Two weeks ago, The New York Times published an article in their “You’re the Boss” column warning small businesses on the shortcomings of Google AdWords as a viable platform for online marketing. In the piece, Adriana Gardella profiles a couple companies, like Hukkster, who explain that AdWords “simply wasn’t worth the expense” when it came to increasing user acquisition. Unfortunately, Gardella does little more to elaborate on these specific circumstances. I am not too proud to admit that this article left me not only confused, but fairly irritated (as were many others, judging by the comments and responses). I needed more information from the post. I needed to know just how much time and energy were put into these accounts. I needed resolution.
Far be it from me to judge the efforts of a small business. I know firsthand just how difficult it can be to generate leads inexpensively. Market spaces are becoming more and more crowded and the population of qualified leads and high intent customers is shrinking as a result. Competition is up and acquisition comes at a premium. However, to simply dismiss any marketing channel because of “cost”, and to do so on such a large platform seems irresponsible to me.
I have seen Pay Per Click campaigns do wonders for SMB clients. I have seen budgets as low as $250 per month show substantial ROI. Even the smallest campaigns, if given the appropriate time and effort, can produce amazing results. At Metro, we are proactive with every campaign. We run AdWords accounts only after tireless, granular market and keyword research. We ensure that the low-hanging fruit is plucked and each Ad and Landing Page are created to convert the most relevant and qualified visitors. As a campaign evolves, we monitor for new and negative keywords. We A/B test everything and ensure we are getting the biggest bang for our buck.
Retrospect is a valuable tool. I have to wonder if these small business owners will one day be able to look back on their efforts and be honest in whether or not they truly gave AdWords the buy-in it deserves. Paid Search is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. AdWords takes time and effort. It is certainly not for everybody, but most companies would benefit from a properly run campaign.
If you are interested in reading a wonderfully written response to this article, please take a look at Larry Kim’s column in Search Engine Land. Larry, the founder of WordStream, highlights some of the key mistakes made by SMB’s who just don’t give Paid Search the time it requires.
It would be a shame if small business owners dismiss AdWords based on this Times article. I hope those who read it take the time to do some research of their own.
As always, if Metro can help with any of your AdWords questions, please don’t be a stranger. Feel free to send us your questions via our Contact page!