Remember back in 2001, during the good old days (of the internet) when you could actually use Google Adwords as a means to drive quality traffic to your website, at an extremely low investment to the advertiser? Back when niche keywords cost .05 – .20 per click and if you really wanted to open up your pockets and bid on broader terms, you would pay .25 – .75 per click.
Now days you would be so lucky to find a niche where you can pay under $1.00/click. What I am saying is that the days when small advertisers could gain visibility (at least in the paid results) on Google are over. Small advertisers don’t have a budget to “test” keywords, landing pages, offers, etc… For a small, local businesses, $250/month is a lot of money!
The problem is that over the past 10 years, the competitive landscape has gotten much more saturated. There are bidding wars between advertisers to push their ads towards the top. I know, I know…Ad Quality Score plays a factor in how much you pay per click, but I’ll tell you something, if you have deep pockets and are willing to pay a lot per click…Google will put you at the top. So when push comes to shove, the big brands and large corporations with the bigger budgets, are the ads that are still going to be showing.
So what can small, localized business do? The good part is that there are so many new and innovative ways you can drive traffic to your site. Just to stay focused on Paid Search, you can try newer ad platforms like Facebook Ads and MyAds (Myspace Ad Network). Facebook Ads in particular has been getting a lot of attention recently because the CPCs are reasonable, you have a ton of awesome targeting options, and…oh yeah…Facebook gets a ton of traffic!
To the Small-Business Owner: Don’t let Adwords put a bad taste in your mouth about paid search. Paid search can still be a valuable marketing tactic; you just need to find other outlets that can still drive quality traffic at lower costs. I would strongly recommend to keep your mind open to other paid search techniques. It may be that you can drive the same amount of traffic that Adwords would bring you, with Facebook and MySpace ads at half the cost.
Using best practices to increase ROI:
- Create relevant landing pages
- Use strong call to actions
- Use free content as a means of lead generation
- Use promotions and timely specials to entice user action