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).
(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.
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.
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.
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.