The title may sound extremist, and if your website is doing well, and has a good conversion rate, then feel free to ignore this as it probably doesn’t apply to you. If your website is not bringing you any business however, spending money on paid advertising like Adwords can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You will probably end up wasting far more money than the advertising will bring in, and you may get turned off paid advertising completely. So before starting Adwords or any other paid marketing campaign, here are few things that you should ensure.
Make sure your Website Works and is Accessible
While you might think this is pretty self-evident, it should be mentioned as we have seen companies spend thousands on advertising for a site that was down, and in some cases had been down for weeks. We’ve also seen companies spend bundles on sending mobile traffic to a page that wasn’t usable on any smartphone (see the QR code to nowhere). So before you invest in paid marketing of any kind, make sure that your site is working, and that your visitors can use your site properly.
Make sure you are Tracking your Goals
Making sure that your website has set goals, and tracking those goals is very important. Tracking your goals can also help you determine how effective advertising and marketing efforts are. It can help you decide which marketing effort has the best return on investment, and can help you concentrate efforts on the markets that respond the best. It can also help you determine what keywords are converting for SEO, and can it can help you optimize your Adwords campaigns to eliminate keywords that aren’t sending relevant traffic and is also used to by Adwords to show your ads to people that are more likely going to convert, helping you make the most of your adwords budget. As you can see, this is one of the most important steps in any campaign, Adwords or otherwise.
Make sure that you have a Healthy Conversion Rate.
Before starting any form of paid advertisement, make sure that your site’s conversion rate is healthy. If your website isn’t converting visitors, then paying to send more traffic to it won’t help you get more business, and what business you do get from it might cost you more than it is worth.
What is a healthy conversion rate? A very rough guide, and a figure that many people use would be in the 2-3% range, however there is no standard answer to this question as it really depends on your target market, your industry, and the goal you want to achieve. We’ve seen .5% be considered good (high end, where most visitors where just window shopping) and we’ve seen 30%, where most visitors where existing customers re-ordering consumables. Generally speaking though, if your site is well designed, has strong call to actions, and is marketed to the right target audience, than your conversion rate should be good.
Make sure that you are Sending Traffic to the Right Place
If you want to advertise something in particular, then make sure that whatever page you send visitors to is related to that topic. Sending visitors to your home page, and hoping they find what they are looking for is surefire way to lowering your conversion rate. When it comes to Adwords, sending your visitors to non-related pages will actually cost you more, as the non-relevant pages will have a lower quality score increasing the Cost per Click. Add that to a lower conversion rate and you have a recipe for disaster. We’ve seen campaigns more than double their performance just by making the change from sending visitors to the home page, to sending them to more specific pages.
Make sure that you have the Right Target Market
We’ve seen companies advertising to a geographical region they didn’t service. We can’t see anyone targeting a region they don’t service on purpose, which means that it must be done either by ignorance or by accident. Needless to say that advertising to people who can never become a customer or lead is a massive waste of your marketing money. While we are focusing on geographical markets here, the same can be said about interest as well. If you are advertising to a market that is uninterested or unable to use your product or service, you are wasting your marketing money.
Make sure that you Monitor the Results
Once you know that your site is working well, and your campaign is running as it should, it is important to stay on top of the results. You might find that you are getting traffic for terms or channels that you weren’t looking for, and you might either want to encourage and exploit that, or prevent traffic for those terms. Monitoring your results will also tell you how successful (or not) your efforts are. One thing to keep in mind is that you do need to give some time to get results. You can’t judge a campaign on the results of just one week, though in that time, you might be able to spot problems.
Whether you are marketing your website yourself, or you are paying someone else to do it, these are things that can not be avoided if you want to have a successful campaign.