Month: September 2019

Marketing is full of buzzwords and all of the shiny new things. It’s all fun and games and awesome ROI if you know what it all means, but if you don’t it’s really just a recipe for overwhelm. We’re going to tackle one of the BIGGEST marketing buzzwords and demystify it: Google Ads – or, Search Engine Marketing.


When a business talks to me about Digital Marketing, they 99% of the time ask about Google Ads. But, when they’re asking, they more often than not…in fact maybe never…actually know what that even is.


Google Ads ARE a very powerful tool for digital marketing. In fact, they have one of the highest conversion rates. So, let’s talk about them and demystify what they are and how to use them effectively.


What exactly is Google Ads?

First things first…Google Ads is actually a whole bunch of things. It’s Display marketing, remarketing, and Search Engine Marketing. Today we’re going to talk about Search Engine Marketing, since that’s normally what people mean when they ask about Google Ads.


Calling it Google Ads is like calling tissues Kleenex, so we are going to call it by its actual name: Search Engine Marketing – often shortened into SEM because BUZZWORDS!!!!


Search Engine Marketing is the PAID placement of text-based ads that are initiated by words and phrases people are searching for on search engines. They are pay-per-click, which means that you only PAY if someone clicks on them.


What’s amazing about them is that, like SEO, only prospects that are ACTIVELY searching for something will come across them. That means that you are reaching people who are already interested in what you are offering.


SEM tends to have one of the lowest costs per conversion among paid tactics. This means that as far as getting your prospect to complete an action – whether a sale or contact or signup – it is one of the most effective and least expensive.


You can do SEM on Yahoo, Bing, or Google. Google is the main one and dominates as the search engine of choice for users. Within Google SEM, you can choose to appear on their search partners, which would give you a bit more reach.  We often focus on JUST Google when we are doing SEM campaigns – particularly when we have a more limited budget.


How to use Google Ads effectively

SEM is not the easiest tactic to use. It requires a LOT of management in order to be effective and a comfort in looking regularly at data and statistics. There are a few parts to SEM:

Keyword selection

You need to choose the right keywords for your business and your customer. Think in terms of how prospects and customers actually search for what your service or product is. Think about what language they would use.

You also need to ensure that you are not being too general or people who are not looking for you will see your ad, which can lead to wasted spend or a poor ranking of your ads.

Bid management

For any chosen keyword, there will be a number of brands and companies competing to have their ad shown and to have their ad shown FIRST. You need to decide on how much you want to bid on a keyword.



A well written ad is essential to get users to click on it AND to get the SEM platform to rank you higher. You will want different ads for different groups of keywords so that you can include those keywords in your ad to be more effective.


Landing pages

Search Engines are all about the end user. They want to make sure that wherever they send a user, that person has a GREAT experience and it was just what they were looking for. Think of it as when you refer a friend to a business or restaurant. You want to have faith in your recommendation!

When a search engine sends someone to a page, if that person has a GREAT user experience, then the Search Engine will rank that page higher and want to send more people there. If they have a bad experience, the opposite happens.

You want to make sure your landing page for an ad has the right keywords on it and is relevant to what the searched keyword and the ad are about.

Testing, measuring, and tweaking

A BIG part of SEM is data and analytics. You need to be on top of always checking your keywords, your ads, and what happens when a user lands on your page to tweak and optimize your campaign.

Make sure you have a measure for conversion – whether that is a purchase made online or a contact made with you to complete a purchase offline. This data can be pulled INTO SEM platforms and can help you hone and tweak your campaign to be more effective. This is also an essential part of measuring your ROI.


What can I expect Google Ads to cost me?

A benchmark cost per click – or per visit to your website from an ad – is $1. It can be more or less depending on the popularity of your keyword. A MINIMUM amount to spend per day is $10. A better amount to start with is $20 per day.


If you choose to hire someone to set up and manage your campaign for you, the cost would start at $200-$300 for set up and $300 per month for management. Some agencies charge upward of $1000 per month for management.


While this definitely can feel high, remember that when used effectively, SEM can have one of the lowest conversion cost since it’s targeting people who are warm leads and already searching for something that you are selling. Because of the cost, I recommend using SEM for targeted and shorter-term campaigns rather than year-round.


A big BIG mistake I see when it comes to branding, is businesses thinking that once they have a logo they are all set. But, in truth, branding is so much more than a logo. In fact, a logo is the last piece of the branding puzzle, and with a strong brand, many businesses could get by without one.



A brand is your business’s personality. It is who your business IS. How others – including your potential customers and customers themselves – see you and relate to you. A brand is something that shows up in everything you do – from your packaging to your website to your tone of “voice” in emails and social media to the types of visuals and photos you use. A brand is all encompassing.


And, importantly, your business’s brand – its personality – isn’t always YOUR personality. It can often be a challenge for an entrepreneur – especially when they ARE the whole business – to separate themselves from their business brand.


A common mistake entrepreneurs make is to assume their tone, their favourite colours, and their personal style choices and to give those to their brand.


A better way to look at it is that your business brand may – and likely does – have ELEMENTS of YOU. Elements that are suited for what you want to put forward for your business and what you want the world to see. Also, elements that are suited for the type of business you run and the customer you want.


Let’s look at some of the building blocks of building a killer brand.

One: Think of your Audience

While your brand is a reflection of YOUR business personality and self, it also needs to be one that speaks to your AUDIENCE. After all, your audience is who you want to speak to! Your audience is who you want to build a relationship with, evoke feelings in, and who you want to be engaged with your brand. When selecting images, think about ones that would appeal to your audience. What would grab their attention? What would they find meaningful and interesting?


Two: Brand colours

Your colour palette is a key part of expressing your brand’s personality to your audience.


Colours offer a lot of opportunity for customization but also the potential to be used incorrectly. Mistakes often made include using too many colours, using colour combinations that don’t go together, or using colours that don’t fit your brand.


We often have the temptation to use colours we like without much thought as to whether they are the right colours for our business or brand. The RIGHT colours are key in sending the right message about your business to your audience. Beyond what looks GOOD and NOT GOOD together, different colours and fonts say different things about your brand.


From a colour palette standpoint, ask yourself what your colour choice is saying about your brand, and whether that is what you want to be saying.


Three: Selecting the right fonts

Much like your colours, your font choice will say a lot about your brand. When choosing fonts, it is helpful to ask yourself if your fonts will appeal to your audience and whether they’re a good fit for your brand and business.


Because there are SO MANY fonts out there, finding the right one can be more challenging than finding the right colours. Understanding the traits or personality you want your brand to put forward will help you pick the right fonts. Is your brand modern or traditional? Is it bold and loud or gentle and harmonious? These are questions to ask when thinking about what font would best express your brand.


Four: Consistency

Branding is all about consistency. Once you have an established what your brand looks like and what its personality is, you want to make sure you stick to it. When you design content for social media, flyers for your business, and even your website, use the colour palette and fonts to guide the design. When writing for your blog or website or social media, make sure the voice reflects your brand’s voice. When put together, all your business collateral – or marketing pieces – will help to establish and show your brand to the world.