Many of our coaching clients have driven traffic to their website by implementing search engine optimisation (SEO) and content marketing strategies. But, there’s no way around it – SEO is a long-game strategy with no guarantees.
What’s more, achieving (and maintaining) a first page ranking for a the most relevant (and therefore popular) keywords can be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
That’s why we advise our business clients who need to quickly drive relevant, qualified traffic to their website to consider supplementing their SEO strategy by running a Google Ads campaign.
What are Google Ads?
Google Ads are the pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements that appear at the top and bottom of a Google search engine results page (or SERP). At first glance they appear the same as the organic (or unpaid) search results, but a closer inspection reveals the small green “Ad” icon to the left of the web address.
For example, when you Google “Tenfold Business Coaching”, you can see that our listing appears twice; the first is the Google Ad (note the tiny “Ad” icon), while the second is the organic listing.
But Google users won’t usually be searching for your exact business name.
For example, our potential clients are far more likely to Google a phrase like “business coach in Melbourne”. The more general (and often therefore competitive) keywords are, the more difficult is it to rank for it organically. And, as we all know, if your business doesn’t rank on the first page of results, then you’re as good as invisible.
That’s where running a Google Ads campaign can really help. By investing in a spot nearer to the top of the front page of Google’s results, you can increase the amount of quality traffic visiting your website (giving you the opportunity to convert these solid leads into sales).
Five advantages of Google Ads for businesses
They’re about as targeted as you can get
Google Ads allows you to specify your target audience according to some pretty specific demographics – age, interests, location, income etc. Location has proven to be a key factor for our coaching clients who offer services to their local community.
You can also optimise your budget by only running ads on the days/times that potential customers are most likely to be searching for your business. So, say your operating hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, you won’t have to pay for ads to run on weekends, when no one is manning the phone.
You’re reaching your ideal customer at the very moment they are searching with intent
Most people who are Googling are looking to solve a problem that they have right then and there. So, unlike other advertising and marketing strategies that are designed to keep you top-of-mind for when a customer might need your business in the future (think traditional TV and radio advertising, letter-box drops, brochures, fridge magnets, email marketing etc), Google Ads brings you and your customers together just as they’re gearing up to make a purchase.
You only pay for results
The nature of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is fairly self-explanatory. Basically, Google only charges your account when a user clicks on your ad. The advantages of this are clear since there are few other marketing activities where you only pay when the desired outcome is achieved. And you’re in control – when you have more work and sales than you can handle, you can turn it off until you’re ready to get more leads.
You can direct traffic through your sales funnel
Unlike print marketing collateral, you aren’t limited to driving traffic to your homepage. In fact, experts recommend you take a more strategic, user experience-driven approach. Think about what a customer would want (or need) to know next about your product or services in order to move closer to a purchase decision. Where can they find that information on your site?
Pro tip: You may even wish to consider building a specific landing page for that ad to link to. This is especially powerful when you are promoting a promotional offer or want the customer to respond to a particular call to action (CTA).
You can use data to optimise your campaign’s performance
The metrics that Google Ads provides allows you to track how well your ad is converting (i.e. how many people click on your ad and how many take the desired action after landing on your website).
If you aren’t getting results from your ads, resist the temptation to give up right away. You can use the information gathered to make small changes to either to the Google ad campaign itself (i.e. the headline, copy, landing page, etc) or to your website and see how they affect performance.
How does Google Ads work?
Every time a Google user conducts a search, you can bet that there’s an ad auction happening behind the scenes. That’s because businesses running Google Ads campaigns must bid for the keywords they wish to come out on top of the SERP for.
How much you are prepared to bid on a keyword will be influenced by how much a single click is worth to your business (keeping in mind that traffic doesn’t always result in sales). This will depend on key business metrics such as your average profit per sale and your conversion rate.
Your keyword bid is then combined with your Google-assigned quality score to determine the amount you will pay per click (cost per click, or CPC). The quality score of your Google Ad is based on:
- the relevance of your ad to both the user’s search and the content on the landing page it clicks through to, and
- the past performance of ads run from your Google Ads account
How much is my Google Ad campaign likely to cost?
In addition to your bid and quality score, a couple of other factors affect the cost of your Google ad campaign:
- your location (it costs more to run an ad in Australia than some other countries)
- the network you select (it costs more to advertise on the SERP than on the ‘Display Network’ – ie third party websites that have agreed to display Google Ads)
- the device you target – CPC can change according to whether you are targeting searches conducted on mobile, tablet or desktop devices
At this point, it may seem that you don’t have much of a say in what your Google Ad campaign will cost. But the reality is that you get to set your budget. Whether you do this at the ad, ad set, or campaign level is up to you. Once the budget you nominate has been used up, Google will simply stop running your ad for the rest of the budget period.
NB: Some experts advise that newbies to the Google Ad game set a daily budget. It offers a bit more control over your total campaign spend.
8 steps to setting up your Google Ads campaign
With all the ‘what?’, ‘why?’ and ‘how much?’ out of the way, let’s look at the steps you need to take to get your Google Ads campaign up and running.
- Set up your account – simply visit the Google Ads homepage and click on the ‘start now’ button. You will then be stepped through how to set up your account.
- Set a budget – it’s a good idea to start by setting a daily budget that you feel comfortable with (you can always adjust this up or down depending on how your ad performs). Remember that you won’t necessarily spend this amount each day – it just puts a cap in place.
- Set your location – this step ensures that Google only puts your ad in front of a relevant audience. (There’s not much point advertising your Melbourne-based roofing business to people living in Florida, US).
- Choose a network – Here you are choosing between the search or display networks. We tend to mentor our coaching clients to go for the search network; while it’s often more expensive, it is also more targeted and offers better bang for your buck.
- Choose your keywords – there’s a bit of an art to keyword research and selection but if you are just getting started, it’s fine to just go with the keywords that Google suggests based on your website. You can get more strategic as you gain experience.
- Set your bid – your bid is what you are willing to pay for a single click on your ad. Google’s Keyword Planner tool will indicate a suggested bid for each keyword you enter.
- Write your ad – Google’s template calls for two headlines and a description. You only get a limited number of characters – 30 for headlines and 90 for the description – so make them count. Include the keywords you are bidding on, make a clear offer and give people a reason to click through – add any social proof in the form of star reviews, awards etc, or a current promotion you are running. As with any marketing copy, don’t forget a call to action!
- Test and optimise – Once your ad is up and running, check in regularly – this is not a set and forget activity. Check for key performance indicators – quality score, click-through rate and conversion rate. You can use any insights gained to tweak elements of your ad or website that you think could improve your campaign’s performance.
The bottom line on getting to the top of the search
If results from your SEO efforts have been slow coming, leaving you wondering if it’s worth all the effort, don’t pack it all in just yet. SEO strategies can be very effective for improving your search ranking for relevant keywords, but they do take time – often many months. If you are looking to boost your sales and grow your business more quickly, investing in a strategic and well-executed Google Ads campaign in the short-term may just get you where you want to go – right to the top of the page.