It All Ads Up: Search Engines Offer an Inexpensive Internet Marketing Tool
Calypso, Anthony, Black Enterprise
REGINA MCRAE'S NEW YORK CITY dessert delivery company, Grandma's Secrets, was doing well for a home-based business. But after paying for local cable television spots and placing ads in the local Yellow Pages, the Brooklyn, New York, native says that she wanted to go to the next level. "I was just existing, [but] not thriving as a business," recalls McRae.
In 2002, with no technical background, McRae turned to the Web. Using AdWords, an online advertising tool offered by Google, McRae looked to position Grandma's Secret to get noticed--and it worked. Today, the company grosses $50,000 to $60,000 annually, an estimated 100% increase since using AdWords. The 53-year-old now swears by the product as a means of reaching potential online customers.
Having a product or service to offer is one thing, but learning how to snag a share of the marketplace is another. Still, small business owners don't have to think small about ways to market their goods--they can utilize large platforms, such as the Internet, to reach consumers around the globe or around the corner.
All three of the major online search engines--Google, MSN, and Yahoo--come equipped with tool suites that entrepreneurs can use to manage advertising campaigns for their products or services. Here's how they work: Business owners create text-based ads that will appear on the results page when an online user searches for certain terms or keywords.
"There is a sequence that you have [online]," says David Bullock, a marketing consultant and managing director of the Carson City, Nevada-based business tools optimization firm the White Bullock Group Inc. "You have an audience, [and] you have a market. Online, your audience starts with the 'keyword.'"
The ads are pay-per-click or PPC, meaning the search engines charge business owners only when someone clicks on their advertisement. After an initial account registration fee (ranging between $5 and $30), business owners bid on the price they are willing to pay for each click on their ad. Depending on competitors in your market, bids can be as low as five cents. …