Google AdWords can be a very powerful tool in the marketing arsenal of a small business.

AdWords is now time-tested. Its proven methods have been in use since October 2000. These methods are utilized by more than a million advertisers. It’s one of three online advertising tools, along with programmatic and Facebook, that every business should consider.

By point of comparison, at its peak in 2000, total newspaper advertising revenues were $67 billion. Last year that dropped to $16.4 billion as Google’s revenues — almost entirely from AdWords — hit $89 billion. A blog post for another day, but Facebook’s revenues last year hit $27.6 billion, passing the entire newspaper industry.

Needless to say, we’ve noticed and it’s a strategy we implement for our clients, often with the help of Infogroup, an Elite Premier Partner. If anyone ever tells you they’re a Google partner, that just means they manage at least $10,000 in Adwords spending every 3 months. Infogroup manages quite a bit more than that and they have good team overseeing it. For budgets under $500/month, we often recommend a simple AdWords Express account.

When used correctly, Google AdWords can really round out a small business marketing strategy. Interestingly enough, while AdWords have become a fundamental strategy for typical “yellow page” advertisers – think service categories like home improvement or legal – over 70% of small and mid-sized business (SMBs) report not having spent much on AdWords, according to Borrell’s annual study.

There’s still opportunity out there.

AdWords Introduced

Google serves answers (mostly in the form of links to websites, but that’s changing) to the questions it’s asked. It’s no coincidence those ads on your Google search results match what you’re looking for. While all those ads together represent less than 10% of clicks, on average, it’s the only way to appear on page 1 quickly. The organic results, the other 90%+ of the clicks on a search page, takes a lot of time and hard work.

For example, if a user types “auto shop” into a Google search, ads appear for nearby auto shops that use AdWords advertising. The obvious benefit is that the ad messages are targeted to the search, delivering pertinent details to users who actually look for them.

There is an intent established on the part of the searcher that isn’t there in most forms of advertising. The traditional media most impacted by this are the role phone books and yellow pages used to dominate.

The AdWords interface has expanded to include display advertising and video ads, but we’re going to focus on the text-based ads seen in a typical search.

How AdWords Works

Google sells its advertising in a very fluid, very fast marketplace, allowing advertisers to “bid” on their advertising based on clicks, which go where the advertiser directs them (almost always your website and preferably an optimized landing page). It’s possible to have Google prominently display your message (impressions) at no cost until an Internet user clicks on the ad.

But bids are only one part (albeit the most important) in the equation. Google considers bids based on another metric – Quality Score. Based on how the ad performs (does it get clicks, do Internet users not bounce immediately after clicking), Google will score each ad’s relevance and click-through rate, with some consideration for the historical performance of your account.

All of these factors together determine which ads are served and in what order.

Getting started with AdWords Express

Small businesses commonly start with Google AdWords Express. This version will offer a suggested range of 3 bid limits and their estimated clicks, making it quick and easy to set up. You can enter your own amounts as well.

  1. Sign up to get started.
  2. Provide information on your business.
  3. Create your ad with the help of Google’s tutorial.
  4. Set up a billing profile and your Google AdWords campaign begins.

A full tutorial on how to set up Google AdWords Express is available from HubSpot.

Google AdWords isn’t complicated, nor is it terribly expensive. Yet kit’s one method of advertising that will complement the marketing campaign of any small business.

If you’d like to explore Google AdWords more and have questions, we can certainly help you.