Tip #1: Define Your Goals

Adwords, or the other PPC platforms, can be a highly effective online marketing tool to drive your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) efforts. It’s the quickest way to generate qualified traffic to your business’ website, offers one of the best ROIs of the online marketing channels and is one of the easiest to track a direct correlation of costs vs. benefits. Well, that’s if everything is set up and managed correctly!

Because of the immediacy of your business’s desire to gain brand-recognition, traffic, leads or sales as quickly as possible, you’re sometimes prone to overlook details and miss some important steps along the way. Most businesses rush the setup of their Adwords campaigns and make even quicker changes to their campaigns, without enough data to support their decisions or a clear understanding of that decision’s affect on the business goals.

As they say, “the devil is in the details” and Adwords (along with most other SEM mediums) have a ton of details to cover. While we can’t cover everything here, we want to provide a primer of the things you should know and keep in mind during the setup and ongoing management of your Google Adwords or pay-per-click campaigns. This blog post is the first in a 5-Step series, so keep your eyes tuned for the next four tips!

Without further ado, here is a 10,000 foot view of how to rock your online marketing campaigns. 

Define Your Goals

If you were to ask most any business owner their goals for marketing campaigns or their business in general, the answer is almost always, “to make money”, “to sell as many widgets as we can” or “to show a positive ROI on my spend.” While those are all great goals, they’re just a start and aren’t specific enough to be legitimate goals for an Adwords campaign.

Ask yourself: What are the goals of your online marketing efforts specifically? What are the issues that the business is facing that you hope that your PPC campaigns will resolve? Build a list, and then dig deeper into the goals to get into specifics.

Goals generally fall into a few of different buckets:

Brand recognition – “We need to get our name out there and let people know what we do.”

Sales Leads – “We need more leads for our sales people to call.”

Sell Stuff – “We need to sell more widgets!”

Combination – “We need more brand recognition, and also need to sell more stuff.”

Based on each of these goal categories, the follow up questions that you need to answer for yourself will vary, as well as the way you set up your account, campaigns and ad groups! Here are a couple of quick questions/details for each of those scenarios, but these lists are far from all-inclusive. These questions/answers should only generate more questions and answers, until you have a full view of your online marketing goals. Most of these questions can (and should) be answered no-matter what goal category you fall into.

Brand Recognition Goals

  1. Where (specifically) do you need to build brand-recognition? In the Midwest? In the US as a whole? Or just in your city?
  2. How many people do you want to reach, and why do you want to reach them? What are you hoping they’ll do once they know about you?
  3. Is there a particular demographic that you want to target? e.g. Women, ages 19-25, or homeowners 25-65 y/o.
  4. How much are you willing to pay for each person to find out about you? How will you gauge success of these campaigns?

Sales Leads Goals

  1. How will you track the leads internally to determine ROI? (People always forget this part)
  2. About what percentage of your leads actually close, on average? 10%, 20%?
  3. What is the typical value of each sale?
  4. Is there a longer lifetime value for customers, or is it a one-time sale?
  5. Based on those answers, calculate how much you’re willing to pay per lead to maintain profitability.

Sell Stuff Goals:

  1. How many widgets do you want to sell each month?
  2. Is there seasonality to your business, where you should allocate budget differently?
  3. Are there limitations on where you can sell your product, based on your location, or other factors?
  4. What is your profit by product? What can you reasonably pay for each sale of product ‘x’ and still turn a positive ROI?
  5. How long is your typical sales cycle?

So, what’s next?

Hopefully through this process you can define what success looks like to you, and the goals that you want to reach with your SEM campaigns.

Of course, this all leads to expectations for budget and the return on that spend. You may find that the goals that you’ve set, don’t match the budget you want to spend, and you’ll need to adjust one or the other accordingly.

You’ll also find that some goals don’t go together. If your goals are “dominate the market and maintain top ad position” and “pay no more than $10 for a lead”, then those goals may be contradictory to each other. You’ll have to find a balance and what an honest budget and goals look like. Regardless of your goals; define them, stick to them and remember them throughout the duration of your campaigns.

Think you have outlined your advertising goals? Move on to our second portion of Google Adwords 5 part series: Tip #2: Structuring Your AdWords Campaign.

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