Have you wanted to start with AdWords but severely lack the budget? I have been there a few times and currently just launched a campaign with a very low $300 a month budget. I am going to share with you the hacks I use to launch a low budget campaign that has a global niche. I currently launched an AdWords campaign for AdWords services, which is a ludicrously competitive niche, with an impossibly low budget of $300 a month (or a $3 daily budget). I will publicly share every aspect of this campaign as a case study and to share the intricacies of slowly building an AdWords campaign over time to eventually achieve the results you need.
The trick to fast results in an AdWords campaign is a fat budget. Some of us don’t have that luxury. This case study is not for those with a huge budget, in fact, it is there for those with a very small budget. Of course we would love fast results, however slowly ramping up a well-optimized campaign is the best method for us.
AdWords services related keywords are brutally competitive, meaning expensive. Using Google’s keyword planner tool, we can see that broad niche keywords are requiring upwards of $30 per click during peak business hours. How on earth will that work with a $3 daily budget? Observe the following hacks.
Low Budget AdWords Hack #1 | Don’t use AdWords default settings
Assuming you want to run a simple search campaign with text ads, you don’t need display features. When you set up your campaign, use the search network only. When you get in there, you will want to select ‘All Features’ so you will have all the control necessary to handle all the other hacks below.
Low Budget AdWords Hack #2 | Don’t use expensive broad terms
I know you want to use them. Don’t. If you are trying to sell AdWords management services and need to use keywords like the above, get more strict with them. Use a +broad +match +modifier and add other, less searched yet relevant terms to your keywords.
Let me now debunk a common myth. Low search volume is not bad. In fact, in terms of low budget…it is a good thing. Low search volume means the keyword is not competitive and ultimately less expensive. Just because the keyword carries this label does not mean the keyword will not bring traffic. Even if you have an unlimited budget, having low volume keywords in your ad groups will only help keep your overall cost down. Don’t let Google frighten you with their ominous red text as it is only there to trick you into spending more on broad, expensive keywords. Trust me.
Low Budget AdWords Hack #3 | Separate your geographic regions
Different geographic regions require different bids on keywords. Additionally, different geographic regions are in different timezones. I am not trying to be captain obvious here, but I am pointing out the obvious nonetheless. If you are targeting a global market, don’t be tempted to take the easy road and target your campaign worldwide. This is a mistake for any AdWords campaign, especially a low budget one.
For these campaigns, I am targeting the United States, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Each geographic target is in its own little perfectly-packaged campaign. All 4 campaigns are identical, which is OK since none of these geographic areas cross. All of these campaigns combined are using one shared budget of $3 a day. When I said low budget, I meant it.
Low Budget AdWords Hack #4 | Don’t ignore time zones
Personally, I love to run campaigns on an automatic bidding model. When the budget is really low, this is not the best idea. Why is that not the best idea? Well, because you cannot use custom ad scheduling on automatic bidding, so you best go manual. Custom ad scheduling is the low budget campaign’s best friend. My most competitive keywords (even as long-tail and “low search volume” as they are) require upwards of $5 – $10 per click during normal business hours, so I am choosing to run these campaigns initially between 9pm and 3am in the respective time zones. This time slot only requires between $.38 – $1.25 per click for first page positions, which is a very notable difference.
I know. You want your ads running during peak business hours and so do I, but I can assure you, if your niche has a potential overnight client base, this is the best place to launch your campaigns initially. Once you start generating ROI and can increase that budget a bit, add an hour in each direction over time. Be sure to set those times in their respective time zones and not use your home time zone for all your campaigns.
Low Budget AdWords Hack #5 | Stay away from the #1 ad position
You don’t need the #1 position to be successful. Positions 2 and 3 are just as fruitful with a lower click costs, so avoid it. I tend to avoid it regardless of the AdWords budget. How do you do this? Automated rules. Automated rules are wonderful and offer an almost endless array of ways to manage your campaign. To avoid that #1 position, under the keywords tab there is a handy-dandy ‘automate’ drop down. Select change max. CPC bids when…
From there, you can set your bids to decrease when the position is better than 2 (or 3) depending on your budget and preference. This allows your click costs and bids to target the right position and keeps your costs down. The #1 position is not some sort of nirvana, it is only there to cost you more money. If your ad text is relevant to your search term and compelling enough to click, they will choose the #2 or #3 ad.
Low Budget AdWords Hack #6 | Don’t ignore mobile bid adjustments
Mobile bids generally cost less, so why pay more for them? Exactly. Under your campaign settings, there is a friendly little link that invites you to ‘Change mobile bid adjustment’. Accept that invitation and adjust it down. I typically adjust down 20% – 50%. Don’t have a mobile friendly landing page? Adjust it down 100% and save the money from irrelevant mobile traffic.
Low Budget AdWords Hack #7 | Don’t start a new account without a promo
Google always has a promo code. Currently, they are handing out $100 if you spend $25. This is for brand new accounts only, so if your account is new…jump on it. Need one? Contact me with your email, I will send you one.
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