aids to building your business
Alan Zisman (c) 2009 First published in Business
August 18-24, 2009; issue 1034
High Tech Office column
How do you make your business grow?
perhaps the key question for most organizations. Lots of sales and
marketing staff work hard at that question. But many newer or smaller
companies don’t have a lot of resources to dedicate to building growth.
Media is one of those companies. The East Vancouver-based company
produces corporate videos. It specializes in promotional, training and
instructional video production services and live event videos. Five
years old, it counts on its website, www.basetwomedia.com, to bring in
new business. How, then, does the company help potential clients
discover its website?
According to co-founder Jeff Pelletier,
the company started using Google’s AdWords program in June 2006. With
company growth of 400% since then, Pelletier estimated that as much as
75% of BaseTwo’s new clients found the company through its Google ads.
disclosure: my website, www.zisman.ca, displays ads provided by a
companion Google program, AdSense, making Google ads a modest source of
income for me.)
Using AdWords, companies of any size create
short, generally text-based ads and choose keywords – search terms
related to their business. They set a budget – how much they’re
prepared to spend per day and how much they’re prepared to pay each
time a viewer clicks on their ad. Ads appear in a list of “sponsored
links” above or to the right of the list of search hits. BaseTwo’s ad
shows up when I type “video production Vancouver” into Google, for
But bidding on a search phrase doesn’t guarantee that
your ad will show up every time a user enters those words. Google uses
a complex formula with factors including how much you’ve bid and the
content of your ad to determine how often the ad appears. With no
minimum-spending requirement, small businesses can get their ads online
– but not necessarily with every search.
Advertisers can opt to
advertise on websites with related content or, as BaseTwo does, for the
ads to appear on search pages. Using the pay-per-click model, ad
campaigns are scalable. Advertisers can start out with a relatively low
monthly ad budget and increase it if it generates revenue.
competitors Yahoo and Microsoft offer similar programs that BaseTwo has
used. Pelletier noted, however, that because Google dominates web
search, BaseTwo got less payback advertising on these other search
While it’s easy for a business of any size to get
started advertising online using AdWords, Pelletier emphasizes that it
takes time and effort to do it well. Advertisers can have a variety of
ad campaigns running simultaneously and can experiment with campaigns,
key phrases and the amounts bid on key words and phrases. Pelletier
estimates that he spends an hour a day fine-tuning BaseTwo’s ad
campaign and the company’s website.
Lessons he’s learned:
segmenting ad campaigns and targeting key customer groups. And keep
experimenting. By sharpening the focus of its ads, BaseTwo has lowered
its cost per click. Each of the company’s product lines gets its own ad
campaign with its own budget. BaseTwo tests a variety of ad headlines
online and then uses the most effective in direct-mail campaigns.
appreciates Google’s set of tools for working with ads on and off-line
and for measuring their effectiveness. He added that Google’s toolkit
is easier for him to use than the competition’s equivalents.
Nevertheless, it took him about a year to become good at managing
online ads – and he still has a lot to learn about using image and
video in ads, which have a higher return on investment – more
Pelletier said that businesses with a predominantly
local clientele like BaseTwo can especially benefit from Google local
and maps services. In this way, their ads receive a favoured position
when an appropriate geographical term shows up in a search. •