• Google AdWord Tactics Generate Serious Enterprise Demand

    A surprising number of people wrongly believe that Google AdWords is a service that works like eBay or that it’s designed just to sell consumer goods, like discount vitamins or overstock luggage.

    That misperception blinds IT professionals to the fact that Google AdWords can be an extremely powerful tool for large-scale, enterprises.  How large?  Though Google AdWords may be effective at selling low-cost goods, it’s also just as effective (potentially more so on a CPM basis) for companies that sell seven-figure software/hardware packages. In short, it’s wrong to think higher-priced, higher-value IT products and services can’t be sold through Google advertising.


    One reason that Google ads are perceived as “lightweight” is because the ads themselves look almost toy-like on screen. Can an ad that small and incidental really be taken seriously? How can a global software company expect to be considered a player with a little 95-character ad that appears above Google results? After all, aren’t companies that big supposed to buy print ads worth millions in publications like Forbes and the Wall Street Journal?  Not exactly.  In fact, do not let the size of the Google ads fool you, because many large enterprises effectively employ Google advertising campaigns today, and they do that for very good reasons: They can be highly productive and highly cost-effective when properly managed.

    Google Search vs. Display Network

    The first thing to know when jumping into the Google advertising game is the difference between Google Search and the Google Display Network. Google Search AdWords ads appear when linked to keywords that you choose.  If you are selling database transformation services, the keywords you select can trigger an ad on the right hand or top ad section of the Google search results page.

    Each time someone searches your keywords – which you likely share with other clever marketers – Google runs an automatic auction for the value of those keywords, and places your ad in a positional hierarchy depending on how much you are willing to pay and the quality score and relevancy of your ad. 

    The Google Display Network, on the other hand, conducts the same keyword auction, but your ad is linked dynamically to content in real time.  If someone is reading a feature article on database transformation in a major online magazine or on a blog, your ad for similar services may appear, depending on your bid for the ad position. Ideally, the reader’s response will be something like, “What a coincidence, that’s just what I am shopping for!” …as he or she clicks your ad.

    Blind bidding?

    When advertising, you do not have to bid blindly for Google keywords without knowledge of what your competitors are doing.  You do not have to “pay tuition” in the form of high keyword bids just to learn where your ad ends up.  The capabilities in Google AdWords make it possible for your campaigns to be driven by strategy and empirical data, not guesswork.  Moreover, there are a number of “white hat” websites out there, like SpyFu, which provide remarkably effective competitive analysis that can help you fine-tune your ads in relation to what your competitors are specifying as their keywords, and what they may be spending to position their ad on the first page of Google results.

    Easy to learn…hard to master

    The dashboards that manage Google AdWords Search and the Display Network – and the tools that third parties offer to fine-tune campaigns – are relatively easy to learn, but they are hard to master.  Indeed, there is a thriving outsource expert community that can manage and optimize your Google campaigns.  These outsources can save you thousands of dollars and more just by, for one quick example, turning off the Google defaults that are arranged to insert your ads in a large number of campaigns unless you actively deselect targets.

    So, knowledge of the mechanics of the Google AdWords dashboard is a baseline requirement for any outsourcer.  A second requirement is knowledge of how to use product extension listings within the Google ad.  Many users of Google AdWords are unaware of these features, which allow you to link deeply into your site with up to six URLs (e.g. for location, product, phone, site links).

    This feature, which is offered at no additional cost, also allows greater tracking of the ads’ effectiveness, so users can justify (or withdraw from) campaigns that have low return on investment (ROI).  Your outsource provider should also be aware of Google’s recent edicts on privacy and transparency, which must be honored.  In fact, asking about those policies is a good way to start an interview of a potential Google marketing contractor, just to gauge their level of sophistication.

    Google also offers a predictive keyword analysis tool that is essential for fine-tuning any campaign. Here too, the tool is relatively easy to learn but true mastery of it takes time.

    Probably the most important asset that an outsource Google campaign administrator can bring is the most mundane: Daily maintenance. As sophisticated as the Google ad campaign tools are, someone has to be assigned to watch the campaign on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, and respond to what other companies are doing, fine-tuning the keywords and the expenditures, while consulting with the client to see if the clicks are converting to leads. While there is some automation possible, the best campaigns are run by people, not automated rules.

    Candidly, the click-to-lead conversion ratios are usually out of the hands of the Google campaign administrator, and they are typically an issue of what’s being presented and how it’s being presented on the campaign’s landing pages. (If you can find an outsource company that is expert at both Google campaigns and landing page design, which includes optimizing the landing page for capturing data, all the better.) But getting that lead to the site through a clicked ad is more than half the battle, and it’s much easier to predict with expert help. 

    Michelle Anderson is an online marketing, Google AdWords and landing page design expert for eCoast Sales Solutions.

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