Should you let Google ‘help’ with your AdWords?

I speak regularly with Google AdWords advertisers. Most are business owners trying to make AdWords work for themselves. People with bills to pay, who need to spend a dollar and get two back.

Bewildered by the dazzling array of AdWords options, many phone Google for help.

About three months later, they ring me in a state of desperation.

“Google set up my AdWords campaigns. I’ve spent my children’s inheritance, and I’ve no leads to show for it! And… and… they don’t even care!”


For starters, you should never spend your children’s inheritance on Google AdWords. You need to prove — on a small scale — that it can generate a profit for you first.

You then need to understand what Google are good at, and what they are not.

When you phone Google for AdWords help, you will speak to a perfectly charming young man or woman. Perhaps she’ll be called Betty. Betty technically knows AdWords inside out. She knows what all the buttons and levers do. More so than I do, in fact.

Betty is very smart. Google only employs smart people, and they train them well on how to use the AdWords system.

What Betty is completely unprepared for, is understanding your business and what it really needs. Betty knows AdWords, and AdWords is her hammer.

To the man (or woman) with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Whatever business situation you present her with, Betty is going to hit it with the AdWords hammer.

It may be that AdWords was never a viable option for your business. Perhaps Facebook ads was the way to go. Or direct mail. Perhaps your website sucks beyond belief, and whatever traffic you send it was never going to convert anyway.

Perhaps you need to change your offer. Or sharpen your USP. Change your pricing structure. Or provide more social proof.

I listened recently to a Perry Marshall interview with Alex Mandossian. Alex talked emotionally about the time his teenage daughter almost died, because the wrong diagnosis was initially made by the local doctor.

If the initial diagnosis is incorrect, everything that follows will be a disaster.

Are you happy relying on Google’s initial diagnosis of your business, given that they get paid when you spend more on clicks?

I am not saying you should never ring Google. I ring Google regularly, when I have specific, technical problems with my accounts. Sometimes I ring them when I see something new, and I want to know what it is and how it works. For specific technical queries, they are very accessible and extremely helpful.

Just don’t ring them when you’re in the mire, and need leads tomorrow. Don’t ring them when you are setting up your campaigns for the first time, with little idea whether it will work.

They won’t deliberately lead you astray. It’s just unlikely they will ask the right questions about your business, and get the initial diagnosis right about what you actually need.

In many cases, Google AdWords is the wrong thing for you to focus your time and money on. But Google can’t ever tell you that.

That’s the service I provide to my clients. Brutal honesty. You can find out more here — or join the Pro Web Design Alliance and speak to me in the hangouts.

About the author