Increase your inbound leads with Google Search Ads

As digital marketing becomes more prevalent, businesses are now more than ever looking for ways to “find their tribe” and target the audience that will benefit the most from their product/service. As a marketer, I’ve found Google ads to be a great source of inbound leads that can eventually in parallel to regular content and email campaigns.

In this post I’ll review how to get started with Google Ads and provide resources I found helpful in my learning journey.

Resource: Google Ads Template

Keyword Research

Google Search Ads work by trying to match up Google users’ queries with ads and websites that best match those queries. The high level version of keyword research is:

  1. Brain dumping a huge list of keywords and phrases that you want your website to be shown for when certain queries are searched.
  2. Using an online tool to see which words/phrases will give you the most bang for your buck.
  3. Grouping your keywords by a common theme (should be 3-5 keywords in a group, 2-3 groups total). Plan for similar keyword groups to be under the same campaign.
  4. Creating ads targeting your keyword groups.

Each Ad Group should focus on a specific keyword or phrase with the rest of the keywords being words and phrases related to that keyword. An example of a main ad group keyword could be “Retail scheduling software” with keywords in the group being:

  • “Retail scheduling software” – phrase match
  • +retail +scheduling +software – broad match modifier
  • [retail scheduling software] – exact match

For detailed information on Google keyword match types and how to do keyword research using Google Keyword Planner see Google Keyword Planner Tutorial 2021.

To see the impacts of keywords on ads, do a search in Google and see how the search results relate to the exact words in your search query. Ads will have “Ad” in front of the website information and will appear at the top of your search results. This is also a good way to check out the competition for your key words and phrases.

It is important that your keywords match with your ad copy and ad goals because you pay for every click on your search result ads. To make Google ads worth your time you want the profit of a sale to be more than the cost to run ads. However, you are more likely to have a higher profit margin or return on investment (ROI) on Google than on some other ad platforms because Google users are often searching to buy. What was the last item you were looking to purchase that you first searched on Google?


Setting up your Google Ads

To create Google Ads you must have a Google account. If you do not already have an account start by making one. Your ads should be linked to a business Google ad email, not your personal email.

Google makes getting started with their ads fairly simple by prompting you through the whole experience. However, on the first screen you will be asked to choose an ad goal. Because you’re seeing this tutorial you can skip that prompt and choose the “Expert mode” at the bottom of the screen. This will give you more options when creating your ads.

Continue to “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance”. For B2B businesses I most often suggest Search Ads, these are Google’s most popular ad types.

When you get the the “Networks” setting unmark “Search Network” and “Display Network”. These are additional audiences your ad may be displayed on. Start with just Google Search traffic until your ad campaign is more refined.

Continue with the settings based on your needs. If you would like a step-by-step guide check out this video: Google Ads Tutorial 2021.

Targeting & Audiences

This is one of the most important parts of your Google Ads. Make sure your ads are showing to the location of your best customers so your ad funds are spent wisely. Read the targeting options carefully. For most people the “Presence: People in or regularly in your targeted locations” is the best option.

If you’ve just started using Google Ads you will not have any audience’s built. Audiences refers to groups of people most interested in your ads with similar demographics, industries, or other commonalities. As you run your ads you will build audiences that Google has found are interested in your content. It is a Google Ads best practice to retarget your audiences so you can show your ads to the people most interested a second time. Retargeting is where most conversions happen.

Budget & Bidding

When starting your Google Ads strategy you will mostly be refining your settings and building audiences. Do not set a high budget for your ads if your just starting out. A maximum of $10-20 per day should be enough to start building audiences and finding your best keywords.

Bidding strategies are how Google charges you for your ads. Every time your ad shows is because you out-bid another ad manager for a certain search query so you’re ranked higher on the search engine results page. At the beginning of your strategy you want to focus on Clicks so you can see who is interested in your content. Think of your first campaigns as a data collection stage. Later on you’ll want to focus on Conversions-meaning the Google users that are buying your product/service.

CPC bid limits refer to the max you are willing to spend on your ad to show up for your target keywords/phrases. Your bids are calculated in the following way:

Your Price = (The Ad rank of the person below you) / (Your quality score) + $0.01

Quality scores are given by Google and combine quality factors for the following:

  • Your landing page experience (are people staying and looking through your landing page or are they clicking away)
  • Ad relevancy (does your content match what the searcher was looking for)
  • Expected CTR (are people clicking through the landing page to your website)

Rank refers to where your ad shows up on the search query page. The higher your rank the more likely the user is to click on it.

Rank= Max Bid x Quality Score

Having a good quality score will help you rank much better and reduce your CPC (Cost per click) since Google wants to show high quality ads to searchers.

For a detailed step-by-step explanation of bidding see minute 21:13 of Google Ads Tutorial 2021.

Writing Ads

Writing your ads is fairly simple. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Use your keywords in your ad copy to increase your quality score
  • Write action oriented copy
  • Use numbers and words like “free”-people like to click on these elements
  • Use all extensions and headline options, the more space on the page your ad takes up the better
  • Keep sentences short and audience value oriented
  • Write 2-3 ads so Google can find which ads perform best for certain audiences

Landing pages

Resource: 3 Elements of Landing Pages that Convert

Your landing page is extremely important for converting your audience. It needs to be crystal clear about the value your product/service brings to your target audience and should have a clear CTA (Call to Action).

Ad Maintenance

When starting off with Google Ads, or really any type of digital ad, it is essential to check on the outcomes of your ads on a weekly basis. It is unlikely that you will have the perfect settings and audience targeting right off the bat so you need to continue refining your settings until you’re consistently receiving leads who are your ideal customer and who are converting.

Tracking Conversions

Setting up conversion tracking is essential for understanding how your ads are performing and optimizing your sales.

See How to set up Google Ads Conversion Tracking for a step-by-step guide on setting up Google Ads conversions.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are EXTREMELY important for optimizing your ads. Every week when you go to check your ads you will see all the search queries your ads were clicked on for. You will see search queries totally not relevant to your business even though the Google user was searching your keywords. It is important to make irrelevant search keywords/phrases negative keywords so Google knows not to show your ads in the future, saving you money.

Ex. If your keyword is “retail scheduling software” and someone searched “where to sell old retail software” your add will likely show for that search. You’ll want to make the whole phrase “where to sell old retail software” a negative keyword so your add doesn’t show for it in the future. The more negative keywords you have the more your ads will be optimized.

Google Ads are a great way to increase your target audience, but in my experience they work best when paired with other marketing channels, like email.

Every marketer has heard of the rule of 7. Your leads need to have 7 positive interactions with you before making a decision to buy. While I’ve had a wide range of touchpoints with leads before buying, I do think they need to engage with you more than a few times. The best way to do this without overwhelming your audience is by engaging with them on multiple platforms.

I do this is by 1. uploading email lists into Google for my retargeting ads and 2. giving an option on my Google ad landing page for traffic to sign up for my newsletter. This way my audience is seeing my ads and similar content in an email campaign.

Other Google Ad Resources:

Hubspot: The Ultimate Guide to Google Ads

19 strategies for increasing your Audience reach and improving conversions

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