Beata Bordas

Search Marketing: 3 questions every marketer should ask when starting an AdWords campaign

July 9th, 2013

Google AdWords campaigns are a terrific way to target specific audiences.

Unlike advertising on television or billboards, which tries to convince consumers they have a need for the product, search advertising tries to fulfill a need the customer already has.

The only problem is figuring out exactly what searches your customers are performing to express the need your product is the answer to.

Answering the following three questions is a great start to understanding your customers a little more, and will help you fulfill their needs and provide them with solutions.


Question #1.  What phase of the sales funnel are our targeted customers in?

Understanding where your target customers are within your sales funnel will help you know how they are searching for your products and what kind of queries they will be using to find them.

Here are a few points to consider when creating a Google AdWords campaign based on what stage of the purchase decision process a potential customer is in before they buy:

Initial – Very early on in the funnel, your potential customers may not even know your product exists. It is up to you to make them aware of your product, and to let them know what the benefits are of using it. For example, if a customer is just beginning their search for a new computer, they’ll probably start with general keywords like “laptop deals” or “cheap desktops.”

Intermediate – Even if your customers have a good understanding of what your product is and are interested in it, they are going to do more research on your product and compare it to similar products. This is where search queries will become more specific for products like “lightweight laptops with dual-core processors.”

Also, keep in mind at this stage, customers may begin to query brand names in their search efforts as well. This is where your keywords should become more specific about the details of your products.

Advanced – This is the stage where a customer has done their research and has reached a decision. In keeping with our computer example, it’s where search terms will likely be brand or name specific as the focus has now shifted to buying.

So if you are aware of what stage in the purchase decision process your customers are in, you can alter keywords to meet their specific needs.

You can even create different ads to match specific keywords customers will search for during each of the different phases as shown above. This will also help you discern which phases you should focus your paid search marketing efforts on.

For example, if most of your keywords are targeting customers in the early stages, you may want to concentrate on adding keywords they would use later in the funnel to make sure they follow through with the buy as ultimately every phase has the potential to turn into a buy.


Question #2. How are customers searching for us?

Potential customers generally search the Internet to find answers to questions or solutions to problems.

So, how will customers search for the answers and solutions your products can provide?

There are an infinite number of possibilities considering their queries may be an actual question, a symptom that they have a description of their problem or the cause of their problem.

For example, if someone’s air conditioner is broken, they may search “broken ac” or “how to fix a broken ac,” “why is my ac freezing over?” or  “ac repair in [anytown USA].”

Your ultimate goal is to answer those questions and solve those problems.

And, in order to do this successfully, your AdWords campaign should consider as many of the different search possibilities that relate to your products as possible.

It’s also worth mentioning whichever search terms customers use will also set certain expectations that your landing page or process needs to deliver.

So, when conducting your keyword research, you should list as many search query possibilities customers would likely use to search for your products, and match those searches with keywords that offer the most relevant solutions and answers.


Question #3. What keywords are our competitors using?

When using AdWords, you have the option of generating keyword ideas based on website content.

But, the true beauty of this feature is it allows you to generate keyword ideas based on your landing pages and insight from your competitors content, as well.

Here’s how it works …

AdWords uses spiders to crawl through webpages and search for relevant keywords. This is also a great place to start for coming up with preliminary ideas. You can also ask AdWords to spider blogs or Wikis relating to your product as well.

Alternatively, you can track what your customers are searching for within your website with an internal search engine. This will give you valuable insights to what they really expect from you, and help you supply the most relevant answers and solutions to your customers. As you begin your AdWords campaign, remember these key points:

  • Be aware of where your customers are within the sales funnel.
  • Think of all the different ways they may perform a search for your product.
  • Don’t forget to scope out your competition, as well.

Also, I’d love to hear of any successful strategies you may have for kicking off a paid search campaign using Google AdWords in the comments below.


Related Resources:

Search Marketing: 3 common mistakes marketers make using Google Adwords

Paid Search Marketing: 3 optimization ideas to test in your next PPC campaign

PPC Optimization: Tips from your peers on regional differences, Google Product Listing Ads, distracted visitors and offline conversion

Categories: Online Advertising Tags: , , , , , ,

  1. July 9th, 2013 at 08:38 | #1

    #3 is really important. It can give you a significant head start too especially if just starting the campaign from scratch.

  2. July 16th, 2013 at 00:27 | #2

    This is an interesting article packed with information. Great work, Beata! #2 is very important. You need to be visible online and one of the things to do is to make it easier for the customers to get access to your website.

  3. July 16th, 2013 at 18:27 | #3

    All three are fundamentals of a successful campaign on Adwords or Bing for that matter. The real question though is who can afford to pay 3, 4 or 5.00 a click on Google. With conversion rates at 3-5% that makes it very expensive to run any campaigns and, indeed, you better know what you are doing. Bottom line is that of course you should know 1 and most certainly 2 because it may tell you that Google Adwords may not be the best place. 3 brings it home by asking the question “can I afford this?”. There are many alternative to Google Adwords these days and may be by doing his/her home-work a campaign manager can use all this to their advantage to 1) find out if Google Adwords make sense and 2) be ready for a stiff climb.

  4. Saint Claire
    April 8th, 2014 at 07:38 | #4

    You mentioned in #3 that “Alternatively, you can track what your customers are searching for within your website with an internal search engine.” How would i go about doing this?

  5. Erin Hogg
    Erin Hogg
    April 8th, 2014 at 15:25 | #5

    Hi Saint Claire,

    Thanks so much for your comment! You can either install your own script like PHP or Perl, or use a third-party service. MarketingSherpa is a vendor-neutral company, but feel free to check out these resources on internal or on-site search.

    On-site Search: How to help your customers find what they want (to buy)

    Internal Search Data Inspires Store Page Redesigns: 4 Steps to Boost Revenues 50%

    Exploring Onsite Search

    I hope this helps your efforts!

    -Erin Hogg, Copy Editor

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