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15 AdWords Marketing Experts Share Their Top Strategies

Kristina Cutura

Kristina Cutura

Founder/SEM Consultant KristinaCutura.com, Author of Advertising on Google: The High Performance Cookbook

What is your best quick implementation tip for companies and individuals trying to increase exposure and their profits through AdWords?

Pick highly relevant keywords, avoiding the more general, expensive ones. This sounds counter-intuitive because most companies believe that adding a lot of high traffic keywords increases your exposure. However, adding too many keywords can hinder your efforts at achieving good quality scores and the keywords that you choose could cost you more.

With Google, it’s all about relevance. Google wants their users to see ads that relate to what they are looking for. So, AdWords rewards advertisers who choose relevant keywords and write appealing ads by giving them better quality scores. AdWords discourages advertisers who choose keywords that are too general through poor quality scores. When you have better quality scores, you need to pay less for each click. Focusing on relevance (rather than adding any keyword you can think of) will pay off in the long run. Expand your keyword lists as you learn more about AdWords and what works for you.

If a company or individual is starting out with a total budget of under $1,000 for AdWords what would you suggest they do?

Don’t aim for the top ad spot, at least not at first. Being the #1 ad on Google is also going to be the most expensive. If your ads show in position 2-4, you can still get great volumes of traffic, but you’ll pay less for each click. Also, the top ad often gets lots of curiosity and impulse clicks that may not be as qualified. Ads 2-4 tend to get more clicks from users who actually take the time to read the ad copy.

Target more narrowly, rather than broadly. For example, if you are a local business, show your ads to only the locations where your customers are likely to come from.

Core Philosophy on AdWords:

“Set goals (such as how much you are willing to pay for each sale or lead) so you can focus your optimization efforts. It’s easy to get distracted with the many features and statistics, so you’ll need to keep in mind your end goal.”

Kristina Cutura, Founder/SEM Consultant of KristinaCutura.com, Author of Advertising on Google: The High Performance Cookbook

Jonathan Casella

Jonathan Casella

New Media Marketing Manager/Search Specialist at Sparxoo

Please share a case study with us:

My client, a tourism company, wanted to utilize PPC after their site launch as a way of generating traffic and leads, while SEO had an opportunity to develop. We built five campaigns: one for each primary service offered. Within each campaign, we developed 10-15 ad groups with no ad group containing more than 5 keywords. Each ad group had it’s own landing page, optimized for the keywords being targeted. We embedded a brand video, added a phone number, and created a form in the right margin. In one month, we saw conversions (online lead forms) increase 250% with a 46% decrease in cost-per-conversion. This process take much more time, but is much more effective.

Do you have any text ad tips or a short case study on good performing text ads for us?

Make sure to test compelling call-to-actions (CTAs). Depending on the target audience, you’re likely to find there are certain CTAs that are more successful. In one scenario, two ads had the same copy, except for the CTA. One read “Sign Up Now!” and one said “Learn More.” Turns out, the “Learn More” had a 50% higher click-thru-rate.

I also like to test ads that have the first letter of each word capitalized. I find that capitalized ads generally have a higher CTR. As you become more experienced with PPC, you will see that the littlest things can influence the success or failure of a text ad.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“I believe testing is key to AdWords success—test everything. Test your keywords, text ads, image ads, call-to-actions, landing pages—test to see if your ads perform better in position 3 verse position 1.”

Jonathan Casella, New Media Marketing Manager/Search Specialist at Sparxoo

Tim Schmitt

Tim Schmidt

Internet Marketing Specialist, Explore Consulting

What is your best quick implementation tip for AdWords?

Adjust your ad schedule and cycles.  Most people simply default to running their ads evenly 24/7, every day of the year, no matter what’s happening.  First, decrease your bid during off-hours when there’s less competition.  There’s no reason to pay full click price at 3 AM.  Second, watch the trend of weekday vs. weekends clicks.  One set usually converts better, so bid up the one set and down the other.  Third, adjust for seasonal trends.   For instance, products around holidays or services around regulatory deadlines cause upswings, so emphasize the upside and relax afterwards.  Fourth, jump on breaking news stories.  If your product or service relates to a news story people are searching upon, AdWords can be a quick way to capitalize on that topic and drive people to your website.  While larger companies are still dithering with approval, an entrepreneur can craft and run an ad within ten minutes.

If a company or individual is starting out with a total budget of under $1,000 for AdWords what would you suggest they do?

Stay away from money terms and liberally collect negative keywords.  Anyone searching upon the modifier “cheap” or “free”, don’t pay for that click.  Likewise, while the search modifier “best”, “top”, and “sale” drives lots of traffic, those searches perform worse on conversions.  Instead, look for the long tail keywords searched upon less frequently, but indicates higher buyer interest.  Don’t bid up to the top position.  Being number one probably won’t increase your click through rate, but it will increase your costs.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“I like Google, but I like my money better.  Ruthlessly optimize your ads and budget, but don’t get hung up on AdWords and don’t overspend.  The best way to generate new business is still the satisfied customer.”

Tim Schmidt, Internet Marketing Specialist at Explore Consulting

Alex Genadinik

Alex Genadinik

Founder of Problemio

If a company or individual is starting out with a total budget of under $1,000 for AdWords what would you suggest they do?

I would suggest to definitely set a daily maximum spending limit and limit each keyword. Also, I would advise to not bid on too many keywords right away, but test different keywords slowly. That way it will be easier to determine which keywords are performing well and which are not.

The last thing you want to do is rush in. Also, before you start spending money, make sure your website converts visitors well. Otherwise it can just be a waste of money.

Do you have any landing page tips? 

For whatever you want the conversion to be, have it appear above the fold. And preferably, make sure that there is only 1 thing you want the users to convert to. And make that one thing extremely clear. And make sure you promise that one thing in the text of your ad.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“There are 4 things that must absolutely fall into place:

1) Cost

2) Scale of people who will be reached

3) Targeting with tested keywords

4) Eventual conversion of the people who will click on the ad.”

Alex Genadinik, Founder of Problemio

Craig Streaman

Craig Streaman

Director of Marketing, Consumer Action Law Group

What is your best quick implementation tip for companies and individuals trying to increase exposure and their profits through AdWords?

Using ASCII Characters (%,®, +, *) will instantly set your ads apart from others competing for the same keywords.  It’s not rare to see an ad with a lower position receive a higher CTR by using attention grabbing characters that stand out from the rest of the plain text.

Any AdWords secret weapons that you could elaborate a little on?

For advertisers with a larger budget and larger potential audience, setting the Delivery Method to “Accelerated: Show ads more quickly until budget is reached” and turning the campaign budget and CPC up,  you can quickly determine how many clicks are actually available, and which times of day perform best.  After getting a good sample, you can then pare back a campaign to use only keywords, ads, and certain times of the day that prove to be profitable.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“All good PPC starts with good SEO.  Clearly defined landing pages with a single message, and clear calls to action are just as important as your keyword choice and ad copy.  There is no point in driving visitors to a site / page if you have no chance at converting them.”

Craig Streaman, Director of Marketing  at Consumer Action Law Group

Eric Fischer

Eric Fischer

Web Designer and SEO/SEM Specialist at 20 Creative Media & Marketing

What is your best quick implementation tip for companies and individuals trying to increase exposure and their profits through AdWords?

For businesses with a local storefront, make sure your local profile is up to date. If your Google Places for Business page is up to date and validated, with appropriate business types selected, etc, it will allow you to dominate a visitor’s eye real-estate when they first search for terms associated with your business.

By choosing good keywords for your AdWords ads and associating them with your Google Places account, the Google frontpage can become your playground.

For those without a local storefront, expanded sitelinks are a must. Your wonderfully placed ad can disappear amongst the other entries if it’s just two lines.

Do you have any text ad tips or a short case study on good performing text ads for us?

Text Tips – Make sure you learn how to put the keyword that was searched for into the ad dynamically. This is really easy, and often overlooked. If your ad’s headline contains the keyword that was actually searched for, everything is golden!

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“Integration with Analytics is critical. Unless you know what visitors are doing once they click on your ads, you may be throwing your money away.”

Eric Fischer, Web Designer and SEO/SEM Specialist at 20 Creative Media & Marketing

Matthew Gibbons

Matthew Gibbons

SEM Manager at inSegment

What is your best quick implementation tip for companies and individuals trying to increase exposure and their profits through AdWords?

I would advise companies looking to get started quickly in AdWords to focus on the “low hanging fruit”. Create search campaigns focused on keywords that will bring in exactly your target audience. Be sure to use text ads and landing pages that continue the conversation that the user initiated when they entered a search. Conversion tracking is also a must for advertisers looking to measure their return on investment; this data allows marketers to optimize their account for maximum profitability.

Any AdWords secret weapons that you could elaborate a little on?

It’s a poorly kept secret, but the AdWords Editor is a great tool. It allows AdWords managers to make bulk changes in a way that the user interface does not, including adjustments as a percentage of the original value. Copying and pasting variables saves a tremendous amount of time and effort. It also allows multiple users to collaborate on an account without overriding each other’s changes.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“inSegment’s core philosophy on using AdWords is to “continue the conversation”. Your advertisement should not be an interruption in the user experience; it should be an answer to a question they have asked.”

Matthew Gibbons, SEM Manager at inSegment

Lauren Davis

Lauren Davis

Lead Paid Search Account Manager at TopSpot Internet Marketing

Please share a case study with us:

Before we took over the account, an aftermarket car parts company had all their keywords in one single ad group. This means that no matter what keyword was typed in, the user saw the same ad and landed on the same page. We did a lot of research on their website to make sure we had all the car parts in their campaigns as keywords. We also separated the keywords out into their own ad groups, in order to create targeted ads for each keyword. Doing this increased CTR almost 6 times, and reduced cost-per-click by half. Having ads landing customers on product pages instead of the home page increased online sales by 50%.

Anything else you’d like to add in?

If you are not getting good conversions, first check your keywords to make sure they are driving targeted traffic. If the traffic is high quality, but they are not converting, it is time to consider making website changes.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“Be a Paid Search Scientist: Test, Measure, Adjust. Like any scientist, start with a hypothesis you would like to test.”

Lauren Davis, Lead Paid Search Account Manager at TopSpot Internet Marketing

Kathy Horn

Kathy Horn

Marketing Consultant with vitalink®

What is your best quick implementation tip for companies and individuals trying to increase exposure and their profits through AdWords?

Don’t try to do too much at once. Start with a targeted campaign that tests 3-4 different ads for effectiveness, and limit the number of keywords to 10-15 to start. Be as specific as you can. You may wish to begin by accepting Google’s recommended settings, then adjust as you find out what works best for you. In my experience, the leads my clients have gotten through the Search Network have been of a much higher quality (and more likely to convert) than those coming from the Display Network. That said, we often use the Display Network to gain brand exposure and name recognition or to specifically target certain websites we know our customers and potential customers are likely to visit by using managed placements.

Do you have any landing page tips?

  • To be most effective, your ads should set the expectation for the landing page. As an example, if your ad says, “get a free sample of product A” and you drop visitors onto your website’s home page—where there is no reference to the free sample—they will likely leave and you just wasted money on an ad.
  • You’ll also want to make sure the keywords used for each ad group are represented on the landing page.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“AdWords is a great tool to draw visitors to your website, but if you are in a competitive industry, it can be pricey. You really have to target and test your ads carefully to ensure you are spending your budget most effectively.”

Kathy Horn, Marketing Consultant with vitalink®

Mark Eckdahl

Mark Eckdahl

Chief Evangelist, ScheduleMax Online Scheduling

What is your best quick implementation tip for companies and individuals trying to increase exposure and their profits through AdWords?

For very quick AdWords implementation:  Try an AdWords test for your business – use (only) top two search terms and remove Display network distribution to focus your test.  Target the traffic from a click to a page with Google Analytics or other tracking already setup.  Start the Ad and see if the cost is worth the benefit it is to your business.  If it is, see how you can grow your AdWords usage to get more benefits for your business.

If a company or individual is starting out with a total budget of under $1,000 for Adwords what would you suggest they do?

Note, before you start with AdWords you need to get your best SEO terms and add them to your website.  This will result in both free traffic from searches and higher Quality Score (Rating of how close your website content matches AdWords keyword) for those same terms when used in AdWords.

A. Determine best search terms for your business.

B. Put these search terms in your website.

C. Target Adwords to either mobile or desktop depending on which will give you better results for each click.  And eliminate Display Network.

D. Set CPC at near what Google recommends, however pay less for keywords you see as less likely to benefit your business, and a bit more for keywords that fit your business exactly.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“Test and improve a focused lead generation plan.”

Mark Eckdahl, Chief Evangelist at ScheduleMax Online Scheduling

Michael LaLonde

Michael LaLonde

SEM Consultant, Londes Digital Marketing

What is your best quick implementation tip for companies and individuals trying to increase exposure and their profits through AdWords?

Define goals and learn to measure how effective your campaigns are at reaching those goals.  Whether you’re maximizing a tangible conversion likes sales, revenue, or leads, or have branding objectives and are using time on site, pages/visitor, and bounce rate, it’s imperative to monitor how effective each part of your AdWords strategy is performing and focusing on profitable segments.

Please share a case study with us:

Last year, we signed on an e-commerce client that had a budget of $2k/month for Google AdWords.  They had a 1.5 Revenue/Cost ratio, which wasn’t a profitable margin for them (for every $1 they spent, they generated $1.50 in sales).  With plenty of analytics and AdWords data to look at, we were able to restructure their campaign in a very measurable way that focused on what had been effective in the past.  Within two months, we had more than doubled their sales to a 3.2 revenue/sales ratio.  We did this by excluding unprofitable segments, focusing on long-tail searches that provided extremely profitable customers, and executing ad testing.  Over a year later, we’re helping them scale campaigns and increase budgets in the 3-5 revenue/cost range to increase sales and drive more profitable traffic.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“Our goal when approaching AdWords is to be both scalable and measurable.”

Michael LaLonde, SEM Consultant at Londes Digital Marketing

Donnie Cooper

Donnie Cooper

Founder of Inboundable.com

Any AdWords secret weapons that you could elaborate a little on?

I always use mergewords.com to help me organize the various keywords for each ad group. I like having every variation possible (and set to phrase match), so I can be sure I tested everything.

CallRail.com is another invaluable tool. This service (which you should be using too) tells me exactly which campaign, ad group and even keyword my phone calls come from! It’s my secret weapon, because competitors will continue to bid on keywords that send traffic but not calls. I like getting calls and sales, so I track calls from the website, not just calls from AdWords numbers.

If you’re on a shoe string budget, I built a wordpress plugin for tracking calls from visitors who have clicked one of your ads.

Do you have any text ad tips or a short case study on good performing text ads for us?

Always use the keyword topic for that ad group in your ad text. Beyond that, you can test several calls to action like “see our deals” or “offer ends today”. The most important thing to remember however, AdWords is all about who can get leads the cheapest… so your goal should be high quality scores via well organized campaigns. And this means, using your target keywords in your ad text.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“In the vast majority of cases, I recommend structuring your account such that each of your campaigns has only 1 landing page (optimized for only 1 keyword topic). Each ad group would contain variations of that topic as keywords and similar ad text.”

Donnie Cooper, Founder of Inboundable.com

Russell Davies

Russell Davies

Owner, Lobster Digital Marketing Limited

Any AdWords secret weapons that you could elaborate a little on?

Most people think that you have to bid the most to get your advert further up the serps but it’s not true. A lower bid on a phrase that has an advert that gets more clicks will get a higher placement on the results pages than a poorly designed advert that bids more than you do. Spend the time on your advert and run several adverts at the same time to test variations on headlines, subtitles and body text to see what works best. Pause under-performing ads or make further changes until you find an advert that converts well, gets high placement and low cost per click.

What is your best implementation tip for AdWords?

Keep it simple to begin with. Target a small number of phrases with optimized adverts that relate closely to the phrases you’re targeting.  Don’t be tempted by Google to add hundreds of suggested phrases to your list, stick to a small number of phrases that are middle or low competition but get regular visits. Its much better to get a high percentage of the visits from a less popular phrase that a tiny number of visits from a highly popular and expensive phrase.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“Be targeted – take time to target small groups of phrases with optimized ads.”

Russell Davies, Owner of Lobster Digital Marketing Limited

Sean O'Brien

Sean O’Brien

Director of Marketing, Pagely®

What is your best quick implementation tip for companies and individuals trying to increase exposure and their profits through AdWords?

Utilizing conversion tracking, make sure to figure out what an average lead/sale is worth, and then bid based on this. Bidding based on conversion value ensures you’re only bidding if you’re seeing ROI.

Do you have any landing page tips?

Make sure your landing page has a form visible above the fold, and has content relevant to the keyphrase you’re sending traffic for. Therefore, it’s optimal to have a separate landing page for each keyphrase.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“My core philosophy on using AdWords is that in order to make it work, you either need to become an expert, or hire an expert. Many SMBs try AdWords and abandon it before giving it a fair chance, oftentimes because they figure it’s something they can do themselves without the proper training or experience. If someone wants to run their own AdWords account, they should study and sit for Google’s relevant certification exams.”

Sean O’Brien, Director of Marketing at Pagely®

Taylor Miles

Taylor Miles

CEO of WebbROI

Do you have any text ad tips or a short case study on good performing text ads for us?

Test, Test, Test.  Start with your brand name, see how current customers respond, then use similar ads for new customers.

Anything else you’d like to add in?

Most importantly, measure with Conversions on site both in AdWords and Google Analytics.  Start small and test.  Don’t even try using AdWords unless you are tracking some sort of measurable goal: Phone calls, Sales, or Contact us page requests.

Core Philosophy on AdWords

“AdWords is more than paying for clicks; it’s core to researching and understanding your market and customer base.”

Taylor Miles, CEO at WebbROI

Comments

  1. Lisa Stein says:

    This is great information Lisa. I will share with my subscribers, because these questions do come up quite a bit.

  2. Paul Warner says:

    After reading all of this I am dismayed at the complexity of this subject matter, how risky it is, how much testing you have to do, and even knowing how critical keywords, or keyword phrases are, how much you really need expertise in this area. I am sure that it would take me, if I am fully concentrated on understanding Adwords, at least two or three months to feel comfortable enough to even try it. What would help is actually seeing sites that use Adwords with someone with some expertise, directing how they have been used, and what makes one site better than another, which would also involve a very heavy learning guide as to keyword usage, and the setting up of a site to make this pay off. I know one thing I do not have a thousand dollars to risk without feeling confident in what I am doing, and once again I hate the thought of spending more money on a course, which does really get old after a while as it feels like the well is so deep in trying to get the knowledge to do this stuff. Keywords and anchor texts is what I have to learn. I will probably have to read this post two or three times to grasp all that was written in these interviews.
    I appreciate your efforts in this and I know from what you have written previously you have made money with this, and I would really like some expertise in this……Paul

    • Lisa Parmley says:

      Hi Paul,

      AdWords is easy for some and difficult for others. If you’ve got a business going then driving traffic to it from AdWords is a great way to get more people to whatever you offer. I’m not sure it would really take you 2 to 3 months of reading before doing anything. I think that’s going a little overboard with learning. As for seeing sites using AdWords for advertising all you need to do is go to Google.com and type pretty much anything into the search box. The listings on the top, right side, and bottom are AdWords ads. You can find out more in an introductory article here:

      http://www.businessbolts.com/learn-google-adwords.html

      If you’ve got a business going then it’s worth it to consider using it as a way to get visitors to your site.

  3. Thank you for sharing Lisa, this is great information on Google Adwords. It has made me realise that using it well is far more complicated than I originally thought, and I will print this article so I can understand it better before I head off to Google Adwords in the future!

  4. Lisa, Thanks for this great information.

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