For many businesses, there seems to be a dichotomy when it comes to Google Adwords. You either love it or you hate it. We have heard businesses state that Adwords is their savior and that it brings them customers each month and never tires. We’ve also heard other business owners trashing it as complicated, expensive and ineffective. I say, let them! That means less competition.
Is Adwords a captor to be feared or the great liberator? It appears to depend on your past experiences using this ad medium.
Adwords has gotten a bad rap in many circles. Clicks can be expensive for a lot of people and the interface is complex. However, from our experience, most of the time when businesses get bad results, they have only themselves (or those they have hired to manage their campaigns) to blame.
It’s impossible for Adwords to be either captor or liberator. Let me explain. Blaming Adwords or attributing success to Adwords is not the issue. Adwords is simply a tool to get your business in front of your target audience. What happens afterwards is up to you and your website!
That brings me to the one adwords behavior that guarantees failure. Focusing too much time inside of Adwords and not enough time outside of Adwords. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of great data that can be combed through inside of the Adwords tool, but your analysis of Adwords success or failure can’t fall solely inside the tool.
Let’s take a look at a sales scenario initiated from an Adwords campaign.
Journey to an Adwords Sale Phase One - Audience
In paid search, correct targeting can make or break your campaign. Understanding your audience is crucial. With Adwords, we are targeting potential new audiences -- ideal consumers who aren’t searching for you by name. The two types of targeting I am referring to is location targeting and keyword targeting. Targeting by location is simply making sure that your ads will show in the geography that you service. Targeting by keyword is identifying words and phrases that your ideal customers are searching. The other factor at play with your targeting is your positioning. Positioning is where we are actually showing up on the page for your audiences. In both these areas, Adwords excels because you are getting your business to show up when your prospects are literally searching for your products or services. Pretty hard to beat that timing.
Let’s pause here for just a second and agree to recognize that at this point Adwords has fulfilled its responsibilities. Your business is right in front of your ideal customer who is searching for what you offer. As they say, this is where the rubber meets the road. It’s right where you want to be. There are a lot of things that go into crafting a successful Adwords campaign and in no way am I trying to minimize the importance of understanding how to manage an Adwords campaign, but for the purposes of this article, I’m illustrating that Adwords plays a small part in your consumer’s journey to purchase.
Phase Two - Value Proposition
Regrettably, this is where many advertisers fall on their face. They fail to present a compelling value proposition that makes them stand out from all of their competitors that are also targeting the same prospects. Your ad that displays in the search results has to speak to your target audience and show them they should choose you. Adwords is not responsible for creating your value proposition, just for displaying it. Your value proposition is all about getting the audience we are targeting to click on us.
It’s up to you to do your homework, review competitors, and then craft your own value proposition to make your business stand out from the crowd. Without a compelling reason, your ads will be overlooked by your prospective customers, which will lead to poor quality scores, less impression share and higher costs for your keywords.
Phase Three - Conversion
After your ideal customer has searched for your product or service and clicked through to your website to learn more about what you offer, it’s now all up to your website. The concept of conversion is simple. Is your target audience doing what you want them to do once they visit your site? If your website is not set up to convert your visitors into the next step of becoming your customer, then all that time and money you invested in advertising will be wasted. For some businesses, conversion is purchasing a product right from their website. For others, a conversion is a phone call or someone filling out a contact form to get more information or to schedule a service. This is where your internal team takes over. How are they responding? Do they answers the phones professionally and have answers to the prospects’ questions? Who receives the contact form and how timely is their response?
Get Your Head Out From Under Adwords to Find Success
When you really examine those three phases, it should become clear that Adwords is actually responsible for only a small portion of your consumers’ journey to purchase. Is it really fair to place blame or accolades on a tool that played such a minor role? Of course it isn’t. That’s why Adwords can be neither captor or liberator. As we see from the three phases of the consumer journey, Adwords, as a tool, is only really involved in the first phase. However, business owners and marketers spend the vast majority of their efforts looking at Adwords data and trying to find opportunities to improve their campaigns. While there is a lot of great data that can shed a light on things to improve, this by itself is a problem. When you can analyze the proper amount of Adwords data and step outside of Adwords to focus on your value proposition and your website, then you will find more opportunities to improve your campaigns.
Google Adwords is not easy. In fact, there are a lot of common and costly mistakes made by both beginners and experienced advertisers. You must be able to define your goals clearly, understand how to use it as a tool and be able to analyze your website and your internal sales processes to be able to close the loop and use the power of Adwords to your advantage.