Minding the details that matter most
Can Google AdWords work for you?
So you’ve been up at night wondering, “Should I open a Google
Ad Words account and drive qualified,
targeted traffic to my Web site for only
pennies a click?”
Or maybe you phrase it this way:
“Should I waste my valuable time and
money advertising my Web site to people who will never in a million years
book me or buy my products?”
Unfortunately, both are the same
question, depending on who the “you”
is. In this painfully short article, I’ll
help you figure out whether to consider using Ad Words and, if so, how to
avoid the newbie mistakes that can
drain your wallet faster than a visit to a
Disneyland gift shop.
Should I Use Ad Words?
You should advertise with Ad Words if
three conditions hold true:
1. You can identify keywords that get
searched a lot by Internet users.
If nobody is looking for what you’re
selling, you can’t use a search
engine. Several free and paid tools
allow you to research the volume
of keywords. Find a free one at
2. Those keywords are being typed by
buyers, not freebie-seekers. Lots of
people search the Internet looking
for—wait for it—free information.
As a speaker, you provide—wait
for it—information. If you can’t
get searchers to pay for the information, you have an online hobby,
not a business.
How can you tell if your keywords
represent buyers rather than freeloaders? If other Web sites are advertising
for those keywords, somebody’s
probably making money.
3. You can sell things to those buyers.
Visit other Web sites that come up in
Google for those keywords. See
what they’re selling, and to whom.
If that Google search results page is
like a big flea market, does your stall
belong in that flea market?
Beginner Mistakes to Avoid
Not setting a daily and monthly budget.
When you start sending Ad Words traffic
to your site, you’re spending money on
market research. We all “start stupid”
with Ad Words. Think of the money you
spend to assess keywords, test ads and
improve your Web site as an expense,
not to be recouped. How much can you
afford to lose? Incorporate that amount
into your budgeting process.
Not split testing. The beauty of
Ad Words is how easily you can test
multiple variations of an ad or landing
page to see which one elicits a higher
response. If you’re not constantly testing something, you simply won’t be
competitive in this medium.
Focusing on the wrong data. The big
number in Ad Words appears to be
click-through rate, or CTR. Google
cares a lot about your CTR, rewarding
you for a high one and punishing you
for a low one. But you can’t take CTR
to the bank and deposit it. Focus
instead on return on investment and
conversion, using the free built-in conversion tracker that comes with your
Ad Words account. Automate the
reporting so you can tell at a glance
which ads and keywords and web pages
are making you money, and which are
costing you money.
Howie Jacobson, PhD, is author of
Ad Words For Dummies. Due to space
requirements, he can’t share the other
beginners’ mistakes often made by people
who should know better. Luckily, they’re
all in Ad Words For Dummies, which is the
best book Howie’s
mother has ever read.