Typically, it arrives in the form of an envelope that is sized like a greeting card or invitation. There’s a card inside that starts with the headline, “How to get your business to show up on Google.”
As you unfold the card, you discover the pitch in just a few steps:
- Run an ad. An easy-to-create Google ad that we’ll only show to people who are actively searching your area for exactly what you have to offer.
- How? Simply pick a business category, write your ad and set a budget.
- The details. How it works. What it costs.
- Why? Prospective customers search by topic, and you are missing out.
Each panel contains just one or two dozen words. The take-aways are:
- AdWords is extremely simple. If you need help, call our toll-free support. We’ll even set the whole thing up for you if you like.
- AdWords is risk-free. You only pay when someone clicks your ad. Plus, you can set a budget as high or as low as you wish. There’s even a discount coupon.
The message is clean and simple – lots of white space. Very compelling. Doesn’t every business want to show up at the top of Google searches?
Those of you who have managed AdWords accounts or have been reading our blog know that AdWords is a fascinating, but complex online advertising platform. If you follow the defaults, your account will contain a large number of broad matched keywords which seems appropriate until you see what people actually typed. Your ads will appear on search results, where you expect them to, but they will also appear in that immense parallel dimension called the Display Network.
Somehow, like magic, your daily budget will be consumed, which means your site will be getting visitors. But most likely, very little of that traffic will turn into business.
The simple explanation is a mismatch of objectives.
Google’s objectives are to sell you clicks, as many as you’re willing to pay for. That’s why they send you notices from time to time with suggestions on how to get more clicks. Of course, more clicks will require increasing your budget.
Your objective is to attract focused, quality prospects — ideally decision makers with an appropriate budget — to your website.
One of these things is not like the other. If you go the easy route and let Google set up your account for you, whose objectives do you think will come first?
I recently attended a three-day seminar with over 100 of the sharpest minds in the AdWords universe. These were A-players with years of experience and thousands of campaigns under their belts. Someone asked, “What percentage of AdWords campaigns you come across are losing money?” In other words, the money that is spent on clicks in non-professionally managed accounts is more than the profit that’s generated. The consensus in the room pointed somewhere above 80%. Further discussion revealed that many AdWords users don’t even know whether their account is generating a profit or not. That’s really inexcusable.
Our own experience over ten years, looking at thousands of campaigns other people have set up, tracks pretty closely to those numbers. We’ve seen maybe two where we congratulated the person and told them they didn’t need to change a thing. The rest ranged from wasting some money to being completely egregious.
Look, we’re not saying that AdWords is bad. Quite the opposite. It’s the most flexible, configurable, trackable lead generation engine ever invented. But it certainly isn’t simple. Under its placid surface lies an almost endless array of choices and configuration settings, most of which are set by default to benefit Google, not you, the advertiser.
Hiring experienced, professional PPC management costs money on top of what you’re already paying for clicks. But depending on your skill level and the competition in your niche, it may save you money.