The 10-Step Guide to Creating a Profitable Google AdWords Campaign from Scratch
Launching a new Google Ads search campaign is an exhilarating process. Excitement, anxiety, fear, and hope are emotions that come to mind when I’m about to click the Enable button on a new campaign.
If you are just getting started, you might be afraid of messing it up. I get it. The steps I’ll walk you through will ensure you’re depositing more money into your own bank account, rather than just funding Google’s empire.
When set up and managed properly, Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) is one of the best sources for new customers.
Over the years, I have helped businesses grow from $0 to $1,000,000+ on the back of hardworking AdWords campaigns. But, I’ve also watched tens of thousands of dollars get flushed down the AdWords drain due to mismanaged campaigns.
family owned since 1939 for allyour appliance needs call now
The headline of this ad was the name of the company, which is not relevant to the keyword “appliance repair.” Unless you’re a big-name brand, no one will recognize or even care about your name. It’s not compelling and there’s no congruence from keyword to the ad.
Also, “family owned since 1939” is not a specific benefit. There’s implied benefit if the prospect puts two and two together and believes longevity equals good service. However, that’s a lot to ask and clearly does not follow the KISS principle. Stick to explicit benefits rather than implied benefits in your ads.
Finally, the phrase “for all your appliance needs” is as vague as you could possibly be. This is an example of trying to be all things to all people, rather than solving a very specific problem for a very specific target customer.
Google Adwords Step #7: Use Relevant Landing Pages
At this point, your prospect has searched for your product or service. They found your ad to be compelling versus all of the other options, clicked to learn more, and landed on your website.
Well, if you’re like a lot of first-time advertisers, then your prospect is now on your homepage scratching their head trying to figure out what just happened. The ad made a promise the homepage couldn’t keep.
That’s because your homepage is not an advertising landing page!
Homepages explain everything your business does, all of your products and services, and all of the different customers you serve. In other words, your homepage is not 100 percent relevant to the keyword searched and the ad clicked. Do not make this mistake.
Instead, create a dedicated landing page that matches the keyword and the ad. The goal is to make the entire sales process congruent so your prospect is continually reassured she’s going down the right path.
The most important component on your landing page is your headline, which is the first thing your prospect will read. Your headline must grab attention, reiterate the offer made in the ad, and compel your prospect to keep reading the rest of the page.
The copy of high-converting landing pages should again be relevant to the keyword searched and the ad clicked on. Include your USP, benefits of your product or service, details about your irresistible offer, social proof, credibility that you’re a legitimate business, and a strong call to action.
Google AdWords Step #8: Conversion Tracking
We’re almost ready to set up your campaign in AdWords, but there is one final ingredient: Conversion tracking.
If you skip this step, you’ll never know which keywords and ads generate sales and which are just losing money. In other words, you will not be able to optimize your campaign once it’s up and running.
Conversion tracking measures the sales generated by your AdWords campaign. More specifically, you want to know which keywords and which ads are generating sales.
If some or all of your sales occur online with an e-commerce shopping cart, then conversion tracking is pretty straightforward. Just use the built-in Google AdWords conversion tracking.
The Google Ads conversion tracking code can be found in your Google Ads account under the tool icon, then “Measurements > Conversions.”
To create a new conversion, simply click on the [+ Conversion] button and follow the steps to define your conversion. Then add the small snippet of code to your order form thank-you page or receipt page.
This code is similar to Google Analytics code if you have that installed on your website, but it should be on only the final page after a customer completes her order.
Then, when a customer lands on your receipt page or thank you page, Google will track the conversions in your AdWords account automatically. That’s really all there is to it, and there’s no reason not to install this before you turn on your ads.
Google can also track app installs, web conversions, phone calls, and offline conversions.
What if you generate leads online, but you ultimately close the sale “offline” – over the phone or in-person – rather than online? Clearly, you can’t add a conversion code to your cash register, so what can you do?
The three tactics I recommend for tracking offline sales are:
Create a conversion page in your sales process. For example, send all of your customers to a special page to get their receipt, create an account online, or download an important document. Think of a way to get your customers to that webpage and add the AdWords code to that page. Now you can track the sales.Use unique coupon codes in your ads and landing pages. If you use unique coupon codes in your ads and landing pages, then you can match the codes back to the ad and keyword that generated the sale.Use tracking phone numbers in your ads and landing pages. If you use unique tracking phone numbers, you can match the calls and subsequent sales to the ads and keywords that generated the sale.
Once conversion tracking is in place, then the time has finally come to log into Google AdWords and set up your first campaign.
The Google AdWords interface makes campaign setup a breeze, but don’t blindly accept the default settings. Some of them can get you into trouble.
Google AdWords Step #9: AdWords Settings for Success
As I mentioned, Google Ads does a great job of making it fairly easy to set up your campaign. Simply click on the blue plus symbol, then the New Campaign button, as shown below, and follow the steps to add in your ads and keywords.
The process is pretty simple; however, many of the default settings are not in your best interest. That’s why step #9 is to use the correct AdWords settings for success.
Here are the most important settings to watch out for:
Search vs. DisplayDevice BidsKeyword Match TypesNegative Keywords
Search vs. Display
Select Search Network Only for your campaign type, so you’re targeting only the Google Search Network and not the Display Network.
The display network is a completely different animal than search advertising and it requires a different set of keywords, ads, and landing pages. So always set up separate campaigns to target each network.
Keyword Match Types
Many first time advertisers have no idea there are different match types. As a result, they waste money on irrelevant search phrases that are not part of the keywords listed in the account.
There are three main keyword match types:
Broad match as you now know is the default match type. If you leave your keywords as Broad match, then Google will show your ads to any search phrase Google thinks is relevant to your keyword.
This means your ads will get more impressions, but you’ll likely show ads to irrelevant search phrases that will just waste your budget. So I do not recommend Broad match.
Phrase match keywords will trigger ads when the exact phrase is part of the keyword typed into Google. For example, if your Phrase match keyword is “office space,” then your ad will display for “New York office space” and “office space in New York.” However, your ad would not display for “office in space” because the phrase “office space” is broken up by the word “in.”
Phrase match gives you much more control over your ads than Broad match. To change your keyword to Phrase match, simply add quotes around the keyword (see image below).
Exact match simply tells Google to display your ad only when the exact keyword is typed into Google. You’ll get the most control with Exact match, but you’ll limit your exposure. To set your match type to Exact match, add square brackets around your keywords (see image below).
I recommend starting with Phrase match because you’ll get the best of both worlds with regard to targeting and reach. However, when you use Phrase match, you need to make sure you include negative keywords.
Negative keywords give you the ability to block phrases from triggering your ads. For example, if you’re an office space rental company advertising on the Phrase match keyword, “office space,” then you will want to block the keyword “movie.”
That way your ads for an office space rental will not be displayed for folks searching for the Office Space movie.
To add negative keywords, go to the Keywords tab in your account, scroll down, and click on the Negative keyword link (see image below).
Next, click the Add button to add in the keywords you want to block.
Once you’ve completed the setup process, then you’re ready to enable the ads and start optimizing your campaign!
Google Adwords Step #10: Optimization
As soon as you set your bidding, enable your campaign, and Google approves your ads, you can take a nice deep breath. Congratulations, your ads are live!
Unfortunately, you can’t relax yet. Most campaigns are not profitable from the start and they always require continual optimization to stay profitable.
There are three main areas to improve your AdWords campaign performance:
Your keyword bids. I recommend using Smart Bidding to get started, but once you start to generate clicks and sales, you might want to adjust your bids accordingly. If your keywords are generating sales profitably and you’re not ranked #1, then continue to raise your bids. If your keywords are not generating sales profitably, then obviously, you’ll need to lower your bids or pause the keyword entirely.Your ad click-through rate (CTR). As I mentioned earlier, your ad CTR directly affects your quality score, which in turn determines how much you pay per click. To optimize your CTR, A/B test different ads to see which version gets the most clicks.Your landing page conversion rate. The final area to optimize is your landing page. There are many tools to help you test different landing page versions, but if you’re just starting out, I recommend you use Google Optimize. It’s easy and free to get started. Create an experiment to test two different versions of your landing page and measure to see which one generates the most conversions.
By now, your Google AdWords campaign should be set up so you’re focused on optimizing keyword bids, ad click-through rates, and landing page conversion rates.
If you follow these ten steps, then you will be well on your way to a profitable Google AdWords campaign. Good luck!
Have you launched a successful Google Ads campaign? What tips do you have to share?