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Here are 7 tactics that will make your ads stand out. Hint: Your competitors probably aren’t doing these.

My 7 Hacks to Adwords Success

I hear from business owners all the time that, “Adwords doesn’t work for our industry,” or that “We’ve tried it and it failed miserably.” Oddly, I’m sure both are true. Adwords doesn’t work for some industries and I am sure many businesses fail at it. Many fail because they simple do it wrong or don’t take advantage of all the little hacks built into the Adwords interface to give you an advantage over your competitors. That’s right, the same competitors who are using Adwords, just like you.

Below I give you seven hacks that will give you an edge with your Adwords campaigns.

Limit the Number of Keywords for Each Ad Group

Adwords suggests you limit your keywords for each ad group to 10-20. I think that’s way too much. The way to make Adwords successful is to focus your ads as narrowly as possible. If you are advertising a restaurant?for example, it would be a mistake to include all the search terms consumers use to find restaurants. But that’s exactly what advertisers do. A diner will include keywords in one ad group for all the different types of food they serve. Cheese Burgers, Fried chicken, BBQ Ribs, Salisbury Steak, Big Salads, Cheap Diner Food, Fast Sit Down Service, Cleanest Diner in Town and so on.

What I do: I limit my ad groups to 5-10 keywords. I may add a few more, but only as different match types, not actual keywords. All keywords are very, very similar. By limiting your keywords to only those that are extremely relevant, you will not only drive more targeted traffic, but you will increase your conversion rate as well. As an added bonus, you’ll also improve your quality score.

So what if there are a lot of similar search terms for your campaign? What do you do with all those other keywords? I just create more ad groups, which brings me to my second hack:

Limit Your Keywords, Not Your Ad Groups

I often go into Adwords accounts and find that advertisers have set up one campaign and one ad group for all their keywords and ads. Big mistake. When you do this, you are trying to sell one item to too many different consumers. You want to personalize the sale and use the same keywords in your ad groups and landing pages that consumers use in search. You can only do this by limiting the number of keywords and increasing the number of campaigns and ad groups.

What I do: For a client such as the diner, I may have a dozen different ad groups. I may have an ad group for ten or so?keywords related to Diner?Food (Diner Food, Comfort Food, Americana restaurant, Classic Diner Food, Best Diner Food, etc), maybe another for keywords related to Grilled?Food and another for Cheese Burgers or Ribs. These topics?can be categorized as different campaigns or ad groups. It’s a lot of extra work, but if you want to have a click-through-rate that is twice that of your competitors and if you want to rank above them without having to pay more per click, creating more ad groups is the way to go.

Again, our goal is to create narrowly focused campaigns and ad groups, targeting a very specific consumer for each one.

Create Hyper-Targeted Ads

Your ads need to be highly relevant to both your keywords and to your landing page. In fact, I almost always put a primary keyword in the title of the landing page. If a consumer typed it into search, I want them to see it in the ad. That way, they’ll know it’s directed toward them, specifically. But once you have that nailed down, don’t be afraid to try lots of versions of that ad.

Tip: For some reason, I tend to have more success when I put a number in the ad. It could be any number; a price, a percentage, a serial number or license number. I’m not sure if it triggers something in the human brain that draws attention or if they think it’s a price, but click-through-rates always get a little bump when there are digits somewhere in the ad.

If your service or product is price sensitive, it may be smart to put the price in the ad. If you don’t, people will click on the ad just to find your price. If they are just kicking the tires or have a price limit that is lower than your price, then you just paid for a wasted click. They aren’t going to convert. By placing the price in the ad, you can eliminate costly clicks by consumers who are never going to buy your product if they don’t like the price. This will also save your quality score from dropping.

Don’t forget mobile: If you have a business that gets most of its visitors via mobile device searches, you can select an option in the Adwords interface that will show your ad?more on mobile devices. This is especially helpful if you are in the travel industry since most people do not bring their laptops with them when they travel. Even at home, people are beginning to search more from their mobile devices rather than go through the effort of booting up their laptops and PC’s. Furthermore, if you have a restaurant or salon, are consumers searching their phones while they’re out? Maybe they need to find a quick bite to eat or a place to get a haircut.

Use Ad Extensions

There is an option in the Adwords interface to include ad extensions to your ads. These are like add-ons that enhance your ad. You can add a site-link?extension, for example. These are additional links to other pages just below your ad. So for example, if you have a shoe store and you are offering a discount on boats, you can have up to four additional links below your ad for say, hiking boots, work boots, cowboy boots and gogo boots, whatever you fancy.

There are a handful of different extensions you can use. Phone number and location extensions will add your phone number and address, respectively, to your ad. A review ad is especially helpful as it will show a short snippet from an article about your business or service.

Google urges advertisers to use ad extensions and provides a quality score boost to those that do, which will help you place higher in search results without paying more per click. Ad extensions also have higher conversion rates because it allows you to address more concerns of the consumer. So go ahead and use them.

Have a Highly Targeted Landing Page

Another big mistake new advertisers make is using their website home page as the landing page for their ads. If you’ve narrowed your list of keywords to only those that are hyper-targeted and created ads that focus on only those keywords, why would you send them to a home page that is a general description of your business?

What I do: I create a specific landing page for each ad group – and sometimes for specific ads. Even if I have a dozen ad groups selling the same item, I want a specific page to speak directly to the visitor. I accomplish this by forwarding my ads to a page that has the same keywords in the title as I had in the ad, which are also the same keywords the consumer likely used in their search. Do this, and the consumer will have no doubt they are in the right place.

Implement Conversion Tracking

It always amazes me how few advertisers actually use conversion tracking. They are convinced that clicks are what is important. As a savvy advertiser you know better. You know that clicks are irrelevant if they don’t lead to conversions. A conversion can be a sale, a contact, a sign up or any action you want your visitor to take when they get to your landing page. By not measuring conversions, you cannot truly measure the effectiveness of your Adwords campaign.

What I do: Go into Tools within the top navigation bar of the Adwords interface and select Conversions. There you will see the steps to set up conversion tracking. You can track phone calls directly from your ads, phone calls from your website or actions taken on your landing page. If you can’t do it yourself, you’ll need your webmaster to add the conversion tracking code to your website. Do it.

Test, Test, Test

The beauty of Google Adwords and Google Analytics is that your marketing is highly measurable. They tell you exactly what is working in your campaign and what isn’t. It differs among industries, but generally a CTR above 2% is considered good. If you’ve had more than a hundred visitors and your CTR is still at .05%, get rid of the keyword or ad that is causing the low performance. Replace it with a version of an ad that is performing well. Consider different match types of keywords that perform well.

The cost of taking risk on the web is low. You can try an idea. As soon as it is live data starts following it. If the idea is a total loser then kill it fast, does not have to cost you a ton of money. What is more likely is that you will find winners that you had never imagined.?Give it a try. Fail faster. – Avinash Kaushik

What I do: I’m always removing and replacing ads and keywords. I build on successes and over time, I get results that are often three times better than the industry standard, but it takes time. You need to budget your campaign and don’t give up just because it didn’t perform. Poor performance is a great thing because it tells you what doesn’t work, which gets you one step closer to what does work. As Avinash Kaushik says, it allows you to “fail faster.”

The same goes with landing pages. There are tools out there that can help you test different landing pages. If you don’t want to use any of them, you can run one landing page for a while, make a change and run the new one for a while. This is less effective than running landing pages side-by-side. It takes more time?and leaves room for more mistakes, but if you run a page long enough, you can come to some pretty significant conclusions.

Bonus Hack 1: Don’t Forget About SEO

Some people don’t click on ads. I’m not sure why. I am very selective about the ads I click on as well, but I think that is because I am in the business and know that when I click, I cost someone money. If I know I am ready to purchase, however, I don’t have a problem clicking an ad.

One way to get that consumer, is to optimize your website for search. If your page shows at the top of search results organically, and also shows in an ad, many consumers will?click on the organic listing. That’s free advertising. Your ad helped to gain added visibility in search without costing you the click. This is a very powerful strategy as the added visibility also builds your authority for that search term. Sometimes, I even have third party profile pages like a Yelp profile or Trip Advisor listing showing on the first page of search.

What I do: I make sure all my websites are fully optimized for search. There are plenty of SEO consultants out there that can help. My company no longer does SEO. We create Adwords campaigns, build websites and perform web reviews. We can create a fully optimized website, but after that, we usually recommend clients perform the SEO on their own, with our guidance of course.

Bonus Hack 2: Have a Quickly Loading Website

Not only do quickly loading pages help your quality score and SEO, but they also create a good user experience. Consumers want information fast and most advertisers don’t realize how much business they lose due to poorly performing websites. Make sure your landing pages load quickly and are functional. There should not be any broken links and be sure to check the effectiveness of web forms regularly. Sometimes those things break without warning. You don’t want to find out from potential customers that they didn’t purchase from you because your website didn’t work.

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