The ABC’s of Google Adwords

Create a profitable and effective google Adwords campaign to bring in more leads and sales

money on fire

Google Adwords can be expensive. Some of you already know that, but not all of you know why. Sure, competition has driven online advertising costs upwards in recent years, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that there is a right way, and a wrong way to do pay-per-click advertising.

Do-it-yourselfers often hemorrhage cash from their advertising campaigns, and declare that “PPC is dead.”

Meanwhile, those business owners who have professionals running profitable PPC campaigns for them month after month, sit back in their desk chairs, kick up their feet, and smile knowing that they have access to leads and sales on demand, while their competitor across the city is stuck trying to bring in leads the hard way.

So what’s the difference between the two?

The business owners getting a return on their investment know the secret to running a profitable campaign.

They pay the experts to do it for them. They know that the best ROI is not trying to do everything yourself, but rather, focusing on your most valuable task, and outsourcing thing like Google Adwords to a team who can exponentially amplify your results.

Follow these 6 steps, and you too can be like the business owners above, complete with a smug smile and a hint of superiority.

Hey, I don’t blame you. It feels good to be the king.

1. Do your research before setting up your campaign


Keyword Research and selection

Your Adwords campaign begins with deciding which keywords to target. Use a tool such as to conduct your research.

A. Verify that there is adequate search volume for your keywords
Without demand, you’ve got nothing. Choose keywords with a large enough monthly search volume to get the reach needed to attract your ideal client. This number varies widely depending on your industry, your margins and your product.

B. Find the phrases that your ideal clients are already searching for
Target “buying-intent” keywords over “research” keywords. Is the person searching this term likely to buy your product or are they just looking for information with no intent to purchase anything?

Target the keywords that are most likely to result in a purchase.

C. Choose keywords that you can afford to bid on
Once you know what you’re willing to spend to get a new client, it’s easy to determine the maximum amount you can bid on a keyword and still be profitable. In order to do this, you’ll need your conversion rate and your desired profit margin per sale.

Maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC) = PROFIT per customer x Conversion rate x (1- profit margin after advertising)

Ex. If you make $1,000 gross profit per sale, your landing page converts at 5%, and you want a profit margin net of advertising expenses of 50% ($500 on every sale), your max CPC would be $25

1000 x .05 x .5 = $25

With a monthly budget of $5,000 and a CPC of $25, you would receive 200 clicks, 10 sales, gross $10,000 in profit, and receive $5,000 profit net of advertising.

Of course, you don’t want to bid your maximum cost per click until you have optimized your funnel and figured out a reliable conversion rate, but it’s good to know where you’re heading when choosing keywords. If the keyword tool shows an estimated CPC of $6 and your maximum CPC is $25, there is a great chance you can advertise profitably on that keyword.

Competitor research


If you’re operating within a profitable industry, chances are that your competitor’s are already successfully using Adwords. Your competitor’s advertising history is a goldmine of data for you to use to set up a profitable campaign without going through painful trial and error.

A. Find a “spy” tool such as
By using one of many spy tools available, you can determine which keywords your competitors are using, how much they’re bidding on each keyword, what offers are working best and more.

B. Analyze the data to determine the keywords, ad copy and USP which are likely the most profitable
Has the competitor been advertising for years on a certain set of keywords? If so, it’s most likely profitable. That is of course, unless they aren’t doing a very good job at managing their ad campaign, which is possible. Be careful here.

C. Compile the data and go back to tweak your keywords based on the results
Keep note of the keywords, the ads, and the bids to make life a whole lot easier when setting up your own campaign.

2. Optimize your keywords and ad copy


After you’ve determined the most profitable keywords to target based on your keyword and competitive research, you’re ready to setup your very own ads.

A. Determine your unique selling proposition (USP) to use in your ad
What does your company do that no one does better? Why should the customer choose you over alternatives? Come up with a unique selling proposition that will appeal to your ideal customer. Try to use the keywords in your ad to increase relevance and your quality score.

B. Create an irresistible offer to compel your visitor to click through to the landing page.
You should already have an idea of what offers your potential customers are responding to by looking at your competitors’ ads. What irresistible offer can you make to compel your customers to click through to your landing page? This could be a free consultation, a special discount, same day service, or anything else that is important to your market.

C. Use benefit-oriented copy, and a call to action
Your ad copy should convey the benefits of what you have to offer, not just the features. Don’t forget to include a call to action such as “buy now,” or “call before it’s too late.”
With the right copy you’ll not only get a better click through rate and attract the right customers, but you’ll get a better CPC and ad position. Google likes to reward ads that get clicked on more often, so take your time to come up with the best ads possible.


3. Build landing pages for each set of keywords


The landing page is the web page that your ad will link to, and the first page that your potential customers will see after clicking on your offer.

A. Build a unique landing page for each set of keywords
Don’t make a promise in the ad that the landing page can’t keep. If you send your visitor to your home page, chances are, they’re going to be disappointed. Use your landing page to repeat the offer in the ad, and get the prospect to keep reading. This could mean that you have 10, 50 or even 100 landing pages depending on your objectives and how many keywords you are targeting. Trust me, it’s worth the extra work.

B. Create a landing page that converts
The headline of your landing page should be a benefit oriented headline that repeats the offer from the ad and entices the visitor to keep reading. Reduce navigation options on the landing page to keep your customers focused on the offer. You can use social proof to build trust, and don’t forget to include a call to action to get your customer to take the next step. Unbounce has plenty of tips to help you build landing pages that convert at

C. Improve your landing page quality score
By adhering to the suggestions above, you’re going to get a better conversion rate, a lower bounce rate, and ultimately more sales. By using a landing page that’s relevant to the ad and the offer, Google is going to reward you with a better quality score, a lower CPC and a better ad ranking.


4.Choose the right settings and audience


With over 3.5 billion searches per day, Google has an endless audience for you to advertise to. Unfortunately, most of them don’t care about what you’re selling, and advertising to them is nothing more than a costly mistake. By choosing the right audience and settings ahead of time, you can avoid costly errors.

A. Start with “Search” before expanding to “display” advertising
Search advertising gets you in front of customers actively searching for what you have to offer. Display, on the other hand, is an entirely different strategy, and requires a different setup. Save the money and the headache, and optimize your search ads before moving on to display.

B. Use “phrase” match and negative keywords
When it comes to keyword match types, you’ll want to start with “phrase match” to get in front of the most relevant traffic.

Not only do you want to attract the right audience, but you want to push away the wrong audience who is only going to cost you clicks and money without buying anything. A great way to do this is to use negative keywords to exclude irrelevant searches.

C. Choose between mobile and desktop
If you don’t have a mobile-optimized website, you don’t want to advertise to mobile devices as they aren’t going to convert. Be sure to choose the appropriate settings for mobile and desktop based on your current situation and your target audience’s behavior.


5. Test, test and test again


Success on Google Adwords is all about testing. Not everyone is going to get it right the first time, so it’s important to test multiple variations of everything in order to optimize your campaign to increase your quality score, increase your click through rate, decrease CPC, boost conversions and ultimately make more sales for less. A positive ROI depends on testing, so don’t skip this step.

A. Split test ads to get a better click-through-rate (CTR)
Your click through rate not only influences your quality score and the price you pay, but it determines how many of your potential customers click through to your offer.
The thing to remember here is “always be split testing.” You should always be testing against a control ad, and after statistical significance has been met, move on to testing another ad. You can use a script to notify you when this happens, so you never fall behind.

B. Adjust your bids
We talked about the maximum profitable CPC above. While you don’t want to start at your maximum bid, his is the upper range to keep in mind when optimizing your bids for your budget and your goals.

C. A/B test your landing pages
Just as you should split test your ad copy, you should split test your landing pages if you wish to optimize your conversion rates and increase your ROI. You can do this using a landing page builder such as unBounce, or a split testing software like Optimizely.


6. Track your conversions and sales


In order to determine what is profitable and what is not, you need to know which keywords and ads are generating profit, and which are losing money. The way to determine how many sales are brought in by your Adwords campaign is to set up conversion tracking.

A. Install conversion tracking
Install the Adwords conversion pixel on the thank you or success page that your visitor will navigate to after making a purchase, or a booking a consultation.

B. Install call tracking and log sales in your CRM
What the conversion pixel won’t do is track sales that come in from a phone call, making it difficult to determine which ads are truly the most profitable. The way around this is to use call tracking software that will notify you when someone is calling from the ad. You can log these calls in your CRM to determine which calls resulted in sales.

C. Do a monthly analysis to determine the most profitable campaigns
Each month, you’ll want to run the numbers and determine the most profitable products, keywords, ads and landing pages, and then focus on those to increase your ROI. Without analysis, all of this testing isn’t going to do you much good.

As you can probably tell, AdWords is a beast, and there are more than a handful of ways to blow your budget on your PPC campaign.

An amateur might choose the DYI route or lament the monthly management fee, while burning through his budget and receiving a negative ROI. The pro, on the other hand, knows that it’s worth it to spend the extra money every month to have someone manage their account, knowing they’ll make it up 10x with the increase in ROI from their ads.

What are you waiting for?

To your success,


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