Back in September, we announced our second Grade and Get Paid contest, and folks, we have a winner!
We couldn’t be happier to announce that Omega Learning - South Hills has taken home the grand prize. If you’re wondering what in the world I’m talking about, let me give you a quick run down…
- We asked our audience of marketers and business owners to grade their AdWords accounts through our AdWords Performance Grader twice – first to get an initial score of how their account was performing, and again in 30 days to see if and how their account improved.
- Once these contestants completed the above tasks, we asked them two simple questions: “What did you learn?” and “What would you do differently?”
- The business that showed substantial improvement in this short 30-day window won a whopping $25,000 in free AdWords spent for 2018, as well as a year-long subscription to our WordStream Advisor platform to ensure their spend would yield strong ROI.
Some popular answers to the question “What would you do differently?”
Once the results came in, Omega Learning - South Hills stood out as a clear winner. Omega Learning was able to improve their score by over 15% in just 30 days! It was clear from hearing their story, and looking at their side by side reports, that Omega Learning put in some hard work to improve their score through increasing their account activity, adding targeted keywords, and reducing wasted spend by adding negative keywords.
I was excited to speak with Omega Learning’s owner, manager, and marketer (to name a few of the many hats he wears), Jim Valancius. Jim was kind enough to share his story of how this contest really spurred him into action to make some impactful changes to his AdWords account.
As a small business owner, not only is Jim’s bandwidth stretched extremely thin, he doesn’t have time to mess around with wasting money on AdWords, so he knew if he couldn’t get paid search to work, he would have to put his campaigns on hold. Luckily, the initial report really opened his eyes to some focus areas within his account.
Jim’s story is perfect for the busy business owner who’s looking to stretch a small budget. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Tell me a more about Omega Learning—what exactly do you guys do?
Omega Learning is a service that provides tutoring and test preparation for all grades. Whether studying for the SAT or a smaller quiz, we provide specific test preparation that students may need with personalized one-to-one instruction. We’re located in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, and have been in business for just over 2 years.
That’s awesome! As a small business in such a niche space, have you found that your marketing strategy has changed since you’ve been in business?
Definitely. Our marketing has changed a lot over the last 2 years. It’s been a lot of trial and error. We’ve really done it all, from traditional marketing to digital, and we’ve had experiences that have worked and many that haven’t. We recently switched gears by adding a much stronger online presence.
How long have you been using Google AdWords? How has your experience been with it?
We’ve been using AdWords for about 6 months. I’d say our AdWords experience has been nice in terms of getting information, but it’s been very challenging knowing how to optimize everything we’re putting up. I enjoy seeing feedback on clicks, but the challenge is knowing what’s a good ad versus a bad ad. The set-up process felt very challenging since we were new to the platform.
How did you hear about the Grade and Get Paid contest? Had you heard of the AdWords Performance Grader before you entered the contest?
I was searching around and looking into different AdWords management services, and stumbled upon the Grade and Get Paid offer. I’d heard of WordStream, so I figured why not give it a try.
Let’s talk about your first “report card.” Did you come across any obvious problems? Did you learn anything new from it?
I learned a ton from our first report card, in terms of adding keywords and what was a good keyword versus what was a bad keyword. We were bidding on so many keywords that were not included in the search results, as well as getting clicks on irrelevant words. I realized we’d be wasting money on those clicks. There was clearly a misalignment of who we were trying to target versus who was clicking on our ads.
Like Omega Learning, about 1 in 6 contest entrants said they needed to work on negative keywords and ad optimization
It also opened my eyes to the fact that our headlines needed a lot of improvement.
It sounds like your initial report motivated you to get working on your AdWords account! What areas did you tackle first?
It definitely did! I started with the keywords, getting rid of ones that didn’t make sense at all. I also used the search query report to get a better idea of what was resonating and what wasn’t. It was helpful to see what people were actually searching for.
Many contest entrants realized they needed to add more negative keywords
Did your AdWords management process/workflow change during the month?
Yes. We started to spend more time on monitoring our account throughout the week, and Friday became the main tweaking day. We paid close attention to the changes we made, and what effect those changes had. Optimizing our ad text, headlines, and descriptions to include popular keywords has become a common part of our workflow as well.
Were you surprised by your second report after 30 days? What changes stood out to you the most? What improvements were you most excited about?
Definitely! Everything on the report stood out to me! Just seeing how much of a difference occurred in 30 days was motivating. Making some small changes like adding keywords, getting rid of broad keywords, etc., made such a big difference. We saw a lot fewer completely irrelevant searches, and it was clear that our ads were now targeted to our audience.
What are your top three tips for making the most of AdWords on a small budget?
For me, the top things that come to mind would be…
#1: Making sure everything is as targeted as possible – this will ensure you’re not wasting clicks on people who are likely to leave your website immediately.
#2: When you add keywords, know why you’re adding them (PRO TIP: pay attention to match types!).
#3: Optimize your ads with relevant and compelling language so people are more likely to click on them and visit your website.
Better targeting and more relevant ad text can have a big effect on Quality Score
How would you rate your current experience with Google AdWords, after entering the contest? Are you getting return on your investment?
Much, much better then it was previously. Everything makes much more sense, and we’re absolutely getting a return on our investment.
Would you recommend the AdWords Performance Grader to friends and colleagues?
Absolutely. It explains different aspects of AdWords, and really makes it easier to understand what everything is.
Congrats again Jim! We can’t wait to see where this year takes you.