In the past few weeks we have been making a big impression, which in Google terms means that our little ads are appearing more frequently on the right hand side of people’s screens when they search for information. Google AdWords is one of the marketing choices we have made to promote our business – and it has been a very interesting exercise.
We’re under no illusion about the power of advertising to attract new business for PR and marketing agencies: it is well known that word of mouth and direct approaches are much more fruitful. Surprisingly, then, Google AdWords has actually produced potential business for us.
Our ads on the side of Google search results are targeted to appear only to searchers within a reasonable travelling distance from our base when they enter search terms that match one of our keywords. The positions our ads get for each impression (appearance) depend on the demand for space and our maximum bid price in relation to those of other advertisers. Impressions cost us nothing, but if a searcher clicks on our ad and is directed to our website, Google charges us a market-related fee up to our preset cost-per-click and daily maximum budgets.
Depending on what you are communicating, Google AdWords has the power to reach an audience area covering anything from your town or city to the whole world. And depending on your budget and what you are selling, it appears a very cost-effective technique. The only downside is the cost of click-throughs that go no further than your landing page.
We’ve chosen Google AdWords as a direct means of driving people like you to this website, and also as a less direct means of moving towards top-of-mind awareness among potential clients and future business partners. We’ve chosen it, too, because it’s an exciting new means of communicating at low cost, so we’re using it to learn the dos and don’ts. Our third reason is to keep an eye on the market, which brings us back to the recent uptrend in our Google AdWords impressions.
Given that PR and marketing clients tend to be chased by agencies rather than the other way round, we have to conclude that right now the majority of people searching on ‘PR’, ‘marketing’ and similar terms are either college-leavers and graduates keen to get into our industry, or people already in the industry looking for new opportunities. With the summer holidays over and a winter ahead, our Google AdWords statistics suggest that many people are becoming desperate (33 more impressions and another click-through in the short time it’s taken to write this).
PR and marketing are exciting and rewarding fields, but like so many other areas of business they are becoming harder to get into. Many hopefuls will be disappointed, but those who succeed will be the ones who make an impression by marketing themselves well.
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 17 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.