6 AdWords Tips for Small Business Owners

by Donny in 6 Comments — Updated Reading Time: 4 minutes

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In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most important factors that make up a great Google AdWords strategy for an e-commerce business, both in terms of how to design your ad campaigns as well as how to optimize the site itself for maximum conversions.

1. What Gets Measured Gets Managed

Sorry for the clichéd wisdom. But if there’s one basic metric that every advertiser should keep top-of-mind, it’s return on investment.

In Google AdWords, the best way you can measure your ROI is to track conversions along with your costs. Don’t think that click-through rate alone is the king of all PPC metrics: if you aren’t making sales with all that traffic, you’re losing money.

  • Set up conversions tracking–preferably for all ecommerce transactions–in your Google AdWords account.
  • Enable cost attribution in your linked Google Analytics account, if necessary.
  • Monitor how much profit your ads and keywords are driving, and whip your fast horses.

2. Transactional Keywords

The most lucrative keywords for an ecommerce business are those based around transactions. If a prospect comes to your site to research a product, see what it looks like and understand what it does, that prospect is not worth nearly as much as a different prospect who visits with the intent to purchase. Your bidding strategy should reflect this fact.

Who is more likely to buy: someone who searches for “best bicycles” or someone who searches for “bicycle stores in San Francisco”?

Set up different ad groups for different keyword sets, and adjust your bids and ad language accordingly.

3. Ads That Sell

Well-designed ads can work wonders for your AdWords campaigns. Proper word or image choice can lead to increased sales as well as higher CTR–which, by increasing your ads’ quality scores, will often lead to lower CPC, better placement, or both. Over time, this can lead to a snowball effect where you see your entire campaign start to perform much better based on a few simple changes you decided to try out.

And “try out” is an important idea to keep in mind. You won’t know what wording or design will perform best, so you should test many versions of the same ads and then thin the herd. I’m not going to mention mistreating horses again, but you know what to do.

Different niches and keywords call for different types of ad copy and images, but it usually pays to use active language, focusing on the benefits and unique selling proposition (if there is one). Google and Facebook give us two examples of this:

Notice how, in only one line of text each, Google and Facebook lay out the entire unique selling propositions of their respective advertising platforms–with the benefits implied therein. On Google, customers search and find you. On Facebook, you can reach the exact audience you want. These examples aren’t particularly exciting, but you can bet they work.

When using text ads, another great ace up your sleeve is dynamic keyword insertion. Be careful not to overuse it, but if you can deliver on the implied promise of the keywords you’re bidding on, it can be a powerful tool to increase your CTR.

4. Ad Extensions

For most e-commerce sites, the most important type of ad extension to try is product extensions, which display images, titles, and prices of relevant products based on your Google Merchant Center account. But depending on your particular business, it’s worth trying seller ratings, ad sitelinks, and call extensions as well. (If ad extensions are new to you, check out Google’s Adwords help center page about them for a quick overview.)

5. Custom Landing Pages

For each ad group, it’s a good idea to have a landing page specifically picked out for a) that group of keywords, and b) the text of your ads.

In other words, if you’re running an AdWords campaign for an ecommerce website and pointing all your ads to the homepage, you’re doing it wrong.

You don’t have to design a new landing page for every ad group, but you do need to make sure every URL you choose is the most relevant page on your site for that ad and keyword combination.

If the ad is targeted at keywords related to “running shoes,” don’t send your prospect to the homepage or even a general “shoes” category page. Show them your top-selling running shoes and cross-trainers. It helps to make the display URL something simple and topical, too: “yoursite.com/running” is better than “yoursite.com,” even if the actual URL the ad points to is much longer and uglier.

6. Reduce Friction

Whether you’re selling just one product or you carry thousands, one of the most surefire ways to increase sales is to decrease friction. That goes for free permission-marketing assets, too.

It seems obvious: the harder it is for your prospects to buy (or convert in general), the fewer of them will do so. But it’s amazing how many e-commerce sites out there clog up their sales funnel by requiring a ton of information from their customers up front.

When it comes to information requirements and forms, remember these guidelines:

  • Ask for as little information as possible.
  • Make it possible to order from you without creating a username and password.
  • If you need to ask for a lot of information, do it in steps instead of all at once. A shorter or two-step registration can drastically increase registration rates.
  • When in doubt, take it out. (Or use an analytics tool like ClickTale to help you see what’s making people leave.)

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6 thoughts on “6 AdWords Tips for Small Business Owners”

  1. Hi Zach,

    Great overview. I like your point in regards to landing pages, as this definitely helps. I understand that this article is more designed to DIY people so found your approach to be realistic and good for business owners. My only point of discussion would be to highlight the importances of having unique landing pages – if people really want to drive their conversions you can’t go past a uniquely designed landing page that has a specific outcome in mind and has none of the other distractions, such as site navigation, other call to actions etc.

  2. I have never given attention to Google Adward tool. Sometimes people doubt on me that how I’m getting right keywords to use without working on keywords research. The only answer to them is I use my brain and reads top blogs daily. 🙂

  3. Hey Zach,

    Great information. You’re so right about having custom landing pages for each ad group, it really works well.

    Driving adwords traffic to a custom landing page makes the ad copy more relevant and attractive.


  4. You absolutely get only what you manage. Good advise.

    What arbitrage have you found that works best with ADwords campaigns?

    Would you recommend adwords > affiliate products?

  5. Good information showing the pros and cons with Google Adwords. Google Adwords is tool for improve your internet marketing ratio. I am a employee of SEO field and i know very well about this..Thanks for this amazing and informative news.

    Manoj Rawal


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