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Google AdWords campaign cause unique problems for the marketers designing them. Most advertising campaigns are charged by the number of people you expect to see them. The bigger the newspaper or the more popular the show the more the advertiser has to pay. You want to pay to reach potential clients and not waste money by reaching people who will never buy your product. But if someone happens to see your ad it does not cost you extra money. The same is true with search results. You want to reach your target audience but if someone who is not a potential client clicks on your link it does not cost you anything.

In your Google AdWords campaign you are paying every time someone clicks on your ad. Anytime someone who has no potential to bring you any revenue clicks on your ad it is a waste of money. If you are running your ads on a limited budget, and unless your name is Amazon you are, any wasted click means one less potential customer will click on your ad. There are thankfully several things you can do to reduce the number of bad clicks you are getting.

Our tips for reducing the number of bad clicks your Google AdWords campaign receives:

1. Specific keywords- Try to be as specific as you can with your keywords. If you sell basketball shoes, use “basketball shoes” as a keyword phrase, and don’t use just “shoes”.

2. Use the correct Google keyword match type. Google has 3 different match types:

 Broad-Means the search term was close to your keyword.  We never use these because it will match a lot of searches that have little to do with your business.

 Phrase- Our favorite. The search terms must be close to your keyword but it does not have to match it exactly.

Exact- Great for reducing bad clicks. The problem can be that there will not be enough people searching for your exact keyword phrase. If you can get enough impressions and clicks with exact keywords then they are the best alternative.

3. Negative keywords- This is an underutilized and very important tools for avoiding bad clicks. A negative keyword tells Google not to show your ads if these terms are used in search. For example our ad campaign for a small architecture firm has the negative terms: schools, books, do it yourself , learn, how to. There is no value to them getting clicks from students looking for a good school to study architecture.

4. Ignore click through rates- Your goal is to maximize the number of good clicks not to get as many clicks as possible. 1 good click is a lot better than 2 bad ones.

5. Check search terms. Google provides you with a list of some of the search terms that lead your search ads to be shown.  These can provide you with ideas for new, more specific keywords but more importantly it will show you bad search terms that you need to be adding to your negative keywords. No matter how much time you spend on coming up with negative keywords someone will invariably use a search term you never thought of and end up wasting your money.

6. Use the demographic and geography settings in the campaign settings. Google lets you set where your ads will show. If you only deal with customers in the U.S. than make sure your ads only show in the United States. If you are a retail store or restaurant make sure your ads only show to people within driving distance of your place. You can also choose to not show ads to the different genders, age groups and income levels. If you sell women’s shoes than way pay to advertise to men. 

7. Write ads designed to encourage the right people to click on your ad. The more specific your ad copy the better the chance you will not get people clicking on your ads thinking it was something different. If you are trying to get trade show exhibitors to go to your site but not people attending trade fairs you need to use terms like exhibitors and booth prominently in your ad.

8. Use Google Analytics to analyze your results. You may be getting lots of clicks but if those people are going to your site and quickly leaving without doing what you want them to do it is a waste of money.

9. Have a well-designed webpage. The best AdWords campaign in the world will not help you reach your goals if the page you are sending people to is not optimized. 

One of our favorite free events in Chicago is Open House Chicago.  There will be over 200 buildings open that are otherwise closed to the public. There are a wide variety of places opening their doors and letting you in to see what you normally do not get to see. There are: condo buildings, churches, architecture firms, universities, private homes and of course lots of historic buildings participating. The sites are spread out all over Chicago and even into the suburbs of Evanston and Oak Park.

This fun event has one drawback; there are so many interesting sites it is hard to decide what to see. Fortunately the Chicago Architectural Foundation has created a helpful website that describes all of the sites. We recommend looking through their site by neighborhood, picking the neighborhood you want to spend the day and then deciding what sites in that neighborhood you want to see. A word of warning sites in Downtown Chicago can be busy and have a wait.

We at Chicago Social Media Marketers have taken advantage of this event every year and have been to dozens of the sites.  We have created this list of the 10 best sites but all of the sites are worth a visit.

Top 10 Open House Chicago Sites:

1.       Brewster Building (Lincoln Park)- Without a doubt our favorite residential building in Chicago. The exterior is beautiful but the inside is the true show stopper. Wrought iron walkways and a throwback elevator are the highlights.

2.       The Rookery (Loop)- Designed by Burnham and Root, completed in 1888, and renovated by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. The best lobby in Chicago. Note it is only open on Sunday.

3.       Edgewater Beach Apartments (Edgewater)- Anyone who has ever driven to the north end of Lake Shore Drive has seen this large pink building. Part of a hotel complex built almost 100 years ago the building has unique indoor pool and the size of the grounds will make any city dweller jealous.

4.       Glessner House Museum & Clarke House Museum (South Loop)- You get 2 for the price of one. They are separate homes but they sit on the same lot. The Clark House is oldest home in Chicago and the Glessner House is a unique mansion worth seeing.

5.       Chicago Board of Trade Building (Loop)- An Art Deco masterpiece. Pay special attention to the elevators and go into the basement to check out the massive walk-in vault.

6.       Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (Loop)- One of the giants in the architecture world. If you are an architecture buff this is a chance to get a behind the scenes look.

7.       Zap Props Bridgeport)-  Not an architectural site it is a 36,000-square-foot warehouse with an inventory of hundreds of thousands of items rented as props for movies, TV shows, plays and other occasions.

8.       Evanston History Center (Dawes House) (Evanston)- We ventured out of Chicago to Evanston for this one. A truly stunning mansion that was once home to a Vice President of the United States.

9.       Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (Oak Park)- Worth the trip not only to see a beautiful home but also to learn about one of the giants of American architecture. There are also some other sites worth a visit in Oak Park.

10.   Columbia Yacht Club (Downtown)- Anyone who has ridden their bike of the Chicago Lakefront has passed this large ship anchored just south of Navy Pier. While it is not the most interesting site it is a chance to finally see what it looks like on the inside.



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