As we discussed yesterday, Google recently released Google AdWords Express for local marketers. This program allows local businesses to set up an AdWords account in minutes, and start advertising to their target markets through Google local search. AdWords Express is conceptually similar to the traditional Google Adwords, but there are some key differences. The major difference with Express is that it was created as an automated, easy-to-manage PPC option for local advertisers. Google automatically selects search queries that ads will be displayed for based on category (like an ad group) selections. There is no need to worry about keywords, bids, or optimization.
While there are pros and cons to automating your PPC campaigns, Google Adwords Express presents a compelling case for local businesses that need to expand their reach under time constraints. If you've weighed the pros and cons and made the decision to experiment with a Google AdWords Express account, here are 4 easy steps to set up your account and launch your AdWords Express campaign in just minutes.
Step 1: Find Your Business
Visit http://www.google.com/adwords/express/ and click the blue, 'Start now' button. First, Google will need to confirm the country where your business is located as well as confirm the phone number associated with that business. The phone number will be confirmed, so make sure this information is accurate. If Google finds your business listing, all you need to do is select the “this is my business” button, and you’ve completed step 1.
If you have not added your business to Google’s listings, you can click “add a new listing,” and Google will walk you through the process to add a new listing.
Step 2: Add Your Information
In this section, Google will ask you to enter a few things regarding your business' information. The more information you enter here the better, as Google will have a better understanding of your account and the ability to keep you posted about nuances and updates. Be sure to add your email and website. The one thing to be very careful about is the category selection.
Google is going to decide which search queries your ads will display for based on the category or categories you select. Think long and hard about this section, and try to limit your campaigns to one section so that you can track them properly. Start typing your industry or related terms into the category box, and Google will start to show you selectable categories.
Step 3: Create Your Ad
This is where the fun part begins! For your specific category, now you get the chance to write your own ad. Remember to adhere to the character limits of the headline and ad description, and keep in mind that every ad you write should relate to your category. Within your ad text, also keep in mind that you should always include an offer, show the value of what the offer is, and include a proposition utilizing a call-to-action that will compel qualified searchers to click on your ad and not the competing ads.
Next, it's time for you to decide where your traffic will be directed. You can choose to direct people to your website (or a unique landing page, which we highly recommended), your Google Places page, or Google+ business page. Remember to direct users to the most relevant page containing the information your potential customers are looking for based on their category search.
Finally, it’s time to determine your budget. Based on your category, Google will recommend a budget for you to assign your campaign. DO NOT simply agree with Google. You should decide what you are comfortable with for a test and assign the budget that you think is best based on your budget, not Google’s assumption of your budget. The minimum budget is $150 per month.
Step 4: Checkout
You knew it was coming. Now it's time to set up your billing profile. Your business information will probably be similar to the information you entered in step two, so this should be pretty quick to complete.
The final step is billing details, in which you can select automatic or manual payments. The only difference here is whether you want to prepay for your AdWords spend or not, and it's totally up to you. Your payment method can either be in the form of a bank account or a credit card.
Something to watch out for is the promotional code. Google often runs promotions, offering something like $100 of free ad spend, so if you know of one or can find one, this is the place to enter the code for your discount.
That’s it! Four easy steps, and your PPC campaign will be live on AdWords Express in minutes. Remember to carefully select your category, take your time when crafting your ad, be cognizant of your budget, and make sure to track results! Without the sophisticated insights that traditional AdWords provides such as keyword data, it is imperative to set up a unique landing page or tracking system so you know exactly what results are being generated from Google AdWords Express. Only then will you be able to make changes to improve performance and be able to identify what is or is not working with your AdWords Express experiment.
Word of mouth marketing is considered by many to be the most desired form of marketing. The trust, referrals, and overall brand building buzz that’s garnered by customers spreading the good word to prospects is worth its weight in gold. Some products, services, and experiences naturally produce chatter, but there are certainly things that any company can do to stimulate word of mouth and cash in on the buzz.
Here are five way to get your customers talking about you and your organization:
1) Ask them – the best word of mouth starts with “word of listen.” Call your customers up and ask them why they buy, why they stick around, and why they tell their friends about you. You might be a bit surprised by their answers. Hint: it’s usually not the stuff you have in your new marketing brochure. You stand a far greater chance of attracting the right customers and the right buzz if you really understand what your current customers value about doing business with you. This goes for online and social media listening as well – what are they saying in chat rooms, blog comments and on twitter?
2) Teach them – sometimes great word of mouth just happens, but sometime you’ve got to help it along. One way to do this is to make sure you are teaching your customers how to spot an ideal client, what a prospect in need might say when looking for your products, and how to properly and concisely describe how your company in different. Of course, in today’s hyper social media world you should also be teaching your happiest customers how to write reviews on Yelp, Insider Pages and CitySearch type rating sites.
3) Include them – People like to be asked what they think, it’s just human nature, but it’s also a great way to get some sound advice. Create a round table discussion group made up of select customers and charge them with advising you once a quarter or so on new marketing and business initiatives. (Reward them for this in some way as well.) This can include advising on everything from a product extension to the look and feel of your web site redesign. Members of your marketing round table will become natural ambassadors for the brand. (You can do this with simple video chat meetings – tinychat)
4) Star them – Letting a customer testimonial or success story go uncaptured or untold is downright criminal in WOM circles. Go out and get a TouchMic MityMic to record customer testimonials to your iPod or get a Flip video camera and start doing video interviews with customers to record their success stories. These “real life” bits of content are gold and turn your featured customers into talking referral billboards for your brand. Want to take this idea up a notch? Hold a customer party and film a dozen or so at one time in a great atmosphere – this alone will get your customers talking.
5) Surprise them - I like to think I saved the best for last – few things get people talking faster than surprising them. This can include doing something that was out of the blue and much appreciated to just giving them more than they bargained for. I remember a PR firm that was pitching me some business and the account rep showed up to meet with an apple pie (I’m still talking about it.) I once worked with a financial planner that hired a mobile auto detail firm to detail his customer’s cars during their annual review – that created some buzz.
Bottom line of course is that you’ve got to do good work, do something that somebody appreciates, and create an experience worth talking about, but then, prime the pump and leverage all that greatness.
Image credit: rego
Customers are no longer just customers. They not longer sit in front of the tube and absorb messages from self declared authorities or people who play doctors on TV. At the very least, even with the traditionally no-brains medium of television, viewers are encouraged to call in, ask questions or vote on the most talented singer. At a more advanced level, people are providing the content, commentary via comments, technological infrastructure, design, acting, video production and everything else involved in producing, consuming and interpreting content. By the time that someone has participated, even in the most rudimentary level in this process, they are more media and business savvy. This creates a more critical consumer who can see past hype, misdirection and has the resources to independently vet claims.
this is the shift I describe to clients, to friends and family, passersby: marketing has to change with the consumer!
It’s becoming more and more important for small business owners to “own” their Google results. In a world where you are what Google says you are, when someone searches for your name they need to be able to find you. The real you. Not a lookalike, another company with the same name or that social profile you thought you had taken care of it. Business owners must protect their brand, and sometimes that means doing just a touch of proactive online reputation management to secure your Google 10.
Your Google 10 is the top ten results that appear when someone does a Google search for your name. How do you go about ensuring you own all ten spots? Surprisingly, it’s not that hard. Here are some of the sites and profiles you’ll want to grab and pay attention to.
great ideas for small businesses! to see the article, please click on the smallbiztrends link above
I write quite often from the perspective of larger company social media and business communications. That’s because most of my clients are large companies. However, these social tools allow a small business owner a lot in the way of advantages, and I want to put together a little map of steps I might take if I were running a small business and wanted more sales.
as chris notes here, most of his clients are larger firms. these are great suggestions for small businesses who want to get the benefits of the new social media tools without investing a boatload of cash (or time).