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Adwords to promote specialty professional services

How to optimize a campaign for non-widget clients

2:07 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I recently tried a small campaign for a relative who has a consultancy business in a specialty niche - 35 years in a specific industry, now semi-retired and actively hunting the plentiful contracts that are out their for someone with his experience level.

No luck.. after a month, a couple hundred dollars, and a few rounds of keyword fixes (such as adding "-job" as a negative keyword so he doesn't get people thinking he wants to give them a job. etc.), no leads.

Now, the site itself is a bit dated but still probably one my most well-aging sites (made it in 2003). The information and pages are clear, quick-loading, and there is contact information everywhere. It presents his past contracts around the world and the services he has to offer.

I'm not one to give up easily but i've also burned through Adwords budgets in the past with no results - they are getting no leads on this one.

Can anyone offer some advice for this type situation, where there is not much competition on the keywords but still no one converts to at least a call-in? I have the campaign paused and feel bad for spending the time to explain how everything works to the relative, setting them up with reports etc., only to get no results. :(

3:05 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Need a little more information.

Is this niche, specialty as it is, one that is typically searched for? Have you used the keyword tool to find out how many searches there might be? Do you see other people advertising in the same niche?

Are you advertising on both search and content networks? If so, with separate campaigns, or one combined campaign? The two networks really behave and perform differently, so you'll want separate strategies and separate campaigns.

bAre you getting many impressions? If not, you might need to revisit your keywords, and check your budget.

Are you getting plenty of impressions but no clicks? You want to look at your keywords and particularly your ads. If you're in the Content Network, run the Placement report to find out what types of sites your ads are running on - you might want to add some negatives.

Are you getting impressions AND clicks, but no conversions? (contacts, leads) Lots to troubleshoot here. First look at your keywords and the match types - maybe you're being broad matched into terms that are really relevant. Run the Search Query report to see what people are actually typing in (if you have Google Analytics, there's a filter you can add for this as well) Make sure your ads are truly reflective of what the users will find on the landing page, and then you *really* need to look at that landing page. Does it provide compelling reasons for the lead to sign up?

If you're not running Google Analytics on your site, you should be; I won't even take on an AdWords client anymore who isn't using some type of analytics.

There are a lot of reports you can run to get a picture on where exactly the problem might be - Placement, Search Query and Impression Share Reports are all *very* important and very helpful for troubleshooting purposes.

Hope this is enough to get you started -

3:34 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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i am no computer prfessional but the best way to get my sites visted has always been to post on the forums where potential employers are then include the irl to my site, the posts i try to use as an advert showing i would be usful to them, they then discover me themselves
3:35 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Is this niche, specialty as it is, one that is typically searched for? Definitely a niche. Related to specific transportation sector, with a couple specialties inside that sector. Nothing a general joe user would be looking for. Yes I came in with a basic list of target keywords provided by the client and expanded with the keyword tool, picking what IMO would be practically related.

Competition for the keywords is few and far between. Some of the keyword topics are 'up and coming' issues where my relative is on the cusp of new developments in the industry so there's definitely not much competition on those ones.

Are you advertising on both search and content networks? Following my usual pattern of failure on Adwords, I start off with Content turned on, hoping whatever new tools they offer this time around will help me not bleed out.. but as usual after a few days the budget is getting hosed and I panic and turn off content. The two networks were in one campaign, I did not know it would be an advantage to separate them.

Are you getting many impressions? Top ad group has 1600 impressions and 26 clicks in last 7 days, avg. CPC $0.42. Impression volume is pretty much what I would expect for a low volume, slow-burn campaign with very niche and specific-match keywords. Budget is indicated as OK by Adwords system.

Are you getting plenty of impressions but no clicks? 1.89% CTR average across ad groups.

Are you getting impressions AND clicks, but no conversions? This is basically the situation. I am getting more less what I would think to be reasonable volume of searches, based on generally the right forms of the keywords.

Perhaps I am denying the inevitable, that the site does need a redesign/update.. my main projects of course must always be leading edge, but since this site is in more of an 'old boys' sector. Maybe the business lead generation is not proactive enough - there is actually no call to action on the site anywhere, just a variety of PDF downloads and info (which is, to be fair, quite unique content and very focused) and contact info. It may be that not enough focus is put on the site as to "This guy is an industry pro, hire him for your mid to long-term projects". It is definitely more than a business-card site but perhaps less than what is currently expected by his type of clients as a pre-requisite for contacting him about helping them.

Still.. after reviewing your points I do feel more confident about the actual Adwords campaign but still wonder how all these specialty ad clicks could convert to a big fat 0 telephone or email leads (except the one dude calling looking for a job for himself lol).

I will check out those other report types, never tried anything beyond the basic reporting before. Thanks!

2:15 am on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Also check out placing your ads on properties that rank for your keywords and are running Adsense in relevant geo locations


(I'd also look carefully at the number of keywords in your adgroups and pause/ remove the underperforming keywords which are diluting your QS)

OT - but can your relative start/ participate in the relevant blogging community to be recognised as an expert?

1:28 pm on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yep geo-restricted to USA/Canada (where he is interested in dealing with jobs at this point) and English language. The issue with the content network is that it's really a professional service niche and there simply isn't message boards about the topic.

I know it's never too late to get started in these things, he is near retirement and I am sure not keen on blogging/writing on forums to try and sell himself. I know many people in my own industry that catch a second wind at the age and become prolific bloggers/etc. but believe me it won't be the case with this guy - I have to make do with trying things like Adwords to bring people in proactively instead of passively: time being the major crunch.


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