Back in the old days (OK back in my days), when we needed to find out about a business, we would either ask someone we knew or use the Yellow Pages.
Remember the Yellow Pages, the two big directories (A to K and L to Z) we used to get delivered every year to each household in NSW?
So if you needed to get a list of local gyms, you would pull out the trusty Yellow Pages, go to the index, find what pages the gyms were listed in, go to the pages and all the gyms (in Sydney listed alphabetically) would be there (probably back then there were only a page or two of gyms listed).
Usually your eyes would be first drawn to those businesses with a large ad listed (as opposed to just a basic listing). Being a big ad, it would imply they were reputable and successful.
Once you highlighted those gyms you were interested in, you would either call them on the phone (no mobiles or Internet back then) or just go and visit them.
Well times have certainly changed. Instead of the Yellow Pages (though they do still exist online), our first point of call is usually Google. We type in “gyms”, “personal trainer”, “sporting centres” and the area and voila, a whole list of businesses are listed within two seconds. Then we check out their web site or Facebook page, read the reviews, talk to people and then we look at contacting or visiting the gym.
So one of the main marketing goals is to get on the first page and as close to the top as possible in Google. This is called your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and determines where you are ranked compared to everyone else (this was the topic of my previous blog about “the secrets of SEO for your fitness or sports business”). The good news is that SEO is free.
But here is the bad news, with such fierce competition, not everyone can be on the first page, or the second, or maybe even the third. So if you can’t be listed high in the rankings, what is the back up plan?
Well this is when you use Google Adwords. If you aren’t ranking high on SEO, you can still get your message across when your potential clients are actively looking for you.
Google Adwords are clearly marked as an “Ad” and are listed either right at the top or down the bottom of a page. And you have total control of your budget – spend as much or as little as you want. Plus you don’t pay a thing until someone actually clicks on your ad.
Now if you are a complete novice to Google Adwords, let me go through some basics to help you set up your first campaign and what you can do to make it as effective as possible.
The levels of Adwords
There are three layers to Adwords – the top one is the Account which has your basic details such as email, address, password and billing information. Once this is set up, you won’t need to change it too often in the future.
The next level down is your Campaign – these are the big ticket items such as the budget and determines where your ads will be seen (more on this later).
A good place to start with categorising your campaigns, is to think about the different ways your potential members would look for you. For example, you could set up a separate campaign for:
- Group fitness classes,
- Small group training classes,
- Training styles such as Yoga, boxing, kettlebells, Pilates etc.
- Personal training,
- Meal planners,
- Nutrition pre-prepared meals,
- Special promotions.
And the third level is your Ad Groups – each ad group will contain your ads, associated keywords and the landing pages.
Where will people see my Google Adwords?
When you set up your campaigns, there are two main networks to choose from:
- Google Search sites Search Networks – In a Search Network only campaign, your ads can appear throughout the Google Search Network’s sites such as Google Search, Google Play, Google Shopping and Google Maps, including the Maps app. This campaign type is useful if you want to connect with customers at the very moment they’re searching for related products or services.
My suggestion is to get on both for awareness and lead generation goals.
How to write an effective Google Ad
Some tips for writing effective ads:
- Highlight what makes you unique – your price, best machines, flexibility etc – make sure you highlight the services or offers that make you stand out.
- Include prices, promotions and exclusives.
- Have a strong call to action – call now, sign up now – make it clear what the next steps are.
- Include at least one of your keywords – keywords in your ad text show your ad’s relevance to what people want. For example, if you’ve included “health club” as a keyword, your ad headline could be “Best local health club.” More about keywords later on.
- Match your ad to your landing page – have a look at the page you’re linking to from your ad (the landing page), and make sure landing page relates to your ad – don’t just link to the home page – make it specific and relevant.
- Appeal to customers on mobile – people seeing your ads on mobile are more likely to want to know where you are, or to call you. Show your location and phone number with location and call extensions. Also, consider creating ads devoted to people on mobile devices, using the mobile version of your website as a landing page, and offering specials suited to a mobile audience. Just keep in mind, your text ads can appear differently on mobile devices.
- Experiment – create three to four ads for each ad group, and use different messages for each to see which performs the best. AdWords rotates ads automatically to show the best-performing ads more often.
The key to keywords
Keywords are words or phrases that help determine where and when your ad can appear. Building a solid keyword list helps you reach only the most interested people, who are more likely to become your customers.
So this is where you want to think like your potential members, what words or phrases would they use to such as:
- Fitness Centre
- Personal Trainer/Training
- Bootcamp, outdoor training, boxing classes etc
Don’t forget negative keywords, these are words that people use where you don’t want your ads to appear – for example, if you are a personal trainer, then you probably don’t want your ads to show when people type in:
- Fitness equipment
- Fitness education/course
- Fitness school certificates
Some other tips:
- Use about 5 to 20 keywords per ad group to make it more manageable.
- Use keyword planner to help you improve or build new keywords
When using keywords, the broader the keyword matching option, the more traffic potential that keyword has. Conversely, the narrower the keyword matching option, the more relevant that keyword will be to someone’s search. If you are starting out, a broad match may be the way to go to maximise the exposure of your ads. After a while, you can then monitor the phrases people are using to find your business and look at fine tuning the search options to include a phrase or an exact match.
Some other things to consider…
Ad extensions show additional information about your business by “extending” your text ads and increasing their relevance. They boost an ad’s visibility, which can lead to better clickthrough rates. Use for site links or call extensions or ratings from members
- Make sure you target ads to specific geographic locations. For example, if you run a small personal training studio in North Sydney, focus on a few kilometres around this area. No point in targeting people all over Sydney who don’t live or work anywhere near where you are.
- Consider using Remarketing – this lets you show ads to people who’ve visited your website or used your mobile app. When people leave your website, remarketing helps you reconnect with them by showing relevant ads across their different devices.
- It is always good to check out what your competitors are doing too.
How much should I spend
This is always the million dollar question but it really comes back to “how long is a piece of string?”
It’s ideal to start with a lower daily budget, and then as you see results, begin to invest more in the areas that drive your business.
Your daily budget is the amount you set for each campaign to indicate how much, on average, you’re willing to spend per day. Choose a daily budget based on your advertising goals and the general amount you’re comfortable spending.
When your average daily budget is reached, your ads will stop showing for that day.
There are a couple of different bidding types for keywords:
- Manual – good for small advertisers, want more control and reworking campaigns not working the best
- Automatic – when you have a lot of campaigns and conversions
First things first – there’s no one recommended bid amount that works best for everyone. The right bid for you will depend on the cost of your keywords, the type of campaign you’re running and your profits.
For example, if you sell $2,000 membership, a higher maximum cost-per-click makes more sense than if you only charge $10 per week. If you’re still unsure what bid to start with, try setting a maximum CPC bid of $1.
Internet traffic is always changing, so it’s important to re-evaluate your CPC bids regularly. Once you’ve set maximum CPC amounts that you’re comfortable with, see how many clicks your ads begin to accrue, and whether those clicks lead to business results on your website.
You can also increase you bid depending on location (targeting those that live within 3 kms of your centre), more for mobile devices (if people use their phones to find you) and also certain times of the day.
Make sure you are regularly checking out the results
Like your web site, it is all too common to set up your ads and then forget it (I have been guilty of this too).
But can I suggest that you put aside some time at least once a month to review your adwords and how they can be improved.
- The Search terms report lists the searches and terms that triggered your ad and drove traffic to your website. If a term is getting you in front of customers, add it to your keyword list.
- The Where your users were (user locations) report shows only your customers’ physical locations (regardless of any locations they may have shown interest in). If customers in a certain region are gravitating to you, update your campaign to directly target them.
- The Landing page experience report estimates the quality of your landing page – which is part of your AdWords quality score and strengthens or weakens your ad position. If you have a weak landing page, a link is provided with tips to make it better.
- The Paid and organic report shows how people got to you through Google’s free organic search results vs. your paid AdWords ads. Learn the ways customers are looking for products and services like yours and update your own keyword list to directly target them.
So as you can see there is a lot to consider when using Google Adwords but hopefully you now have a better understand of what is involved. I would definitely consider usingAdwords as it can play an important part of your online advertising strategies and getting your name out there to those people who are looking for your services.