10 Tips to save money and heartache

Adwords copyright GoogleGoogle Adwords is probably the most successful adverting medium ever invented. It's Google prime source of income and has made Google one of the largest businesses in the world in a few short years.
Adwords has massive advantages for small and large advertisers alike. With an e-commerce website you can even add code to your site and let Google show you what each sale via Adwords cost. But using Adwords without first learning how it works will mean you are simply boosting Google's bottom line without helping your own.

Google supplies very comprehensive details of how to optimise your Adword campaigns, but this requires hours of reading. We implore you to read as much as possible about Adwords before you start. We thoroughly recommend Adwords. From our experience here are 10 points you should understand before starting:

1) Understand what keywords mean

These are words and phrases that people search for on Google and will trigger your ads to appear when they are searched for. They may not be immediately obvious, particularly if you are advertising a new or novel product or service.
You need to get into the head of the searcher and imagine what someone who would benefit for your offer would be searching for. Successful keywords and phrases are essential and may turn out be very different from what you might at first expect.

2) Understand what effect "quotation marks" have on keywords

If your product or service is a bank reconciliation spreadsheet and you choose the keywords:
Bank, reconciliation and spreadsheet when someone searches for best bank for dollars or marriage reconciliation or spreadsheet lessons your ads are likely to be displayed.
To avoid this place your keywords and phrases in quotation marks. This means that the key phrase "bank reconciliation spreadsheet" will only be activated when that phase comes up or a search with that phrase in it, like best bank reconciliation spreadsheet or advice on bank reconciliation spreadsheet.

3) Understand negative keywords

By specifying negative keywords you can further focus your campaign by avoiding words you don't want. Words like free, cheap and discount could be added as negative keywords if your offer is none of these. Why pay for people searching for free bank reconciliation spreadsheet when you will be selling it?

4) Understand Geographic areas

Seems obvious, but if you are not selling to the USA, make sure your ads don't appear there. If your website is in English, ensure this is your language selection.

5) Understand Google networks

Networks are where your ads will appear. Adword ads can appear in a number of places: Google searches on Google and Google search partners. Additionally, 'content network' which are Google ads on other websites. Ones who are profiting from Google Adsense. You can also have your ads appear on mobile devices like iPhones or just on desktop and laptop computers. From experience we found that Google searches and no mobile devices achieved a higher click-through rate.

6) Understand how to write an advertisement

You have just 4 lines to sell yourself:
Line 1: the headline. Eye-catching but honest. Try to incorporate some of your keywords.
Line 2: the customer's benefit. What will the customer gain from your offer?
Line 3: the special feature(s). What is your USP (unique selling point)?
Line 4: your website. Adwords allow you to direct to a landing page on your website, but show the main URL. (Although this line may be 'www.MyWebsite.com', the landing page can be 'www.mywebsite.com/ad03.htm')

7) Understand how to run your ads in competition with each other

Google Adwords lets you run a number of ads simultaneously, rotating them equally at first. You will be able to see which version does best. After about 20 to 50 click-throughs pull the poor performer and make a variation of the successful ad and try again. This way you can improve the effectiveness of your ads and experiment with new ideas.

8) Understand variable costs and positions of ads.

Just as Google's search engine uses 'Page Rank', Google's Adwords uses 'Quality Score'. You should be aware of this and Google's website has full details of how this works. Essentially, the better your ad performs (ie the more people click on it) the better it is for Google. Not only do they get more money, but the quality of satisfaction of users increase too. So to encourage better ads, they cost less and are positioned higher up a page. So it's not only money that talks, it's quality too. You should be aiming to achieve a click-through rate (CTR) of 0.5% and better. Below this you need to recheck your ads and keywords.

9) Understand how to handle results/click-throughs.

Your ad was so tantalising that a complete stranger clicked it and has arrived at your website. What do they know about you, your website and what you have to offer? Absolutely nothing, except the headline and two lines of your ad. So if they turn up at your home page and it does not take them on exactly the next step from your ad, you're in danger of losing a valuable potential customer as they look around wondering why they came.
Seriously consider making a special landing page for each Adword campaign (or even each ad) which follows seamlessly on from whatever it was you wrote that enticed the click-through.

10) Understand that it's not magic.

Follow the tips, learn how to maximise Adwords to your advantage and you'll find you are attracting valuable and targeted traffic to your website - and maybe even making some sales. But the real bottom line is:
if what you offer is not useful, not desirable, not competitively priced and not completely explained it won't sell. The internet is not magic and the laws of economics, supply and demand apply in the cyber world too.

Google, Adwords & Adsense are registered trademarks of Google Inc.