Setting Campaign Scope
Some search marketers tend to approach their first campaign as if they are creating a brochure for their company – trying to highlight all the wonderful things they do. But let’s think about that. What will this look like to a customer searching for someone to solve their specific problem? In their context? In their location?
If you are struggling with the task of defining a customer need, you can get around that by simply putting together a list of a few search phrases (emergency burn care, walk in burn care, 24 hour clinic) that you think are relevant to what you want to advertise for on Google. This is important in building your keyword list as well.
If you are a full service law firm, would you show the same ad to somebody looking for divorce help as you would to somebody looking for tax evasion – er – strategy? Or would you want to create specific ads for each type of law new clients might go searching for?
The pushback from some users is that it takes too much time to manage a campaign. So, if there’s more of them, it will be time consuming. Ergo, just create one huge campaign with everything in it.
Managing large campaigns is hard precisely because they are large campaigns.
Keep them narrowly focused. Avoid the complexity that comes from mixing anything in the same campaign. Simple campaigns show you clearly what is working, what is not. Simple campaigns make it very easy to change them to improve them and you will know what you are doing. Simple campaigns are the road to profitable conversions – without wasting any more money on clicks that don’t perform than absolutely necessary.
We are definitely trying to influence you to employ narrowly focused campaigns until you achieve profitable conversions. Then scaling that profit as best you can by adding locations, platforms, and hours. Many of those campaigns will not prove to be worth pursuing. That is good – you won’t waste much time on them, and even better – you won’t waste much click money on them unless they produce a very good conversion rate (number of clicks to generate a conversion).
Once you experience the wonder of very simple campaigns, you won’t ever go back to making them complex.
Everything you do in SEM needs to be done in the context of one campaign at a time and extreme focus on making those searches turn into your customers (yes, we just repeated that). You probably have heard of Single Theme Adgroups. Well, we actually believe you should go further to isolate the campaigns that will yield profit.
Create separate campaigns, with only one adgroup in each, that are focused on one set of search terms and one customer need. One set of seach terms that represent a few variations on how a real buyer might go about trying to find a real provider of what they want.
At the risk of seeming overly dramatic, there is simply no single piece of advice we could provide you that would more positively affect your SEM efforts than: Keep your campaigns simple. When designing a new campaign, work backwards from a particular customer need and a particular conversion type. Create a lot of very small, focused campaigns that let you clearly see what is happening. Find the profit for a minimal investment. Abandon the losers before you invest a lot.
Don't waste all your best people's time creating reports that try to parse out the performance of particular device types, schedule segments, locations, or landing pages. Just don't combine those things in one campaign in the first place!
If you start small – you’re going to quickly learn all about how campaigns work, and perform, and need fixing – all in little time while wasting very little money. Here’s a partial list of the ways Google Ads will reward you for starting small:
- You’re not going to need much time to develop keywords and ads.
- You're not going to have any trouble developing a focused landing page.
- You’re not going to spend much money while evaluating performance.
- You’re going to learn a lot about budgets and bids for very little money.
- You’re going to easily understand your performance reports.
- You’re going to know if you generated any business or calls or visits.
- You’re going to be able to make changes in one day.
In contrast, if you don’t start small, you won’t learn anything and it will cost you a lot.
(OK, that might be a slight exaggeration. Slight.)
When creating a new campaign, our recommendation is to start out focused on one “customer need”. This is typically a well-defined product or service you are known for. Examples would be: “manual transmission repair” or “organic cotton promo shirts” or “emergency walk-in burn care”.
The best way to think about one customer need, is to understand how real buyers would go about searching on Google for the products and/or services you sell. Real customers search for specific solutions to their specific problems. Your entire campaign needs to connect what they’re looking for to what you offer.
Think of it this way. Your most profitable opportunities on Google SEM are with particular user needs that drive very specific conversions. These can be thought of as sets of search terms that explicitly state exactly what your user is looking for in the terms you might use to present your solutions. Let's list what a few of these might look like.
- Emergency 24 Hour Burn Care in Orlando
- Eminent domain defenses in Evanston, IL
- Manual transmission fixes in Denver
- Concierge dog walking service in 60606
We recommend that you start with the customer need where you believe you have the most leverage over your competitors. Keywords and ads will be easy to develop when you focus on one of the customer needs that your business is the best at.
What is the ONE specialty in the one location where you feel you can most effectively pursue customers off of Google? The more specific, the better.
Imagine how hard it is to develop keywords and ads when you start out mixing several different customer needs and messages. Throw in a mix of locations, and you begin to understand why people start spending money but have no idea how to go about improving their results or scaling their success.