Creative uses of Google Adwords

Just building the ‘next killer website’ is useless if nobody knows about it. That’s where the marketing comes in. I’ve switched gears recently to start diving back into online advertising. Previously, I had limited success spending Google’s money after given a $50 credit to test out the service. I figured, if nothing came of it, then nothing lost; it wasn’t my money. However, this time around, aside from spending $50 of Facebook’s money (more on that in another post), it was my money going towards the effort. So, it was time to get serious.

Define your Goals

Have you ever had someone come up to you and say, “I know this great website, all you need to do is…”? Yeah, I stop listening there too. Especially in the world of online advertising, where you have very limited space to address your audience, it’s important to focus on a specific need. However, you need to go a step further and hyper-target that need. In my case, here is how this process worked for

  1. My audience needs to save money on flights.
  2. They need to be planners.
  3. What events would someone want to attend?


Hyper-Target your Market

I went out and found 3 conferences that people may be planning to attend in 2012 and that are not yet available for booking on some of the airlines tracked. I also wanted to focus on the tech community, which is most likely to talk about the service with others using current social media. So, I chose 3 conferences: CES (Consumer Electronics Show), SXSW (South by Southwest), and Macworld Expo. With those three hyper-markets selected, I opted to generate three different ads per conference, all with the title “Flying to {event} 2012?”, with three separate suggestions:

  • Here’s a coupon for you
  • This offers a free service
  • Mention a popular airline (Southwest)

I wasn’t sure which would resonate best with the audience, and allowing Google to test each of these ads out and track which one converts the most visitors allows me to maximize future conversion rates. For keywords, I also hyper-targeted by having each search term surrounded in quotes (exact matches). This ensures that while the number of views will be low, each one will be a perfect match for the service, because they will search for a conference and I will provide an ad that is 100% relevant to them.

The final step is ensuring that when they land on your website, the page caters to these hyper-targeted ads. My variation on a landing page. :)

Targeting the Media via Vanity

I can’t take credit for this idea, but I did adapt it. The original idea was from Alec Brownstein and his Google Experiment. The basic idea was that he wanted to work at a creative agency, so after spending $6 targeting the top staff at agencies he was interested in by buying ads for their names, he could display an ad for his resume. This would be visible when those agency folks did a vanity search on Google.
I adapted that for a list of travel columnists, bloggers, and journalists I found throughout the web. When they vanity search, I provide them with a 100% off coupon, and with any luck, they may decide to write-up the service. Long-shot? Sure, but maybe more effective than sending along a press release. It doesn’t replace establishing a relationship with journalists, but a shot-in-the-dark is still a shot.

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