I’ve mentioned the need for you to get a Google Grant before. If you haven’t yet availed yourself of this in-kind contribution of advertising, go for it now – getting that will be significantly more important than anything I write in this post.
Once you have this great tool, here are the basics to get you started with AdWords.
First, find the pages to which you want to drive traffic. These should be pages that convert – pages that aim to turn a visitor into a constituent. These include donation forms, surveys, gated white papers, advocacy alerts, pledges – anything that gets someone to put in their email address and opt in. If it doesn’t have an opt in, you don’t want to set traffic there – your goal is to convert, not to inform.
Then, start writing your keywords. There’s a good blog post on the types of keywords to start with here.
Once you have you a few basic keywords and your AdWords account set up, it’s time to get suggestions for additional keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner is a good way of thinking about phrases and other terms for what you’ve already put in. In fact, you can put in the URL of your landing page and Google will make suggestions for you based on what is on the page.
The ideal keywords are ones that are searched very frequently and cost very little. Because there is free market bidding, however, price usually correlates to search volume (but also to the things that people can make money from).
As you look through search terms, you should be selecting not only what you are going to use, but also what you are going to actively avoid. For example, looking at Bing, the most expensive two search terms are “lawyer” and “attorney” (the fact that these aren’t the same seems like an arbitrage opportunity, but I digress). Number four is “DUI.”
Obviously, being a DUI attorney/lawyer is really profitable, to the point that you are willing to pay $70-110 for one click to get someone to your site.
If you are Mothers Against Drunk Driving, you don’t want to play in that same pool. You believe (and this may be shocking to some) that the easiest way not to get convicted of a DUI is not to drive drunk.
So you need to use negative keywords. These are words that you put into your search terms with a minus sign in front to make sure that you are not bidding on searches that include that term. MADD might, for example, bid on DUI, but have lawyer and attorney as negative keywords. These function similar to a suppression list; even if a search does have the positive keywords in it, it will not show the ad if there are negative keywords included.. Generally, you want to decide whether you want to use a term (bid on it) or not to and negate it out, with little wishy-washiness. Wordstream has a negative keyword generator here that can help out.
You will also want to look at phrase match and exact match. The former will match if the phrase is in the search term with no intervening terms; the latter will be shown only if the person searches exactly for that one term.
Once you have your keywords, you will want to organize them into campaigns and ad groups. Generally, ads will perform better if they have similar words to the search itself, so if the person searches for DUI, they get a DUI, and not a drunk driving, ad (and vice versa).
These will help you start with AdWords. Google also has excellent tutorials here.
Tomorrow, we’ll go a bit deeper, into how Google judges your ads and how to increase your listings without paying more.