How to Run a Successful AdWords Campaign

This is a quick guide to help you set up your campaigns to insure you have the perfect account for long term success. With a proper structure, you can quickly see what’s working and what isn’t so you can easily make profitable changes to your account instead of spending hours analyzing random collections of keywords trying to figure out where your traffic is coming from.

Adwords is all about experimentation. You start with a set of ads and keywords you think are relevant to your customers and then see what sticks. Some keywords drive great traffic while others hit a dead end. The hard part comes when you are stuck trying analyzing 250 keywords at the end of the month to determine which ones to keep.

This is where a proper account structure and campaign organization can save you hours boring analysis. When you structure your campaigns properly you’ll have the ability to quickly identify where your most profitable traffic is, as well as where the dead weight is hiding. Think of your account structure as your tax filing system.

You can just throw all your receipts in a shoe box and wait until the end of the year to dig through them all. Or you can take 10 minutes to simply label a couple of envelopes by month so you can place the correct receipts in the proper month’s folder as you go along.

Then when tax time comes, instead of frantically running sorting receipts from the entire year, you can be one of the savvy business owners your CPA loves because you’ve already got every receipt neatly tucked away in an envelope for each month. I think we can both agree it would be a lot easier to find receipts that way.

Account Structure

The first step to organizing your account is deciding what is most important to you. While everyone is a little different, there are three simple ways you can go about it:

  1. Geo-Location Campaigns
  2. Product/Service Campaigns
  3. Prospect Campaigns

If where you run your ads is very important, then separating everything by your geo-targeting will be important. Since you can’t do this on the ad group level you’ll want to create a separate campaign for each location you wish to target. If you have multiple locations for instance, then a campaign can be set-up for each individual location.

The ad groups and keywords could be the same across the campaigns, but the location they target would vary from campaign to campaign. This allows you to optimize your keywords and ads based upon the different kinds of people who live in the various locations.

You may find that even though you sell the same products at all locations, customers of location A may be more receptive to your branded keywords while location B customers are more likely to be searching for coupons. Segmentation allows you to see the different kinds of customers you have in different areas and optimize your campaigns to fit those specific customer’s needs.

Next you have product/service based campaigns. These are relatively straight forward. Targeting the same locations, each campaign is centered around 1 product or service that you offer. You’ll have a separate campaign for widgets A, B and C. Each campaign should have its own unique set of keywords, ads and landing page focused around 1 widget. This means the campaign for widget A would only talk about and drive traffic to pages directly related to widget A.

As time goes on you’ll quickly discover which kinds of products sell best using Adwords so you can easily reallocate your budget away from the lower performing widget campaigns to the higher performing ones.

Finally, we have prospect based campaigns. This campaign structure is ideal for those who are trying to generate leads. Here, the campaigns would be based upon the different kinds of customers that would be interested in your products or services.

A web developer for instance, would have a separate campaign for building websites for restaurants, plumbers, and ecommerce sites. The product is the same, a website, but the way it’s marketed should be changed based upon the type of customer. The web developer in this instance would create a separate campaign that targeted restaurant owners, independent plumbers, and ecommerce owners.

Optimize Keywords for Success

Now that you have your campaigns structure in place it’s time for the easy part: Keywords. This is the easy part because you’ve done all the hard work of getting organized and segmenting your customers. Let’s cut through all the keyword research advise out there and distill your research down to one simple question:

What Are My Customers Looking For?

This is the only question you need and answer and keep in the front of your mind as you search for keywords. Using the Google Keyword Planner (don’t worry it’s totally free) you can type in keywords you think your customers may be using to find your business and its products. You’ll enter in 3-5 searches you think your customers would use along with your preferred geo-targeting and website. In less than 15 seconds Google will give you more keywords than you’ll know what to do with!

Now, you’ll want to spend a good 30 minutes reviewing the keywords and selecting the ones you think represent what your customer would be typing in to find your product or service. As you review the keywords it’s important to remember what the user’s intention is behind the keyword. The keyword “widget product review” isn’t all that valuable when compared to “buy widget” or “widget discount.”

Gather up a list of 100 keywords or so and break them down into small groups based upon relevance. These will become your ad groups (the collection of keywords & ads in a campaign). Each ad group should house around 3 to 5 keywords. Any more than that and you run the risk of having unrelated keywords in the same ad group, and Google doesn’t want to see that.

Quick Recap

Each campaign is focused around a single location, product/service, or type of customer. Within each campaign is a series of ad groups made up of small collections of closely related keywords (search terms) your customers would most likely use to find products and companies like yours. Now that you have the proper structure, and your keywords you’re ready to write some ads.

Ad Copy Time

When it comes to writing ads, all you need to do is continue to answer the exact same question from your keyword research:

What Are My Customers Looking For?

Every one of your prospects and customers who come to search on Google have a conversation going on in their minds. They want something and it’s your job to communicate that you have what they are looking for. This means your ad copy (text) needs to clearly and succinctly communicate what your prospect or customer can expect when they click the ad. What are they going to get? What are you giving them?

There is no magic to writing ads. A good short cut, is to take some of the keywords you’re going to use, copy-paste them into Google and see what other advertisers are saying in their ads. This is the quickest way to learn what your customers are already responding too, so you can write great ads on day one.

Your competitors have already spent thousands of dollars testing what ad copy works. All you have to do is see what’s working now and improve upon it for your own business. Start off with 3 to 5 ads for each one of your campaigns.

Test and Experiment

After you’ve written your ads you’re ready to put everything together, set your daily budget and watch the traffic roll in. Setting up the campaigns properly is just the beginning. Now the real work beginnings; testing.

As you run traffic you’ll start to see what keywords and ads perform the best. These results will also help give you new ideas for future campaigns, new keywords and ads. As you turn off the keywords and ads that aren’t working you’ll be able to start narrowing down your campaigns to focus on the ads and keywords that work.

Your 90 Minute Plan

That is all there is to building an AdWords campaign from scratch for your business. You can use this guide to create as many campaigns as you like as your account grows and you collect more data on what works best for you. Here’s how you’ll spend that 90 minutes constructing your campaign:

  • 5 minutes choosing your campaign type
  • 30 minutes researching keywords
  • 30 minutes writing ads
  • 25 minutes setting up your new campaign in Adwords
Kyle Willis

Kyle is the Founder of N2Q and makes a personal investment in the management of each project. Kyle is an SEM/social strategist with over 10 years experience in optimizing websites, finding audiences, building websites and using organic content and digital advertising to create engaging social communities. He will be your expert on social media platforms, display advertising, and marketing collateral. He has worked for large companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, John L. Scott Realty, and Farmers Insurance as well as small businesses locally and as far as Africa and Switzerland.

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