My B2B clients often ask me if I think they should try AdWords advertising, and my answer, like most things in marketing, is that it can be a great medium for some and the wrong medium for others. I should note as a disclaimer going into this article that the clients I work with are B2B companies in various stages of growth and size, not B2C clients, which when it comes to AdWords, require a different strategy altogether.
Is your target audience searching for your product or service product in Google?It may sound like a strange question, but if your company has a new solution that solves a problem but it requires educating the market to sell that offering, they won’t be looking for you in Google. AdWords is tied to the keywords people are searching in Google and if people aren’t searching for your offering or category, you may want to look at a different program. You will be better served with educational and awareness campaigns that educate the market, like public relations, awards programs, speaking opportunities, content marketing, direct marketing, and advertising.
What is your budget?AdWords used to be one of the cheaper advertising solutions out there but in recent years keyword prices have skyrocketed in some industries, especially tech, as more companies have started using AdWords, and have driven the keyword prices up to crazy levels. Words like “data center management” or “business expense software” can go for more than $20 a click (or more – I’ve seen prices as high as $40/click), and if you only have a budget of $150/day ($5,000/month), AdWords may not be the best option as you are only allowing for people to click on your ads a few times a day. You may be better served investing that money in other programs where you can get more bang (clicks, conversions) for your buck.
What are your goals for the program?Once you’ve determined whether or not people are searching for your product or service, and that you have the budget, you need to determine specific objectives. Are you trying to capture new leads? Are you trying to build brand awareness against your competitors for a particular product category or keyword? Do you want to get more traffic to your website? Like any marketing campaign, it’s always good to have clearly defined goals going into the program. And with AdWords, it’s better to pick a side (brand awareness vs. lead generation) and set up your campaigns according to those goals. Many of my clients have told me they want both – the challenge with both is that there are only so many keywords that will match your brand and the more ads and CTAs you have, the more you dilute your online ad presence. I had one client that had good brand awareness but a confusing website, and visitors couldn’t find where to sign up. AdWords was a great fit for them as people searching in Google could find what they needed easier and faster – AdWords proved to be their best lead generation program, because we were able to direct them to where they could sign up.
Do you have someone that can manage the program daily?AdWords can be an extremely effective program but you can’t set it and forget it. It requires daily oversight. Someone will need to go into the campaigns every day, check the ads, manually increase bids on keywords, add new keywords, pause keywords that have low quality scores, pause ads that aren’t performing, test new ads and so on. If you don’t have a resource that can devote time to the management of this program, then this might also not be the program for you.
Do you understand the factors that affect results?There are a lot of variables that influence how often your ad is shown and which position it’s shown in, including budget, competition (how many other companies are bidding on the same keyword), your ad copy and landing page and their relevance to the keyword, and so on. In order to maximize the results of the program, you’ll need to educate yourself on what those factors are and optimize accordingly.
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