Yes, advertising can be expensive. But it is not nearly as detrimental to business as lack of customers will be. If you want to be found, you have to let people know you’re there. If you already have a website set up – or are in the process of getting one built – that is a start. But now you have to direct traffic to that website. And not just any traffic – you want visitors that are actually looking for the products or services you sell.
So where to start? Take a look at your budget. If you are like many new or small businesses you have a very small budget. But there is a great way to start your advertising ventures without putting out a cent in advance. You’ve heard about it before: Google AdWords PPC (Pay-Per-Click).
Advantages of Google AdWords
1. There is no initial outlay of cash, because it is exactly what it says it is: Pay-Per-Click. So you don’t pay any money unless someone clicks on your ad. A pretty simple concept, with a lot of power behind it – Google power.
2. You are completely in control of your AdWords campaign. And you should be. Yes, you can outsource it to a marketing firm, but that’s not really necessary – and that will cost you. Even if you decide to outsource this task at a later date, getting to know how the system works will serve you well. You will have a better understanding of the process, and can check your own statistics to see how things are going. Google has made it easy for you to set up your own advertising campaign, and track its success. Which brings me to my next point:
3. Google Analytics will help you keep tabs on your ads – which ones are attracting clicks and which ones aren’t. You can use this information to better reach your potential clients by saying what they want to hear. Any ads that are just taking up space and not attracting clicks can be tossed out, and replaced by ads that are more likely to attract the potential customer you want.
4. AdWords ads are specifically targeted. When you set up your Google AdWords campaign, you will be selecting specific keywords that pertain to your business, product or service – words that people searching online are already using to find products or services similar to yours. This means that the people who see your ads are people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services. How convenient is that?
5. Local search is booming! People go online to find local stores, products and services; they price-compare online; and they use Google to get directions to local businesses. You definitely want to get in on that.
And there are many other advantages to using AdWords, such as the fact that your ads appear instantly online; and you can run as many as you want, to compare the success of different wording.
Get the power of Google working for you
Because Google is the most commonly used search engine, it only makes sense to utilize their advertising power as well. Their analytics will help you keep track of the success of your ads; the sheer vastness of the Internet, and Google AdWords’ targeting, will help your ads reach the people who need to see them; and Google’s local search will ensure that the people who are looking for you will have the opportunity to find you.
The fact is, if you are a small business – especially a new business – you have to advertise. But don’t get overwhelmed by all the options that are available to you. You can sort that out in time. To get things rolling, take advantage of Google AdWords – it will help you start to get your name out there with no initial payout.
Shaping your advertising future
As you use Google Analytics to see which ads are working – attracting clicks – and which ones aren’t, you will learn a lot about what people who are looking for your products and services respond to. This information can be translated into other types of advertising such as newspaper/magazine ads, radio/television spots, Yellow Pages, direct mail marketing, and mobile marketing. Think about it – throughout your AdWords campaign you will learn which ads attract the people you want. These words and phrases can then be used in print ads, combined with complementary images, to attract the same type of people.
There will come a time when you want to expand your advertising scope. You will begin to look at other options such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and mobile marketing campaigns, as well as more traditional means of advertising your business. But if you are on a shoestring budget, and aren’t sure what you can afford or where you should even start, start with AdWords. It will give you the biggest bang for your buck, and will help to shape your future advertising ventures.