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5 Essentials When Getting Started with Google Ads

Using the Google Ads platform, while exciting, can be nerve wracking. For many, knowing they could be mere minutes from sales if they get everything right brings on equal parts euphoria and dread. But there are five techniques, or strategies, you can employ from the start to help ensure you’re doing things right. Looked at from this perspective, running Google Ads becomes much more manageable.

Let’s get into it.

Realistic Expectations

Advertising is a pay-to-play arena, so it’s tempting to think that results are—or at least should be—near at hand. But like with anything else in life, you’ll get out of Google Ads what you put into it. The more you optimize your ads the better you’ll do. Put another way, if you don’t constantly assess and refine your process, you won’t get much value from your Pay-Per-Click ads. It’s not a passive process and needs to be thoroughly researched.

But while there is definitely risk in terms of time—learning curve and opportunity cost—and money, Google Ads nevertheless remains one of the best investments you can make as a business owner. Here’s why.

#1 Google Is the Most Popular Search Engine

Ever since Google came on the scene, supplanting Yahoo and other search engines, the company has utterly dominated. Think about it: how often do you hear people telling others to ‘just Google it?’ While there are other search engines around, they don’t come anywhere close to Google in terms of user base. In fact, Google receives around 70 percent of search traffic. They have consistently maintained this level of penetration.

Additionally, when people use Google to search for products, they’re much more receptive to the idea of making a purchase than they would be if they were, say, browsing Facebook. This is what’s referred to as being in buying mode. Because of this, advertisers on the platform on average generate $2 for every $1 spent, according to Google.

#2 Google Ads Offers Diverse Ad Options

Google Ads started as Google AdWords, where they mostly offered text ads with the help of their ad display network, Google AdSense. Today, however, you can use Google Ads to display ads in Gmail, on YouTube, in Google search, on partner websites and in mobile apps.

Want to display text-based ads only? You can do that. Want to mix in some video ads? You can do that too. Want to advertise to mobile gamers? Yep, that’s an option.

#3 Produce Revenue with Less Work

Social media, content marketing and SEO can work wonders, but they take a while to kick in. SEO can take time to show results, and with social media and content marketing, you start at zero: no followers, no social shares, nothing.

With Google Ads, on the other hand, you can get immediate results.

Know Where You Stand

When using Google Ads, you can see stellar results with virtually any business model. However, there are certain business types that do exceptionally well. If you find that your business falls into one of these categories, you can be sure there are specific strategies you can employ to maximize your results. You need only find them—or hire a Google Ads expert to employ them for you.

Let’s take a look.

#1 High Customer Lifetime Values

These are businesses that can afford to spend quite a bit of money acquiring customers. The lifetime value of a single customer is so high that the initial cost of acquisition becomes trivial, all things considered. These are:

  • Doctors and dentists. A new client can be worth thousands of dollars over the years.

  • Colleges and other schools. These schools can spend a lot on PPC—price per click—because a single student is worth a lot over the course of their education.

  • Internet providers, cable TV and phone companies. People tend to shop around a bit for these services, but once they settle on a provider, they are likely to stick with them for years or decades.

#2 High Margins

With this category, it’s less about the lifetime value of a client and more about one large purchase. This includes any big-ticket items.

  • Lawsuits. A lawyer can make a lot of money in a single lawsuit, so it makes sense to pay more upfront for PPC.

  • Repairs. Home repair costs can add up. What looks like a small job to a home owner can in fact be much larger, requiring more work and expense than they thought.

  • Computer equipment. Servers, copiers and the like must be replaced or upgraded from time to time, and they’re expensive.

  • Cars. Used car lots have seen huge success with PPC campaigns.

#3 Products That Are Hard to Find

If your online or brick and mortar store carries products that customers can’t find at Wal-Mart or Target, PPC may work well for you. Collectors are willing to pay a premium to complete their collections, and some people flat out refuse to use eBay.

#4 Event-Based Items

Florists absolutely love PPC, and Google Ads specifically, because when people search for related keywords, they have high buying intent. If you sell seasonal or event-based items, such as gift baskets, costumes or wedding registries, you could profit big too.

Not You?

Not to worry. You may have to work a bit harder at it, but PPC can work for you, no matter what you sell. In the next session, we’ll look at how you can find the best keywords for your product or service. Knowing how to target potential customers will go a long way toward becoming a PPC success story.

Finding Keywords

One of your main goals when using PPC should be to find keywords that are relevant to your product and that will catch your potential customers in buying mode. Let’s look at four ways to find them.

#1 Search Your Own Site

Browse through your site—with special attention to your product pages—and build a list or database of all of your products. Then, put yourself in your customer’s place. Suppose they know nothing about your products. Make a list of alternative words they might use to describe your product, and then combine these synonyms with common buyer keywords for your product.

So, for instance, if you sell Phillips TVs, a few keyword phrases you might think up are:

  • Phillips LED TV

  • Best Phillips LED TV

  • Buy Phillips LED TV

  • Compare Phillips LED TVs

#2 Look at Your Competition

You should periodically examine your biggest competitors. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find keywords and phrases you hadn’t thought of. Look for longtail keywords as well. Longtail keywords or phrases contain at least three words and that allow you to target specific niches, as opposed to general audiences.

#3 Ask Your Customers

One of the best ways to find out how your customers found your site or product is to ask them. Use a service like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to create a brief survey. While the intel is valuable, you’ll probably find that customers are reluctant to give up their time just to help you sell more. So be prepared to offer an incentive. Contests, with one to three winners, work well for this.

#4 Use Keyword Tools

The Google Ads platform provides tools to help you hone in on keywords, but third-party tools exist that offer even more flexibility. A few worth considering are:

  • SpyFu

  • AdGooroo

  • WordStream

If you feel that mastering these more robust tools is beyond you, or you just don’t have time, consider hiring a qualified professional to use them for you. If the intel you dig up leads to higher click through rates, you’ll save money on your PPC campaigns.

Build Buyer Personas

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you’re probably familiar with this concept. It involves building profiles of ideal customers. While the profiles are fictional, they’re based on actual demographic data. What you may not have known, however, is you can use buyer personas to give your PPC campaigns laser focus. In fact, building buyer personas for your PPC campaigns can have a dramatic impact on your ROI.

Your PPC buyer personas should represent the people you want to target with PPC, and they should contain the following data at a minimum:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Interests

  • Job

  • Daily problems & Frustrations

  • Wants

  • Needs

Note that wants are usually not the same as needs. A customer needs food and water, they usually don’t actually need Nike sneakers.

Creating personas will help you create campaigns that are:

  • Relevant

  • Targeted

  • Specific

This leads to a higher click through rate, which ultimately results in a lower cost per click.

Where Do You Get Data?

Naturally, when building a buyer persona, you don’t want to rely solely on opinion—at all. Dig into your CRM database to get cold, hard data. Are the majority of your customers based in the same geographical area, or are they spread out? Do they all have a similar income level? Do most of them have children? Do they work a similar work schedule?

Again, if you don’t have this data on your customers, consider running an incentivized survey to get it.

Monitor Your Competitors

If you aren’t spying on your competition, you should be. Why? Because they’re probably spying on you, and in business, a single edge can mean the difference between bitter defeat or rapturous victory. Don’t give your competitor a leg up by being above spying, especially when it comes to Google Ads. Staying up-to-date on your competitors and industry as a whole is essential to the success of your business and marketing efforts.

One mistake many small business owners make is to assume that their online competitors are the same as their offline competitors. In most cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, if you own a brick and mortar, you might compete online at the local level, but you might also be competing with massive corporations headquartered halfway around the world.

To find out who you’re actually competing against, log out of Google, turn your ad blocker off—if you use one—and then do some searches using your keywords. Look at the domains that come up in sponsored search. These are the companies you’re up against.

At this point, you can do two things:

  • Visit the websites and get intel on the keywords they use

  • Look at the domains you’re sharing ads with to determine if they’re relevant to your product.

If they aren’t, it’s possible that you are using poorly targeted keywords.

Next, log in to your Google Ads account and go to the Auction Insights section, located in the “Details” drop down menu.

This section can give you invaluable information on your competitors. Within, you’ll find these valuable metrics: Impression share, Overlap Rate, Outranking Share and Top of Page Rate. Keeping tabs on this data is crucial. If you don’t have time to do it, hire someone who does.

Split Testing

If you never use ad variants, you’re burning money.

How do you know that “Buy Now” is really more effective than “Don’t miss out?” What’s more, when small business owners run their own PPC campaigns, they tend to fall into the rut of running favorite headlines over and over, with little or no experimentation. In the long run, this is a mistake. What resonates with you, may not resonate with your customers. Google Ads allow you to split-test your ad creative via the Ad Variations feature. This process, if you do it consistently, will give you a higher Quality Score. This, in turn, will give you lower cost-per-click and better results.

While it’s faster and easier to simply adjust your favorite copy, split-testing gives you objective feedback on which copy works best, and objective data is always more valuable than subjective, biased opinion. In other words, use split testing to get out of your own head and to step into PPC greatness

We hope this brief guide has given you insight into how to run your Google Ad campaign like a pro. If you still aren't sure if Google Ads are right for you, please reach out to us for a free consultation.


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