Google AdWords is an effective, low-cost and simple way to get new business for your firm. It’s like classified advertising – but with a reach of millions.
Unless you’re not after new business, I’d recommend you run AdWords campaigns for your firm.
Adwords is far and away Google’s biggest source of revenue. It brought in USD $42.5 billion for the company in 2012! Which goes a long to explaining why print newspapers are struggling so badly.
Classified ads were a key income stream which has largely disappeared as advertisers move to Google (or other forms of search advertising) which deliver better results for less cost.
AdWords allows advertisers like yourself to place small adverts alongside Google’s search results. The adverts are only displayed when certain words or phrases, chosen by you, are searched for.
For example, if you were a firm in Brisbane you could create an ad that only displayed when users searched for ‘accountants Brisbane’ or ‘accountants Queensland’.
And you only pay when somebody clicks on your advert. The amount you pay is determined by bidding for keywords. This is confusing at first but in practice, can be easily managed.
Basically, popular words and phrases cost more because there is more competition for them. So if you’re based in a major city, you might pay more per click than if you have a rural firm. The flip-side being you’ll probably get more clicks.
Why is AdWords good for accountants?
AdWords works best for local businesses – which covers the majority of accountancy firms. When searching Google for businesses and services, most people add in a location. For example, you would search for ‘plumbers in Perth’ or ‘lawyers in Canberra’ never just ‘plumbers’ or ‘lawyers’. And it’s the same with accountants.
This makes the searches quite specific. You are not competing with thousands of firms nationally, just a handful of firms in your local area. Plus it’s easier to target potential clients with adverts and cheaper because there won’t be masses of other firms bidding on the same terms.
Better still, only a handful of firms are using AdWords so you have an even better chance of success if you get in now.
Cheap but effective
AdWords makes it very easy to calculate your return on investment (ROI). As part of your account, Google provides detailed reporting which shows how many clicks your ads are getting and what those clicks are costing you.
You can then tie that to the new business generated to see exactly how much your ROI is. On average paid search advertising returns over $21 for every $1 spent on it.
Tracking can be made easier if you use specific landing pages on your website, trackable phone numbers or offer codes.
If an advert isn’t working out you can cancel or pause instantly. You’re only charged for clicks.
You can also set a daily budget so you know your costs aren’t going to blow out.
What about Google’s normal search listings?
AdWords adverts appear above, below and to the right of Google’s standard or ‘natural’ search listing as they call them. Getting a good ranking in the natural search listings is important but can take time. And if you’re in a major city, it can be hard to get near the top.
If that’s the case, then AdWords will give you an instant prominence on Google. Even if your site does well in the natural listings, I’d advise using AdWords too. It allows you to compete on a wide variety of terms and gives a ‘belt and braces’ approach as you will appear on the search page twice. Some users even prefer to click on adverts.
Finally, through AdWords, you can also feature in Google’s AdSense network. In the network are millions of sites looking to earn some cash. They display adverts provided by Google and in return get revenue if anyone clicks on them. This means your adverts can appear on thousands of sites as well as Google.
Google has developed clever technology so adverts are (usually) shown on relevant sites or to relevant users.
If you’ve felt slighty spooked that a site you’ve never visited is showing you ads about accountancy software then it’s probably AdSense in action.
How to get started
Google have put together a guide to getting started with AdWords which is free to download.
You can also get $150 free credit if you sign up with a new account and spend $50 (valid at time of posting). Here are the links to claim the offer:
With $200, you will definitely be able to see if AdWords will work for your firm.