The whole point of internet marketing is to get your product or service out there in the public domain and get people to buy into what you’re trying to sell. The internet has opened so many doors for business, and it’s now almost inconceivable that any business can survive, let alone prosper, without its own website. The problem has always been how best to get your business seen and noticed. The ideal way, obviously is to optimise your business website, build a network of quality links and constantly update your site with quality content. That’s fine, in as far as it goes, but it takes time and commitment. Some businesses just aren’t prepared to wait for this organic growth: they’d much rather hit the ground running. Google cottoned on to this quickly and introduced PPC advertising through its AdWords application.
AdWords quickly established itself as the major player in the PPC world. All that a business required to make it work was a little patience and a basic understanding of how the self-service portal worked. However, as is the case with most applications, it didn’t take long before it became very complex and difficult to administer. Unless a business spent a considerable amount of time on the case, it was quite easy to loose a shed load of money and have little to show for your efforts. In response to this, Google introduced a new, slimmed-down version of AdWords called Boost. This has now been superseded by AdWords Express. This simplified PPC application was inextricably linked into Google Places, and offered businesses a chance to create a basic AdWords-esque advert that would be placed by category in the search engine results.
There have been a number of changes to the Express application of late to make the self-service portal more appealing and easier to use. A business is no longer required to claim its Places page prior to setting up an ad: it’s now possible to create multiple ads for different categories and split your budget among them and Express now allows businesses to edit their ads so that the title doesn’t have to be the company name anymore. All of these changes have been useful and have made it easier for smaller businesses to go down the PPC route. However, before jumping on this bandwagon and shelling out hard-earned cash, businesses really need to ask themselves whether this really is the right option for them. Is AdWords Express the right choice for small businesses, or would they be better off opting for a full AdWords campaign?
Does your small business have a website?
If the answer’s no, but you still wish to advertise your business through Google, then this, in conjunction with building your Places page where you will send your traffic, is your only option. You should build the Places page first so you have a presence on the engine, and save the advertising money to put toward building your website.
What is your monthly advertising budget?
If you can only afford to spend the minimum, which currently is around $50 dollars a month, it might be worth giving AdWords Express a try. If you’re looking to spend considerably more than this, it might be worth putting this money towards a full AdWords campaign as this is likely to yield better results.
Is your small business local in nature?
If you have a website, a small monthly budget, and run a small local business, then it could be worth trying AdWords Express. That’s the only way you’ll find out whether you’ll get a reasonable rate of return on your advertising investment. There is a possibility, of course, that if you really don’t know how to effectively track online engagements, then you may be taking a risk. Its similar in many ways to putting an advert in the Yellow Pages or local paper and hoping more business comes your way, without really understanding what’s working and what isn’t, and more importantly why this is the case.
So, is AdWords Express really the way to go for small businesses? Effectively, yes it is, but this really only applies to businesses advertising on a shoe-string budget. If you can afford to devote more time or money to your advertising campaigns, then you’d probably be better off opting for a full AdWords campaign, rather than the Express version. This will give businesses precise control over where and when their ads are shown and how much they have to spend to get individuals to their sites. AdWords will also allow businesses to run tests to create more effective ads and help determine how much their site visitors are worth to them.