I was one month into working with a new client when they asked me why after all the changes I had made, the campaign still wasn’t converting. I reminded them of what I said when I first reviewed the campaign. I could drive traffic to their site, but if they didn’t make changes to it, all my work wouldn’t really matter. I had pointed out issues to them even before I officially began. Issues with the website that even with all my work, we might not overcome.

There are 3 elements to a successful Google Ads campaign - keywords, the ad, and the lnding page
There are 3 elements to a successful Google Ads campaign

A successful pay per click campaign, whether it’s on Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or Facebook only works is if all the right elements are in place. In this case, the client went another month before finally taking my advice. We didn’t do more than just create a couple new landing pages for the campaign. Almost immediately we started to see a significant increase in leads. Not only this, but we also started to see the cost per click go down.

If you’re doing a pay per click campaign and not seeing results than start to look at is if it were a 3-legged stool. If any part of the stool isn’t correct, then the chair will either wobble or worse fall down. This is why you need all three parts of your campaign to be solid so your campaign succeeds.

Just as it can be a mistake to dismiss a pay per click campaign because your landing page doesn’t work, the opposite could also be true.  Your landing page might not be the problem and in fact, could be quite effective. It’s just that the words you’re targeting or your ads create the wrong expectations.

Before going into the three legs of the stool, I’m going to preface this that first of all you have the campaign set up properly.  That you have your location set correctly so that you’re only showing up in your market and that your only doing search with this campaign.  These are relatively easy fixes so if not, you can remedy this pretty quickly.  The three elements of a successful campaign might take longer.

Leg Number 1 – The Keywords

The first step of creating your campaign is deciding what keywords you want to target. For some businesses this can be relatively easy. If you’re a pizza place in Chicago, then you want to focus on phrases related to pizza. If the ads only run in Chicago, then you can simply target pizza place or pizza restaurant or pizza near me.  If you’re targeting people soon to travel there you target Chicago Pizza.

If you’re service or product is a little less common, then you’ll need to so some keyword research.

Google Keyword Planner is the best tool to begin your research. I’m assuming if you are doing pay per click, then Google AdWords is part of that plan. Even if it’s not you can still utilize the potential of the keyword planner by signing up for an account, even if you don’t plan to use it. Bing has a similar tool, but I prefer Google’s.

If you have just a small budget, then don’t get carried away with the number of words you target in your campaign. Focus on the words that seem most relevant to your market. If your budget starts to increase, then begin to add words to your campaign. Whatever you do, don't use broad match keywords. You'll get a lot of terms that don't apply to your business. There are other keyword match types that are better.

Once your campaign has started you need to constantly monitor it. There are bound to be words that people use that don’t apply to your particular business and because of this you must block them. So monitor your search term report and each month and look for words that won’t generate business. For example, it could be for services in another market. Or it could be someone looking for a job in your field. Any words that don’t apply you add to your negative keyword list to prevent future wasted spend.

Leg Number 2 – The Ad

You can have the best keywords in the world, but they won’t matter if no one clicks on your ad. The biggest mistake here is to put all your keywords into one ad group.  You want to break them down by theme or similarity.  This way the ad you develop will be more relevant for the keywords you’re targeting in a particular ad group.

Here are some things you can do to improve your click through rates.

   Include The Keywords Your Targeting in the Ad Itself. They will be bolded if they match the search terms people are using.  

   Create Mobile Specific Ads – Shorter text lines and different calls to actions such as call today. And take them to a page that works better on mobile, meaning less text and smaller images.  

   Use Ad Extensions – This allows for more information on your business, including a number they can click to call. Utilize as many that seem appropriate as possible.  

   Have a Call to Action in The Ad – This could be as simple as call today or redeem coupon or download now.

The more you can improve your click through rate the lower your costs can be as it helps with your Quality Score.

Leg Number 3 - Landing Page

Once they’ve clicked on your ad, you’re still not guaranteed they will be prospects. What motivated them to click on the ads, must be carried over into the page they land on. A simple example is if the ad refers to red tennis shoes and your landing page is all about black dress shoes, they’re likely to be disappointed. And if your landing page has a variety of shoes then you don’t want them to have to scroll down the page to find the red tennis shoes. If the page is all about red shoes they’re likely to be more satisfied and in the mood to buy.

One of the main benefits of having dedicated landing pages is that you can retain the interest of the prospects who clicked on your ad. If you send them to your home page, for example, they could be lost in all the options they have and most importantly, not see anything related to the issue they’re interested in.  They’re not going to search for what they want. They’ll simply back out and go to the competition.

Having a dedicated landing page can be an additional expense. For some it means they have to contact their webmaster about adding pages. For many businesses the site they’re using hasn’t been updated in years and they are no longer in contact with the original designer.  This mean hiring someone, but be forewarned. If your current site isn’t mobile friendly, then don’t throw any more money at this site unless you’re planning a complete redo to make it more accessible on phones.

A successful ad campaign often hinges on a dedicated landing page
A dedicated landing page helps a campaign

If using your website isn’t an option, then consider an option like Unbounce that allows you to create landing pages. Again there is a cost to this, but if a landing page is going to convert more visitors into prospects, then this money will be recouped relatively quickly. This is why so many campaigns fail. They’ve done the first two legs well, but they’re done in by the third leg. It's crucial to have a successful landing page.

Once you have your landing page, don’t simply assume it’s the final piece of the puzzle. That will only be decided by your visitors. This means monitoring your analytics to see how effective the page is. If everyone is filling out a form, then you’re lucky, and to be honest

Whatever decision you make about where to send visitors from your ad, you’ll want to monitor what they do once they’re on your site. With Google Analytics you can see what is happening with non-converting clicks and learn from it. Does a user react differently with your site because of the call to action in your ads? Are they leaving immediately without doing anything? Use the data to evaluate your campaigns effectiveness. It could be that one of your legs isn’t as strong as you thought.

Not sure why your campaign isn’t effective. Then bring in a pay per click specialist such as myself to review your campaign. The cost of hiring a professional is made up by the higher ROI you can see and also the amount of time you free up for yourself to concentrate on other aspects of your business.