While organic traffic continues to be a favorite amongst presenters, today’s event organizers know that in order to get better conversion rates, they have to go a little easy with the marketing budget. One cannot ‘afford’ to rely completely on SEO and investment in tools like PPC (Pay Per Click) or Paid Searches in order to convert a bigger percentage of the visitors into attendees is becoming mandatory. More often than not, presenters get lulled into a false sense of security that accompanies paid marketing tools – if they’re paid, they’re bound to work out. Although, in reality, that’s hardly the case.
Even paid marketing tools, like PPC, can prove to be terrible investments if they’re not dealt with appropriately. You may end up overspending and yet not receive desired results. This only leads to one conclusion – no matter how much you spend on marketing tools, your conversion rates eventually lie in your own hands.
This particular blog post will help you understand the most popular PPC model, Google AdWords, so that you can improvise on your AdWords campaign and get maximum returns out of your investment.
The first step towards understanding Google AdWords would be to understand the definitions of the metrics involved:
- Impressions and clicks inform you about the number of people who have viewed your advertisement and how many have actually clicked on it.
- Click-through rate (CTR) measures the number of clicks against the number of impressions. Basically, it tells you how many people, out of the ones who viewed your advertisement, also clicked on it.
- Cost-per-click (CPC) is the average amount per click that you’re paying for your ad. This cost depends on three factors, namely bid, competition, and quality score, which will be discussed later.
What is Quality Score?
Quality Score, or QS, is Google’s algorithm to calculate the strength of your keywords, based on which the position of your advert in the results pages is determined. Lower your QS, higher will be the price you’ll pay. QS is measured on a scale of 10, and it’s at this score that you get the cheapest price per click. You can increase your QS by improving the relevance of your keyword to the ad and landing page. A good score might fetch you the top 4 positions in the search results.
The Significance of Account Structure
AdWords follows a Hierarchial Structure and you need to understand its significance before you start investing in advertisements. If your account structure isn’t clearly defined, your entire strategy might fall apart.
The first step is to have a crystal clear idea about your purpose. You might actually want to write down the key demographics of your target audience and what kind of keywords they might enter in their searches. For example, if you’re hosting a non-profit event, your target audience is likely to search for “non-profit events”, “charity events”, “fundraisers” etc.
Next, divide your account into campaigns and ad groups that follow an understandable nomenclature. This makes things easier for your future reference and also for your teammates if they’re going to be accessing the account, too.
What kind of keywords?
While reading the previous section, you might have lingered over the words – what kind of keywords they might enter in their searches. Even though you’re focusing on your target audience, pointing out the exact keywords that they’re likely to use can be quite a feat.
The best thing to do would be to fall back on Google’s autocomplete suggestions when you search for the keywords. Also, when the search results are displayed, scroll to the bottom of the page to find related searches and voila, more keywords!
Know Thy Competition
Yes, know them very well, especially their keywords. Compile a list of all your competitors and note the search terms they’ve been advertising for. Analyze their adverts to discover their choice of keywords. You could use SEMrush to get an insight into what’s working for your competitors.
Apart from SEMrush, also try the Google Keyword Planner that gives you keyword ideas if you input a landing page. Simply paste one of your competitor’s web pages in the tool, refine the results using the category filter and get blown away by the results. Give yourself a minute to come back to senses and put together the huge amount of information that’s at your disposal now – volumes per month, level of competition, and the suggested bid for every keyword.
Define Your Niche
Don’t just be restricted to everyday keywords, instead, find longer-tail keywords (which consist of more than 4 words) and ensure that your ads get displayed for these searches. There are two primary advantages of using longer-tail keywords: less competition and increased precision, both of which directly imply reduced cost and increased conversion rate.
Fix a Budget
When you’re defining a budget, make sure you’re taking into account everything. And by ‘everything’, I mean EVERYTHING. The smallest of internal allowances have to be accounted for before you actually go ahead and start spending on any kind of advertising, including AdWords. Keep a few factors in mind when you are formulating the budget, for example, the price at which you selling your event tickets, whether you’re aiming for a break-even or actually wanting to earn profits, how much profits are you thinking of, and so on. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you discover your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).
Know Your Worth
More like, know the worth of your keywords. Your CPA is your budget limit; it helps you set the maximum bid for your Ad Groups and also allows you to tweak the performance of an individual keyword.
If your cost per conversion surpasses your CPA, you might want to straighten out a few flaws:
- Your choice of keywords is poor
- You’ve incorrectly used keyword match types
- There’s a lack of negative keywords
- Your QS is very low
- There’s a Keyword to Ad copy mismatch
- Bids that are too high or too low
And so on.
It’s not about the Money
If your ulterior motive is not really to earn profits, that gives you all the more a reason to clearly define what you wish to gain from your event. Your Call to Action could be aimed at gaining more subscribers or increased social engagement; in any case, you need to have a tracking system in place. Rely on Google Analytics and setup conversion tracking. These goals can then be imported into AdWords and assigned a value and category wherever necessary.
Now That You’re Done…
That’s right, you’ve got your AdWords campaign in place, but where exactly are you going to drive all the traffic to? That’s correct – your landing page!
NOT your homepage, folks, your landing page.
If you’re paying a large sum for paid searches, it won’t make sense that these direct to your homepage because it just makes the user frown and give up. Your landing page should fulfill certain requirements, and these include:
- The message displayed on your landing page should align with your advertisement.
- Use headings, sub-heading, and bullets to keep the message brief and understandable.
- Eradicate all other distractions (menus, other CTAs, pop-ups and so on).
- Elaborately describe your offers and USPs.
- Testimonies and reviews act as good supports.
- Make sure your CTA isn’t vague and ambiguous.
- Make it crisp, elegant, and fast.
It’s almost a ‘moo’ point (if I were to go all Joey-like here), but you need to understand that I mean mobile-friendly and not just friendly-friendly. Your adverts have to be optimized for mobile devices as well as desktop because Google’s search algorithm prioritizes mobile optimized results. AdWords allows you to create mobile-friendly adverts, and you could actually dedicate a separate Ad Group to mobile only. Always keep an eye on mobile vs. desktop performance and keep making changes accordingly. Use conversion tracking for the same.
Call Me Maybe?
If your campaign is aimed at taking bookings or enquiries over the phone, use click-to-call ads, where a phone call is triggered directly when a user clicks on the ad and he will be saved the trouble of visiting the website and fetching your number. This saves a lot of time, you provide a good user experience, and you can also expect better conversion rates with this simple tactic.
Test the Waters
Before you dive in right away, it’s always better to check the temperature and measure the depth.
Your assumptions about the campaign could go horribly wrong because, let’s accept it, we’re dealing with people and people can be very unpredictable at times. So, keep testing everything: keywords, synonyms, and related terms. Test different landing pages, different ads in the same ad group, basically everything you can.
Also, Google’s default setting prioritizes spending money by attracting most clicks. But, you’re more focused on getting better conversions and ROI, so always set it to “rotate indefinitely” even if AdWords warns you against it.
This is a taste of what it’s like to actually plan out an AdWords campaign and by now you know that you can’t get done with it simply by paying the amount. Yes, there are a lot of other things to factor, other measures to take, other plans to carry out to make sure you’re actually getting good returns from investing in PPC, but that doesn’t mean you should get scared and not give it a try at all. It may look like a hassle at first, but once you start working on it and carry out one campaign successfully, you’ll have the framework registered in your mind and the subsequent times won’t be as difficult. Remember to start slow, start small, and plan out every step. Focus on your most important conversion first and expand only after you’ve achieved success. Make sure your landing page is relevant to your advert and refrain from using your homepage.
In conclusion, I’ll just say that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you’re learning from them and doing better the next time. All the best!