You may have noticed that Google makes it easy to set up an AdWords campaign, but not so easy to get a return on your investment in pay-per-click. There are a lot of levers you can pull in your AdWords campaign to influence results. Here are eight ways to optimize your AdWords campaign for better ROI.
1. Know your target audience profile
Knowing your target audience, in the context of Google AdWords, goes beyond maintaining a list of demographic parameters that describe the identity of your customers. You also need to keep in mind one important question – how is my audience using Google? Trying to get a feel for their behavioral patterns and letting that behavior inform your selection and use of keywords will give your AdWords campaign an edge over your competition.
2. Speak the language of your audience, not your own
Keep in mind that your target audience may or may not use the same vocabulary that you do to describe what you sell. Your keywords should reflect the way they talk about your offerings, not the way you do.
3. Select primary and secondary keywords
Each keyword in your campaign has a cost that depends on how many others are bidding on it. Your primary keywords are directly related to your product/service. In case of highly competitive products, your primary keywords may prove to be quite expensive. It’s equally important to choose secondary keywords that are not directly related to your product. Secondary keywords widen your reach and can bring down your pay-per-click advertising costs if you choose less competitive segments.
4. Select smart site placements
Apart from bidding on keywords, AdWords also gives you access to a wide range of partner websites where your ad can appear. You can choose categories of websites that your target customers are most likely to visit. For example, if you sell digital cameras, you can advertise on photography sites or sites that target gadget-lovers.
5. Use long-tail keywords for high conversions at lower cost
Online users are gradually using longer key phrases rather than keywords. These longer phrases have lower search volume than common keywords. However, long-tail keywords increase your chances of clicks and conversions since they are very specific. For instance, “digital camera” is a generic keyword. A long tail alternative would be “best deal for Canon 1000D.” If you’re struggling to find relevant longer tail keywords, there are a number of free keyword tools that can help you discover profitable, traffic-driving terms.
6. Monitor conversions, not just clicks
While you pay for clicks, tracking overall conversions from each keyword can help you derive better value out of your campaign. This, however, requires good integration of Google Analytics and AdWords with your CRM and sales management system.
7. Optimize your ad copy
Just like headlines play an important role in a traditional media campaign, having highly contextual ad copy that’s closely related to the keyword being searched for plays a vital role in conversions. An ad for a broad term like “digital camera” might lead to information that would aid the purchase decision of the buyer. However, if the search term indicates intention to buy, the copy should be persuasive and lead the user to a landing page with an option to purchase.
8. Test your landing page designs
The key to continually increasing ROI from Internet marketing is testing. Beyond testing multiple versions of your ads, make sure to test variations on your landing pages. Google offers the Google Website Optimizer tool that can help you decide the best layout for your landing page. Decisions like where to place the “Buy Now” button and what color to make it may be aided by this tool.