April 15, 2015

Google AdWords for Freelance Creatives

Google AdWords for Freelance Creatives

Learn Andrew's Google AdWords Takeaways

Do you wonder if it's really possible for a freelance creative to get new clients through Google AdWords? And if so, how!? Meet Andrew Akinyede, a U.K. based freelance graphic designer and the driving force behind Cakebox Creative! Andrew has been using Google AdWords for 5 years. 

Read on to learn Andrew's best keywords, how to find them, where to link your ads and much more! Learn his hard-earned takeaways on how to get AdWords to work for a freelance creative!

Hello Andrew, what do you do?

Web design for Sticky Fingers by Freelance Graphic Designer and Online Marketing Consultant Andrew Akinyede. Click to visit Andrew's online portfolio!Business Card Design for Sticky Fingers by Freelance Graphic Designer and Online Marketing Consultant Andrew Akinyede..Logo Design for Sticky Fingers by Freelance Graphic Designer and Online Marketing Consultant Andrew Akinyede. Click to visit Andrew's portfolio!I'm a graphic designer and online marketing consultant for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs. I work mainly in the creative space, e.g. with fashion, photography, jewellery and food.

Most of my clients come to me for logo design, brand identity and stationery. However, I see myself as a “full stack” designer with online marketing expertise being my “icing on the cake”

Since when do you use Google AdWords?

I've been testing AdWords and other pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for 5 years on a few different businesses and projects.

Why do you use Google AdWords?

I use AdWords primarily to build my email list and retargeting list.

It's a good idea to build up a database of potential clients. The email list and retargeting list allows me to remarket to my website visitors again. People shop around.

For what do you use your email list?

I use my email list to build relationships and increase my credibility.

When someone signs up to my mailing list, I aim to give value wherever possible, with a balance of automated emails and ‘live broadcast emails', keeping my readers informed, entertained and inspired. My email sequence pretty much does that all though I'm always working on improving it for my potential clients.

My email list is a good source of “warm traffic” as opposed to cold traffic which is much harder to convert!

Why not use Google AdWords to acquire clients directly?

It would be very expensive. To convert clients on the spot would need a lot of clicks.

If you use AdWords just for direct acquisition, you waste a lot of the traffic you paid for. That's why I use AdWords with a view to collecting data, not winning clients.

A side note: Patrick Burnett, an Arkansas freelance graphic designer, also uses Google AdWords. Patrik has a more of a direct acquisition approach. Patrick reports that he spent $150/month (a total of $1,050) to get 4 new clients. The new clients have so far meant $7,665 in sales. 2 out of Patrick's 4 new clients had also seen him on Thumbtack, a service for finding and hiring local professionals, and on page three of regular Google searches. Once they were convinced that Patrick was a local freelancer, they clicked his AdWords ad.

Andrew, how much do you spend on Google AdWords?

I'm not using AdWords all the time, but when I am I spend £60-100 in a month.

Since the beginning, it's in the thousands.

How steep was your learning curve for Google AdWords?

The AdWords learning curve was very steep indeed.

I have learned how to do AdWords from online courses and just applying the strategies, seeing what works with my particular location and market.

You have to be willing to fail a few times to discover what really works. I've made a lot of mistakes.

With time, I learned how to create campaigns, track them and how to make them as profitable as possible.

Biggest mistakes?

The biggest mistakes one can make is to run campaigns without split-testing or keyword research.

Those two are VITAL.

How do you optimize your Google AdWords campaigns?

When it comes to refining my AdWords campaigns I look at how much I'm spending on each keyword vs. its click-through rate (CTR.)

A good click-through rate in my opinion is anything above 1% in search for the usual design keywords.

I drop the weaker performing keywords or bid less for them.

The Ads

What type of AdWords creatives work for you?

Google AdWords for Freelance Creatives. The free "Goodie Box." Join Cakebox Creative's mailing list to get Andrew's "Goodie Box!" Click here!

Here's a hot tip: learn copywriting or pay someone to write copy for you before you write your ads.

Good use of copywriting makes a massive difference in click-through rates! That's one observation I've made.

In my ads, I offer my free gift, the “Goodie Box,” or some other incentive to follow my call to action. Incentives such as an e-book or discounts have worked well although there are others such as a free video series.

Freelancers should try and be creative with their incentives, but focus on what's most valuable for potential clients.

In terms of ad copy, the words “Free,” “amazing” or “beautiful” tend to boost click through rates. It's all about experimenting with the copy without being too dramatic.

How do you target your ads?

I usually target my AdWords ads by location and devices.

As mentioned above, I use retargeting too. I stay top of mind by showing ads again to prospects who have made a previous visit to Cakebox Creative. Retargeting also makes my campaigns cheaper (retargeted traffic often converts better.)

The Landing Page

Google AdWords for Freelance Creatives. Landing Page for Freelance Graphic Designer Andrew Akinyede.Where do you link your AdWords ads?

Specific landing pages trump home pages because there's far less distraction from your main call to action.

I've probably wasted thousands of pounds sending traffic to home pages.

I always link AdWords to a landing page that targets my ideal client offering them a free download (a pdf or some other offer)

The Startup Page [the landing page shown to the right] is just one of my funnels, but it is very successful. It converts around 30-50% depending on the traffic source.

When I use AdWords I promote Cakebox Creative as a holistic solution to my target audience. I don't have landing pages for specific services although that's something I will be testing soon.


Which keywords work for you?

My most successful keywords are probably “business design,” “logo design London” and “custom business cards.”

“Graphic design services London” or “graphic design agency” are also important key phrases. I do bid on other keywords too such as “logo design,” “business card design,” “leaflet design” etc.

I tend to have more success with exact matches and phrase matches. I think they attract people more ready to make an enquiry.

In total, I target around 40 to 50 keywords.

How do you find your keywords?

I find my campaign keywords mainly by using the obvious search terms; the services I provide.

I enter them in Google and make note of the “related searches.” This gives quality keywords and phrases that I may have otherwise overlooked.

Finally, any good resources for someone who is just starting out with AdWords?

Adwords was something I taught myself. If you're just starting out, I would recommend watching videos on YouTube. Taking notes and start experimenting with a small budget. Track the results through Google Analytics.

I'd also recommend testing landing pages [Andrew uses Instapage] and autoresponders [e.g. Aweber] to grow your email list.

I did learn a lot about traffic generation from paid courses from online entrepreneur Mark Hoverson and M.I.T.S from Vince Reed.

Find Andrew's resource page here.

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Any tips to share on how to use Google AdWords for freelance creatives? Please share in the comments!