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5 Must-Know Tips to Set Up Your Next AdWords Campaign

The following contribution comes from Phil Frost, founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Acquisio will be taking part in the Master Your Marketing webinar series, hosted by Main Street ROI, at the end of November.

Google AdWords is not always the most intuitive or even friendly platform to use. It’s designed with digital advertising professionals in mind, which is why it has a reputation for being daunting among more casual users. Success in AdWords campaigns requires insight and experience to avoid common pitfalls, ensure money is spent wisely and to achieve digital advertising goals.

While intimidating and complex, learning to use AdWords is often a very smart investment for businesses of all sizes. It facilitates highly targeted advertising, your successes (and failures) are easily quantifiable, and it’s much less risky compared to other advertising options. Most often, businesses are losing money on AdWords not because AdWords isn’t right for them but because of incorrect planning, poor targeting, poor messaging or failing to properly measure ROI.

With that in mind, here are my 5 must-know tips to set up your next AdWords Campaign:

Step #1: Know Your Numbers

Unlike more creative forms of advertising or marketing, AdWords campaigns are designed to be statistical and data driven. Every stage of the campaign can be measured with a variety of metrics and in order to interpret those properly your initial numbers must be correct. Your starting numbers should answer the question, ‘How much can you afford to pay per click to generate one new customer?’

To figure that out, here are some key questions to consider:

  • What is your profit per customer?
  • What is your target ad profit margin?
  • How many of your website visitors will actually make a purchase?
  • How many phone calls will convert to sales?
  • How many phone calls do you receive per website visitors?

Let’s use an example to see how answering those questions can help you to determine your target cost per click (CPC). Here are some realistic answers:

  • $1,250 = 90 day profit per customer. This is how much your business makes on average per customer.
  • 25% = Your target ad profit margin. This means you would like to profit at least $312.50 once you factor in your advertising costs. In other words, you’re OK spending $937.50 to acquire a new customer.
  • 10% = How many phone calls will turn into sales
  • 5% = How many website visitors will call your business

Here’s the formula to determine your maximum cost per click (CPC):

Max CPC = (profit per customer) x (1 – profit margin) x (sales per call) x (calls per visitor)

When we plug in the numbers above:

Max CPC = $1,250 x (1-25%) x 10% x 5% = $4.69

That means we can spend $4.69 per click and hit our goals. Armed with this information, we can move on to Step 2…

Step #2: Choose the Right Keywords

Choosing the right keywords for a given campaign requires some knowledge of your potential customer. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself what they’d Google if they were looking to buy your product or service.

A common pitfall is mistaking research-intent keywords with buying-intent keywords. For example, a chiropractor in San Francisco buying ads on the keyword, ‘back pain’ is just as likely to end up in search results of someone doing research on back pain than as someone actively Googling for a chiropractor in San Francisco. Buying ads on the search phrase, ‘San Francisco chiropractor’ is obviously much more likely to end up in the search results of someone looking to actually make an appointment.

Also keep in mind that AdWords keyword selection should aim to put your ad in front of the right people, not the most people. Buying ads on ‘back pain’ will ensure a lot of people see your ads, but that doesn’t make them the ideal people.

Step #3: Write Compelling Ads

Google gives a discount and higher ad position to advertisers with higher click through rates. Let me repeat that to emphasize its importance: if your ad is being clicked on more than your competitors, Google gives you a discount and a higher position because they believe that ad is more relevant or valuable than the ads surrounding it.

The key to getting this boost is compelling ad copy. Copy which, in a very small amount of text, clearly lays out the benefits, delivers a strong offer and a clear call to action.

Step #4: Create High Converting Landing Pages

A landing page is the webpage that you are taken to when you click on an ad. If the ad is the bait, the landing page is the fishing line attempting to reel the potential customer in. The #1 goal is to get your prospect to take an action such as making an appointment, calling for more information, or purchasing a product/service.

Landing pages are a delicate art and a common pitfall as they require some web design knowledge. The key is congruence; the best converting landing pages form a straight line from searched keyword intent → to the ad → to the landing page.

For example, I need a chiropractor in San Francisco so I search in Google, ‘San Francisco Chiropractor’, and click on the top ad which offers me a first time patient discount with Dr. Jane Doe. I land on a page which tells me a bit more about Dr. Jane Doe including some glowing testimonials, and as I scroll down I’m encouraged to make an appointment… I do. Every landing page should aim to complete a congruent straight line towards a desired action like this.

Here are 6 things you should make sure to include on your landing page in order to guarantee success:

  1. Strong Headline
  2. Relevant, Benefit Focused Copy
  3. Social Proof
  4. Credibility Indicators
  5. Risk Reversal (ex. a Guarantee)
  6. Call to Action

Step #5: Set Up Conversion Tracking

AdWords campaigns have a lot of moving parts and it’s important to be able to find your best and worst performing ads quickly. Conversion tracking is key to this as it will allow you to see which aspects of your campaign are underperforming and it also provides actionable insight into how to improve them in the future. Let’s walk through the 3 ways to achieve this with conversion tracking:

1. Webform Tracking:

With webform tracking you can track forms like Contact Us, Demo, Schedule Appointment, or anything else to see how effectively your campaigns are pushing people to contact you. Simply install AdWords conversion codes on the “thank you” page of the webform you want to track and then AdWords will report on cost per lead automatically.

2. Phone Call Tracking:

As you probably guessed, phone call tracking is how you monitor phone calls. Google will automatically create a Google forwarding number so you can see how many calls were generated by each keyword and ad in your account.

There are many companies besides Google that offer call tracking with a variety of advanced features, such as call recording, call analysis and so on. Acquisio has direct connections with all the major call tracking companies and can import call tracking data (and even the call recordings) directly into your reports.

3. CRM Tracking:

CRM stands for customer relationship management and common tools are Salesforce, ACT, and Infusionsoft. The key here is to track your sales pipeline, so don’t get caught up in which software to use. Excel or a Google spreadsheet can work just fine.

Simply document the source of every lead from AdWords and then track the leads all the way to the eventual sale. This will allow you to calculate your return on investment even if you have sales that close off of the internet.

Note that Acquisio has integrations with most CRM systems and can track leads and sales right back to the keyword and ad that generated the original click, even for sales funnels that are many months long.


A successful and profitable AdWords campaign has a lot of moving parts that all need to be properly aligned. Align them and you’ve unlocked a powerful business tool capable of effectively driving sales with a positive ROI. Remember to always know your numbers, choose the right keywords, write compelling copy, monitor conversions, and create the best possible landing pages!

Want even more tips to improve your AdWords performance? Grab a copy of Main Street ROI’s Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist!


Image Credits

Feature Image: Unsplash / Toa Heftiba


Phil Frost

Phil Frost

Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is the primary creator of Main Street ROI’s training programs. Phil is an expert in online advertising, marketing analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on,,, and many other major business media outlets.

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