3 questions to ask and decide how much to spend on Google AdWords

Three questions for AdWords Spending -StratoServe
Our readers ask

How much do I spend on Google AdWords?

An earlier post provided the strategy answer and this post presents three questions to ask for coming to a better decision. Here are the questions to ask:

  1. What were your inquiries before AdWords? Before AdWords you were getting inquiries. These inquiries could be from customer referrals, email campaigns, social media, yellow page listings, traditional media like direct mail, phone calling,  billboards or whatever. The first step is to have some estimate of inquiries by marketing channel. We are talking only inquiries here and not sales closed. Make a table for this month along the lines as pictured above.
  2. What is the difference between inquiries and closed sales? : Google AdWords or any type of online or offline advertising cannot close the sale for you. They can only get the conversation started.And that is why we compare inquiries across marketing channels. It can be a waste of your time and energy if people who are unlikely to qualify (say for their budget reasons) keep calling you. Some channels have high closed sales to inquiries. That is why you  hear  ” We get most of our business through referrals.” If you think about it, that makes sense. Current customers have experienced your product or service and if they are happy they tell their friends. When those friends reach out to you they already know what to expect. If you just match expectations you get their business.
  3. How did you hear about us? It’s really important to ask first time callers- “How did you hear about us?”. Many people will say we “found” you on the Intenet or we “Googled” you. If you are running a Google AdWords campaign effectively, its very likely that they saw your ad and found you.People will also report that they saw your coupon in a flyer and that’s very important to note down.In other words,only the business knows who is contacting them and tracking leads is important. Start with a notebook or word/excel  file and then go to software for lead management. Whatever works and is comfortable for your business. At the end of the month you should be able to provide a data based source of leads.

Once you have some kind of system to track your leads, do the following:

  1. Switch on Google AdWords for a month: If you have a well crafted AdWords campaign that understands your business strategy you should see clear results in one month. You might see some increases in other channels as people start with other channels (like your flyer) and then Google your product or service and see your ad. They click on the ad and call you and when you ask them “How did you hear about us?” they say “flyer” but the flyer really worked because near to the decision of calling you- they searched online and saw your ad. You might also find some things that you did not expect. For example, one of our clients found that incoming calls on the advertised phone number took a caller over two minutes to get to ….. the voicemail prompt!. There was 1 for Accounts, 2 for HR ….. 9 to leave a voicemail  on the telephone prompts. The business appreciated that someone calling from the commuter train on their cell phone , from clicking an ad, was unlikely to wait for 2 minutes to leave a voicemail. Changes in the welcome message helped to reduce the wait time to less than 15 seconds. Lots of website tweaks will become apparent that are easy to implement.
  2. If you can’t decide switch off AdWords for a month: If you cannot decide whether your results justify your expenses stop for a month. But continue the “How did you hear about us” lead source data collection in question 3 above.If the AdWords was working for you you should see a clear difference in the number of leads for the month that the campaign was running. Don’t worry if other channels are also down- because the Internet works with other channels Without online ads, someone who saw your flyer and can’t remember your business name will Google your product or service and when they see your business name they remember your flyer (sometimes unconsciously).

You might wonder why you should switch off your campaign if leads will probably come down. This is required to build your own comfort on how well AdWords works for you and your business. You should feel energized  to make changes in your processes (eg. get an answering service) and change your website (eg. make it mobile friendly) as you re-start your campaign with new hope. AdWords should be clearly helping your lead pipeline, from all sources, and your own numbers should speak louder than the Google AdWords and Analytics  metrics.

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