Google Adwords and Small Business

Did you ever wonder how Google became the multi-bazillion dollar company they are? It’s not just the awesome algorithms they invented or how they seem to know before you search what you are looking for. It’s the way the learned to make money from those things – by offering ads related to those searches and charging would-be sellers lots of money for those ads through their AdWords program (AdSense is a sister product designed to allow site owners to host those ads). The company has just reported revenues of $7.3 billion of which 97% comes from advertising.

AdWords serves up those ads as the “sponsored links” you see across the top and down the side of the Google search result page.

Why is this important to the small business person?

Even though $7.3 billion is an awful lot of money it’s made up of billions and billions individual ads placed by small and large businesses alike. Although many of the hot “buzz-worthy” search terms can command between $10-50 PER CLICK (apparently “mesothelioma” commands $100 per click) small business people should be aware that in their field the cost of advertising can be lower than $1 per click, sometimes only pennies per click if you are clever. (more…)

Comments Off on Google Adwords and Small Business

As a small business owner do I need to worry/think/do anything about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Whether your company has a website or not, most people have heard something about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).Often it’s from the sales and marketing manager who instructs a staff member to “do something about SEO” so that their site can appear on Google’s first page (good luck with that by the way…). Sometimes it’s from an “SEO” company who can absolutely guarantee that they’ll get your site on Google’s first page of results – maybe they should talk to that staff member? More often with small businesses its one of those topics that gets discussed once or twice and is then consigned to the “someday, maybe never” file.

To answer my own question – I’m here today to tell you that in this Google-dominated, internet-driven, 24/7 world SEO isn’t just something to worry or think about its EVERYTHING if you want to get found on the internet. Here are my top 5 SEO “do’s plus 5 “don’ts” that every small business owner needs to be aware of: (more…)

Comments Off on As a small business owner do I need to worry/think/do anything about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Trade shows – a relic or an essential component of a marketing campaign?

My last blog post was about the role of printed material in the “internet age”. Another area that I’m heavily involved in is the managing of trade shows and I started thinking along the same lines – does the traditional trade show still have a place in this modern world?

Typical trade show

The biggest show I’m involved with is Pittcon (or the Pittsburgh Conference of Analytical Chemistry!). My first Pittcon was 1998 and total attendance was approx 28,000. This was slightly down from the biggest year ever which maxed out at about 34,000 attendees in 1996. Attendance at the 2010 was an all time low at 16,800 – that’s more than 10,000 people who have just stopped going. The number of exhibitors is down too – not by the same percentage but still significantly (1200 in 1998, 960 in 2010).

The average cost of exhibiting at trade shows is a tricky number to pin down, but I found a 1999 article that talked about the costs averaging out at between $99-156/sq. ft. of booth space and I can only imagine its more than that now. So for a 10 x 10 booth the small business owner is likely looking at least $10,000, maybe $15,000 or more.

Surely the combination of diminishing numbers and increasing (or at least not decreasing) costs means that trade shows are D.E.A.D, dead!

Not so fast! (more…)

Comments Off on Trade shows – a relic or an essential component of a marketing campaign?

Is there still a need for printed marketing materials?

I found a really fantastic brochure in a junk store during one of my trips to the UK. It’s an “Ogden and Lawson” catalog from the 1930’s, describing their range of steam fittings and valves – prefect for a technology nerd like me! It’s hard-bound with a couple of wonderful, colorized pages showing valve cross sections. There are also printed prices for every item.

beautiful colorized valve image from the 1930's Think about that – a hard-bound brochure with pricing that the publishers fully expected to stay current for, how long, 1 year, 3 years, 10 years? When the only means of communication to your customers was by mail, it was worth spending a bit more on the brochure knowing that they were going to keep it and refer to it for years. Fast forward to 2010 – when the internet rules and it seems that prices change on a daily basis, surely there’s no need for printed materials. Can’t all the relevant info be taken off a website somewhere? (more…)

Comments Off on Is there still a need for printed marketing materials?