This article appeared in the Business Newsday of February 6th, 2014.
Google Adwords search advertising is one of the best advertising options out there, no matter the industry, so why are few Trinidad & Tobago businesses using it? Chances are they just don’t understand it and what it can do for their business. Let me assure you that having a basic knowledge of how Adwords search advertising works can get you a tidy return on investment for your advertising dollar.
In the internet age, we search online and research almost everything we want to buy before we spend our money, both for business and consumer purchases. We now use Google to find vendors for a product or service before we pull out the fat yellow pages from under our desks. We also search Google from all our devices – desktop, tablet or smart phone – no matter the location. If you don’t think that people in Trinidad & Tobago are using Google to find the products and services you sell, think again.
Since there are so few Trinidad & Tobago businesses using Adwords search advertising, it means that a small or medium player in an industry can use it to advertise their products and services and see good results, while the big guys continue to use the usual expensive forms of advertising: newspaper, television, radio, yellow pages and billboards.
Adwords is Google’s self-serve advertising platform, meaning almost any business or individual can sign up and start using it immediately. All you need is access to a credit card. It’s how you see those text ads at the top and the sides of the page when you do a Google search, and if you notice, most of those ads bear some relevance to the terms or phrase you searched. That’s called contextual advertising and it’s what makes Adwords search advertising so great!
Imagine an ad for your product, service or business being front and centre of a potential customer just at the moment they need it. Isn’t that what marketers strive for? Your ad is only displayed for relevant queries, so someone doing a Google search for “luxury hotels in Tobago” should not see your ad for fried chicken. Even more amazing: you, the advertiser, only pay when someone interacts with the ad by clicking on it! That’s referred to as pay-per-click advertising or PPC.
With Adwords search advertising, for most industries here in Trinidad & Tobago, what you’ll spend on a one-time full-page newspaper ad, months can pass by and you still won’t spend that much, once you set things up right. Again, Adwords search advertising done right is about relevance; not about who can shout the loudest and spend the most in a sea of advertising.
How much you pay per click is calculated based on an auction system and can cost from a few US$ cents to a few US$ per click. You bid against other advertisers who also wish to display their ad for the phrases relevant to your businesses. In Adwords, you choose the relevant words and phrases you want your ad to appear next to, as many as you want. If you provide air-conditioning sales and services, then you’ll want your ad to be displayed for search phrases relevant to air-conditioning.
You tell Google what is the most you want to spend each time someone clicks on your ad, how much you want to spend daily and how long you want your campaign to run. You determine your campaign budget and you can stop and restart your ads at any time if you think you’re spending more than you can afford, whether it’s TT$100 per month or $1,000. You can also choose the geographic location you want your ads displayed, which in our case is only within Trinidad & Tobago. Even if you sell goods and services in other areas like Barbados and Guyana, you can set your ads to be seen in those countries too.
Depending on your ad copy, budget, competition for your search terms and landing page (the web page people land on when they click on your ad), Adwords will suggest what your bid should be for your ad to be visible and how many clicks they think you might receive. The point is to spend as little per click as possible to get your ad seen and clicked on for relevant searches.
Once your search ad goes live and you start receiving some clicks, Adwords provides you with information about your ad campaign that no one advertising on television, newspaper, radio, yellow pages or billboards could ever get. You see precisely how many times your ad appeared, how many clicks it got, what terms the ad appeared for and how much you paid per click. If you used multiple ads, you’ll see which ad got more clicks, which is great for testing your ad copy.
You can then take that information and change things like your search terms, ad budget, copy and landing page so that your ads perform better i.e. you spend less per click. So even if you’re in an industry with a lot of competition on Adwords like the travel industry, you can out-perform your competitors by optimizing your campaigns to spend less per click, maximizing your ad budget.
There’s even a bonus for businesses that use Google Analytics for their website’s visitor data. You can set up your Adwords search ads to tell you exactly which ad campaigns and keywords send traffic to your website and what people do once they get there. So if a search term is sending traffic to your website but they aren’t turning into customers or leads, you know there’s something you need to change in your Adwords search ads…and it costs nothing to make those changes. Can you do that with your television, newspaper or yellow pages ads?
There’s an opportunity waiting for you on Google Adwords, whether you have a small, medium or large business (or budget). You should begin search advertising soon before your competitors do.
Sherwin Ramnarine is a web designer, digital marketing consultant and the owner of tntvenues.com, a website for finding venues for events in Trinidad & Tobago. If you’d like to begin using Google Adwords in your marketing or need help optimizing your campaigns, contact him at 656-5808 or [email protected]