Google Ads is one of the most under utilised lead generation tools in EdTech. When it comes to technology, schools can certainly feel a little archaic, but that doesn’t mean school leaders and decision makers are technologically adverse.
Headteachers and senior leaders are not only getting younger (the median age of an SLT member is now just 35), but the decline of clusters and local authority run schools in favour of Academisation (40% of schools are now Academies), means that local networks are breaking down and school leaders have fewer opportunities to meet and learn from neighbouring schools. So when it comes time to begin searching for a new product or service, web search is the #1 answer school leaders give when asked about their procurement habits.
So if you’re not running, or at least trialing Google Ads, you’re missing probably the most lucrative marketing channel available to you.
How do I get started with Google Ads?
Starting with Google Ads
Before you start with Google Ads, there are a few pre-requisites that you'll need. You should have a well optimised, mobile friendly website. You can check how healthy your site is for free with Google’s Page Speed Insights.
If you’re site isn’t in the green for both desktop and mobile, then I’d highly recommend making improvements before you start spending on Google Ads otherwise people are likely to click on your page only to leave pretty fast.
Assuming your site is good to go, here are the basic steps to get started with Google Ads:
Create a Google Ads Account: Visit the Google Ads and click on "Start Now". You'll need a Google account to sign up. If you don't have one, you can create it during this process.
Define Your Goal: Google Ads will ask you what your main advertising goal is. If you’re starting out this should be to get more website visits. If you’re more advanced you can look at utilising some of the conversion dependent goals.
Create Your Ad: After you've defined your goal, you'll need to create an ad. This includes writing the text and choosing the keywords that will trigger your ad to be displayed. Google Ads uses a pay-per-click (PPC) model, which means you bid on keywords and pay for each click on your advertisements.
Ad Text: It’s essential to make your ad compelling and encourage users to click on your ad. Make sure your ad copy aligns with your keywords and landing page.
Keywords: These are the words or phrases that users search for on Google. Your choice of keywords will determine when and where your ad is displayed in the search results. Google's Keyword Planner can help you research keywords.
Set Your Budget: You'll need to decide how much you're willing to spend each day on your ad campaign. Google will never go over this amount. Remember, you only pay when someone clicks your ad. To get a good test, you should be looking to spent at least £150 per month for a few months.
Choose Your Target Audience: You can choose the geographical location where your ad will be shown. I’d recommend that you target the radius around your HQ to begin as you then have the option of visiting these leads in person if you want to.
Review and Launch: If everything looks good, you can submit your ad. Google review it to make sure it complies with their advertising policies, and then will run it once it’s good to go.
Monitor Your Campaign: Once your campaign is live, it's important to monitor its performance and make adjustments as needed. You can use Google Ads' built-in analytics tools to see how your ads are doing.
Optimise: Based on the performance, you may need to adjust your keywords, ad copy, or budget to improve results.
How do I pick my keywords?
Keywords - the long and short of it.
Understand Your Customers: Before you start, think about what schools are likely to search for when looking for your product or service? Write down all the terms you think they might use.
Use the Google Keyword Planner: This tool is part of Google Ads and is designed to help you find keywords related to your business or industry. You can enter your own keyword ideas, or you can enter your website URL, and Google will suggest keywords based on the content of your site.
Analyse Keyword Metrics: This is where it starts to get more technical. You want to be looking at the search volume, competition level, and estimated cost-per-click (CPC) for each keyword. High search volume and low competition keywords are usually the most desirable, but they can also be the most expensive.
Consider Search Intent: Not all keywords are created equal. Some might have a high search volume, but the intent behind the search might not align with your goals. There are 4 types of intent, or in plain English, there are 4 reasons why a person is searching Google:
Informational Intent: The user is browsing, looking for more information on a particular topic, product, or service. For example, someone might want to know "how to mark homework online" or "what is EdTech".
Navigational Intent: The user is trying to get to a specific website. For example, someone might search for "Facebook login" or "BBC News."
Transactional Intent: The user intends to buy something or complete another type of transaction, like signing up for a service. Searches like "buy GCSE resources" or "download teacher worksheets" exhibit transactional intent.
Commercial Intent: The user is looking to make a purchase in the near future and is conducting research before making the decision. For example, searches like "best school text message platform" or "Brand A vs. Brand B comparison" indicate commercial intent.
Choose a Mix of Head and Long-tail Keywords: Head keywords are short, general terms with high search volume (like "literacy resources"), while long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases (like "writing prompts for key stage 2"). Long-tail keywords are usually less competitive and can often deliver more qualified traffic, but they will have a much lower search volume.
Include Keywords with Different Match Types: Google Ads allows you to specify different match types for your keywords - broad match, phrase match, exact match, and broad match modifier. Using a mix of these can help you reach a wider audience while still targeting specific searches.
Use Negative Keywords: These are keywords you don't want your ads to show for. For example, if you sell school digital signage, you will want to add "commercial" as a negative keyword to avoid showing your ads to commercial organisations looking for digital signage.
Where can I learn more?
Google Ads and PPC advertising is a deep, fast-evolving sector so view it as a learning journey. This isn’t something you’ll master over a weekend, but if you trial it and keep learning, you should be able to generate high quality leads every month pretty quickly.
Here’s a few of my favourite resources to help you learn more:
Google Skillshop (Free)
Google YouTube Channel (Free)
Wordstream PPC Course (Free)
Search Engine Journal by Moz (Free)
Udemy Google Courses (Paid)
Let me know your thoughts, hit reply and you’ll reach me. I’m looking to post weekly going forward as well as launching a paid membership tier that will provide more in-depth tips as well as some ‘lesson learnt hacks’ to growing your EdTech faster. As always, thanks for reading. See you next time!
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