’s no good. You need a tight match between keywords and ad text for the best results.
Mix it up
Use a variety of keywords, like a combination of short keywords, longer keywords, and phrases. The more relevant keywords you can work into your campaign, the more opportunities people have to find your business. And that, my friend, is the point.
Setting Up Your Google Ads Account and First Campaign
Setting up your first Google Ads campaign is actually pretty straightforward. All you need is a Google Ads account, a budget, some keywords, and an ad to get started.
Creating an account
Signing up for Google Ads is free. You just need a Google account, like Gmail. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see the Google Ads dashboard. This is where the magic happens.
Next, you’ll want to choose some keywords or phrases that people may search for to find your business. Make sure to include synonyms and related terms. For example, if you sell handcrafted paper goods, you might target “custom stationery”, “personalized notepads”, or “artisanal paper products”.
Writing your first ad
Google gives you 25 characters for a headline, 70 for the description, and 35 for the display URL. You’ll want an eye-catching yet honest headline, a persuasive yet concise description highlighting your best features or offers, and a customized display URL. For example:
Headline: Personalized Paper Goods: Custom Made for You
Description: Handcrafted stationery and notepads. Made in the USA. 20% off your first order.
Display URL: yourwebsite.com/handmadepaper
Setting your budget
Finally, choose how much you want to spend each day. Even $10 to $20 per day can go a long way. Start with a lower budget and you can always adjust as needed based on performance.
And that’s really all there is to it. Launch your campaign, sit back, and wait for the clicks to start rolling in. If only building a business were so easy! But with some time and testing, Google Ads can drive new customers and boost your sales.
Writing Compelling Ads That Capture Attention
Launching your first Google Ads campaign can be thrilling and terrifying all at once. On the one hand, you’ve got an eager audience of searchers actively looking for whatever product or service you’re selling. On the other, you’ve got about a snowball’s chance on the surface of the sun of actually getting their attention.
The key is writing ads that don’t outright suck. Google gives you two short sentences to grab searchers’ interest before they bounce to the next result. No pressure or anything. I like to start by figuring out what makes my business different or better. Maybe I offer free shipping, a lifetime guarantee, or prices so low I should seek professional counseling. Whatever your unique selling point is, lead with that.
Choose your keywords wisely
The keywords you choose determine when and where your ad appears. So you’ll want to include the exact terms your ideal customers search for. Be as specific as possible. If you sell custom dog collars, choose “personalized dog collars” over just “dog collars.” The more targeted your keywords, the more targeted your traffic.
Write a compelling headline
Your headline is the first thing people see, so make it count. Promise searchers exactly what they’re looking for, like:
- Personalized Dog Collars: Custom Made, Shipped Free!
- Learn Piano Fast: Online Courses Starting at $19
- Tax Help: Experienced CPAs, Great Rates, 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Keep your headline under 30 characters so it’s easy to read on mobile. And be sure it matches your chosen keywords. If your ad headline is “Learn Guitar in 30 Days” but your keyword is “piano lessons,” your ad won’t show. Google’s algorithm isn’t a mind reader, unfortunately.
Craft a persuasive description
Use your two-sentence description to highlight your key benefits and convince searchers to click. Mention free shipping, money-back guarantees, 24/7 support or whatever makes you stand out. Keep sentences under 15 words for easiest reading on any device.
With compelling ads leading to a great customer experience, you’ll be bidding adieu to the competition in no time. But check back often and keep optimizing – because the only thing harder than getting attention, is keeping it.
Optimizing Your Landing Pages for Conversions
So you’ve launched your Google Ads campaign and are racking up clicks, but now you need to turn those clicks into cold, hard cash. Time to optimize your landing pages for conversions.
As a small business owner with limited time and resources, creating the perfect landing page seems about as plausible as trading in my ‘97 Corolla for a Maserati. But while I can’t conjure up a team of developers and designers to build me a conversion machine, I can make a few tweaks to my existing site to persuade visitors into becoming customers.
First, I focus my page on one primary conversion goal. Do I want people to buy a product, subscribe to a newsletter, schedule a free trial? Trying to achieve multiple goals on one page is as pointless as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Pick one and make it the star of the show.
Then, I speak to my visitors like human beings instead of walking wallets. A friendly, empathetic tone and a you-focused message—rather than a me-focused sales pitch—makes people more receptive to what I’m offering. I also highlight the benefits to the customer, not just the features of the product. No one cares about the “patented doohickey”—they care about how it will make their life easier.
Finally, I make the call-to-action button big, bright, and front-and-center. My visitors came to the page for a reason, so I don’t make them hunt for the checkout button. I place it prominently at the top of the page where they can spot it instantly, like a neon sign in the desert.
While my landing page may never win any design awards, these few simple changes can transform it into a conversion machine, turning clicks into customers and my little ‘97 Corolla into the cherry red Maserati of my entrepreneurial dreams. Hey, a business owner can hope!
Monitoring and Improving Your Google Ads Performance
So you’ve launched your Google Ads campaign, spent a small fortune on clicks, and now the real work begins—making sure those clicks actually convert into customers. As a veteran of many a failed Google Ads escapade, let me share a few hard-won tips for not throwing your money down the drain.
Check Your Ads…Often
Those carefully crafted ads you spent hours perfecting? They’re probably terrible. Ads require constant testing and tweaking to find the right message, image, call-to-action and placement that actually resonates with people. I check and change my ads at least once a week based on performance. If an ad isn’t getting clicks or leads after a few days, into the trash it goes!
Search Terms Matter
Don’t just pick a bunch of keywords and call it a day. Actually look at the specific search terms leading people to your ads and optimize for the ones that convert best. You may find some surprising terms you never would have thought to target. Bid higher on those gems to get more of the “right” traffic.
Devices Matter More
Most people shop on their phones now, so if your ads don’t look good on mobile you can kiss your budget goodbye. Make sure your ads, landing pages and offers are all optimized for mobile. I’ve found mobile visitors convert at nearly double the rate of desktop visitors.
Location, Location, Location
Target your ads to the areas where your potential customers actually live. No sense showing ads to people hundreds of miles away from your business. Use location targeting to put your ads in front of the right geographic audiences.
Never Stop Testing
The only constant in Google Ads is change. Google is always tweaking their algorithms and interface, so you need to keep testing to stay ahead of the curve. Try new ad types, landing pages, offers, keywords, etc. and see what improves your key metrics like clicks, conversions and ROI. If you sit back and coast, your campaign performance will start to tank, guaranteed.
The hard truth is that launching a Google Ads campaign is the easy part. The real work is in staying on top of that unruly beast and making sure it continues earning its keep. Follow these tips, keep testing and optimizing, and you’ll be sure to come out the other side with your budget and sanity intact.
So there you have it, my quick and dirty guide to launching your first Google Ads campaign. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to annoying the general public with your ads in no time. But seriously, pay-per-click advertising works and Google Ads provides an easy way for even the smallest of businesses to start generating leads and sales.
Just remember to keep optimizing and improving your campaigns – because if I have to see one more terribly-designed ad for discount pharmaceuticals or get-rich-quick schemes, I might just lose my mind. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some very targeted ads to create. Ciao!
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