Advanced Strategies Expanding Your Campaign If you’ve followed the steps in this guide and are getting leads that are turning into clients, congratulations are in order. At this point, you’re probably wondering how to get the scalable returns that direct response is so famous for. Here is the order of operations when it comes to taking your budget up. These are designed to maintain the most relevance, so that the new customers you find will provide a similar return to your ad budget investment.
- Increasing budget
When you’re starting out, chances are you will see orange text next to your campaign indicating that you’re limited by budget. This may look like a warning sign, but it actually means you are primed for the lowest-hanging fruit in the AdWords expansion universe. This means that at your current bid, with your current keywords, there is more traffic out there that you can get without having to change a single thing.
- Match types
When we set up our ad groups, you may have been wondering why we put quotation marks around all of our keywords. This was to place them in ‘phrase match’, which is one of four match types used by Google. The others are ‘exact’, ‘broad’ and ‘broad match modified’. Typically, this is a day one AdWords concept, but until you have to expand a campaign it’s not very important. Essentially, match type determines the rules that Google uses when showing your keywords. The use of match types has the same tension as keyword expansion: volume versus relevance. Here are the four match types and what would trigger them from low-volume/high-relevance to high-volume/low-relevance:
- Exact match: denoted by [square brackets]. These will only trigger if the exact string of characters is typed in. ‘[divorce lawyer nyc]’ would not show your ad to someone who typed in ‘divorce lawyers nyc’.
- Phrase match: denoted by “quotation marks”. This will bring in misspellings and close variants. “Divorce lawyer nyc” would bring in ‘divroce lawyor nyc’, ‘divorcing lawyer nyc’ and so on.
- Broad match modified: denoted by +plus +signs +before +words. Your ad will trigger for any word that contains the words with a plus in them. ‘+divorce +lawyer +nyc’ would show your ad to someone searching for ‘male divorce lawyer nyc’, ‘best divorce lawyer nyc’, ‘hire nyc divorce lawyer today’ and so on.
- Broad match: denoted by no punctuation. Your ad will trigger for anything remotely related to your keyword, as determined by Google. We recommend never using this match type. ‘Divorce lawyer nyc’ would show your ad for ‘does the actor on hbo the divorce live in nyc’.
When it comes to expanding your campaign, you can consider moving up to a broader match type. Since we’re starting with a phrase, this would usually be broad match modified. Make sure you pay attention to your negative keywords though; you’re more likely to get irrelevant searches when you open yourself up to broader match types.
- Geographic expansion
Are you servicing a larger area? If you have a high-converting campaign, it might be a good idea to look at surrounding towns or counties because this will bring in more traffic from keywords you know are converting. The less populated your area, the more effective this will be. There are diminishing returns here, as the value of your specialized service is outweighed by the inconvenience of coming out to visit you.
- Keyword deprecation
Using the geographic area column is a great sign for someone looking to buy. There are plenty of people who don’t enter that in when making a search, though. Once you’ve tapped out traffic for keywords with geographic info, try duplicating your ad groups and removing those from your keywords. You can keep the same ads and landing pages; the purpose of separating the ad groups is to keep your cost per acquisition data separate so you know these groups are still profitable.
- New keywords
Just like generating your initial keywords, new keywords are limited by your creativity. You can sit down in your library with a pen and paper, take a look at what your competition might be going after on tools like SpyFu, or even brainstorm new services in your field that you might be able to provide.
- Bid adjustments
This is the first suggestion made by Google but the last one that I’ll recommend because it will likely affect your ROI negatively. Increasing your bid will make it more likely for you to show up at the top of the page, which will bring a disproportionate amount of traffic. Google clicks follow a power law as well, and the first result will get the majority of the clicks. There really is more traffic at the top. Because you’re increasing both your cost per click and your volume, this has the potential to really expand your budget. Generally, we recommend maxing out traffic at a given CPC first, but once you’re out of options this is the only place to go. Here’s how you find out how to do it.
Finding niches is a subset of campaign expansion that can be time-consuming and tedious, but can pay big rewards if done correctly. On your typical 80/20 power curve, most of the search volume for your average, say, trust and estate lawyer will fall into generic terms like ‘estate lawyer [city]’, ‘probate attorney’, ‘best estate law firm’ and so on. These are the most obvious to consumers, and to advertisers as well. While we shouldn’t have a problem with competing against any local competitor due to the conversion system we’ve set up, it’s possible that there are profitable keywords that are less competitive. Some of these might even be more profitable than your run-of-the-mill estate case. The core of this is venturing into the remaining 80%. It’s an exercise in brainstorming, creativity and exploring the esoteric branches of your area of law. What makes it particularly time-consuming is setting up individual ad groups and landing pages for each new area that you find. But that’s also what makes it more effective. If you have a niche case and you see one ad that speaks to your specific situation, with a landing page that speaks to it as well, the conversion rate can be extremely high. Let’s continue with the example of an estate lawyer. He may have gotten some lucrative guardianship cases, and he may want to expand. What reasons could somebody have for needing a guardianship established? This is where the brainstorm might start. We could have a guardianship for: Special needs Elderly Traumatic brain injury Personal injury case Alzheimer’s Dementia And so on. You could go on to subdivide these into categories like ‘special needs child’ and ‘special needs adult’. The sky is the limit for this stage. Where the sky isn’t the limit is how many people are actually searching for these key terms. The best way to proceed without making hundreds of ad groups and landing pages is to find this out first. Set up a new ad group called ‘niche keywords’. Have something that is general enough that if you happen to get a click it won’t be wasted. We aren’t expecting this to convert like gangbusters without a tailored ad or landing page; we’re just looking for impression data at this point. You can throw out anything that shows up as low-volume for your area. One thing you might consider for these niche terms, however, is raising your geographic limits. While we don’t recommend going too far for a generic term because of competition, if you make a good case for being the specialist in an area you can win out against generic competition that is more local to your prospect. If they pass the low-volume hurdle, leave these in the ‘niche keywords’ ad group. If you can get a decent volume of impressions for a bucket of related keywords (shoot for 100 in a month), it will be worth making ads and separate ad groups to support the traffic.
This strategy is for personal injury law firms only. In the same vein as the niche keywords, the strategy revolves around being the only person advertising on a term that might not otherwise be searched. This is an ‘early bird gets the worm’ play, and speed is everything.
If you aren’t doing it already, find a good way to plug yourself into news briefings on local accidents. The goal here is to create an ad and landing page for victims and family of an accident, while avoiding traffic from passersby. Careful keyword selection is critical here, as there will likely be a number of people searching for the keyword to find the news story. Let’s go through an example of a bridge collapse in your hometown. What might someone type in if they were sitting in a hospital after such an accident? It could be terms like: Bridge accident Bridge collapse Structure collapse And so on. Multiply these by attorney, lawyer and law firm, as indicated in the PPC section. It’s absolutely critical that you do so because this will eliminate people looking for the news story. The ad and landing page will be critical here. Call out the event as specifically as possible—something like “Injured in the Oct 12th Bridge Collapse?’—as a headline. Do the same on your landing page, looking for a Creative Commons image for your hero image if possible. It’s not necessary to rewrite the entire page unless you happen to have a storied history of fighting bridge collapses, or whatever disaster is happening in the news that day. When this is implemented correctly, we’ve seen conversion rates north of 50% within days. The ads and landing pages are so specific that the right person will not be able to look away. If someone was injured and is taking it to Google, what could be a more compelling offer? Very few people will go through the trouble of setting up a campaign for this because we’re talking about targeting literally dozens of people, if not less. But if you can roll up your sleeves and jump on it, you could get one of those cases. One last note: It’s unlikely that people will be looking for help past a few weeks, so make a note in your calendar to pause the ad group—unless you live in a city with particularly hazardous bridges. Chapter