The turnaround was stunning.
When I had last seen Jan, her business was in danger of going under. Just six months later, however, business was booming. She had large Fortune 100 clients, small local clients and everything in between. And she wasn’t pounding the pavement trying to find customers anymore – the customers were coming to her!
I asked her what she credited this amazing turnaround to. Her response: Google AdWords.
Since that conversation, the more I’ve learned about AdWords, the more I’ve used it, and the more I’ve talked to others who’ve used it – the more convinced I’ve become that AdWords is the most powerful marketing tool to come along in a very long time.
What is Google AdWords?
AdWords is Google’s version of Pay Per Click advertising. When you perform a search on Google you typically get two sets of results. On the left side of the screen are the free (organic) listings. On the right side are the AdWords ads (sponsored listings) which are paid advertisements (sometimes 2 or 3 paid ads appear on the left above the organic results).
As an advertiser, you bid on keywords related to your product or service. When a search is performed on keywords you’ve bid on, your ad appears. It’s known as “Pay Per Click” because you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
The Power of AdWords
So what is it about AdWords that makes it such a powerful marketing tool?
Speed and ease. For $5, you can have ads up and running with the potential to reach millions of people worldwide in about 15 minutes.
Over 1 billion searches a day. About half of all web searches are performed on Google. Every one of these searches is conducted by a person who has a problem they need solved or has a need, desire, or quest for information they need filled. If you can scratch the itch of even a small percentage of those people, chances are your business will do very well online.
Drive highly qualified, highly motivated visitors to your website. Businesses spend a lot of time prospecting to find people who need their product or service – and need it NOW!
When someone types in a search term into Google, they do the prospecting for you. They’ve virtually put a big neon sign over their head that’s flashing the words “I need your help!”
Show them how you can scratch their itch and you’ve landed a highly qualified prospect at your website who is ready to buy. Instead of prospecting to the masses, you can spend your time selling to a highly targeted audience.
Only pay when people click on your ad. As mentioned earlier, with Pay Per Click advertising you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This lets you target your advertising dollars on prospects who express an interest in your offer. You also control both your monthly budget and the maximum amount you are willing to pay for each click to help further maximize your ROI.
Test and measure your marketing results. AdWords, along with Google Analytics and Website Optimizer (both free tools), allows you to test and measure your marketing messages faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before. This capability is probably the most important, yet most underutilized and underappreciated, aspect of AdWords.
As an advertiser you can keep track of how many people view your ad, and of those, how many click on it. This is known as the click-through-rate (CTR). You can also measure your conversion rates. This is the percentage of people who visit your website and take the action you want (ie. make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, etc.).
Constantly tweaking and testing various aspects of your campaign is critical to success in AdWords. Small improvements in the performance of your keywords, ad text, bid prices, and landing page can lead to exponential increases in your CTR and conversion rate – and, ultimately, sales.
The benefits of this testing don’t just apply to AdWords. Once you find keywords, messages, headlines, landing pages, etc. that work in AdWords, there’s a good chance they’ll work in other online and offline marketing campaigns too.
Success in AdWords, however, isn’t ultimately about the keywords, headlines or ad text in your ads. It’s about your website. If your website is difficult to navigate, doesn’t offer a compelling message to your target audience, or doesn’t deliver what you promise in your AdWords ad, all the clicks in the world won’t help you. If, however, you have a good website, use AdWords to help make it even better, and drive those highly qualified, highly motivated prospects there – the results can be stunning.
Just ask Jan.
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