One of the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal is a Google AdWords account.
This might seem like an oversimplification, but it’s the truth. A targeted, thoughtful AdWords campaign can net your business double- and even triple-digit return on investment percentages.
The catch here is that you have to actually take the time to understand how to optimize the system for your needs.
This means spending time studying how it works and following the most up-to-date best practices.
This post will outline the most important steps a beginner should follow to set up a successful AdWords account.
1. The Basics
Before we get into the more complicated things, you should start with the obvious step of creating an account with your Gmail login. If you don’t have one, now is the perfect time to grab one.
The first thing you’ll want to do is decide which type of AdWords account you plan to set up.
If you’re managing an agency, you may want to opt for the manager account rather than the standard account. This option allows you to manage several different clients via a single dashboard.
Most people will find the standard user account meets their needs, so if this is the case, you can continue on to the next step.
Opening an Account
To open your account, simply follow the prompts in the initial setup screen, including entering your billing information.
AdWords will try to give you preset campaign to get you started, but you should remove that and create your own instead.
2. The Strategy
Now that you have the easy stuff out of the way, it’s time to move on to the actual advertising campaigns.
Which type of campaign you choose will be dependent on what your marketing goals are.
Choosing a Campaign
There are several campaign types, and each one determines how and where customers will be able to view your ads.
This means that you will need to have a clearly outlined goal and target audience before you select which avenue to take.
The campaign types include:
– Display network
– Search network
– Search network with display select
Each of these are centered around one of three Google advertising networks: the search engine network, the display network and the YouTube network.
When you select a campaign, it lets you choose where your ads will appear.
3. Start With a Search Campaign
Of all of the types offered, search marketing is by far the best place to start.
This is because you are able to target extremely specific keywords based on user intent, which automatically leads to a better click-through rate.
Generally speaking, this is referred to as “personal intent targeting,” and it is a highly effective way to place advertisements.
Step One: Name Your Campaign
Yes, this part is actually important.
While it doesn’t affect what the user sees, keeping a uniform naming structure for your campaigns allows for better organization on the back end and prevents things like unnecessary overlap or resource waste.
Step Two: Choose a Network
Search campaigns are automatically included in the Google Search Network, which means your ads show up on all of Google’s primary websites.
The main feature here is deciding whether or not you want to show up on websites that have partnered with Google.
Typically, it is best to only show up on Google sites unless you have a good bit of AdWords experience under your belt.
Partner sites often don’t perform as well and can cost you valuable resources.
Step Three: Location
Best practices dictate that you should select all locations that are obviously related to your business, but beyond that, location targeting is more nuanced.
You can choose to target based on specific demographics, and you can also limit your ads to only show to users who are physically located nearby. This is a good option if your goods or services are limited to certain geographic regions because it prevents users who can’t access your product from costing you money by clicking the ad.
You should know what your geographic reach is, so base your targeting on that reach.
Step Four: Keyword Bidding
Before you begin, remember that it is crucial to set a rigid budget for this.
You can use the AdWords keyword planner to gather estimates for how much your starting budget should be for the keywords you plan to target, but the prices are in constant flux, so don’t treat these numbers as gospel.
However, it is important to set a limit to how much you want to spend per day, otherwise it can quickly get out of control.
Be sure to choose keywords that are as specific as possible to get the most out of each click.
Google offers “match types” as well to help you narrow your focus. Unless you’re experienced or have a limitless budget, using the phrase match option is usually the best way to get the most interested traffic viewing your ad.
In addition, there is one final section labeled “negative keywords.”
This allows you to exclude certain search terms in order to weed out some of the more unrelated searches. Beginners should use this feature sparingly.
3. Other Types of Campaigns
While a search campaign is generally the most useful, if you have strict marketing targets, you may also benefit from one of the other types as well.
For businesses seeking to generate phone calls, the “call only” campaign will be ideal.
If you’re hoping to build brand awareness, and that’s the extent of your goals, a “display network only” campaign is a simple, hassle-free way to do this.
Finally, for companies that are hoping to re-engage previous customers, the “remarketing” strategy may be your best option.
In general, beginners will see high levels of success sticking with a simple search campaign until they learn the ins and outs of AdWords a bit more thoroughly.
4. In Summary
AdWords is a fantastic marketing tool that can make a huge difference in the traffic your site sees as well as your bottom line.
This introduction is only the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a perfect starting point for beginners.