Meet Paul Downes. He owns his own woodworking shop, which specialized in cabinets and conference tables. He contributes regularly to the New York Times small business blog and recently shared a crisis that surely will or has affected many small business owners.

Paul added a low-cost alternative to his line of conference tables after receiving a number of inquiries from school’s and non-profits. He then added ads in AdWords to get the word out about his new product and started selling quite a few of them.

However, he eventually saw an overall drop in his monthly sales even with this increase in new product sales. The problem was not with a failing economy, as he initially told himself.

Instead, Paul put some thought into his problem. He discovered that the calls for these low-cost, new tables mostly came early in the business day. Calls from big corporations, who are responsible for purchasing the higher-priced models that garner Paul bigger profits, usually came later in the day.

After poking around on AdWords, Paul found that his campaign wasn’t showing his ads for the higher priced tables to the audience that would buy them. Instead, AdWords was optimizing for conversions and the low-cost option was getting good conversions.

Paul made the simple fix of splitting the two products into their own campaign so he could get the most out of his budget. This is a real life example of the importance of paying close attention to your AdWords campaigns. Paul has since seen his sales steadily rise back to normal, but he will be playing catch-up for the rest of the year. Thankfully, he had the metrics available to fix a problem that was crippling his company.

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