Marketing your Bookshop with Google Adwords

Another Series by our leading contributor Nora from Rainy Day Paperback Exchange. If you’ve not already visited her site or shop in Bethel, CT you might want to. It’s a great little bookshop with some pretty funky art.

So you’ve decided to try out Google AdWords. Setting it up is easy. Actually figuring out how to target the right audience without spending a fortune, that gets tricky.

We’ll assume you’ve gone in and set up your very first ad. Google walks you through it easily enough. (if not, go and set up an account and make yourself an ad) Now you’re staring at it going “well… it doesn’t seem to be generating a lot sales and it’s costing a lot of money…”

Duking it out for top position for a common keyword like “books” may have you paying $.25 a click… or more. Plus they may get thousands of clicks a day. That can rack up enormous bills quickly. I once ran up a $150+ bill in a day. Ow, lesson learned. Just because it gets lots of traffic doesn’t necessarily mean lots of sales. The most common keywords will have you duking it out with Amazon or Ebay. They have the money to afford that. Most independent bookstores won’t.

The narrower the keyword you bid on, the fewer searches it will trigger for, but it will also be a lot cheaper and will be more likely to translate to a sale. The trick is in finding the happy medium. Search advertising basically casts a wide net and get some of what you want, but a lot of what you don’t want. Content advertising is much more targeted… but doesn’t work if you’re aiming at the wrong target! Generally you want a mix of both.
Go into AdWords and go to your current campaign. Under the Campaign heading you’ll see the option to edit settings.

Click on that and go to next screen. On right half of screen you’ll see something that says “Networks”.

If Content isn’t checked, check it. This basically means you’ll now show up next to related content, not just in searches. (Look to either side of the article here and you’ll see some content ads.) If you have a really limited budget, uncheck “search” while you’re here. I find content ads generally are more cost effective for me, but your results may be different.

If you’re going to use both, make sure to check the box saying you want to bid separately on the search and content listing. Content ads are generally cheaper, but if you don’t separate the bids, you’ll end up overpaying.

While you’re here, set language to English. Unless you happen to also have your website in another language, there’s no reason to show your ad to Chinese speakers. That wastes money. If you DO present your website in another language, create an ad in that language and then set that campaign to show only that language.

Now, check your location. You can set it to only show it to computers in certain countries. If you only ship to the US and Canada, or only Australia and New Zealand, there’s no reason to show your ad to someone in Russia! You can also select only a specific state or large city if you only want local traffic.

On right side of screen (though I didn’t take a screen shot) you’ll see something that says “budget options”. This is how many dollars per day you’re willing to spend. When it hits that max, it’ll stop showing them for that day. Generally it’s easier to determine how much you want to spend per month. Divide that number by 30 and stick that in as the daily budget. If you’re brave, you can set it way higher than that to account for daily fluctuations, like suddenly a keyword you’re advertising on is mentioned in a major publication. Only do that if you check it everyday, so you don’t get a nasty surprise on your bill!

Save all that and then click on the individual campaign.

You want to click on the default Bid. Set both to a penny to start. Save changes.
If you still have search enabled, you’ll have that big pink warning at the top saying “X keyword are unavailable for search”. You’ll also get next to each keyword a yellow thing saying: “Increase quality or bid Y to activate”.

Now, you can just leave this totally alone and see how it does just running as content, no search. Or you can selective bid to activate some of the Keywords for search, if they’re not too expensive. They will vary widely depending on what keyword you selected. Some might cost only $.04 to activate, some might cost $.40!

Your other option is to “increase the quality”.

Next part in the series, how to increase quality! | Nora’s great post on turning your books into awesome craft projects!
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Related Post: Find out what Keywords are Working then Beef Them Up

10 thoughts on “Marketing your Bookshop with Google Adwords”

  1. Google’s explanations are pretty good, but its one of those things that it takes some experimentation to really figure out what actually works.

    I still haven’t tried out the newspaper or radio ads part. I’m mulling them over.

  2. WOW, great post! I’m going to have to bookmark this a send some of my readers over here. Perhaps feature you and your article in the future. I like to put tips like this on my blog. Keep up the great work!

  3. Nice detailed posts about adwords. there is howver a point to be made about adwords. It could eat up alot of cash f the right keywords have not been selected. It reallyis a matter of stating small, with just a liitle bit of cash and moving up.

  4. This is what I called detailed and professional information – great info how to sell books fast – I need to run and tell it to my friend trying to sell books…cannot wait to read next part….

  5. Great concepts are brought forward by this post. I agree that there is money to be made selling books online. But just like every other business model, one must make sure that the expenses should always be controlled somehow.

  6. I wish I had read this post before I began an adwords campaign just recently.

    You’re absolutely right that just because people click on your ad they won’t buy if you’re not selling exactly what they are looking for.

    I ran a campaign promoting a “hot” book related item leading up to xmas & was getting a really high CTR. Unknown to me the supplier where I was forwarding the traffic from my website had run out of the item – so 600 visitors clicked from my site to the seller & purchased very little.

    A couple of lessons learned there. If people want a specific thing they leave if it isn’t available. I should have checked the site & pulled the campaign when it sold out. My own fault entirely & an expensive lesson.

    Reader eBook

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