For many small, local businesses, advertising on Google seems complicated, expensive and intimidating. There’s a lot to learn, and besides, there’s an entire industry built on nothing but managing Google ads for other companies! It seems so much easier to just stick with the Yellow Pages or the local paper, but with more and more people looking for local businesses online, it makes sense to show up where your customers are looking. In an effort to make online advertising accessible to any business, Google recently launched a program called AdWords Express.
AdWords is the name for Google’s advertising platform, and AdWords Express is a simplified version for people who aren’t interested in becoming a search engine guru. Instead of creating campaigns, researching tons of keywords, testing numerous ad variations, managing bids and on and on and on, Google has made setting up your ad as easy as placing an ad in the Yellow Pages.
According to Google, a business owner only needs to enter their business location, the type of business, write a few lines of text for the ad and set a monthly budget. The rest of the process is automated, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Don’t have a website? Google can send your clicks to their own business directory page for your business, called a “Place Page”. This means that many of the normal barriers for entry have been removed- there’s hardly any learning curve, it requires minimal attention and your business doesn’t even need a web site.
While AdWords Express is a great way for a small business to dip their toe in the online advertising water, it also has its limitations. Since you aren’t choosing the search terms that make your ad show up, you have to trust Google to show your ad when it’s appropriate. That means if there is something that people might be searching for that sets your business apart, Google may or may not know that your business should show up. The opposite is also true; your ad may show up for searches that might suitable for some in your industry, but not your specific business. Some businesses aren’t going to be happy with the limited view into what keywords make their ads show, or with Google’s minimalist approach to customer service when questions arise.
So if you’re new to online advertising and looking for an easy way to have your business appear prominently in Google without being a marketing expert, AdWords Express could be a great place to start. If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, there are many qualified AdWords professionals that can help, including our own HivePros. In either case, Google AdWords is an excellent addition to any marketing plan.