6 Things You Can Do to Get More Out of Google Ads

Is it any wonder that Google dominates the digital marketing space? More people than ever use Google to find what they’re looking for online. And so companies and advertisers flock to Google Ads for the opportunity to show up at the top of search results pages for people looking for products and services.

But as more and more advertisers take part in Google’s auctions, achieving success becomes harder. As competition for prime advertising space heats up, how can you make sure that your paid search efforts are adding value to your company?

Here are six things you can start doing today to get more out of your Google ads:

  1. Understand which keywords are driving results. Search marketers need to dig deeper than they used to in order to effectively manage bids and optimize their campaigns. This means knowing at the keyword level how performance looks. Where keywords exist that are not driving conversions, you are wasting money that should be spent elsewhere.

  2. Let Google’s algorithms identify new opportunities. AI and machine learning are taking over the search industry. Google already offers tools that will help you leverage the technology in order to find new audiences you may not have been able to find on your own.

  3. Nail the user experience. The most ignored aspect of search marketing campaigns is what happens after a prospective customer clicks on the ad. The landing page and shopping experience need to be perfected, and search marketers need to push hard internally to make sure the right level of attention is being paid to user experience on the website.

  4. Leverage audiences. The future of search marketing is shifting away from keywords and towards audiences. You want to deliver the right ad to the right person at the right time. It used to be that the best way to do that was with keywords. But Google’s algorithms are now smart enough to identify intent in different user groups. So instead of focusing solely on keywords, you can manage your bids based on who is using those keywords.

  5. Stay ahead of new features. Google has been busy making it easier for advertisers to grab attention and get more clicks, releasing new features like expanded text ads and site links. From adding star ratings to ads, to phone numbers and offers, successful advertisers take advantage of these new features to stay ahead of the competition.

  6. Work with a specialist. Either aim to hire someone with deep industry experience or work with an outside team that knows search better than you do. Companies like PPC PRO bring their expertise with them and make sure that you are taking full advantage of every best practice there is.

Bottom line, your search campaigns can be doing more for you. Search is still one of the most effective digital advertising channels around. And those marketers who dedicate the time and resources required to succeed in this space will continue to outperform the competition.

This post was sponsored by PPC PRO, a transparent and refreshingly different Google AdWords management service.

How to Achieve a Higher Click-through Rate on PPC Ads

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There are a lot of different things that go into making a pay-per-click campaign successful. But one thing is for sure, if people don’t click on your ads, none of the rest matters. So one way to improve the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns is to improve the ads themselves and get more people to click on them.

Here are a few ideas for how to achieve a higher click-through rate on your PPC ads:

  1. Clear call to action – clever copy or intriguing design might get your ads noticed, but if it’s a click you are after, ask for it. Use active language and a clear next step. For image ads, use a button. For text, close with an action. Phrases like “Click Here” or “Get Started” or “Learn More” are most effective.
     
  2. Show the value – don’t use your ads to display a big logo or brag about your brand. Make it about the user. How can you solve their problems? How can you make their lives better? Use the ad copy to tell them directly what value you are going to add to their lives.
     
  3. Cater to your audience – know who your audience is and where they are seeing your ad. You want to cater your ads to where they will show up in order to ensure that they stand out. No one is going to click on your ad if they never see it.
     
  4. Don’t jump the gun – remember the marketing funnel? It’s important to know where users are in the buying cycle and to design an ad that moves them down the funnel chronologically. Don’t ask for the sell if this is the first time they’re seeing your message. Give them a simple next step so that they can familiarize themselves with your offering.
     
  5. Continue to test – different headlines might draw more users. The same goes for different colors and images. In any PPC campaign, testing different ads to see which ones attract the greatest number of clicks is critical to long-term success.

How to Make PPC Work for B2B Marketing (Guest Post)

Lucas Miller is a freelance blogger, content marketer and advocate for what he likes to call, "Editorial Entrepreneurship." When not working to strengthen Echelon Copy and Green Splatter, he's busy reading, writing or running alongside the Wasatch Mountains mountains in Provo, Utah. Also, for what it's worth, he claims to have an incredible head of hair.

Whether it be through search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media or some sort of strategic media outreach, the vast majority of product- and service-pushing outlets have the genuine potential to produce an impressive return on investment (ROI) for those who use them—pay-per-click (PPC) advertising confidently follows suit in this regard.

And with good reason—more than most marketing means, PPC has the ability to provide brands with real, measurable results, yet in a highly predictable format, as well. There is one problem here, though—if you’ve ever tried using PPC advertising as part of a B2B marketing campaign either for yourself or a client, you know how difficult things can quickly become.

The Challenges of B2B Business Models

So, with this in mind, what is it exactly that makes PPC advertising a more trying affair for B2B marketers? For swift changes to be made, they’ll first need to be both identified and understood. Below, you’ll find five of the biggest, most pressing issues B2B marketers encounter with PPC:

  • Challenge #1 - The sales cycle tends to be longer than those of a B2C nature.
  • Challenge #2 - The B2B space is a crowded one—competition runs rampant.
  • Challenge #3 - Though niche markets are a blessing, they make targeting tougher.
  • Challenge #4 - B2B products and services tend to come with higher price tags.
  • Challenge #5 - Big-ticket items bring comparison shoppers out of the woodworks.

Don’t get me wrong or anything—PPC is still very much a viable option for B2B campaigns. That said, with each of the above a widespread problem in today’s B2B climate, it’s vital that PPC advertisers adjust their various strategies to account for differences in buyer behavior.

5 Things All B2B Marketers Must Keep In Mind With PPC

While it’s true that using PPC for B2B marketing is more complicated than for its B2C counterpart, it can still be successfully leveraged with the right strategies in place. Below, you’ll find five to help make PPC an effective advertising tool when working as or for B2B brands. While the techniques you’ll use will vary depending on priorities, all will get the job done.

1) The Target Sales Funnel

As previously made mention, the sales cycle for the typical B2B buyer is a lengthy one. In fact, studies have shown that the average B2B user conducts at least 12 Google searches before performing a single brand search. On its surface, this might seem like a problem. What it means, however, is that larger, more generic problems are being searched for upfront.

Needless to say, as a B2B marketer, use this information to your advantage by both bidding on problem-based keywords and producing solution-oriented content. Furthermore, as far as most on-site content is concerned, provide effective, yet distanced solutions—no selling. You’ll want to save the sales-heavy stuff for the keywords you bid on for those at the bottom of your funnel.

2) The Need for Sound Ad Testing

One of the biggest mistakes PPC “specialists” routinely make is, whether intentional or not, forgetting to test their ad copy. Seriously, it’s impossible to understate the importance of ad testing. Think about it—for B2B brands, your ads are the first experience prospective client companies will have with your business. You’d be smart to put your best foot forward.

Testing allows you to determine whether or not you’re connecting with buyers at each stage of the sales funnel. No matter how well you know your audience, assuming that what you’re doing will work is a tried-and-true recipe for failure—especially when launching a B2B campaign. Test until you’ve discovered something of statistical significance—from there, move onto the next ad.

3) Remarketing Is an Absolute Must

Ready for some remarketing magic? If you’ve never tried your hand at it as part of previous campaigns, you’ll likely need to give it a whirl. Remember, the B2B sales cycle generally takes longer to complete than most. As such, remarketing often gives buyers a nudge in the right direction, reminding them that they’ve looked into using your company in the past.

When remarketing for B2B purposes,  keep in mind that you’re approaching people who are already familiar with your brand—they form a valuable portion ofyour digital audience. Because of this, built out messages that are meant specifically for them—at a warmer buying temperature, they should’t be treated as if they’re to visit your site for the first time.

4) Make Certain to Test Any and All Landing Pages

Ads are one thing, but without a series of well-built landing pages in place to help maximize clicks, they’re of little worth to you and your B2B team. Seeing as how landing pages are capable of making or breaking your PPC campaign, get them right the first time around.

According to Rory Witt of DigiMar, a PPC agency based in San Diego, Calif., there are five key mistakes digital marketers frequently make when creating landing pages for future customers:

  • Mistake #1 - The page loads slowly. Make certain yours loads in at least five seconds.
  • Mistake #2 - The design of the page is jumbled, messy and hard to follow for visitors.
  • Mistake #3 - Headlines haven’t been given the time and attention the deserve.
  • Mistake #4 - The page is filled with text, but lacks other types of engaging media.
  • Mistake #5 - The call-to-action (CTA) is forgettable, confusing or hard to find.

But enough with what doesn’t work—let’s focus for a brief moment on what you should do to take your B2B landing pages to the next level. For starters, when building out landing pages for PPC campaigns, focus the content around what’s spoken of in your ads—they’re more powerful that way. Additionally, make your CTAs as clear-cut as humanly possible—they’re big for sales.

Next, similar to what was done in the second point on this list, test the landing pages you’ve developed. Run a landing page for a few weeks. Then, using the original as a control, adjust it slightly to best determine what leads to meaningful B2B conversion. Once again, continue this test until you’ve discovered a statistical advantage. That way, you spend your ad dollars wisely.

5) Last But Not Least—Don’t Forget About Auction Insights

Of the five items mentioned on this list, this one is arguably the most important—it’s in your best interest to utilize AdWords' Auction Insights reports to get a better idea of the following:

  • Benefit #1 - Average Position
  • Benefit #2 - Impression Share
  • Benefit #3 - Outranking Share
  • Benefit #4 - Top-of-Page Rate
  • Benefit #5 - Position-Above Rate

The greater PPC industry moves at a fast pace. Combine that with the constant noise and crowding of the B2B sector, and to come out on top, your best bet is to keep up with who’s aggressively jockeying for the keywords you’re hoping to grab. Use Auction Insights to keep an eye on what the competition is doing to claim a more sizable portion of your target audience.

Wrapping Things Up

Tackling a PPC initiative for a B2B brand doesn’t need to feel like an exercise in workplace patience or determination—simply put, there’s an easier way to go about doing things. By adhering to each of the above suggestions, you’ll soon see the results you so desperately seek.

Day One Strategy – Part 2

Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Email List Building.

Today’s Topic = Search Engine Marketing

You’re read all the articles, listened to all the experts, and you know that your company could benefit from search engine marketing (SEM), or paid search. That’s fantastic, but where do you start?

Account Setup

Given that the majority of searches done occur on Google, that’s a good place to start. Google’s SEM platform is called Google Adwords. When you visit the site you have the option to get started using their online account setup tools (plus a free 800 number for direct assistance). It benefits Google to have you come on board as an advertiser so you can count on them for help getting started.

You might also want to advertising on Yahoo and Bing, where traffic is lower but competition is also less, meaning cheaper advertising for you.

Keywords

After you create your account, the next thing you’ll need are the keywords that you want to target. When choosing keywords, you want to start very specific. What will your potential customers be typing into the search bar when looking for your products? Make a list and load it into Google’s keyword tool, which will give you additional suggestions based on similar terms that they know get a lot of traffic. They will even show you how much traffic to expect for each keyword phrase, along with some idea of the competitiveness and cost.

Accounts have anywhere from a few keywords to tens of thousands. But to start you’ll want to limit it to those keywords you expect to have the greatest value. You’ll be able to analyze the relative success of each keyword and add more as you go.

Ads

Next, you need to create the ads that will show when someone searches those keywords. Again, Google has a simple tool that allows you to generate ads to fit their platform. You should use a combination of different headlines and sub-headings to create a number of ads, at least 3-4 for each product or product category you’ll be advertising. This allows you to run ad copy tests to find out which ads have the most impact.

Landing Pages

Where are people going to land after they click on your ads? Those are your landing pages. Landing pages are pages on your website that clearly state the offer you are making. It might be a product page, or a sales page, or a lead generation form. Good landing pages restate the information in the ad and direct the user experience in order to eliminate confusion and the number of steps necessary to complete a desired outcome, like purchasing the product from your site.

Getting Started

Once you have all the assets created, it’s time to get started. In order to do that, you need to set your bids (the amount you’re willing to pay for each click) and your budget caps (the amount you want to spend in a given time period). With both of these the general recommendation is to start small, so you can measure performance before spending more.

The key is to continue to test new things – landing pages, ad copy, and keywords – to find the right combination that produces the more sales, leads, etc. at a lower cost. Always be measuring performance.

Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.

How to Grow Your Business with Search Marketing

You may be familiar with the terms paid search, or search engine marketing (SEM). Search marketing is the art of serving ads to people using search engines to find what they’re looking for online.

Google, Yahoo, and Bing, the big 3 search engines in the US, all allow advertisers to show ads on their search results pages based on the keywords a person types into the search box. Paid search spending has represented the largest share of online advertising for a number of years, though display advertising is closing that gap in part due to the rise of Facebook.

Paid search spending in the US has risen by 15-25% per year for the last five years.

There’s one reason, it works. Companies consistently strong results with the paid search campaigns, bringing in new business for a fraction of the cost of other advertising channels.

If you’re not already doing it, check out this post on Getting Started with Google Adwords.

Here’s what you can do to grow your business using search engine marketing:

  • Bid on keywords your customers may be searching. Think about what someone would search to find you. If you knew someone was searching “X”, would you want to advertise to them? That’s your base list of keywords to advertise on.
     
  • Bid on variations of these keywords. Google has an easy to use keyword research tool that allows you to upload a list of keywords and generate a larger list of related keywords. They even tell you the average cost and search volume for each word so you can add them to your account.
     
  • Bid on your brand name. This ensures you show up at the top of the results and keeps the competition from stealing searches from you.
     
  • Bid on your competitors’ brand name. This is a risky move because the costs involved might be higher, but it is a good strategy if your goal is to steal market share from a more established competitor.
     
  • Don’t forget Bing and Yahoo. Many people just advertise on Google, and ignore the other 30% of searches in the US that take place on the number 2 and 3 search engines.
     
  • Double bid. Many companies establish secondary websites so that they can bid on the same keywords and show up twice on the first page, increasing the chances of getting clicked on.
     
  • Optimize landing pages for action. No matter what your goal is, make sure you are measuring post-click performance. The page someone lands on after they click on an ad should be built to do one thing, get that user to complete one action – whether that is a sale, a completed form, a phone call, etc.

Once you are up and running, use all the tools available to you to measure the performance of your campaigns. All the way down to each individual keyword, you’ll be able to track cost, clicks, and conversions, allowing you to optimize the way you spend your money over time.

When used the right way, search engine marketing can help you grow your business by sending qualified prospects your way at a low cost.