The difference between a successful AdWords campaign and one that’s unprofitable might not what be you think.

I was thinking about this while watching my daughter’s 2nd grade soccer team which got off to a DREADFUL start this season.

Not only did they lose their first 3 games… they didn’t score a SINGLE goal in those games. Probably coulda played on half the field and it wouldn’t have made a difference because they barely got past midfield.

Now it’s 2nd grade soccer so the stakes ain’t really high here. The aim is for the girls to have fun and improve their soccer skills.

That said, losing like that is tough. Even though no official score was kept the girls knew what was going on. They knew they hadn’t scored any goals and by the end of the 2nd and 3rd games of the season, you could hear some grumbling about not scoring and could see many of them were feeling a bit dejected.

Then, at the practice following the third game the coach made ONE little tweak that changed EVERYTHING.

What did he change?

After the goalie would get the ball, he simply had her run up to the edge of the goalie box and throw the ball up the field as hard as she could.

That’s it.

The effect has been STARTLING…

Since making that one tweak, the team hasn’t lost a game. They’ve even BEATEN a few of the teams that trounced them earlier in the season.

What the coach had noticed in the first few games was our goalies were throwing the ball from close to the goal. And, more often than not, the other team would get the ball and not have far to go to score. If our team got it, however, they had to go the length of the field through the opposing team to even have a chance at a goal.

Throwing the ball down the field opened the game up and gave our players a chance to get the ball into the opponent’s zone and score.

Little tweak. HUGE difference.

And that’s often the case in AdWords too where one little tweak can make all the difference…

  • A change on a landing page.
  • New ad copy.
  • Making a bid adjustment to favor mobile traffic over desktop traffic (or vice versa).
  • Pausing certain keywords or ad groups.

I’ve seen changes like these be the difference between a campaign that loses money vs. one that’s profitable.

Yes, there are times where big overhauls are required to fix something that’s broken (whether it be an AdWords campaign, a soccer team, etc.). In fact, our tendency is usually to assume that a fix will require some Herculean Effort.

The shame of thinking like that is so many people give up when they are oh so close to success. Because they assume something is so broken that it can’t be fixed or isn’t worth fixing, they stop at the 1 yard line just before they score.

If you can stop and look more deeply at what’s going on, however, we can often spot those small tweaks that make a huge difference in outcomes.

For my daughter’s soccer team all it took was changing where the goalie threw the ball from.

Is there a similarly simple tweak that can make a huge difference in your AdWords campaign?

If you’d like to have an expert assess your Google AdWords campaign and see if there is, please email me to set up a free AdWords Strategy Session.



Google’s always tinkering around in AdWords and making changes. Recently there have been a few significant ones that I want to make sure are on the radar of all of you who care about AdWords.

Google Reviews Are Now Even a Bigger Deal For Local Businesses

It used to be your AdWords account and Google Maps reviews had nothing to do with one another. The only exception was if you were using Google AdWords Express (which you should NOT be doing), Google would show a business’ ratings next to their ads.

Now, however, if you are running a real (ie. non-Express) AdWords campaign and are using the Location extensions, your ad can show your star ratings and link to your reviews on Google. Here’s a screenshot of what this looks like…

local adwords review ad

(I don’t know for sure but from what I’ve seen it looks like you need to have at least 5 reviews on Google in order for this to appear.)

There are 2 big reasons why this is important…

1. Those star ratings REALLY make your ads stand out from the competition. So if you don’t have Location extensions turned on… you should. Also, if you don’t have 5 Google reviews for your business, you should work hard to get them. The more reviews and the more positive reviews you have next to your ad, the better.

2. If you have a number of negative reviews, this can work against you. You don’t want to be paying for AdWords ads if your 2.7 star rating is running next to them! You’d basically be advertising “Hey, we suck!”

That’ll hurt your results. In fact, if you don’t have a lot of good reviews on AdWords, you’re probably better off not using Location extensions at all.

Because reviews are now a much bigger deal in AdWords, we’ll be bringing you more on this in the weeks/months ahead. Keep your eye out for this because, for local businesses, this is a big deal and we want to help you improve your ratings on Google.

Structured Snippet extensions

AdWords ads continue to take up more and more space on the search results page at the expense of the organic listings. And one of the main ways Google does this is by giving AdWords advertisers ad extensions to display with their ads.

For those who don’t know, ad extensions are additional bits of information that Google can display next to your core ad (which consists of the headline, 2 lines of text and URL field).

The newest ad extensions are called structured snippets and they are a way for you to display a list of items under your ads.

What items you display in this list is a bit limited to the categories of structured snippets Google has made available to advertisers. These include Brands, Destinations (for travel businesses), Neighborhood, Insurance (for medical practices) and more.

We’ve seen great success in the early days when using structured snippets in clients’ campaigns. They seem to have a very nice impact on the Clickthrough Rates of our clients’ ads.

For local businesses, the Service catalog snippet seems to be the most practical and you can use it to list a number of different services you offer. However, depending on the clients, we’ve also had success with Brands and Insurance snippets.

Structured snippets help your ads take up more space on the page and provide even more information about your business so there’s really no reason you should not add them to your AdWords campaigns immediately.

Customer Match

Personally I think this development is the coolest one, however, it is the least applicable to local businesses.

Customer Match lets you upload a list of your customer’s email addresses to Google. Google will then match those addresses to people who are logged into Google and allow you to target your customers with Search, YouTube and/or Gmail ads.

Facebook has had a similar offering for a while and it’s nice to see Google offering this too. It can be a very effective way of getting your message out to customers or those who have opted into your list (and it has to be a list of customers/opt-ins, using a list you bought is against the rules).

I can see an application to a local business that offers some sort of regular or seasonal service to their customers like an HVAC company. In a situation like that you can have ads that show up on Gmail or YouTube that remind customers to get a fall/spring tune up.

There are other scenarios like that for some types of local businesses but this feature isn’t as helpful for a local business as it may be for an Ecommerce or info marketing business.

This feature is rolling out to AdWords advertisers over the next few weeks so, if it is applicable to your business, keep an eye out for them. The star ratings and structured snippet extensions are already available so take advantage of them ASAP.

7 Lessons From the 10,000 Pushup Challenge

October 1, 2015

10,000 push-ups. Sounds like A LOT of freakin’ push-ups, doesn’t it?! Sounded like a lot to me too when I first heard about an acquaintance, Brian, who shared his experience of doing a 10,000 Push-up Challenge… knocking out 10,000 push-ups within a year. When Brian started his Challenge he hadn’t done a push-up in years, was […]

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Are You Trapped In This Imaginary Cage?

September 2, 2015

Mohini was a regal white tiger who was the first of her species to come to the United States. This being pre-Siegfried and Roy times, her striking snowy white coat with black and dark brown stripes was unlike anything people in the U.S. had ever seen. And she was feisty beast too. While being presented […]

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Lesson From My ONE Day of Medical School

August 5, 2015

It may sound odd for someone (such as yours truly) who tries very hard to avoid blood, vomit, shots, etc. to find themselves in medical school. But that’s exactly where I found myself about 20 years ago… for ONE day. Knowing my general squeamishness with most things medical, I knew enough to not actually APPLY to […]

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Even Many Successful Business Owners Don’t Understand These 2 Key Concepts

July 2, 2015

A few weeks ago I was eavesdropping on a conversation between 2 successful business owners (both of whom I know) at an Open House for a friend’s new office. One has built up a huge business that serves clients locally in over 40 markets around the U.S. We’ll call her Jill. The other has built […]

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The Sobering Reminder In This Simple Navy SEAL Mantra

June 4, 2015

How many tools do you use each day in an attempt to make yourself more productive, efficient, and effective in running your business and your life? From my Samsung Galaxy to Gmail and Google AdWords to TeamworkPM and Toodledo – there are no shortage of tools I use every single day. Without them I couldn’t […]

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A Tale of 2 AdWords Accounts

May 6, 2015

Had an unusual opportunity recently to compare two very similar AdWords campaigns. It provided interesting insight into the inner workings of AdWords and how campaigns, that are so alike, can behave VERY differently. Here’s what happened… One of our clients (we’ll call them “ABC Co”) has an AdWords campaign we’ve been managing for the past […]

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A Lifestyle Business vs. One You Can Sell

April 2, 2015

This story came out the other day when a friend was interviewing me for his podcast and thought it would be helpful to many of you… Since I started my business almost 8 years ago, it’s always been about me. No, it’s not branded with my name but, if I were to get hit by […]

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This Is Why Your Marketing Should Stink

March 5, 2015

Raw sewage, stale vomit and skunk spray. That’s just a few of the ways people describe the smell of the durian… a large, yellowish-green, thorny husk covered fruit that’s popular in southeast Asia. Its imposing look and strong odor have earned it the title “King of the Fruits”. Yet despite its horrific smell (which is […]

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