Bang for your Buck

It doesn't take loads of money to do something great.

My name is Demetri and I am a project manager at Sigient. Efficiency is key as a project manager and especially was when we launched our SAAS startup simplybuilt.com. It was important to get as many people as possible to try the app out. I was challenged with increasing our daily sign ups and gaining exposure on a limited budget. I decided to use AdWords for this challenge because search terms like "build a website" have been growing year over year and targeting people who are already searching for what we offer kept our ads the most relevant.

It was a tough challenge as we were spending less than a tenth of what our competitors were, but with some planning and perseverance I was able to get results that shattered industry averages. Check out how it came together below and hopefully the tactics I implemented help others bring their business to the top of search results, too!

Target your audience:

Location, language, keywords and budget are the fundamental ways to target a paid search campaign. The more detailed you can be the better chance you will attract more of your ideal audience.

With SimplyBuilt I targeted specific cities around the US where small business growth was booming. I then added relevant keywords that small business owners searching the web would use like "create a website" and "easy website builder." And lastly, I applied the budget we had for advertising.

Adjusting your budget:

With the basics covered, now I was able to go in and adjust the budget per location, keyword, device and even time of day. So after just a few weeks of data, I was able to refine the audience by increasing the amount of money spent on the better performing parameters and decrease the budget or even remove the poor performing ones.

With SimplyBuilt I found, based on our first 21 days of data, that Newark and Seattle performed better than San Francisco and New York so I added 10% to Newark and Seattle and took away 10% from San Francisco and New York. I followed the same approach for keywords and time of day and day of the week. Also since SimplyBuilt is a web app we focused our ads on desktop, laptop and tablet devices, squeezing the most out of every dollar spent by making sure the most relevant eyes saw our ads.

Diversify and update periodically:

A targeted audience is only half of the recipe. Make sure those eyes see great content as well. Trying out different copy, calls to action, style and images and seeing what works best is a good way to start. People get bored if they see the same ad for months on end so keep ads fresh to maintain long-term performance.

With SimplyBuilt we started out with 4 text ads and 2 banner ads and eventually kept the top 2 text and 1 banner ads. We then added variations of the well performing ads every 2 months. This kept things varied and helped us refine our content.

Update negative keywords list:

Negative keywords can be assigned to help weed out irrelevant searches that just so happen to use the same keyword.

SimplyBuilt keyword lists contained the word "websites" but I found our ads were showing when people searched "shopping websites" and "shoe sale websites", so I added the words "shopping" and "shoe" to our negative keywords list. So when someone searched with a negative keyword, AdWords knew not to display our ads.

This comes in handy and can significantly boost clicks and conversations. For us it increased our click-through-rate and signup rate by over 40%. Doing this at least once a month will help squeeze even more value out of a budget.

Results aren't instant:

Typically wait 30 days before making any major changes so you have a more reliable and stable data set to go off of when making decisions. Some days may not fit the norm so don't take a single day with too much weight either.

For SimplyBuilt utilizing all these strategies helped us shatter industry averages by over 20 times and we quadrupled our signup rate goal. These practices can be applied to any industry or business. Keeping a resourceful mind and a creative perspective can be what makes or breaks a budding startup.