Not getting enough clicks on your Google ads?
Or are you getting a lot of clicks, but just wasting money on them, without any customer acquisitions later?
The perils of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are as real.
As you probably already know, SEM is also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or paid search advertising. You utilize search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to reach potential customers.
You do this by paying for ads that are displayed on these search engines.
But that’s not all.
You’ve researched keywords, created a complicated configuration of ad groups to diversify your PPC campaign, and have generally localized your searches to your immediate geographical region.
And yet you’re not getting the desired ROI, nor reaching the marketing goals you set.
Do you want to know where you’re going wrong?
There are no guarantees you will be successful if you follow them, but there are certain tweaks you can impress on your SEM strategies, that will ensure you get more brand awareness generated.
Define Goals Through Appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Often, when optimizing your PPC campaign, the idea is to set goals based on KPIs like cost-per-click (CPC), click-through-rate (CTR), and cost-per-million-impressions (CPM).
Now, while these top-of-the-funnel KPIs are valuable at showing how visible your brand’s ads are, and how relevant your ads may be, they are not valuable at showing how relevant your websites or landing pages are.
You might just be wasting money on these clicks and impressions, while few of those searchers actually do end up subscribing to your content, while fewer still end up buying your products or services.
In such a case, it would be wiser to set goals based on appropriate KPIs such as customer acquisition cost (CAC) and attributed revenue.
In choosing a tougher KPI, you don’t get sidetracked by your smaller successes, and concentrate on your bigger successes, which are the ultimate goal.
Understand that CTR and CPC are relevant as KPIs only for when you’re gauging top-of-the-funnel success. They indicate that people are looking at your stuff, but not buying/trusting your stuff.
Limit Your Budget When You Have To
One of the great attributes of SEM and PPC advertising is that you can scale the campaign down if your budget gets limited.
Should you be spending more money on clicks than you are getting sales, make sure to set a smaller budget for certain ads. Given the diversity of most SEM campaigns, with a large range of ads to serve hundreds of keywords, you can cut down on certain ad groups, or reduce the daily budget.
Remember that while having a larger budget is a great thing with SEM, it doesn’t always ensure success. Don’t waste ad money on just gathering brand awareness; sometimes, you will need to scale down to reduce losses. The primary goal, as in point 1, is to make sales and acquire customers.
Use your money intelligently.
Use your money to make more money.
Test Ad Copy, Think Local, & Use Negative Keywords
When making ads, the general advice is to diversify them into many ad groups with sufficient keyword variations.
This will be done with search intent in mind. Understand your customers, and what they may want to look for. Phrase your ad copy accordingly. Use Calls-to-Action (CTA) in the ad descriptions.
When strategizing for keywords, keep their costs and their competitiveness in mind. Popular keywords are always more competitive and will cost more money, which means you’ll have to mix your PPC campaign between popular keywords and more qualified long-tail keywords which cost less.
If you need help generating keywords, you could use tools like Ahrefs or UberSuggest. Usually, there can be as many as 50-100 variations of an ad for a particular keyword. You must test each variation to see how they’re performing. Bin the ads that aren’t getting a high CTR.
If you’re catering to a certain demographic, try to understand local languages and street lingo and work that into your ad copy. Maybe mix in local words with English, or hire a local copywriter to create a local feel for your ads. Again, tools like Ubersuggest can come in handy here, where there are options to browse keywords by the nation.
When your ads have reached a sufficiently high quality (i.e. with a high “Quality Score”), search engines like Google reward you by reducing the ad costs. This helps the entirety of your campaign.
Lastly, remember to work on negative keywords.
If you’re a company that doesn’t dole out free or discounted stuff, make “free” and “discount” negative keywords, so that searchers who are looking for those don’t get misled into clicking on your ad.
If searchers get misled into clicking on your ads, your website’s bounce rate will increase, thus lowering your Quality Score.
The main objective of ads is to direct searchers to a relevant website or landing page, where they are further satisfied with content, products, or services. So an ad’s prompts should match what is actually available on the other side of the click.
As you will see.
Create Competent Landing Pages & Learn From Competitors
Once a visitor is on your landing page, your job is to direct them to their most pressing need.
This pressing need will be qualified by your ad copy in the previous part of the funnel.
For example, “90 square inch tennis racquets” is a highly qualified keyword phrase, and will necessitate that the visitor is only searching for racquets within that racquet head surface area.
Your job is to make it easy to find quick, digestible information (like lists) on those racquets, preferably with an option to buy.
A list of 5-10 of these racquets would suffice, your best deals, with accompanying pictures and review stars. Do not waste time complicating the matter with walls of text that describe each racquet. Make the product content easy to read, in bullet points or lists.
Always put in the product prices.
Also, throw in small references about your company and its social proof, to seem trustworthy.
The objective of your landing page is to maximize those clicks from your ads, into further action by the visitors. If your landing page is too cluttered or badly designed, visitors could get confused and leave, creating unwanted bounce rates.
So how do you optimize landing pages? Learn from successful competitors. Scour their landing pages for ideas. You don’t need to reinvent the idea. You just need to adapt the idea to your objective.
If you are finding it difficult, hire landing page content writers and designers.
Blend SEM Strategy With Your SEO Strategy
While SEO and SEM can override each other in certain aspects, it doesn’t mean they can’t complement each other.
For example, if you’re getting clicks from SEM through Google Ads on Google Search, they could be taking away clicks from your organic search results (provided you’re on Page 1).
This isn’t optimal.
However, since ad variations and their keywords are numerous, you could target certain keywords for SEM, while targeting other keywords for SEO.
If your web content for the highly-competitive keyword “buy construction boots” is doing badly for organic search, while the keyword “construction boots review” is doing better, choose SEM for the former.
In this way, you can plug the holes in your SEO with SEM solutions. The SEO strategy is of the patient, long game. SEM has quicker results.
Also, since both methods use keyword research and variations, you can use each of them to inform the other. A good SEM agency has a practice of writing successful Google Ads copy for SEO, in meta-descriptions and titles—and vice versa.
The goal is to build your brand online, and that is accomplished through this symbiotic relationship.
Eventually, you will get a boost in your SEM strategies if you follow these guidelines. And if you don’t, at least you will understand why and where you’re going wrong, through tools like Google Analytics and Google Ads.
Once you’re vigilant, you’ll make the difference.