Will Google Ads work?

A great Google Ads campaign will generate a steady stream of sales for many years. But there are thousands of people who’ve wasted money and time on Google Ads without ever making a single sale.

What if you knew Google Ads would send you sales enquiries every day?

  • You could do your best work without worrying about where your next customer was coming from.
  • Your cash flow would be a lot more comfortable.
  • You’d be able to plan for the future.
  • You’d turn more quotes and proposals into sales as you got more and more practice selling.
  • You’d take on only the best clients - people who trusted you and valued your services. Not price shoppers.

You’d be confident that you’d chosen the right way to grow your business. You’d be able to focus on getting the best possible results from Google Ads instead of flitting from Google Ads to SEO, Facebook etc.

Meet these 11 requirements or you will waste money on Google Ads.

A succesful Google Ads campaign meets all these requirements. Fail on any one and Google Ads won't work for your business.

  1. The goods or services you sell are a good fit for Google Ads.
  2. You can reach enough potential clients.
  3. Your sell the way your future customers want to buy.
  4. You can beat enough competitors.
  5. You (or someone you hire) has the skills and experience to build an effective Google Ads campaign.
  6. You have enough money.
  7. You have (or can hire) the skills and experience to manage Google Ads.
  8. Google likes your website.
  9. Your future customer likes your website.
  10. You don't drop the ball after someone has enquired on your website.
  11. Your can sell to strangers.

The goods or services you sell are a good fit for Google Ads.

Google Ads doesn't work (or is incredibly difficult) for some products - goods or services:

  • Prohibited products. Google doesn't allow advertising for guns, explosives, some medical products etc. The list varies by country.
  • Trademarked goods. Google won't allow you to use some trademarked names in your adverts. This makes writing attractive ads difficult. I have a client who repairs laptop computers. He can't use the initials HP or the words Hewlett Packard anywhere in his ad copy. When someone searches for "HP laptop screen repair" he can't show a highly relevant ad that says "We repair HP laptop screens." Instead his advert has to say "We repair laptop screens." This generic ad copy isn't very effective.
  • When your website sells the same things as everyone else. People usually buy for the first time based on price or convenience or some mixture of both. It becomes a race to the bottom with everyone else who sells the same stuff lowering prices to try and get market share.

You can reach enough potential clients.

A great Google Ads campaign is not worth a barrel of warm spit if you can't reach enough people. Your reach is determined by:

  • The size of the area you serve. I audited a struggling Google Ads campaign for a vet. He knew he wasn’t getting value for what he paid Google but he never suspected he was wasting that 99% of his ad spend.

    Most of his patients live close to his practice. That makes sense, vets are generally a local service. So are hairdressers, dentists, plumbers etc.

    His Google Ads campaign was set to show adverts to everyone in the entire country instead of only to people close to his surgery. 99% of the people who saw his ads lived too far away to use his services.

  • How many people in that area search Google for what you sell. You can only show ads on Google search when people search for your product. If nobody searches you can’t advertise to them. This makes Google Ads on search a poor fit for brand new products or concepts. It's not a good medium creating awareness.

Your sell the way your future customers want to buy.

Your future customers will shower you with money if you make it easy for them to get what they want. But they'll click away from your site in an instant if there is a mismatch between how you want to sell and how they want buy.

Even the world's best Google Ads will struggle if:

  • Your future customer wants to talk to a human before buying an expensive machine but your website is designed for ecommerce with a prominent "Buy now" button.
  • People need your services in an emergency but your website only has a contact form - no phone number.
  • Your future customer is expecting to be able to browse and search multiple product listings on your site but you only offer a little text and an invite to enquire.

You can beat enough competitors.

There are a limited number of slots for your adverts on the front page of Google. Google sells those spots by auction so the more advertisers there are the higher prices tend to rise.

You’ll bump into 3 types of businesses competing for the same customers.

  • Your peers. Businesses of similar size to yours.
  • The 800lb gorillas. Large firms in your field. They'll often have nationwide presence or be franchises.
  • Aggregators who list many suppliers on their sites and get paid a commission when you buy/book through them. www.bookings.com is such a site for the hotel industry.

Competing against your peers is not too difficult as they face the same kind of economics your business does.

Competing against large firms and aggregators is possible because they can only occupy one of Google’s 4 slots at a time. But it's more difficult. Especially if there are lots of big players.

You (or someone you hire) has the skills and experience to build an effective Google Ads campaign.

An Google Ads campaign has a lot of moving parts:

  • The search terms (called keywords in Google talk) that you use to trigger your ads.
  • The negative keywords you use to make sure that your ads don't show for the wrong kind of searches.
  • The advert copy. In time you'll have hundreds of adverts. Each needs headlines, extensions, structured snippets, a call to action etc.
  • Ad groups to make sure that your adverts match what the searcher wants.
  • The location targeting - showing your ads to people in the area you can reach.
  • etc etc.

Your success depends on assembling these parts into a fully-functioning machine. You can learn how or hire the skills in.

The difficulty in DIY is that Google Ads is not a level playing field. You will compete against advertisers who invest millions of dollars in technology and employ teams of skilled professionals who’s full-time job is figuring out how to get the best out of Google Ads. I think you'll agree with me that this is asking a lot from your first effort.

If your first try doesn't deliver the results you'd hoped you'll reject Google Ads, even if your inexperience is to blame. That might mean losing a great way of finding new clients.

My agency, MarketingMotor offers a solution to this. We run pilot campaigns for people who want to test Google Ads. Details here if you're interested.

You have enough money.

Your budget must cover the initial cost of building the Google Ads campaign and any changes needed to your website. After that you'll also need to cover:

  • Google’s charges. They charge every time someone clicks on your advert and lands on your website.
  • Managing the campaign. Either professional management or school fees for the mistakes you make as you're learning.
  • Learning. Your adverts, keywords, website, response etc won’t be perfect on day 1. It may take some time to refine your process before the profit you break even - cover your Google Ads costs from profits on Google Ads sales.
  • Sales cycle lag. You’ll need some float to cover the lag between the time you pay Google and the time that click turns into a sale. How long this is depends on your kind of business. An emergency plumber might have finished the job and been paid before Google charges. But if you sold waste water treatment plants it might take years before an Google Ads enquiry turned into an invoice.
  • Recurring revenue lag. The same issue applies if your business relies on repeat sales. You might spend more than the value of the first sale to get a new client if you were able to recover that cost from future sales.

You have (or can hire) the skills and experience to manage Google Ads.

Google Ads campaigns rot. Without skilled attention costs go up and sales go down.

Google makes hundreds of changes to Google Ads every year. Some of the changes are minor but others are earth shattering. You (or someone you hire) needs to understand, assess and respond to each of those changes. That takes time and skill.

Competitors come and go. As more competitors enter the market the price tends to rise. Sometimes a competitor will raise the bidding higher than seems logical. It might be a ploy to drive other advertisers out of the market. It might be that they don't know what they're doing they're paying the Google stupidity tax.

You have to respond to this. Sometimes the right answer is to raise your bids. Sometimes the right answer is to find another angle. Sometimes the best thing to do is sit it out and let the competition waste each other's money. Monitoring it takes time and skill. Knowing what to do takes skill and experience.

Your future customers are illogical crazy humans. It takes time and testing to figure out which adverts those future customers respond best to. It takes time and testing to figure out what website layout they respond best to. It takes time and attention to keep up with the changes in the way they search Google for what you sell.

The winner takes all. Google rewards the best ads - ads that get clicked often. Those ads cost less, appear more and get the best slots. It starts a virtuous circle. The best ads do better by displacing worse ads. Making this happen takes time, skill and experience.

Google likes your website.

Google wants to give their searcher a great experience. If she finds what she wants on Google she'll keep using Google. That makes Google happy.

Google looks at the headings and the words on your website. They look at how fast it loads and how comfortable it is to use on a mobile phone. They look at a host of other factors that they don't tell anyone about. Then they decide if your site is going to help their searcher. If it's a yes, they'll show your ad to her.

Future customers like your website.

Your website must convince your future customer to complete the enquiry form. (Or buy from your site if you're doing ecommerce.)

You'd think that it would be easy to convince someone who wants something to fill in an enquiry form. It's not. A typical business website might only convince 1 of every 100 visitors they've paid Google for to fill in an enquiry. That's 99 wasted clicks for every one sales lead.

Designing high-converting landing pages.

Designing a high-converting website is much harder than it looks. I won't get into the nitty-gritty now but if you'd like to know more you should subscribe to my 8-part email course on designing high converting landing pages.

Pop your details into the form below and I'll send you the first lesson now.

When you subscribe, you’ll also get advice on Google Ads and related topics about twice a month. I respect your privacy. Privacy policy.

You don't drop the ball after someone has enquired on your website.

(This is only applicable if you're generating sales enquiries. If someone was buying from your website they’d skip straight to the sales process.)

How you respond to website leads can make or break a Google Ads campaign. I've seen every one of these campaign-killer mistakes at least once:

  • The enquiry from your website never gets to your inbox - a technical fault or the enquiry delivery email looked like spam.
  • You’re too busy to respond now. By the time you do respond your prospective customer has bought from someone else.
  • You respond by email right away. Your future customer checks her email tomorrow. Her inbox shows new emails at the top. Your fast response is buried below everyone who responded slowly.
  • Your email gets caught in her spam filter and she never sees it.
  • You email a quote because she asked for one. Your price is twice as high as everyone else because she didn’t give you all the information you needed on the enquiry form and you made some assumptions.
  • You attach your quote as an Excel spreadsheet and she can't open it.

The worst example of a broken response was from a client of mine who owned a mattress factory. He's an older Jewish gentleman and he'd been making mattresses since he was a boy.

His Google Ads campaign sent him 56 sales enquiries in the first month. One was for 600 mattresses for a new hotel.

I asked him how many of the 56 enquiries had turned into sales. "None" he said. "They must all be tyre kickers. Nobody on the internet buys anything".

I asked him to talk me through what happens after a sales enquiry lands in his inbox.

"Peter, I'm really busy so I don't deal with the enquiries myself. At the end of the day I email them all to the factory. The next day the sales team emails a price list to everyone who enquired, if they have time."

"If they have time?" I asked.

"Yes", he said. "The sales team are the ladies who work on the sewing machines making the mattresses. If they've met their production quota before closing time the foreman gets one of them to come to his office to do email. He's old and doesn't know how to use a computer."

I said "Please don't tell me you emailed a price list to that guy who wanted 600 mattresses for his new hotel."

He said "of course we did. We treat every enquiry with the same respect, whether they're big or small".

I could have wept. An order for 600 mattresses would have paid his Google Ads costs for years.

It get's worse though. I asked him to send me a copy of the price list. It was almost impossible to read - a pdf scan of a low resolution print. The font was tiny and even if I could have read it it made no sense.

It had no description of the mattresses. It was a list of their internal codes along with the cost per mattress if you bought one or ten or a hundred. The price list didn't have the company name on it. There was no phone number or email address.

The best Google Ads campaign in the world couldn't have made him sales!

You have complete control over the way your business responds to enquiries.

Website enquiries rot. The faster you respond to an enquiry the better chance you have of winning any sale that's going. If you get back in under half an hour you're doing well. Five minutes is preferable. If you wait a day or a week you've lost the sale.

The absolute best way to respond to an enquiry is by picking up the phone and calling the sales prospect. This will improve your Google Ads results faster than anything you do to the adverts or to the website.

You're going to get one of two responses. If you get through to a lady she's going to say something like "Wow, that was quick." If you get through to a man he's going to say the same thing but a little more robustly.

You don't have to talk about how good your service is when you prove it by responding.

That human-to-human contact starts the process of building trust.

I feel so strongly about this that I won't take on a client unless they commit to call as fast as possible when ever possible.

Your can sell to strangers.

Selling to strangers on the internet needs a different approach to selling to warm word-of-mouth referrals -

- A referral trusts you a little bit already because someone they trust recommended you. An internet stranger doesn't trust you yet. They may even distrust of your entire industry - everybody has a horror story about a mechanic or a builder.

- A referral is probably speaking only to you. Your Google Ads stranger clicked every advert and filled in every form she could find. You’re one of many possible choices.

You should expect that your closing rate will be lower at first if you don't currently sell to stranger

Don't be bamboozled.

My free Google Ads for Business Owners course will teach you enough to understand what you need to do if you're going to DIY or hire a freelancer or agency to help with your Google advertising.

The time you invest learning now will save you a lot of heartache (and money) in the future.

Use the form below to subscribe and I'll send you the first lesson now.

When you subscribe, you’ll also get advice on Google Ads and related topics about twice a month. I respect your privacy. Privacy policy.

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