Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Make the most of Google Adwords using these 10 Tips

When I first created my website up and launched my brand new software package I had one main strategy for selling - get people to visit my site and download the trial copy of my software. Hopefully the software would then sell itself.

From talking with other people who owned websites and who had tried to do e-commerce, I knew it would take lots of work, possibly over many months, to rank well in search engine results. I was told to think about using Pay Per Click (PPC) to get going and that GoogleAds was the only service worth using. I signed up at
www.google.co.uk/adwords, wrote my first ad, started getting visitors within an hour and made sales on my first day.

It all seemed so easy - let GoogleAds do the work and sit back waiting for Paypal to tell me people had made a purchase. As the days passed though, the number of visitors clicking through to my site dropped and sales were harder to come by. As I should have expected, nothing in life is ever too easy and I should have done research upfront to optimise my Adwords campaign.

As the days rolled on, I had to up the amounts I was prepared to pay for each click in order to keep getting visitors. I was still making a profit but not much. After a couple of weeks of further research I decided I needed to rethink my whole campaign. I found these tips to be the most useful in improving my conversion rate of clicks to sales:

1. When choosing the keywords for which your ad is to appear, make sure that they are absolutely relevant to your site. I got good click through rates (CTR) for “
invoice templates” but at the time my invoicing software package didn’t include multiple templates.

2. Run multiple ads simultaneously. Try different ads to see which work best. Don’t use the same keywords in multiple ads – Google will only show 1 or the other ad and not both.

3. Avoid the word free. I got good CTR for phrases including the word free – like “free invoice software”. In hindsight this was probably a bad choice since those clicks probably weren’t from people wanting to make a purchase of any kind in the first place.

4. You can’t include many words in a single ad. Try selling different benefits in different ads to see which attracts most customers.

5. Write the ads in an attention-grabbing way, don’t just list features. For example – use Special Offer, Time Limited Offer.

6. Sell benefits as well as features – Save Time, No Special Knowledge, Easy to Use.

7. Try ads with and without the price – which works best?

8. Use Google’s free Adwords optimisation service. Look at their suggestions and see if they’ve spotted something your own ads and keywords haven’t covered.

9. Above all, monitor the performance of ads, keep tweaking and try different ads to see which works best. Give an ad a few days to see how it performs before changing it.

10. Use the knowledge you gain while monitoring your ads to optimise the content of the pages on your site and improve your performance in organic search results. Which keywords work best? Do you have pages that clearly focus on those keywords? Can you build backlinks that reinforce the keywords?

When used properly, Google Adwords is a very useful selling tool. Don’t expect to set up a single ad and keep making money however. When you use Google Adwords you are competing in a bidding war. Your competitors will be optimising their campaigns even if you aren’t. Ongoing monitoring and updating of ads is essential to continued success.

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