If you know how to use Google Ads, you can instantly impact your lead count and sales figures.

Increasing a customer base is one of the most challenging aspects of growing a travel company. You can’t achieve it overnight either. Generating new quality leads might take months of SEO, blogging, website development, and email marketing efforts.

Unlike other digital marketing efforts, Google Adwords PPC ads can immediately usher a stream of potential customers to your website. The best part about learning how to use Google Adwords is the massive reach. With 5.6 billion Google searches daily, you can target your specific audience.

On average, Google Ads has a conversion rate of 3.17%, but the travel and hospitality industry enjoys a higher average of 3.95%. If you learn how to run Google Ads properly, you can make this percentage even higher! 

Read on to learn more about Google Ads and how to use this powerful marketing platform to drive bookings.

How to Start a New Search Campaign

Before you start a new search campaign, you need to create a plan. Doing so will keep you focused on your goals and allow you to make adjustments to your strategy.

Determine the Right Target Audience

The first step in any paid ads strategy is determining the ideal audience. Think of who you want to reach out to with your ads. It’s best to create a target persona to help you define your ideal audience.

When thinking of a target person, be as specific as you can. Think of a potential customer’s age, gender, parental status, and interests. Apart from demographics, Google allows advertisers to segment customers based on habits.

  • Affinity audience: This feature lets businesses choose specific interests they know their customers have. Google offers many default options like gamers, sports lovers, and auto enthusiasts.
  • Custom affinity audience: If you can’t find your ideal clients from Google’s default list, you can create your own using keywords.

When you get the hang of these options, you can elevate your segmentation with considerations like milestones, purchase intent, past brand interactions, etc. 

Identify Your Business Goals

Travel companies have many reasons for using Google Ads. Before you start a campaign, think of the goal(s) you want to achieve. Here are some targets to consider:

  • Forward more calls to a number. We recommend this option if you want consumers to book appointments or schedule services.
  • Increase shop visitors. This option is ideal for businesses with physical shops.
  • Drive potential customers to your website. You can do this if you want clients to shop online or register for your mailing list.

No matter what goal you choose, there’s an ideal option for you when you learn how to run Google Ads.

Define Your Budget

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to determining the ideal budget for a business. Defining your Google Ads budget should match your company’s marketing budget.

Here are pre-pandemic tourism stats you may use as a guide:

  • Average cost per click: $1.42
  • Click-through rate: 7.83%
  • Cost per action: $27.04
  • Conversion rate: 3.95%

For example, if you set a budget of $300 for a Google Ads campaign, you can expect an 11.09% return on your ad spend based on these stats. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of your campaign heavily relies on the quality of your keyword selection and ad copywriting.

Use Ideal Keywords

If you choose the ideal keywords for your company, you enable the consumers looking for products or services similar to yours to find you amidst a sea of competition. Learning how to use Google Ads will help you generate quality leads and sales while minimizing advertising costs.

Here are some tips on using keywords.

  • Be specific: For example, you shouldn’t use the keywords car rental if you run a car rental business in Lancaster, PA. It’s so generic that you might end up wasting your budget on consumers looking for car rental companies in Philadelphia or California. Instead, you can use a more relevant keyword like car rental in Lancaster or Pennsylvania car rental company.
  • Exclude negative keywords: Conducting this work is a helpful way to avoid irrelevant searches from promoting your ad. For example, using the same car rental in Lancaster, PA, you can choose words that you do not want to associate with your brand. If you are a luxury company, you can avoid words like cheap, affordable, low-cost, and economy car. Doing so will help you save substantial amounts on consumers who are not interested in luxury car rentals.
  • Try a keyword tool: You can use the Google Ads Keyword Planner to expand your list. It’s a free tool for users with a Google Ads account. You can submit a word, phrase, or website related to your product or service, and Google will provide a list of relevant keywords. You can choose the best ideas for your business. If you end up with too many keywords, you can use them to create separate campaigns.

Once you prepare your target audience, goal, budget, and keywords, you can start creating your first campaign.

Creating Your First Campaign

Google provides advertisers with powerful tools that are crucial when creating your first campaign. Let’s get right to it.

When to Use Google Ads Express

Google Ads Express, formerly called AdWordsExpress, is an advertising tool that helps consumers find you on Google Search and Google Maps. Its goal is to simplify Google’s advertising platform for companies with smaller budgets.

Instead of doing everything on your own—keyword research, choosing markets, and developing a bidding strategy—Google will take care of it for you. All you have to do is tell Google about your business, and the search giant will take care of the necessary steps to create your campaign.

With Google Ads, you have the flexibility to use your budget however you see fit. However, with Google Ads Express, you only have to inform Google of your monthly budget. Its representatives will develop strategies for you.

While Google Ads and Google Ads Express allow you to advertise on Google sites, they are very different platforms. Google Ads offers advertisers many controllable elements, but these factors become more complex with more targeted campaigns.

On the other hand, Google Ads Express simplifies your user experience (UI), which allows you to run campaigns in minutes. However, you get fewer options and less control over your budget with this product.

If you are a local business spending a few hundred dollars on Google Ads monthly without enough skills and experience to run ads yourself, you might consider this option.

Create Ad Campaigns and Groups

The next crucial factor in learning how to run Google Ads is determining which campaign types to use. There are many campaign types to choose from, but the most used ones are search, display, and video campaigns.

  • Search campaigns: These ads appear in text form when a consumer searches for a product or service similar to yours.
  • Display campaigns: Usually in image form, these ads appear on websites or apps your potential customers visit.
  • Video campaigns: These ads typically appear before, during or after viewing a piece of content.

Afterward, make sure to observe the following tips:

  • Use Geo-targets: Geo-targeting is the practice of targeting online consumers based on your location, their location and location-appropriate content. To avoid wasted ad spend, you should indicate your geographic location targets (as well as geo location exclusions). There is also an advanced setting for location targeting that can be critical. You should specify whether you wish to target users location living within or frequently in your target locations, or users who are in or interested in your target locations. Here’s an example of location-appropriate content: if you own a Destination Marketing Organization in Lancaster, PA, you might advertise “Things to do in Lancaster, PA this Winter” during the colder months.
  • Add keywords: Don’t forget to add relevant keywords to your ads! Please refer to the Using Ideal Keywords section for a detailed guide.
  • Set budgets: With Google Ads, you can set average daily budgets to specify the amounts you’re comfortable spending. This is a flexible option that you can edit at any time.
  • Choose your bidding strategy: If you use the right ones for your business, you can increase conversions by as much as 142.86%. You can choose between manual and automatic with 11 bidding strategies that all have the best time and situations to use. Check out this list to help you determine which will work well for your business.

Create Ad Copy

After researching your ideal target market and the best keywords for your business, you can do three things to make your ad copy more effective: run A/B tests, use ad extensions, and apply the title case.

Run A/B Tests

Typically, you should prepare three different ads per group. Doing so allows you to use different keyword, headline, and call to action (CTA) combinations. A/B tests are powerful tools that let you maximize conversions and return on investment (ROI) by tweaking your ads. 

Use Ad Extensions

Google allows you to use an extensive range of ad extensions to make your customer’s experience more personalized. Such extensions include calls, links, locations, and structured snippets. They are useful for providing additional information and clickable links, which make your ads more attractive.

Apply the Title Case

If you apply the title case to your copy, you can boost your click-through rate by as much as 62%. However, if using the sentence case is more apt for your brand, then use it. Your copy should be consistent across all platforms. You can also run A/B tests using both title and sentence cases to see which works better for you.

Monitor Your Success

Check your goals to monitor your campaign success. Here are some of the typical key performance indicators (KPIs) businesses use to measure Google Ads accomplishments:

  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per click
  • Cost per conversion
  • Cost per mile
  • Impression share
  • Number of clicks
  • Quality score
  • View-through conversions

Monitoring these factors helps you reach your full earning potential without wasting your budget. Google provides advertisers with informative results that enable entrepreneurs and business leaders to make sound decisions. With the search giant on your side, you can stop ineffective ads and adjust your budgets accordingly.

Additionally, you can run a Google Ads account audit to check the effectiveness of all your campaigns.

Drive More Bookings Today

If you learn how to use Google Ads properly, you can make a dent in your leads and sales right away. The first part of achieving this goal is to create a plan. To do this, you should determine your audience, identify your goals, define your budget, and use the right keywords. We recommended starting with a more narrowly or precisely targeted campaign plan, and then broadening later after you have solid experience with your campaigns.

Google provides advertisers with different tools to enhance their ads from Google Ads Express to creating campaigns to monitoring your success. If still have questions about Google Ads and PPC, or if you need tourism marketing services to drive more bookings, schedule a discovery meeting today.

Meet the Author:

Skip Lefever

Skip Lefever, Digital Marketing Services Director

Skip is our Director of Pay-Per-Click marketing services, where he helps our clients turn clicks into revenue. Skip also has a background in executive leadership, management consulting, leadership development, strategic & business planning, process improvement and project management services for business owners and executives in for-profit and non-profit environment. He is an expert analyst and with a track record of driving continual improvement.