Posts Tagged Google Adwords

My response to your emails about Web Design & Development Costs

I recently turned our Google Adwords campaign on to get 2bscene out there and drum up some more business. It’s not that we’re not busy, but more the fact that I’d really like to see us grow this year after being too worried about consolidation last year. The more business I get in, the more staff I can employ and the feel good factor of that would be just amazing with all the doom and gloom that fills our lives because of the recession.

My Google advert states clearly “Professional Web design from just €1,499”. There are a number reasons we push that price. The main one is that it’s a very competitive price for a professionally designed, custom website and the other key reason is to stop people that aren’t serious about their web presence from contacting us.

I’ve outlined in detail many times before how we cost our websites and why they cost the price they do. But for some that message doesn’t seem to sink in.

Now, more than ever before, we get the “is that really how much it costs? You know we’re in a recession don’t you?” response when someone is presented with an estimate or proposal on the costs involved in developing a website.

The reason for this is simple. Most people just don’t fully understand what is involved in designing and developing a website. The work a professional company puts into designing a custom designed website is not comparable and cannot be compared to a website that costs €300. They are just two totally different things – it’s like comparing apples with oranges.

Some sad person is so ridiculously consumed by it all, feels it’s his duty to inform me that websites can be purchased for as little as €300.

Already he’s filled in the form on our website twice to let us know how he feels about our charges, the economy and how backward he thinks we are. Yet unfortunately, both times he has left non-existent email addresses, which means we can’t respond to him.

We’re pretty confident we know who this person is, I just hope he reads this… so I can let him know that I understand my business, the market place and that we don’t and don’t want to compete with those cheap and nasty web design firms.

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Tools for Building a Successful Online Marketing Campaign

Online marketing is quite a broad term used to describe the act of marketing a business or web-site online. It encompasses all online marketing activities such as Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click, Email Advertising, Google Advertising, Banner Advertising and of course Social Media Advertising.

If you’ve ever met someone and discussed online marketing with someone who works in the online marketing industry, you were probably amazed at how much knowledge this person had of the Internet and its usage. Every Internet marketing expert I know loves to recite the latest statistics on the growth of social media marketing, browser usage and pretty much anything other useful online statistics. Most people I know look at online marketing as some sort of god like skill that only the elite and very web savvy fellows can possess. Much of this can be blamed on the self hype created by a lot of these new wave “marketing experts” who think only they possess this knowledge. The reality is that anyone can do this job and a lot of the tools they use to gather key statistical knowledge about your business is at your fingertips and generally for FREE!

Researching your target market is the key to a successful marketing campaign, whether online or off. But what information should you be looking for and where can you find it?

  1. Keyword Tools
    It sounds like the most obvious place to start, yet the majority of people I encounter every day don’t know that they can get statistics on the number of times a search for their product or service was searched for on a monthly basis. Not only do they not know they could get access to this information, they certainly didn’t know it was free!Keyword Tools are the best place to start when planning any online marketing campaign.

    Keyword tools allow you to quickly establish the amount of interest there is in your product or service by showing how often a keyphrase was searched for on a monthly basis across the major search engines. Most go one step further and create a list of other suggested relevant keyphrases that that people are using for when searching for the products or services you offer. A good keyword tool will also you to drill down to see statistics relating to searches in your locality as opposed to just globally.

    Google Keyword Tool is probably the best free Keyword Tool available on the web today.

  2. Google Ad Planner
    It’s not surprising that since Google make the majority of their revenue from Advertising that they would offer another great free service to help you establish how best to market your business online, step up Google Ad Planner.

    Google bought Doubleclick back in 2007 for $3.1 billion. Since then they’ve rolled out the Google Ad Planner to its network of advertisers. What’s great about Google Ad Planner is that you can research and select some of the web’s top properties that you would like to advertise your business on. It allows you to view statistical data such as the number of visits per month, search terms used to find the website and the demographics of users (where possible) of most of the webs largest online properties. You can pretty much see statistical usage information on any website that have advertising opportunities open to the public.

    If you want your advertisement to appear on some of the webs most popular websites, this is where your research should start.

  3. Facebook
    There are over 1.5 million people in Ireland with a Facebook account, that’s simply a market too big to ignore. Facebook offer an advertising system similar to Google Adwords that allows advertisers to target specific users based on a number of different criteria such as sex, age, location, interests etc.

    A lot of web marketing experts use the Facebook “Create an Advert” system to get an idea of the demographics of those using Facebook. It’s quite a nifty little tool that updates immediately on screen as you select different criteria. Of course, you don’t have to complete the advert to access this extremely valuable information. Another great tool that is absolutely free!

  4. Google Trends
    This is probably the least effective of all tools mentioned, but it’s definitely worthy of being in the list. Google Trends allows you to compare the world’s most popular topics. One really good feature in Google Trends is the ability to see the rise or fall of certain search terms used to find your product or service.

    For example, you could try a search for “online marketing, SEO“. The results will show you how people searching for the term “online marketing” has stayed pretty stagnant over the last 6 years, while searches for “SEO” have grown substantially. With this knowledge I can see what terms are best to focus now.

    Another cool feature to Google Trends is to see which terms are most popular in different countries.

  5. Google Adwords
    I always suggest Google Adwords as a tool to anyone who plans on marketing their business online. I’ve left it until very last because it’s the only one of the tools I have suggested that is not free. However, although it’s not free, it can be a hugely beneficial tool for gaining insights into the habits of those people you are targeting can be.

    Even running a small Google Adwords campaign on a budget of just €50 will give you invlauable information that you simply wouldn’t be able to gather in any other way. Google Adwords is instant, your advert is live within minutes and you can quickly analyse the performance of your advert on so many levels.

    Setting up and running a Google Adwords campaign is simple, but running an effective one is actually quite difficult. You should spend time learning about Google Adwords and how it works to fine tune your campaign.

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Advertising? Just Google ‘Advertising’

You gotta love the way some companies advertise their business online. I love seeing a quirky ad that urges people to visit a website that promotes a brand or product. But there is one thing that we’d always recommend steering clear of when promoting a business online, that is relying on search results. Whether it’s the organic search results or even paid listings, basing an advertising campaign on the search results is such a bad idea.

Not so long ago I wrote about how Imagine were playing a dangerous and costly game with their ad ” WiMax, Google It”. The fact that Google Adwords is a pay per click system, means that you are ultimately paying for traffic that is pretty much useless. I guess you could easily say the same about TV adverts, but this is the web and one of the major benefits of it is that it’s quantifiable.

On my way home in the car this evening, I heard another advert that uses the Google verb. Yes, a company called “First Advertising” are running adverts on TodayFM and Newstalk in which the great employee suggests his boss should Google ‘Advertising’ and choose the first company that appears on the list.

Now for me, that is just suicidal! Nevermind that fact that no-one is in control of the search results other than Google, if I were in direct competition with First Advertising, I could easily turn on a Google Advertisement and be number 1 within minutes.

The other obvious scenario that they have clearly overlooked is the fact that if you do perform a search in Google (.ie) – it is Wikipedia that is actually the first result, in fact it’s not even in second place. Not until you choose “pages from Ireland” on the left hand side of the screen (which is harder to see with the new Google layout) do you actually see this company’s listing. Worse still, if you search on, they don’t appear on the first page at all!

On their website they state they are running these ads to celebrate their “clear dominance” of the Google search results. Dominance in a search results page that has no more than 2 other real competitors (pages from Ireland search).

I’m sure First Advertising are a great company, but they are just leaving so much open to chance that for me it’s a complete waste of money.  I wish them great success with the campaign and I really can’t wait to see how many of the top SEOs will try knock them from their perch!

Oh and of course…. If you want someone to look after your Google Advertising campaign, you could always contact me! 😛

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WiMax – aren’t Imagine so confident!

I have to admit, I simply can’t wait for Imagine to release information on the WiMax packages they plan to provide in Ireland. Imagine had announced that their WiMax offering would be ready to go on the 19th of October. Fast forward 9 days or so and there is still no information on their website.

You got to love Imagines confidence in their bus shelter advertisements. “WiMax… Google it”, states one poster in a nearby bus shelter. It’s fair to say that not many people know exactly what WiMax is. Even when speaking to a few techies recently, the mere mention of the word “WiMax”, left a dazzled look on their faces. So why are Imagine so confident that Googling WiMax will be enough to draw people in and use their service.

Of course, when you search for WiMax on Google, the Imagine website is no-where to be found in the organic search results. Imagine do have a paid listing on top of the search results simply stating “Next Generation Phone & Broadband Saving You up to 50% Every Month!”. Now, if I was an ordinary Joe Soap that had never heard of WiMax and the great advantages it brings, would I bother clicking through? I get bombarded on a near daily basis as it stands with the “best broadband offer available” adverts. Ok, but what if I did decide to click-through, my real motive would only be to see how much I could really save… Unfortunately, when I get to the Imagine website, the link to the “WiMax” plans don’t work. Imagine seem to have spent a lot of money already on a product launch that doesn’t seem ready to be launched – it must be great having so much money to burn!

Which makes me think a little more…

Would Imagine be ready to challenge someone who is willing to spend more to appear higher than them for that keyword?

Let’s take a simple scenario; let’s say Eircom were to roll out WiMax tomorrow  (I know that would never happen). Every single Imagine poster for their WiMax product that I have seen, simply uses the following as their call to action : “WiMax… Google it”. Now all Eircom have to is get above them in the search results to sabotage their campaign. How easy would that be? Well if Eircom could produce some quality content and were willing to spend more money than Imagine, not too hard is the simple answer! At the moment, the top bid for WiMax on Google Adwords (targeting Ireland only) is €1.50 per click…

Another way of looking at it is that someone could write a decent web site covering the WiMax topic and generate a small bit of revenue. It doesn’t look like it would be too difficult to get to the top of the Google Search results (in for the keyword WiMax. So in theory, someone could potentially take a cut of the money being spent with Google Adwords by Imagine, utilising the Google Adsense network. I’m sure it wouldn’t be much, but something none-the-less! Google adsense to follow below 😉

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Are we becoming immune to Google’s Sponsored Ads?

It’s been over 15 years since the web saw it’s first banner. There’s much dispute over what the first web banner actually was and on what website it was displayed on. The majority of articles on the web suggest that the first banner ever was AT&T‘s which first appeared on HotWired wasy back in 1994. WikiPedia will disagree with this, but who cares really?

The fact is that when banner adverts first appeared on our computer screens they saw massive click-through rates. Within a few years though, the best performing banner ads were averaging 1.5% CTR. Nowadays, you’d be lucky to get 0.8% CTR on your average ad.

World's First Web Banner
World’s First Banner Ad

It’s not surprising that we became immune to these ads, they were generally blanket bombing TV like adverts that had no relevance to you or your daily life. We even quickly saw plugins for our browsers that eliminated the need to view these unsightly adverts. Though sometimes they are designed to bring us joy and festive mood, like happy holidays banner for Christmas.

Then along came Google Adwords – new, different, unique and they even showed adverts related to what we were searching for.  A lot of people who aren’t savvy with computers or the Internet, still don’t realise Google Adwords are paid adverts from companies chasing your business. Those that do realise they are ads openly admit to not clicking on them.

HitWise report today that in the the 4 weeks leading up to the 9th of May, click-through rates have dropped by 26% compared to the same time last year.

There are many factors that could of course have led to this. The most obvious one is the fact that we are in the midst of a recession, hence less money around to spend, so advertisers are reducing their spend.

The next reasons could be the fact that advertisers are more strategic than they have ever been with their Google Adwords campaigns. By understanding Google Adwords and how it works, it’s a lot easier to reduce your monthly spend by getting rid of extra wastage caused by badly constructed Adwords campaigns.

And then of course the not so obvious… Could we be becoming immune to Google’s Sponsored ads? Is everyone finally coping on that Google Adwords are in fact advertisements, just like we quickly did with banner ads?

I would imagine it’s a combination of all 3. I’ve said for quite sometime now that Google needs to quickly look at their Adwords model (which they constantly are) and see how they can improve it to make sure the general public doesn’t get bored with it.

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