© 2017 by Monica Hammond and CuriousCustom.com

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How to make the most of a tiny adwords budget!

January 16, 2018



Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business a while, if you’re a small business you likely have a small (but crucial) advertising budget.


And that’s ok! There’s a ton you can do with even $1-5 per day and if you spend smart you can turn that into big profit. After all, it’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it, right? ;-)


One of the main factors to my success with custom coloring books has been my ability to narrow down the groups of people who want my product and target them very specifically with my adwords ads. This is really at the core of all great marketing: knowing your audience.


Who are the people or groups of people that are consistently buying your products, and who are they people are most likely to buy your products?


You may think your artwork is relevant to everyone and this might be a tough question to answer, but it’s the key to your success. If your art really does appeal to many different people then those people will be drawn to you anyway, but your marketing absolutely must be targeted towards specific groups of people so that you can match your messaging to their needs.


How to find your niche is a whole other blog post, but for the purposes of this post we’re going to move forward assuming you have a deep understanding of who your client is.


Once you know your clients you need to know what they’re searching and where they are hanging out online.


If you know they are likely to visit certain websites, then be sure to run a targeted display campaign on those websites. Display campaigns are typically ads that display images on specific websites that you target, or get served to your prospects on sites they are visiting (depends on how you set up your display targeting). Bottom line is, you want to be where your clients are and display is a great option if you want to show them your product or service.


For example, most brides do not actively search for custom wedding coloring books. But, whenever they see them (like in my Martha Stewart Weddings feature) they have to have them. So, I run a display campaign on Martha Stewart weddings for my custom wedding coloring books that feature images from real weddings to make them aware of my services.


Where are your prospects hanging out? Answering this question will help avoid wasting money targeting sites that aren’t relevant to your prospects and getting bad clicks.


If you know your audience, and you believe your product is something they are searching for, then it’s time to narrow down your keywords for your search campaign. A search campaign is an ad campaign that typically uses text only and your ads appear when someone searches a specific keyword or keyword phrase that you are bidding on. For example, if someone searching “custom coloring books” then they will get served one of my ads about my custom coloring book services.


To identify your keywords start by thinking about anything a person could search to find your product or service. Start typing up a list on your own, or use the Adwords keyword planner tool to help find ideas you may have not thought of.


Once you have a list of 20 or so keywords or phrases then step back and see if you find similarities between some of the words, and group those together. Those words will become your ad sets, and you can create your ads so that they incorporate some of the words people are searching.


For example, I run 2 ad sets for “custom coloring books” and “personalized coloring books.” If someone is searching custom coloring books I want them to see messaging about custom coloring books as opposed to personalized coloring books. You want to make sure your ads are as relevant as possibly to your keywords so that people know your product or service is relevant to their needs.


In terms of bidding on your keywords, you can bid on each word individually or set a bid price for the whole ad set. I usually bid more on specific words that I know convert better. For example, if someone is actively searching “custom coloring books” then there’s a high probability they’ll be interested in what I have to offer, so I bid a little more on that keyword as opposed to say “coloring book artist.”


Here’s a bidding tip. Many companies bid higher on keywords to get the top ad placement on google. Don’t do this. Bid a little less (not a TON less because then your ads won’t show up at all) than your competition and stay in the #2 or #3 spot. You’ll spend less per click and if your product is as described then you’ll get the same results.


Now that you have your specific keywords and your ad sets, you can start creating your ads. Again, make sure your ads incorporate your keywords so your prospects know that your ad is relevant to what they’re searching. You must also make sure that the website or landing page you’re sending them to incorporates those keywords as well. This will help keep your costs down because google will reward you with a higher quality score for your ad.


Google factors in a few things to determine your ad quality score: the relevancy of your keywords, your ads themselves, your landing page and your accounts history. Ideally, you want a 10/10 quality score because this will ensure your ads show and you will get a better cost per click (CPC) because Google would rather show your content than someone with a 6/10 quality score, even if they’re willing to pay more. Someone could be bidding $1 per click with a 6/10 qulaity score, and you could be bidding $0.70 per click and your ad could get the #1 placement and their ad could get the #3 placement and they could be spending more.  


There are so many factors that contribute to a great adwords campaign, and here are a few more tips for saving money on Adwords:

  1. Test. Test. Test. I can’t stress his enough. You can’t just put out one ad and hope it works forever. Try testing a few different versions of your ad, change up the image and the copy, even your call to action to see if your audience is responding to one version the best. Once you identify the winner, then stop the 2 underperforming Ads and replace them with 2 more using information you’ve learned. So you’re spending the same amount continuously, but always learning and optimizing. Same goes for testing your keywords!

  2. Start small and study. It’s ok to have a small budget, but you need to study your account performance to make sure you making the most of your small ad spend. Start calculating your ROAS (return on ad spend) to be sure you’re making more than you’re spending. And, if it’s a positive ROAS then consider spending more!

  3. Make sure you have a high converting landing page and that you have remarketing pixels installed. If you’re sending people to a page that’s confusing or unrelated to what they’re searching they’ll “bounce” and it will also decrease your quality score.

  4. Remarketing! A great way to make the most of your ad spend is to remarket to the people who have already expressed interest in your product by visiting your site. You can send them display ads with images of your product and information to remind them to buy.

  5. Pay attention to google analytics. If you’re running an ad campaign and you see in Google Analytics that your leads are only visiting your website for a few split seconds and then leaving, chances are you’re targeting the wrong people or your landing page is poor quality. This is a good time to pause and evaluate.

  6. Don’t compete for keywords you can’t afford. I’d love to be able to compete for “custom wedding invitations” or “promotional products” but there is so much competition for those keywords that it would cost $2-$3 PER CLICK. That just isn’t worth it for the amount of competition out there. And this is why it’s important to find your niche.

The best way to spend your ad budget is by being hyper specific and testing continuously. You don’t want to waste your hard earned dollars on lost leads or clicks that lead to nothing.


If you’re unsure of where to start or how to improve your adwords campaign, click here to schedule a consultation with me. I’d be happy to help you dramatically improve your account performance, save money and generate more revenue for your business.


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