After building your website, the next step is to market your online teaching services. If you’ve spent much time in digital nomad and online business circles, you’ve likely heard talk about Google AdWords, and about PPC (pay-per-click) advertising in general. This is a quick guide to getting started. Note that there are many thorough, in-depth dives about AdWords available if you do a quick Google search.
How to use Google AdWords: Set up your campaign
After heading to the Google AdWords site, select the campaign type that you are going to run. If you aren’t sure, choose “Search Network Only.”
Next, decide how large or small a geographic area you want to target. You can choose whole countries, regions of countries, states or provinces, cities—even U.S. Congressional districts. You can also choose custom-designated geographic areas, such as latitude-longitude coordinates or the radius of a set number of miles or kilometers around a specific address. Click “Let me choose …” and then search for the most appropriate area for you.
Next, identify where your target audience is. If you are targeting potential students in the UK, it doesn’t do much good to have your ads running in Indonesia, for example. Be as specific as you can here, and follow Google’s prompts – it is in their best interest as well as yours to make your ad as successful as possible.
How to use Google AdWords: Choose an appropriate budget and bid strategy
The first thing I recommend you do, after the last few years of running PPC ads for my company Live Lingua, is to set your campaign strategy to “I’ll manually set my bids for clicks.”
I noted above that Google does want your ad to be successful, but I still encourage you to maintain as much control as you can so that your costs don’t spiral out of control. This is your Google AdWords account, not theirs.
Keep in mind that the maximum daily bid amount is the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend per day – so no one will see your ad or be able to click on it for the remainder of the day once you reach that target. Everything is automatically handled in Google’s system.
Start cautiously, especially if this is your first foray into PPC ads. If you don’t have much of an ad budget, don’t set a $100/day budget. Google is going to do its best to reach your daily target.
How to use Google AdWords: groups and ads
If you’ve ever written ad copy for your online teaching services, you probably have a general idea of what works and what doesn’t. My advice here is to replicate what has worked in the past, but keep the copy concise and easy to skim.
People are going to be scrolling through articles and pages where your ad is not their focus. Grab their attention and incentivize them to click – and hit them with the punch right away.
In AdWords, your copy is divided into lines, with the second and third allowing 35 characters of text. Use the top copy to offer the end result of your teaching services, and the bottom line to introduce yourself/your business/your website, wherever the ad will direct them.
Even though Google places the field for your display URL—the web address people see in your ad—below your main ad copy here, when your ad displays on the search results page, its URL will actually show up right below your headline. The display URL has to be the same domain as your site, though the URL itself doesn’t necessarily have to be the specific landing page that you take people to.
Your website address will appear on the last line. Remember to keep your ad in line with the graphic design of your website – people are turned off when they click an ad and feel they are taken out of their comfort zone or into a place where they didn’t expect to be.
How to use Google AdWords: Set up cost-per-click and target keywords
The default bid is your maximum cost-per-click. For those of you on a tighter budet, use cheaper keywords. Google will note the cost of each keyword, and what you are paying is that amount for each click. It’s a crazy system but is actually super effective if you’ve got the budget and put in the time to optimize your ads.
When starting out, I recommend choosing cheaper keywords and doing some A/B testing to identify what needs to happen in order to optimize your ads, and if the chosen keywords are at all effective.
Double-check that everything looks good before finalizing
I’ve previously made the mistake of setting up billing the wrong account or card. This sucks – and it’s totally preventable. Equally important is making sure there are absolutely zero typos in your ad copy, URL, and any listed contact information or critical data. Nothing turns away leads and makes you look more unprofessional faster than easily preventable errors.
Especially in the online teaching market – you are the teacher, make sure your ad reflects that you are prepared and the top go-to teacher in your niche.