Challenge: My cost per lead is too high to support my sales objectives.
Now you have an account structure you like and is designed around your prospective customers. Let the optimization begin! No matter how well thought out your account, it can ALWAYS be optimized. While campaign optimization could fill many books, here are a few common starting points to review to ensure you have covered the basics.
First you need to put all the wood behind one arrow – more succinctly, you need a tight linkage between your ad group, adwords in that ad group and ad text. The more closely you can align the search terms your potential customers are using with the ad text you provide, the better your chance for success. The implication? You may need to divide your ad groups far further than you planned to achieve better results. Most commonly, as you optimize your program you will be subdividing your ad groups to make them even more focused over time. While this will increase your ongoing management effort, it will improve your overall results.
Review your keywords and don’t forget the power of negative keywords in these ad groups. As you review the actual search terms, you may find they have meaning to search for other products. You may want customers for web conference software – but clearly the word ‘conference’ could be used to search for a face to face event or venue. You need to both clearly use keywords based on exact match or phrase match instead of the default broad match as well as add negative keywords. Examples of negative keywords vary by industry, though most B2B companies could benefit from adding the following negatives to their accounts: home, consumer, personal, free, shareware, freeware, job, salary, position, and consultant. For more information on using negative keywords, see this post by Lindsey Walsh.
Next, review your offers – are they really relevant to the keywords searched? Is this offer something the potential customer would be interested in seeing or reading? Is the offer too much of a lead – such as asking for a face to face meeting when the prospect is only just learning about the product or solution?
Another area that many people miss is the traffic distribution settings which declare whether your ads are shown only on a search results page for a relevant search or if they are also shown on the Content Network for web pages which mention your keywords. While the Content Network can be an excellent source of traffic and leads, it needs to be managed in separate campaigns to allow for different bidding strategies. If you didn’t make this choice specifically, Google opted you into the Content Network when you first set up your campaign. Simply change your network settings and create a new campaign for the Content Network if you still want to pursue that traffic – but beware that your results may be very different than the search results. More information on the Google Content Network is posted on the AdWords blog.
Lesson: Optimizing ad groups, key words, ad text and offers is an ongoing exercise which may take months and years to truly perfect – and even then requires constant attention and management.
Special thanks to Lindsey Walsh for her assistance with this post. You can contact Lindsey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.