Internet Click-Ad Tips

      Advice on getting referrals to your website using click-through advertising, and on what kind of results you can expect. August 13, 2007

Question
Has anyone had success using the search engines for pay per click advertising? You can target your local area or national. Does it seem more people are looking online vs. the phonebook or newspaper?

When I do a search for woodwork, custom woodwork, entertainment centers... It seems many companies are paying to get listed on top.

With most of our targeted market sitting if front of or at least able to use a computer, this might make more sense than the phonebook or newspaper (less expensive, I think).

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor B:
They are both pretty involved; Google more so since it is stricter as far as what exactly they value in their search results. They care about their end users more than anything. For niche businesses, however, it is pretty cost effective and rather cheap to get some traffic. I like Google more because Yahoo had a large problem with click fraud on a massive scale, actually had a few lawsuits over it. Google has too, but in my opinion, they watch their stuff a lot more so you can get more accurate results. Either way, when I started off with PPC engines, I just dropped a little in each, found which one worked best for me, then went with it.

Try Google adwords first. You can literally start getting click throughs for about $50 or less and it's pretty neat. Just watch their recommendations; you can get your campaigns paused or slowed pretty easily if they don't perform very well. Like I said, they value the end user, so if your website doesn't respond well, they won't value it as well, which makes it harder to keep yourself on top of your competitors. A lot of people think you can just pay the most and stay #1, but you can't; it's more complicated than that.

Have fun. I have quite a bit of successful experience with both programs.



From the original questioner:
You mentioned success. Are you talking conversions to making cabinets from these PPC? Do you find this a cost effective means of advertising? Do you keep it local or sell to others and ship countrywide? Thank you.


From contributor B:
Actually, the way I used it has nothing to do with woodworking and was with an online based business that I presently still co-own. From my experience, the best target phrases and keywords were ones that would generate local leads, not national ones. It's very difficult to advertise successfully on a national level, especially at first. If you can pick up a good CTR and see a good response from the Google searching audience, then you can keep expanding. I kept it within my target areas and ones that we catered to specifically. That way there were less chances that I would have competition for that region. Again, PPC might not be the answer for your business, but it wouldn't cost more than a few bucks to figure it out.

Another note: if you want your website to do well in Google or any of the top tier engines, make sure it is fairly well coded up and search engine friendly for the spyders to index it. Regular search engine listings in Google go hand in hand with paid ones; if you look fairly good in the regular listings, you will have a significantly higher chance of getting on that top 5 or so. It's all about value, take baby steps, test the waters and read all of their documentation and you should be all set. It's not rocket science, and it certainly won't set you back like a radio or yellow pages ad might, but it is very involved.



From contributor R:
We tried using some online “pay per click” advertising like Google and Yahoo and overall, it seemed to be more of a hassle than using other traditional advertising channels.

Like contributor B said, you have to have a good website to get a good response and keep your cost per click down. This took more time and money to get a nice website put together.

The leads we got were not spectacular. With more money spent on the website and tailoring keywords, we were able to improve “click-through”, and despite keeping it local, we got too many responses that were out of our area and a lot more tire kickers than other forms of advertising. We also got a lot of leads who required that we jump through extra hoops to prove that we were a legitimate company, simply because they found us on the internet.

It’s kind of deceiving. In the end, the actual clicks are cheap. But the total cost was quite high. It took a lot of time and money to build and change the website as well as the time lost weeding through bad leads.

We’ve found that what works best for us is ads/articles in the high end glossy direct mail magazines. We also purchase mailing lists of local homes with a value above “X” amount and send them a nice hand addressed letter of introduction of our services as well as a business card and an example photo.

I think that our customers appreciate this more “hands-on” and personal approach and while each lead costs more, each conversion costs less.



From contributor B:
Contributor R put things in perspective and explained it very well. I've had successful experiences with it, but not everyone will, and for custom woodworking in general it might not be the best way to generate legitimate leads. To me, though, the best business would be return business, established relationships with designers and contractors and word of mouth. Your work can often speak for itself and you might not necessarily generate good clients/customers via the internet. I think a good website is a tremendous tool and asset for any business, but it may just be best as an e-business-card where people can look further, not a starting point all together. If it was me, I would at least try.


From contributor J:
I'm up on Google and MSN now. My best results, however, have been from Kudzu.com. It's a local service referral site. I've been up with them about two weeks now and have already gotten over 50 hits to the web site and two quotes. No sales yet, though.


The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor M:
Use care when setting up a Google "adwords" campaign. It's not just the click through rate (CTR) that you need to monitor, it's the conversion rate (CR) that is most important.



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