5 Google AdWords Tips That I Learned from Pheasant Hunting Instead of writing my work blog post last weekend, I decided to drive out to South Dakota to go on my annual pheasant hunting trip with some friends. Luckily, while traipsing through the cornfields of America’s Heartland, I was able to find a number of similarities between search engine marketing and the search for those pesky pheasants.
1. Warning, Adwords accounts with minimum maintenance are risky Your AdWords account is not something that can be set up once and left to run on its own. Your campaigns can, and should be, continually monitored and tweaked. Always look at how your keywords and ads are performing and adjust accordingly. Without continual maintenance, you run the risk of having an underperforming campaign and wasting a lot of money.
2. Don’t shoot at things that you don’t want Obviously, don’t shoot at mice when you are hunting pheasants. In AdWords, use negative keywords to weed out traffic that you do not want to pay for. A few years ago, I worked with a dance school that taught ballet classes to children. We noticed that in addition to lots of starry-eyed children wanting to be Clara in the Nutcracker, we were also getting web traffic from people looking for “pole dance lessons”. Instead of tearing out the ballet barres and installing stripper poles, it would probably be better to add a few negative keywords to the list. Likewise, if you sell high-quality products at premium prices, you could exclude negative keywords like “cheap” and “discount” to help filter out traffic that probably won’t lead to a conversion. (Disclaimer – no mice were injured in the writing of this article, this poor field mouse had already died prior to our arrival)
3. Know what you are shooting with Admittedly, we are not great pheasant hunters, but the trip is not only about hunting. It’s also about seeing friends and doing things that we don’t always get to do in our normal, everyday lives - like driving tractors, drinking scotch and smoking an occasional cigar. We also get to take target practice with a number of different guns, usually shooting at pizza boxes, pumpkins leftover from Halloween, or even old refrigerators. One of the handguns we tried was a .460 Smith & Wesson revolver and another was a Walther P22. Ammo for the .460 S&W was about $60 for a box of 20 while the .22 ammo was about $25 for a box of 500. It is fun to try the .460 (think of Clint Eastwood in a Dirty Harry movie), but every time you pull the trigger it costs $3. Shooting the .22 costs about $.05 per shot and is equally effective at killing a pizza box or rotten pumpkin. Think the same way about your AdWords campaign. Getting into bidding wars on expensive keywords might not always be the best approach, especially if you are paying $5 per click for an item that you are only selling for $2.
4. Stand out When you have a bunch of guys armed with shotguns walking through a cornfield, it is extremely important to always know where the other people are. Wearing blaze orange clothing helps hunters visually stand out, and helps prevent accidents. According to a study, hunters who wear orange are seven times less likely to be shot. However, ads that show in search results often do not stand out. A search for “hunting boots” came up with these rather generic ads: “Hunting Boots For Sale”, “Hunting Boots On Sale”, “Hunting Boots”, “Shop Hunting Boots” and “Super cheap Hunting Boots”. Try to make your ad text stand out from the rest. You can also test a number of different variations of the ads and monitor which ones perform better.
5. Get rid of things that don’t work One thing that has puzzled me since I started going to South Dakota is that many of the rural farms had piles of stuff – old washing machines, worn-out tires, rusting farm implements, and even an old 1968 Mustang. One reason I was given for this stockpiling of these seemingly useless things is that it is a mentality from the Depression-era to keep everything because you never know when you might need it again. Another reason might be because it is cheaper and easier to throw it in a corner of your 100-acre farm than it is to take it to the city garbage dump. Whatever the reason, do not use this same mentality with your AdWords campaign. While monitoring your campaigns, keep a close eye on what is effective and what is not. Look for low click-through rates, low pages-per-session rates, and high cost-per-click rates. Pause keywords and ads that are underperforming. Money spent on things that aren’t working takes away from things that can work for you.