Before You Start Adwords | Search Scientists

Day 1 of 100 Days of AdWords: Before You Start AdWords…[Checklist]

AdWords is great for a lot of businesses. Consider AdWords a first class ticket past the murky world of SEO.  In a few short hours, a well optimized AdWords campaign can drive qualified users to your website – and in a world full of distractions… that’s powerful.

Still, one of the biggest issues I see with businesses that are new to AdWords is that business owners assume: “Just because it works for many other businesses – it must work for me, too.” The hard truth is that AdWords is far from an automatic hole-in-one.

If you’re interested in creating a winning AdWords Campaign, take care of the following loose ends before you ever send a click to your ad:

Audio version of this post:

Do Not Use AdWords IF…

…Your Website is a Business Card…

What if someone walked into your office right now – and asked: “Why should I spend money with you?” Would you hand them a business card with a list of your services? Or would you address those objections, explain how you can answer their burning questions, and provide a clear solution to their problem?

A good website is a 24/7 salesperson. A bad website is a business card.

Look at your website right now, think about your services. Was it created quickly – or do you have the very best page on the internet for that service? Do you simply state what your service is – or do you inspire action? Is your page similar to your competition – or do you explain how  your product is the best choice?

Once you start molding your website to be a 24/7/365 trustworthy salesperson, instead of a business card that simply lists your service, your website will be ready for AdWords.

Nathan Barry has chronicled his fantastic journey to improving the copy of his landing page on his website. Another example of a website acting as a sales person is this landing page from CopyBlogger – you don’t have to subscribe to their email list to notice how they educate, inspire, remove objections, and invoke urgency. All good things that a landing page salesperson should do!

One of my favorite places to study landing page design is Unbounce. Review their examples, study their analysis, and then take your high conversion rates to the bank!

…You Aren’t Tracking Conversions…

Any game is hard to play if you don’t know the rules. It’s impossible to run AdWords without conversion tracking. I’m not kidding – it is virtually impossible. Over the course of running an AdWords campaign, you’ll need to answer:

  • What is my most profitable keyword? How can I get most revenue out of this keyword?
  • What is my most expensive keyword that didn’t bring in any revenue? How can I turn this keyword into a champion?
  • What is the most profitable city in the USA for me to run ads – how can I increase my visibility here, and lower it in unprofitable cities?

The above 3 questions are fundamental pieces of AdWords optimization. They are also questions that can’t be answered without conversion tracking. Don’t spend your first dollar before you understand how you’ll be measuring the goals of your AdWords campaigns.

  • Customers might purchase over the phone, so you’ll want to track phone calls. You can track sales right back to the very ad that people clicked on using a webhook, call tracking software, and a GCLID of an AdWords Click.
  • Prospects might enter their email and leave a message on your contact form – you can track this using the AdWords conversion code – and Google Analytics Goals.
  • Finally, you might be selling something on your site. You will want to measure how much revenue you’re generating from successful shopping cart transactions – linked right back to their ads.

Even with calls and contact forms – you’ll want to do your best to approximate how much every new lead is worth to you – so you can be sure your AdWords campaign is profitable!

…You Can’t Dedicate 3 Hours a Week to Improving Your Account…

I met someone who had sailed from San Francisco to the US Virgin Islands by himself. Due to political instability in Central America at the time, he had to stay several hundred miles away from the coast – in the middle of the ocean, with nowhere to anchor. When I asked him how he could sleep without anchoring, his answer surprised me. He couldn’t. His sail boat had a sensor that would beep if it was drifting off course. He never slept more than a couple of hours at a time.

What this anecdote highlights is how similar an AdWords account is to a sailboat at sea. If you don’t monitor it closely – it will drift off course. Consider a task like negative keyword optimization on your broad match keywords. If you leave an irrelevant keyword to sit, collect impressions, collect cost, lower your CTR, over the lifetime of your account, it can cost you quite a pretty penny. I’ve seen some accounts where 1,000’s of dollars were wasted by not consistently adding negative keywords. If they had checked their search query report, they could have caught it early, and saved loads of money.

If you can’t dedicate the time it takes to keep your AdWords account on course – don’t do AdWords. Three hours per week is the very base minimum it takes to monitor and improve an AdWords account.

Take care of the above 3 items and you’ll be smooth sailing to a profitable AdWords campaign!

Here they are again, revisited:

AdWords is a Good Fit For You IF…

  1. You have a great landing page
  2. You’re tracking conversions
  3. You can dedicate the time to keep the AdWords account on course

Taking time to lay a strong foundation can be pivotal towards your AdWords


This post is part of a series: ‘100 Days of AdWords Help’.

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Michael Erickson

Emailing my clients and telling them I helped increase their return on ad spend by 300% never gets old. I love rising above the technical jargon and providing your business with online marketing momentum to reach new heights. Enthusiast for all things science, surfing, and Search Scientists.

4 Replies to “Day 1 of 100 Days of AdWords: Before You Start AdWords…[Checklist]”

  1. The second bullet is super critical and I think a ton of people miss this. There’s a huge knowledge gap when it comes to analytics software. If more people understood their traffic and the data it produces, they would be more likely to invest in paid traffic. This topic deserves it’s own section.

  2. “Consider AdWords a first class ticket past the murky world of SEO” – Spot on remark! Thanks for a great start to the series. Next one; tomorrow.

    How do you go about tracking ROAS if you are not connected to a premium CRM? I mean, the manual process behind it becomes quite tiresome.

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