5 mistakes that waste your online ad budget

As featured in Furniture Today – While well-crafted Google AdWords campaigns for your furniture store can lead to significant traffic to your website and store, a few missteps can burn through huge budgets in minutes. Apply the tips below to avoid common mistakes that can waste your money quick.

1. Use negative keywords
Mind your cheap, used baby. One of the biggest wastes of money is paying for keywords related to stuff you don’t sell or services you don’t offer. Without specifically excluding certain words by designating them as Negative Keywords in AdWords, your ad may appear for a host of unprofitable searches. Google describes Negative Keywords as: “a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.” If your store doesn’t sell cheap mattresses, used sofas, or baby furniture, setting “cheap,” “used,” and “baby” as Negative Keywords ensures you won’t pay for clicks related to those searches. But that’s just the tip of the Negative Keyword iceberg; the list of keywords you should exclude can be nearly as long as the list of keywords you bid on. Consider terms like: repair, cleaning, delivery, disposal, storage, assembly, moving, consignment, parts, and touch-up, just to name a few. Stretch your imagination when creating the list of keywords you don’t want to trigger your ads; it’ll save you money – lots!
2. Target thoughtful demographics
Who is your customer, really? AdWords allows you to target your ads by gender, age and household income. Pay close attention to who is buying in your store, not just browsing. Plus, Facebook, Google Analytics, and AdWords itself are valuable sources of information on the demographics of people interested in what you’re selling. Stores that mainly sell promotional-priced furniture may want to exclude searchers from the top tiers of household income. Likewise, a campaign targeting Lift Chair customers might target the age range of typical users, or the children of those users, while excluding the youngest demographic. Of course, by excluding certain swaths of people, you might miss an opportunity to sell a Lift Chair to the rare 22-year-old buyer, but efficient use of your budget will more than make up for the occasional lost sale over time.
3. Don’t go too far
Just because you’re willing to deliver 50 miles away doesn’t mean you should run ads there. Most stores do a high concentration of their business within a relatively small radius around their store. If available, run a Sales by ZIP Code Report from your point of sale software and target your ads to the ZIP codes that generate the top 10% – 20% of your sales volume. Let’s assume clicks on your ad cost $1 and that cost is the same regardless of where the shopper is located; spend it reaching the shopper with the least amount of resistance getting to your store. Without an unlimited budget, targeting your ad dollars to the people who are most likely to become customers based on their geography will keep you from wasting money on those less likely to make the journey.
4. Add relevant content
If the right shoppers are finding and clicking-on your site when they’re ready to buy, but they don’t find valuable information when they get to your website, they’ll leave your site and won’t consider coming into your store. That’s why “Content” is critical; it gives shoppers a reason to linger around your website and it entices them to want to make a trip to your store. But what is “Content?” It’s the stuff on your website; the ideas, concepts, education, products, inspiration conveyed to the viewer in the form of text, images, and video. When deciding what content to include, the obvious things are the addresses, phone numbers and hours of your stores. Then think about what one sees and does when browsing a brick and mortar store; your website is no different. Shoppers are there to look at what you sell – products – and how much you sell them for – prices. Shoppers would leave a store with no price tags and they will leave a website without prices too. When in your store they’ll meet your salespeople and ask questions about delivery time and cost, about item construction, operation and care, about payment options. They might even observe other customers for cues as to whether those shoppers are pleased with your store. This is the source of your content, have it mirror the information a shopper would get if they came into your store. Without giving searchers enough content, they’ll leave your site and your budget will have been wasted.
5. Choose your keywords wisely
“Mattress” will blow your budget, quick. It’s too vague and part of too many other searches. Assuming you’ve chosen an exhaustive selection of Negative Keywords, you’ll be slightly protected from the vagueness, but you won’t evade all unproductive clicks. Consider adding terms that signify intent to purchase, like: “buy furniture,” “shop for furniture,” “mattress store,” “get a mattress,” and the increasingly popular “furniture sale near me.” Or terms that demonstrate a specific need from searchers, such as: “leather couch sale,” “best price on item ABC-123,” or “adjustable bed in stock.” The more specific your keywords and phrases, the more your ad budget will contribute to net profit.
6. Bonus: Think like Siri
We’re talking into our phones. Sounds obvious, right? But, more frequently, there isn’t a person on the other end of the line. With Alexa, Hey Google and Siri becoming ubiquitous means for getting stuff done, voice-to-text is creating a new category of askew keywords, similar to how auto-correct has you sending inappropriate texts to your mother-in-law. We’re seeing an increasing number of searches for “furnisher store” (say it out loud) which points to an opportunity to choose keywords phonetically and by dialect. I’m not suggesting it’s time to add “home orifice furniture” or “chester draws” to your keyword list, but those might already be more valuable than “chifforobe.”

Looking for help incorporating these tips into the AdWords campaigns for your furniture store? Give us a shout.


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