A Story About AdWords

My brother-in-law is an electrician, and his work dried up when the economy tanked a few years ago.

He had to hand his van back, and had a wife, two kids and another baby on the way.

He would have known this was the beginning of the end for him.

I wanted to learn how to build websites, and I asked him if he’d be my guinea pig.

He nearly bit my hand off down to my ankle.

We built a simple site and got him ranked top for “kildare electrician” (Kildare being the county we live in here in Ireland).

Nothing happened.

Then one day a €50 AdWords voucher fell out of a book.

I setup an account, and got a few ads running.

Within a few days he rang saying “Andy, I’ve had a call!”

I remember standing up and strutting around the office thinking “Wow, this actually works.”

We were really excited, and sat in his kitchen working out a bigger list of things to bid on.

We had new keywords such as “dublin electrician”, “wiring and rewiring”, and “fuse board replacement”.

He was really excited about “smoke detector installation” because of all the landlords in Dublin that would need smoke detectors installed in their properties.

We setup a “Services” page on his site and listed each of the services as bullet points.

We bid on each keyword and fired traffic at it.

He started getting calls and I remember him getting home late one Friday evening because he had been fixing a washing machine in a town nearby.

He asked me to add washing machine repairs to the services page, saying that a lot of the people looked for an electrician because they wanted appliances repaired.

We added that to his “Services” page, and created ads too.

After a month of the campaign running, I analysed the stats and found his ads had shown 10,000 times.

He’d had 300 clicks, and spent €75.

He was happy though because he’d had enough work to cover the costs and get some money in.

We decided to analyse the AdWords data for the month.

Most people would use Google Analytics to find out what those 300 visitors did when they landed on the page, but I was more interested in the 9,700 people who had seen our ad and sailed past.

When I analysed the 10,000 times his ad had shown, I found that 2,000 were to do with people searching for electricians, especially in Dublin (the biggest city in Ireland).

We didn’t get much traffic though from these “electrician” searches, because every other electrician was also bidding on them and we were in a really low ad position.

We had hardly any clicks for wiring and rewiring, and no calls at all. I guessed our site wasn’t professional enough for people who were about to spend quite a bit of money and probably price shopping.

Our ads had shown only 12 times for “smoke detector installation”, so I told him that wasn’t going to work.

What I did find out, was that half of all his impressions (that’s 5,000 impressions!) were down to either washing machine repairs, cooker repairs, or oven repairs.

He said he was absolutely swamped with all these appliance repairs calls.

Not only were there loads of people searching for appliance repairs, but there was much less competition in AdWords, so we were in a really high ad position and getting a lot of clicks.

Also, people looking to repair their washing machine or cooker are pretty desperate, and less likely to be price shopping because it’s a cheap job anyway.

So we threw away dublin-electrical.com.

And built dublinwashingmachinerepairs.com, dublincookerrepairs.com, and dublinovenrepairs.com.

And the kildarewashingmachinerepairs.com, kildarecookerrepairs.com, and kildareovenrepairs.com.

We turned off all the other ads, and just sent traffic to the correct website depending on what people were searching for.

His click-through-rate went from 4% to 8% overnight because someone searching for “dublin washing machine repairs” saw an ad from dublinwashingmachinerepairs.com instead of dublin-electrical.com

When they landed on the site and it said “Dublin Washing Machine Repairs”, they didn’t wonder whether he fixed washing machines, or if he covered Dublin. They just wanted to find his number and ask him when he could come round.

So his conversion rate also went up.

Which meant we could afford to pay more per click.

And get into top ad position.

Which brought in even more traffic.

The happy ending to the story is that my brother-in-law ended up getting a new van.

And building a workshop in his back garden to fix all the washing machines.

I’d never heard his dad speak, but he quietly bought me a drink at some family gathering.

I also found out from the AdWords campaign that people were four times more likely to search for “electrician kildare”, than “kildare electrician”.

So I’d wasted a lot of time getting him ranked for the wrong keyword.

I should’ve ranked him for both, and for all the other ways people could type it in.

To me, the biggest benefit of AdWords is not that you can buy traffic, but that you can find out what people are searching for, so that you can sell it to them.

You can quickly test whether “cheap”, “reliable”, or “qualified” works better in an ad when someone is looking for an electrician.

You can add the winner into the copy on your landing page.

AdWords is the purest form of cold traffic.

There is an intent behind every search.

If you’re not using it to buy real time market intelligence, then you’re just buying traffic.

Ultimately, you can use AdWords to build products that your market actually wants, rather than what you think it wants.

Oh, and you don’t need to lose your shirt using AdWords either.

Not if you do it right anyway.

But there’s one big mistake beginners make with AdWords that leads to a lot of difficulties.

To learn about it, just click >> here <<