by John Eberhard

Google AdWords recently published an article entitled “Top Tactics for Tough Times.” Aside from giving them high marks for alliteration in their title with all those “T”s, the article has some good advice. Here’s what they say:

“We know you’re probably keeping a close eye on your bottom line, and in this challenging economic climate, we’re committed to helping you maximize your AdWords investment. To that end, we asked experts on the AdWords team to share their top recommendations for getting the most out of AdWords during an economic downturn.”

“1. Focus your ads on low prices and savings.
Consumers care about prices more than ever, especially on day-to-day purchases. When someone searches on a particular product, you know they’re interested; by using your ad to tell them that you’ve got the highest quality and the best price, you’re more likely to earn their click. Update your ad text to focus on low prices, good values, and timely promotions.”
Tip 1

“2. Use value-related keywords.
It’s open season for bargain hunters. To reach these deal-conscious consumers, add appropriate price- and discount-related keywords. Try the AdWords Search-based Keyword Tool and Search Query Performance report to find any higher-performing keywords that people are actually searching on.”
Tip 2
“To attract more customers, value-related keywords have been added to the keyword list on the right.”
“3. Make sure your ad groups are targeted and relevant.
Ads perform best when their ad text reflects the ad group’s keywords; this makes ads more relevant to their intended audience. Make sure that both the text and the keywords in each ad group focus on a specific topic or product. For instance, an ad group about "tennis sneakers" will generally perform better than a broader ad group about "sneakers."
Tip 3
Splitting up the general ad group on the left into two, more specific ad groups will likely enhance its performance.

“4. Don’t waste money on irrelevant clicks.
The wrong keywords can attract people who are looking for products you don’t offer. Use negative keywords to filter out traffic that’s not related to your offering. The Search Query Performance report can help you identify potential negative keywords by showing which queries have triggered your ads.”
Tip 4
“A search for “peanut butter allergy” isn’t relevant to the sale of peanut butter, so allergy should be added as a negative keyword.”

“5. Make it easy for customers to buy.
Since people are spending more time comparing products and services online, make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for and buy from your site. Use the best Destination URL to send visitors directly to the page about the product or service promoted in your ad.”
Tip 5

"6. Focus your money on your high-performers.
To get the most out of your campaigns, focus your time and resources on the keywords, ads, and ad groups that are driving the most value for your spend. To determine what’s performing best for you, consider Google’s free Conversion Tracking tool.
Tip 6
“The overall budget of $100 was split evenly between the two campaigns. Google’s conversion tracking tool showed that the Used Books campaign was converting at a higher rate, so budget was shifted towards that campaign, increasing the overall conversion rate in the account.”

My Tips

Now I’ll share the things I’ve noticed help the success of a pay per click campaign, which are now VITAL in this kind of market.

  1. Offer: In this competitive market, it is vital to have a superior offer. This means that an offer of “fill out the form for more info” or “buy our product here for full price” are usually not going to cut it.

For a lead generation campaign, meaning you are getting leads that get turned over to salesmen to sell them a high ticket item, you have got to find something to offer people that will entice them to fill out your form. This could be a free newsletter, a free report or white paper, or an offer of some item for free if they buy your product or service. With an offer of some free item, it should have a somewhat high perceived value but low value compared to the cost of your product or service.

In the case where you are selling items directly online, try things like discounts, small items given away with the purchase and so on. And make sure your prices compare well with competition because it is too easy for people to check online.

  1. Audio or Video: It definitely helps to have an audio clip or a video on your pay per click landing page, i.e. the page people land on when they click on your ad on Google.
  1. Budget: Recently I went back and did research on our current and past pay per click advertising clients, where we set up and manage their accounts. We found that the clients who had a monthly Google budget of at least $1,000 were the most successful with their campaigns. Smaller budgets, by and large, were not very successful. So if you are contemplating a campaign on Google, if there is any way you can make the monthly budget over $1,000, do it.

In the current economic climate it is more important than ever to be as smart as possible and apply as many tricks as you can with a pay per click campaign.