Without a doubt, Google is a very cool, large company. Many of us enjoy their free services: Gmail, Gchat, Google Talk, the Google search engine, etc.
The pay-for services, however, like Google AdWords -- where users create and run ads for their business on the Google advertising network and pay on a pay-per-click basis -- create a separate relationship with the company. Those who partake enjoy the marketing reach Google has at a cost, and those who refuse say the Google marketplace is over-saturated and not worth the competitive fight. I spoke with a few people about their thoughts on using the Google product.
David Lampe, a Denver real estate agent, uses AdWords and finds it is good for his small business because it draws in a lot of otherwise untapped traffic, bringing real human eyeballs to his company’s site at WebSavvyRealEstate.com. The price doesn’t come cheap, but Lampe says it is ultimately worth the investment. He recommends tracking everything very carefully to make sure the business is in fact getting it’s money’s worth.
“I pay around $1 per click on average,” says Lampe. “Of the people that click through, a very small percentage, around 5 percent, sign up for an account on my website. Of those that sign up, I get about one client per 50 that sign up. This works out to about $1,000 per client. The average real estate commission here is around $6,000 per deal. It is worth it for me to get a client, but it is pricey.”
By figuring out the cost involved to actually get a sale and how many clicks it takes to get a sale, Lampe has been able to measure the value of each of those clicks to his site.
“You want to always make sure your ‘per-click’ bids are less than the value of each click in order to actually generate some revenue,” says Lampe.
For Baruch Herzfeld, president of Zenofon, a phone service that provides forwarding numbers users can use to call international phone numbers at a less expensive rate and Skype contacts without being connected to the Internet, AdWords isn’t cash flow positive. The upfront large amount of money simply isn’t worth the investment.
“You are competing with a lot of viewers and you are paying a premium price to advertise,” says Herzfeld. “If everyone is there, then you are competing against the people who have the biggest marketing budget. It’s a bidding war. I don’t want to have to chase the customers and then compete with people who are willing to pay the most for their customers. Even if you have a great product, you are competing under a very saturated Google. My marketing tactic is to hit the customer in a new way.”
Instead, Herzfeld gets creative with Zenofon. He targets customers who aren’t actively searching for rates on Google and uses social media and word-of-mouth as his on and offline marketing platform. He sells his product only through referrals and invites in order to trace who is sending him customers so he can reward clients with monetary kickbacks and make them partners in the overall business.
Then there’s Nathan Slee, president of Credilogic, a boutique financial services company based in Canada that focuses oin technology and operations with its lending services. Slee uses AdWords because it was crucial that he invests in highly targeted advertising and saw the Google product as the best tool to do so.
“Mass marketing such as TV, radio and billboards reach too broad an audience to be cost effective for us, so we rely very heavily on paid search marketing like Google AdWords,” says Slee. “We track our leads very carefully and AdWords is by far our most cost-effective source of new customers. For example, our advertising cost for a new customer from Google is less than half the cost of our next most expensive advertising medium.”
To make a successful campaign from AdWords, time has to be put into developing, monitoring, and tweaking each keyword and ad in order to ensure that they are performing well. It also means optimizing landing pages so they match what the customers are searching for.
“It is a lot of work to run a successful AdWords campaign,” says Slee. “But in our experience, it is far more profitable than any other options we have.”