For a small business, the choice of online advertising can seem quite daunting. Should I do all of them? Only a few? How much money should I put into it? These questions become even more important when you’re a start-up or small company with a very limited budget for Marketing. Having sampled all of them, I’d like to tell you a little about the problems that we ran into and how you can avoid them. You see all of these programs post guides to how to use them. The problem with these guides is that they’re made by the owners of said companies and are therefore biased towards making THEM as much money as possible. Sometimes this will overlap with your goals, but more often than not it won’t! So here I would like to give your a brief overview of our experience with Twitter, Facebook and Google Adwords and let you know about my feelings and thoughts about the services that they offer.
The Big grand daddy of online PPC (pay per click) advertising, everyone should take a look at and try out Google adwords if their looking to promote their business. breaking it down to the basics, you “bid” on having your ad shown in search results when someone searches for keywords or phrases that you select. If someone clicks on your ad, then your are charged what you bid to be there in the first place. It seems like a completely fair service and for the most part, it is. But of course, the devil is always in the details.
Based on our experience with adwords, it’s very hard to remain profitable using the service is you follow their guidelines to the letter. When you first log in, they’ll recommend a default bid/budget maximums for you to set. They’ll also recommend you a slew of keywords based on the URL of your landing page. Never accept their recommendations outright, take some time to do the math for yourself before deciding on keywords and bidding strategies. Can you rely afford to pay over a dollar per click? With conversion rates usually in the 1% or less range, that means you would need to pay hundreds or even a thousand dollars for each conversion!
When it comes to Keywords, Google will recommend that you start large, then narrow down the ones that aren’t working. I have some different advice: find your niche and focus on those keywords. If you go after a very common keyword, then you’re going ot be stuck paying upwards of $4 per click, I’ve even seen it go up to $10-15! Madness!If you’re starting out with adwords, then the best thing you can do is find a profitable niche of keywords that work for you. ONLY once you’ve started making profits from adwords should you start to experiment with the more popular keywords. The reasoning behind this is that for every one big expensive keyword you use, you’re missing out on potentially a dozen seemingly smaller ones that could easily make you more money!
The overall lesson that I want to teach you about adwords is to take baby steps and only expand when you’re seeing conversions take place.
I’ll admit that we had a bad experience with Facebook, so this may be biased 🙂 Facebook at first seemed amazing. When we tried it out, they had just launched newsfeed ads and everyone was buzzing about how successful they were. What’s more, we could target people based on their interests. When we were advertising for IdeaPress, we were able to only show our ads to people with WordPress as an interest, which was perfect! However that’s where things started to go down hill.
A couple of days in were getting over a thousand clicks on our adverts, yet no conversions. Curious as to why, we checked our Google analytics page to see if these clicks were real. What did we find? a total of 23 actual website visitors!
After some research on the internet, we found tons of cases of people experiencing the same problem. It turns out that there are a lot of link clinking robots active on Facebook and now that ads are in the news feed, they will click on your ad. Once the robot discovers that it has clicked on an outbound link, it will instantly return to Facebook. Unfortunately, Facebook counts a “click” when it leaves Facebook, not when it arrives on your website.
The new kid on the block, twitter advertising has only just opened in Canada and so far it seems promising! When setting up an advert on Twitter you’re given the choice of either promoting your account or promoting selected tweets. We decided to go with tweets, since we wanted to link back to our IdeaPress website. What’s more is we got to focus our tweets on people who tweeted about #wordpress, which was a great way to hit our target market.
How it works, is Twitter charges you “per engagement” which means that you get billed whenever someones clicks, re-tweets or follows your account. While it might seem bad getting charged for a retweet, you should take a look at what that means. When your ad is re-tweeted, it is exposed to all of the followers of that person. If THEY click on the ad, then you DON’T get charged for it! It’s basically free advertising!
We’re still experimenting around with twitter so we’ll likely do another post in a bit to update you on how things are going with our experiment, but so far we’re impressed. The only problem that we’ve found is that it seems like you can’t set focus times to show your ad. As an example, today I found out that we burnt through most of our daily budget between 1am and 2am, when no one was available to follow up with these tweeters!
If you haven’t tried out IdeaPress give it a try!