It’s no secret – the world of online marketing is becoming flooded with more and more competition as the days go by. Business owners are taking more and more money away from traditional forms of advertising (such as print & tv), and putting it into online channels. Because of this extra competition, it’s getting much harder for businesses to see success with their online marketing campaigns. So what can you do to get the ‘one-up’ on your online competitors?
Below are some tips to help you see success in the competitive world of AdWords:
Ensure that your selling points are at least on par with your competitors
When it comes to AdWords & PPC advertising in general, it really doesn’t get any easier for potential customers to do some quick comparison shopping – it’s really only a matter of the visitor hitting their browser’s “back” button and then clicking on another sponsored link. Because of this, it’s extremely important to take a look at what your AdWords competitors are offering to their customers and at least matching their offers….or even better, try and beat it!
Of course, there may be times in which for one reason or another (e.g. your business model, overhead costs, etc. etc.) you simply cannot match your competitor’s pricing or offers. When this is the case, it’s best to steer attention completely away from that point of difference and instead try and focus on a completely different selling point. For example, if your competitors offering a 20% discount on their products, see if you can offer free delivery for a certain minimum order value or maybe even highlight the difference in quality between you and your competitors. (More on this on my post ‘writing killer AdWords ads’)
Make your conversion process as simple and straightforward as humanly possible
While it’s important to treat your potential customers as intelligent people and avoid a condescending tone with your website content, when it comes to the conversion process you should aim to have the process from website landing to sale or enquiry easy enough for a 10 year old to complete. From beginning to end, the content on your site needs to be clear, be laid out in a way that visually directs users to the action you want them to complete and ensure any questions that users may have throughout the journey are clearly answered on the relevant pages.
Pay attention to the finer details within your AdWords reports
Top level conversion rates and CPA (‘Cost-per-Acquisition’) are the metrics that determine whether your AdWords account is a success or a failure, however account level metrics like this are really only performance indicators. If your account is set up correctly then you really shouldn’t be basing any of your optimisation work on top level data. Instead, look at the finer details within your AdWords reports to impact your overall performance. You should be spending the majority of your time looking at search query reports, keyword/advert level performance, and assuming you’re undertaking landing page split tests (which you most definitely should be), analysis of conversion rates for each landing page. You may also want to test different Ad Extensions (such as SiteLinks vs. Location extensions) to see how these impact your performance.
Don’t bundle your targeted keywords in with more generic terms
This point should be very obvious to your average PPC specialist, but it’s a painfully regular occurrence to see business owners and marketing managers creating an AdWords account that consists of only one campaign. By creating a single campaign for your account, you’re allowing for your more generic terms to consume the entirety of your specified daily AdWords budget before some of your more targeted terms even have a chance to obtain some traffic. Your more targeted terms will generally convert a lot better than generic terms so you can imagine what kind of impact the single campaign approach can have on your overall conversion rates. I would recommend creating a specific campaign for only your most highly targeted and relevant keywords which will mean that you have a dedicated daily budget cap for these terms specifically. You can then have a separate campaign for your generic terms with a separate daily budget cap.
Analyse the marketing behaviour of your competitors
Do your competitors seem to be going offline at certain times of the day? Are they putting a heavy focus on certain keywords? These are the types of things you should be looking out for to try and learn what is working for your competitors. If you notice that the competition for your vertical seems to heavily decrease later on in the day, one strategy to use could be setting up a campaign that is scheduled only to run from 3pm onwards – with less competitors on the search page at this time you’ll often see a decreased CPC and maybe even a higher conversion rate due to the fact that there are less competitors available to potential customers.
Don’t settle for your current conversion rate
Even if you’re running an AdWords campaign with an extremely high conversion rate, there should never be a time where you can sit back and tell yourself that it’s as good as it could be. You should constantly be testing different AdWords keywords, adverts, landing pages etc. to see if you can see at least a slight conversion rate improvement. Sometimes these changes will be for the better, sometimes they’ll be for the worse but either way you’ll have learnt something. Knowledge is power, after all!
Hopefully the above points have given you something to think about when it comes to running and optimising your AdWords strategy – please feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts! Also please feel free to check out my earlier post here on a similar topic ‘Making the most of a limited AdWords budget’.