I hate people who claim to have all the answers. Well, okay, hate is a pretty strong word, so let me rephrase. People who are smarty-pants know-it-alls are ‘not my preference.’
On the other hand, I love people who ask great questions. Great questions are those deceptively simple questions that stop you in your tracks, force you to rethink your long-held habits and enable you to see things from a fresh new perspective.
People who ask great questions are worth their weight in gold.
Since most of us do not have a bag of gold dubloons hanging around our offices to pay for people like this, I thought I’d share a few pretty good questions that can help you see your campaigns in a new light and open your eyes to new opportunites for improvement.
Question #1: Can I Show You My PPC Campaigns?
This seems like aout harmless enough exercise, but it can be a powerful eye opener when someone takes you up on it.
Whenever I’ve taken time to explain the inner workings of my PPC campaigns to someone else – a client, colleague, boss or even my mother, I inevitably become acutely aware of things that are completely crazy, that somehow I’ve missed until precisely this moment. Has this ever happened to you?
It’s sort of like inviting guests to your home for dinner, and as soon as they arrive, you all of a sudden notice stains in your carpet, spots on your wine glasses, (egad!) silver that has not been properly polished!
I can guarantee that you will see your campaigns in a whole new light even if the person you show it to knows nothing about PPC, simply because you become more aware of the blemishes and warts that you either missed altogether, or knew about and simply forgot to get back in and fix.
If you are lucky enough to find a colleague who has PPC experience, pay attention to the questions they ask, especially when they challenge your choices and assumptions.
Question #2: Can You Please Show Me Your PPC Campaigns?
If you survived the trial of showing your own PPC campaigns to one of your colleagues, then you are ready to learn by asking to taking a look at theirs. This is also a great exercise to open your eyes to the many different ways that campaigns can be organized.
Without being judgemental, take note of how differently they have organized their keywords and campaign and take time to understand their rationale for doing what they’ve done. Look at everything. Campaign settings, match types, ad delivery settings, naming conventions, tracking URLs, and so on.
How do they target customers with Display campaigns? As your colleague takes you through the campaigns, ask them why they made specific impementation choices and engage them in a conversation about their setups.
While neither of you may consider yourself experts, you will both find yourselves developing a deeper understanding of paid search advertising methods.
Question #3: Which New Features In AdWords/AdCenter Have I NOT Tested Or Implemented Yet This Year?
This is one question you can and should ask yourself. Be brutally honest with yourself, too. Google and Microsoft are implementing new features at an incredible pace. Start by making a list of all the new features you know about and then make a list of the features you’ve actually implemented.
It’s okay to admit you haven’t gotten around to many of them, but asking yourself this question will force you to know what new features are available and to rethink which ones can give you a competitive advantage.
Google has added features like enhanced CPC bidding, Campaign Experiments, tighter integration with Analytics, Product Listings, Site Links, Phone and Local Extensions, expanded campaign and ad group limits and dozens and dozens more .
Microsoft has enhanced the way AdCenter handles negative keyords, enhanced its reporting options, how daily budgets are set, and added keyword-level quality scoring system to help you improve your campaign relevancy.
Once you’ve identified the features you haven’t even tested yet, ask yourself which of these hold the best promise for your particular campaigns. If you only have time to implement and test one or two of these great new features, which ones should you try?
Questions That Propel You Forward
The path to great results in paid search always begins with great questions. Before you start to listen to anyone who says they’ve got all the answers, and paying them in gold dubloons, make sure they know what are the right questions are.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.