An MSP’s Guide to Getting Started with Google Ads

Demonstrating return on investment (ROI) for marketing dollars is a challenge for any business. Fortunately, with Google Ads, you have a medium that allows you to target ads to a specific audience, track how they respond, and see which of your ads gets the best conversion rate.

Google Ads, which is the new name for Google AdWords, is a great way to get your online marketing moving quickly while you wait for your longer-term activities—like content marketing and SEO—to start to kick in.

But, you can’t just rush in without having a strategy as it could end up being expensive and generating you no leads at all. Below are four steps to help you get the most out of Google Ads for your business.

Also remember, while it may be cheaper to do the whole thing yourself, you might also want to consider hiring someone who knows exactly how to work with Google Ads and who has experience in your sector—that way, you’re more likely to guarantee success.

1/ Keywords—Do your research

The first thing to do is determine exactly what keywords you’re going to target. These are the words you believe your prospective customers will be using to search for your services.

While you might be able to wager a good guess at these, it is also possible that your audience will use terms you haven’t thought of. Fortunately, there are a number of additional tools you can use to help you brainstorm and plan keywords.

Try out the following:

Don’t forget, because Google Ads is pay-per-click, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. While this sounds obvious, it does mean that if you use broad and generic keywords, you’re likely to get a lot of irrelevant clicks that will mean you’ll quickly run through your ad budget without seeing any benefit.

2/ Plan your campaign

Once you’ve isolated your target keywords, you need to organize them into ad groups, normally containing 8 to 12 related keyword phrases. (Click here if you need more information about exactly what ad groups are.) Setting everything out in a spreadsheet ensures you stay organized and can plan your ad copy to match the keywords.

Having established the ad groups you’ll be using, you’ll want to create two to three ads for every ad group—these should include the keyword in the headline, and the copy should focus on the features and benefits of the service you’re offering.

3/ Create landing pages

One area that can cause your Google Ads campaigns to underperform is a lack of effective landing pages—these are the pages on your website where your visitors “land” when they click one of your ads. It’s worth spending time getting these right.

Each ad group should have its own dedicated landing page that addresses the issues you’re targeting. For example, if you’re specifically targeting “IT support” as a keyword, your landing page should outline your IT support offering. This ensures that when people click on your ads, they get to a page that matches expectations.

Your landing page should be short and to the point, explaining what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. You should also include a clear call to action—this is what you want the visitor to do, so it could be call your number, email you, or download a piece of content.

4/ Setting up your campaign

This is where you’ll reap the benefits of your campaign planning. If you already prepared a campaign spreadsheet, it will be relatively straightforward to migrate the data over.

Once that’s done, you need to create the parameters for your campaign. Here are some of the most important things you need to consider—there are many other options available, but these are the basics:

  • Network typeYou’ll want to select Google’s “Search Network,” as this means you’ll just be targeting people that use the search engine. Google also offers a display network that gives you the opportunity to place ads across a huge network of websites. That’s a very different prospect to targeting people searching for your business.
  • BudgetYou’ll also need to set your budget. There are in-depth articles on the web that can walk you through calculations on how to set your budget, but for the purpose of this, you might want to start with a relatively small budget of, say, $2,000/month.
  • Ad delivery/rotationHaving created multiple ads for your ad groups, you need to make sure you set up your campaign so the ads rotate evenly. While Google can automatically select your best-performing variants, it’s better to wait until you have plenty of data, so you can make your own informed decision.
  • ScheduleGoogle allows a lot of flexibility in terms of when and how you schedule your ads: you can select the days and time you want your ad to run. For maximum impact, and as you’re targeting business owners, it’s best to keep it to working days between 7am and 10pm.
  • Targeted regionThis is where you select the region your ads will target. This can be based on zip codes or even distance from your office, whatever works best for your business model. You just need to make sure you keep it as targeted as possible.

A note about ongoing management

You will want to make adjustments to your campaign as you go along, once you have data on how ads and keywords are performing.  In fact, when you start, you should make sure you put aside a few hours every week to ensure your campaigns are running as best they can.

Here’s a brief checklist of things to keep an eye on:

  1. Adjust your keywords and ads if they aren’t performing well.
  2. Remove underperforming ads completely so they don’t waste your budget.
  3. Add negative keywords so your ads don’t appear for terms that aren’t related to your services.
  4. Review conversions for quality and determine which ads and landing pages they are coming from.

If you need additional tips and support, you can check out these websites:


Additional reading