Some of the early Google Ads projects I took on were a real bump to earth. Hard lessons in tough Google reality…
Not because I was working with ‘bad’ clients – quite the opposite. (The really bad clients will come later, in a future email!)
I had good clients with good businesses, but tough search markets.
For instance, I managed the Google Ads accounts for a local office supplies company, and a local company that sold walkie-talkies. The success of these businesses lay in offline connections and a personal touch. On Google, they were competing with big national brands. They were simply being outgunned on many of their most desirable search phrases.
I went into those jobs believing I had the midas touch, and could take on the national advertisers single-handedly simply by writing better ads.
Perhaps the toughest job I took on was a client with a start-up cloud hosting business. This client had developed a highly secure, robust cloud hosting service. Much more secure than Amazon or Dropbox. (Especially Dropbox!)
The word ‘cloud’ is one of those magic words that automatically ads a zero to the cost of a click. (Similar to keywords that include ‘insurance’, ‘loans’ or ‘mortgage’).
Clicks for the keyword ‘cloud hosting’ cost at least £10 per click, and this was in 2013. We quickly found out that people searching for ‘cloud hosting’ were mostly ambivalent about buying, especially from a provider that had never heard of.
I drew on all the marketing lessons I had picked up over the years. We developed a free report about cloud hosting security, and offered that as the first thing people saw in the ad. It turned out that people searching for ‘cloud computing’ weren’t interested in that, either. Eventually I had to tell the client I simply couldn’t help.
I knew a lot about Google Ads, copywriting and direct marketing. But we were advertising alongside companies like Amazon, Dropbox and Viking (a major UK office supplies firm).
The most common question I’m asked about Google Ads is: does it work?
Google always ‘works’ insofar as they’ll take your money and run your ad. But does it ‘work’ in a profitable sense?
Often that comes down to your business, and who else is advertising. Advertising locally is easier than advertising nationally, because you can leverage local knowledge. But if your competitors on Google Search include Amazon, or big national players, you’ll have to find a niche and chisel your way in.
You really have to pick your battles!
Often this chiselling involves sensible use of remarketing, but I am getting ahead of myself. More on this to follow.