Do you work with/for a small business that’s struggling with low-funnel ads? Look no further! Use Google Analytics to redefine your goals to make data-driven, informed decisions.

One of my former clients sold exclusive, high-end items. Their business model was incredibly unique as their online shop was only open a few times a year. During times they weren’t open, they built up excitement for their product launch and encouraged people to sign up for their email list. Essentially, they operated as lead generation for part of the year and eCommerce for the other part.

As an agency (and our client as well!), we were disappointed when sales were down. Our best practices for typical eCommerce clients weren’t working and with a limited budget, any solution required some extra creativity.

With the help of Google Analytics, we determined their audience size was too small for effective low-funnel marketing. In order to increase sales, we needed to take a few steps backward and grow their top-of-funnel audience list. My team and I presented a strategy focused on building up the prospect base prior to focusing on purchases. While this may seem counterintuitive and time-consuming, it ensures higher quality and higher quantity of customers (which long term results in more sales!)

By connecting your account with Google Analytics, you can obtain a plethora of information about your brand. The more data you have, the more confident you will be in delivering results. Ask yourself the following questions…

Which channel are customers coming from? (Acquisition – All Traffic – Source/Medium)

One of the challenges of working with small businesses is working with a limited budget. You must determine where the bulk of your customers are coming from (Google, Facebook, etc). By determining this, you can allocate more spend on channels that are already showing success.

Do some campaigns have a high CPA? (Acquisition – All Traffic – Channels)

Optimize spend towards the most effective campaigns in alignment with your goals. For this brand, CPA was twice as much for Search than Display, so I optimized spend for Display while keeping the minimum spend possible in Search.

How is Session Quality? (Audience – Behavior – New vs Returning)

Are users staying on your page or spending a few seconds on your page? Are users coming back to your page? If most users are new and not returning, this tells us users probably are not thinking about your brand after browsing your website. Look at the eCommerce conversion rate as well. It tells us the percentage of sessions where an item was purchased. By determining user behavior on the website, you can determine the next steps. One route to go would be investing in Conversion Rate Optimization. My colleague, Alex Nixon wrote a great article, PPC & CRO Congruence: Why It Matters, that discusses the PPC + CRO relationship.

What are Industry Insights?

I’m a big fan of data and not unnecessarily reinventing the wheel. Google marketing industry insights for your field and you will find invaluable information such as user behavior, spending habits, user interests, etc.

So, now that you’ve done your research, you might be wondering how to increase your audience. Look no further! Now, I am referring to Google Ads, but most of these strategies can be applied across varying platforms.

1. Audiences

I’m a huge fan of audiences. You can target specific interests, remarketing lists and demographics. If you have a lifetime spend of $50k or more in Google Ads, you can implement Similar To audiences. This will show your ads to customers who look like people who have already converted or shown interest in your brand.

2. Search Terms

Take a look at your search terms report and exclude any irrelevant keywords. Add relevant keywords to attract users. Google has a keyword planner tool where you can predict how certain keywords will perform. Determine what your users are looking for and optimize your ads towards a specific product if possible.

3. Geo-Targeting

Be sure to enable location targeting. Get as specific as possible. Are you targeting users in the United States? Set the United States as a location in addition to every state. Are a large number of users searching from a specific area? Target those areas as well! Enabling negative locations is also helpful to minimize users from areas with low conversion rates.

4. Ad Copy

Ensure your ad copy has a solid call to action that aligns with the language you use on your website to maximize the quality score. For my client, we wanted to optimize users to sign up for an email list. The purpose of the email list was to keep customers engaged with messaging, events, or sneak peeks during their offseason. Use a call to action (such as signing up for an email list) where you can keep frequent contact with your users and grow your audience.

5. Customize the User Experience

Use exclusive language. One of my favorite brands, Brooks, frequently sends me emails on products they think I like. By using language like “Exclusive” and “Just For You,” it incentivizes users to purchase.

user customized ad example
user customized ad example

Once you grow your audience list, keep users engaged whether it be through emails, events, offering discounts, and more. By making data-based decisions and presenting them to your client, you can optimize sales and confidently present a well-informed strategy to make your client the hero of their business!