Do your homework
For a successful campaign, you need a full online and offline analysis of the business, customer demographics, industry and competitors. While it is relatively quick to set up a campaign, pre-planning will show dividends later. You need a brand, an identity and a clear, unique selling point. You get only three lines to advertise, so you need to make sure you know what must be included and how to make the most impact.
Define your goals
You need to know what you want to achieve with your search advertising campaign.
Branding campaigns, for example, are very different from campaigns to increase sales. What do you want users to do once they click on your advert?
Budget, cost per action (CPA) and targets
Determine how much you are willing to spend to achieve your goal, your target CPA. Decide how much budget you are going to allocate to your search advertising campaign. If your goal is to increase revenue, your budget may be unlimited as long as revenue is increasing and you are within your target CPA.
You need to determine what keywords potential customers are likely to use when searching for the service that you offer. Along with that, you need to know:
- What common misspellings or typos a customer might use.
- What words would show that they are not likely to purchase from you, such as ‘free’ and ‘cheap’.
- As part of your keyword research, you need to look at expected volumes for your keywords, so that you know how to bid. There are also tools that will show you similar or related keywords, so you can expand your keyword list even further. See the Tools of the trade section (below) for some suggestions.
Write the adverts
Using your keyword research, write compelling adverts to promote your products. Adverts can be unique to one keyword, or you can group them and have a number of keywords for one advert.
Make sure you use an appropriate display URL, and that you target the landing page for each advert.
Place your bids
Based on your goals and keyword research, set the maximum bids for your keywords. Don’t set these too high at this stage as you’ll tweak the bids as you test your campaign. That being said, don’t make them too low either, or you won’t get much traffic, and it could affect your Quality Score. Test your ad to find the right balance in line with your goals. AdWords also provides tools that can help to guide your decisions.
Get your tracking tags in place, especially any conversion tracking tags.
Measure, analyse, test, optimise!
With tracking in place, you can analyse your ROI down to a keyword level, and then focus your campaign and budget on the keywords that are converting best.
Consider how changing the text, image or video of your advert could increase the CTR, or your conversion rate. Test different landing pages to see what converts better.
Test the networks too. Your Bing campaign may perform better than Google, or your Facebook account may drive cheaper traffic. Always keep your goals in mind and work, work, work to achieve them.