Advertising with Google AdWords can be a roller coaster.  When youre in, youre strapped in and along for the ride.  While those of you who have come along may have experienced impressive ups and serious downs - we never seem to stop long enough to get off the train.

If you've been on that roller coaster in the search of a manageable, measurable lead generation and marketing asset, then it's time to get off the train and take control of your AdWords campaign.

Put Local in Perspective


Over the past two years we've seen a profound rise in "local" awareness.  Communities are aware of how critical it is to promote a "shop local" message and to support the businesses within their area.  With the objective of providing economic sustainability, the resounding shop local message from communities is beginning to shift the way consumers search for goods.

Your AdWords advertising can be segmented locally to connect on a deeper level with local searchers, and you'll have the opportunity to save hard earned dollars on competitive terms in the process.

To create a locally targeted campaign you can start by writing down a few key points:

  • Where is your target market? Are they in multiple regions?
  • Are there any notable, unique points that represent the community? Are they known as the best square dancers in country? Do they produce a world-famous chocolate pie?  Is there something about their community culture you can use to connect through your advertisements?
  • What is the market size in this region? Revenue potential?
  • Is there a notable competitor, cultural position or other challenges that would limit your advertising in that region?

Armed with your checklist of information, the next step is to choose your local keyword strategy.  I like to test both broad and geo-specific keyword phrases.  For example, if one of your common AdWords keywords is "Family Activities" then try testing both that and a geo-specific variation like "Family Activities in Toronto."

The purpose of testing both your broad and geo-specific phrases is because not all local searches will have the location keyword attached.  Only through testing can you gain the confidence needed to effectively scale up your local campaigns, and increase your return on investment.

The AdWords External Keyword Tool remains a great way to generate relevant keyword ideas for your target region. It's another way to find points of difference in the way people in a certain area search for information, services and products.

Go Mobile


Your consumers are using their smartphones more than ever during the purchase process, and now is your opportunity to get in front of them.

Creating a mobile AdWords campaign is slightly different than one targeted at desktop users, and a few key points should be noted when developing a campaign optimized for mobile users:

1. Your audience is using a much smaller screen size.  As a result, there is less advertising space available and what space is available has to effectively make your point.  Be clear, concise and to the point in mobile ads.

2. Start with a reduced bid price on your keywords.  While the audience has grown significantly, the competition has yet to drive many keyword prices up.  Additionally, the history of mobile advertising data is only in its foundations and the market value of this advertising space has not met solid ground.  Start with a lower bid, test the performance, then consider raising the bids on necessary keywords - why not save where you can?

3. Optimize the experience.  Mobile users are accustomed to an entirely different experience when browsing the net or doing routine online tasks.  Optimize your advertisements, your copy and your landing pages and give a seamless experience to mobile users accessing your content and offers.

If you haven't tried mobile advertising, now is the time.  While mobile advertising may still be in its infancy, by shifting a few of your advertising dollars towards mobile you can perfect your strategy for the inevitably, mobile-driven future.

Try Something New


Often in advertising we find something that works and stick with it.  It is important to have an effective strategy and a focus that you know will bring you returns - but have you ever thought there might be something even better?

When things are good we tend to be content, and rightfully so in many cases.  I'm not trying to deter you from doing what works. Instead I'm asking you to be open-minded to new concepts, or to trying things you may have never before.

You might find something that outperforms your classic pay-per-click campaign.  You'll also have more options at your disposal if you run into diminishing returns, or just have a bad month.  And by trying new things you gain a better understanding of the entire marketing mix and how it applies to your AdWords campaigns.

Here are a few ideas you can try this year:

  • Try a new form of testing.  Multivariate and split testing your ads, testing conversion rates on new campaigns, showing your landing pages to a focus group - veterans to testing and newcomers alike can find something they might not have tried.
  • Try running a display network campaign.  Formerly known as "CPM campaigns" the display network allows advertisers to run text, image and video ads across the AdSense publisher channels, including advertising on YouTube.
  • Try creating a mobile campaign.  Copy one of your current ad groups and use for a new mobile test campaign.  It won't cost you much, but the results could surprise you - and you'll be learning a valuable medium for the near future.
  • Try a new service or software.  While services and software in this industry might seem like a constant upsell, you can find ones that will truly make your life easier.  Whether you come across a new tool for your AdWords arsenal or not - exploring new services and software can offer you perspective and insight you may have missed otherwise.

There are always new things to try - and if you have one to add I urge you to comment below and share with others.

What works, what doesn't and why?  Answering these questions will allow you to firmly grab the steering wheel with your AdWords advertising.

Think " Test - Track


A former employer once said something to me that stuck - "You can't manage what you can't measure."  Without the data, the insights and measurements, you cannot effectively make decisions, and you cannot effectively manage an AdWords campaign. Think " test " track.

Testing is imperative when running an AdWords campaign, both to improve your performance and lower your costs.  Test your keyword performance, your ad copy and landing pages - comparing different variations and scenarios to learn what works best.

Only through testing will you gain the confidence to firmly take control of your AdWords marketing and make the decisions needed to steer your investments in the right direction.

The Bottom Line

There's no room for guessing when it comes to AdWords advertising - not when your hard earned dollars are at stake.  This is the time to take back control and be confident in your decisions. Try something new and remember to always measure your results and performance - knowledge is power in AdWords.

Do you have a new AdWords strategy youre trying? I'd love to hear some of the strategies readers are trying - whether successful or not.  What are you trying, or planning to try?