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steveparrott
04-05-2010, 07:08 PM
I recently attended a Search Engine Strategies conference (read my blog entry (http://www.cast-lighting.com/blog/)). Quite a mind-blowing experience! For three full days I listened to experts from Google, Bing and a host of SEO and SEM companies talk about the importance of using Google AdWords and a few other online tools.

In case you hadn't noticed, the Internet has rapidly become almost everyone's preferred method for making purchasing decisions. In the recent past, it was enough to have a good website and to work on getting it towards the top of search results for critical keywords. Not anymore.

Now, nearly every successful company is using Google AdWords (paid links that appear at the top and side of the search results page). These are pay-per-click ads. I steered clear of them for a long time, imagining that our competitors would sit for hours clicking my ads, making me pay for their fun. It turns out Google doesn't allow that. In fact, Google tries very hard to make these ads profitable for the businesses that use them.

Without going into more detail, I'd like to hear from you guys - whether or not you use AdWords and, if so, what the results have been.

My motive for bringing up this issue is because I would like to see everyone on this forum step up to the plate, leverage the technology, and become better marketers. Any takers?

carolinaprolawncare
04-05-2010, 07:55 PM
We use adwords. It accounts for 20% of of web traffic, we are on the front page (organic) in all the areas we serve. Our close ratio is half of what close ratio is for the organic hits. It is cost effective and it would be very beneficial to anyone who has a lower organic ranking.
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Tim R.
04-05-2010, 09:38 PM
I tried it for 6 months with no results.

S&MLL
04-05-2010, 09:45 PM
Used it last year. The words Landscape Lighting (example) went from a few pennies to a lot of dollars. I’m going to take Princeton for example. (Landscape Lighting Princeton) In April it was say 70 cents cpc. By June it was up to 9 dollars cpc. Who knows what happened. I had good results but not good enough to justify 9 dollars a click. It just becomes a bidding war and they raise the cpc whenever someone else uses the key words. So now I’m sure its at 12 bucks. And I will let the local EC companies pay that. They seem to be the ones that show up when I type it in now..... Oh well.

S&MLL
04-05-2010, 09:48 PM
Now this was a year ago.... So prices might be more like .25cents to 5 bucks. But either way the ratio of change in price is pretty accurate

Alan B
04-05-2010, 11:38 PM
It might be ok for some and a poor choice for others. Overall I suggest being careful. Some things to consider before doing ad words:

-For the vast majority it is NOT a profit center but a marketing tool and used to supplement/enhance like all other forms of marketing.

-you can spend a lot quickly.

-most people do not have the proper site analytics/tracking to effectively determine if they are getting a positive or negative roi from ad words. If you are selling a service like landscape lighting and potential clients are calling you its very hard to properly monitor your roi. Understanding your roi per click is essential as its a hyper competitive market (ad words) and you must be right on top of it to make it work.

-The people whose businesses thrive off ad words (profit directly from each click) are unique, niche businesses with very targeted audiences (i.e. ostrich skin cowboy boats). The more commodity/competitive the business, the more it is a lose but used as a brand awareness tool.

-I generally believe ad words is better for products than services. Thru mass production, often greater volume and lower margins means greater overall profit. For a service business it usually means lower quality service.

If you do it, make sure u target the campaign to only display with-in your geographical service area, target higher end niche words (i.e. "custom outdoor lighting" or "commercial landscape lighting systems" instead of "garden lights"). They'll be less competitive, lower bids, lower traffic, but higher conversions and higher end projects with higher roi.

Sincerely,

Alan

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-06-2010, 12:36 AM
I have tried a few different campaigns with AdWords. (for the LED Lamp Biz) the results were lacklustre. Now I put some pretty strict constraints on the campaigns as far as $ per day spent, geographic territories, etc. because I didn't want to spend more than a couple hundred $ per month on this.

AdWords can and does work, however I would recommend you contract an agency that knows the ins and outs of AdWords to make it work for you. The extra expense of hiring a pro to manage your campaign would no doubt pay off in results. It is a relatively sophisticated marketing product and you need to know the tricks and techniques to get noticed.

David Gretzmier
04-06-2010, 12:51 AM
we did over 40 different phrases during our christmas light install season using Christmas Lights and or Decorating, and the names of every city and county, and several different combinations of landscape lighting, etc. we never got one click we paid for on the sponsored side. but we did get moved up to the top of the map list that comes up when you type in a city name with your keywords. also our listing moved up the chain on the overall non sponsored listing. and we got probably 5-6 Christmas Light jobs straight off the internet and have gotten a few landscape lighting jobs this spring from internet only.

so it works, kind of.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-06-2010, 08:01 AM
There are many different ways to optimize an AdWords campaign. It is much more than simply picking a few search terms and then hoping for the best. A few bucks spent with a 'new media' consultant to either build your campaign, or to teach you some advanced strategies would be worth while.

Our experience, as rank amateurs, is not indicative of the effectiveness of Google AdWords. If it were, then AdWords would not be the global billion dollar business that it is.

David Gretzmier
04-06-2010, 07:03 PM
That is why we went with 40 phrases. Our marketing company worked with google adwords, and they will tell you how many folks typed in the phrases you are looking to target. They also will make reccomendations based on analytics from similar markets, they can also do regional only stuff based on URL location origination. you can do a 25,50, or whatever mile radius on folks who may just type in Landscape lighting, and not the city. we tried that as well, but then they told us only a few folks in our 50 mile radius had used that term. we also did Christmas lights as well, with little success other than a few folks who called us looking for retail product.

The real value for us was putting us 1st on the map listings and moving us up on the first page of the search non sponsored resiults. after we quit adwords, our listings dropped or fell off completely.

I will re-up just to get the rankings.

Alan B
04-06-2010, 08:51 PM
There are many different ways to optimize an Ad Words campaign. It is much more than simply picking a few search terms and then hoping for the best. A few bucks spent with a 'new media' consultant to either build your campaign, or to teach you some advanced strategies would be worth while.

Our experience, as rank amateurs, is not indicative of the effectiveness of Google Ad Words. If it were, then Ad Words would not be the global billion dollar business that it is.

Sorry but I strongly disagree. If you take the time to read the tutorials, instructions, features and spend time getting to know Ad Words, its really not that difficult, but then again I this is coming from someone well versed in Ad Words and SEO.

To be successful at it you will need more dedication, monitoring and knowledge of your business than an Ad Words consultant will provide. They'll set it up right, but that's not enough (plus most are technologies versions of "trunk slammers":)).

More importantly, you should learn it yourself so that you can begin the process of understanding. Use it as a stepping stone to learning about the internet and technology -- Google has done a great job of providing you the tutorials and instructions to get you started. Hopefully it will open a new interest in all the other possibilities.

In a competitive space like landscape lighting, it will not be a gold mine, you will likely break even, lose a little, or make a little. If it's a successful campaign it won't necessarily be because you got more jobs from inexpensive advertising but that you broke even and the jobs you got led to add'l referrals. Or it is one more place of exposure that helped establish you in the area over a longer haul.


Regarding Googles model, it is so effective that Google makes more on their automated Ad Words than the paying bidder companies that actually perform the service or make the product.

To remain competitive you will need to continually reinvent, adapt and provide something better and/or different than anyone else. Ad Words is another tool you can use, much like a door hanger is one tool. The difference is one is going to open doors to the future and the other close a door to the past. (ohh how poetic, lol)