Google AdWords – Which Edition?

*** This is an old blog post – for more up to date info, read this post about Google Adwords. ***

Its easy to get started with Google AdWords. For a small monthly fee your company could take advantage of the Google search engine to advertise to your targeted audience. Perhaps the only challenging part of the set up is deciding which flavour of Google AdWords is right for you: Starter or Standard Edition.

Starter Edition – If you are an Internet advertising neophyte, Starter is the obvious choice and the one recommended by Google itself. It is aimed at companies with a single product line operating in a single geography. The service is simplified to let users easily set up a campaign and device appropriate keywords. Starter comes with analytics and reporting capabilities that are less complex: ideal for someone just getting up to speed.

Standard Edition – is the full blown all you can eat AdWords suite. It is definitely for the more seasoned Internet advertising professional advertising multiple products across many regions. It brings advanced planning tools that lets you put complex ad campaigns into effect and complex reporting functionality that lets you monitor the results. Standard provides a whole slew of other neat add-ons to let you assess keywords and come up with more effective ones.

Both services are simple to sign up for. If you’re not sure which one is best then go with Starter and work up to Standard once you have developed an understanding of the basic functionality.

Viral Marketing Worked On Me

I was recently lucky enough to be selected to receive a free book on guerilla P.R. tactics. In true viral marketing fashion word spread to me of a mini book expo for bloggers via a blog I read regularly called My Name Is Kate (thanks for the tip Kate!).

Turns out (much to my glee) that I’m not even getting a book but an audiobook chip that I can listen to on my Mac or MP3 or phone – just perfect for those days when the beach beckons.

Nothing’s truly free I hear you say and you’re right, it does come with a catch. I get the book for free on condition that I review it in my blog. So watch this space for a review of the audiobook itself called Guerilla P.R. by Michael Levine as well as a description of my user experience with the tiny memory card I am anxiously watching for the postman to deliver.

Twitter Ye Not!

The next big Internet phenomenon seems to be Twitter . The people at Twitter call it a global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing?”. You can answer the question by IM, cellphone or online on the Twitter site.

To me, Twitter appears to be simply a paired down instant messaging system that allows bored people to spend some time on whimsy. However, Twitter is not to be taken lightly. With an astounding growth rate (in one week in March its traffic increased by over 55%) its definitely taking off with the online community.

I decided to take a closer look for myself to size Twitter up from a marketers perspective:

The Twitter registration process is simple and speedy (I am Outsmarts if you want to look me up). Once you get in, its easy to enter your one liner and read those of others. I made the mistake of adding the BBC to mine and was inundated with million messages about what seemed like every BBC TV show ever produced! So beware who you add.

From a marketing perspective, I can see Twitter as being a way to promote a consumer product and it has great potential to enhance communication between remote team members but beyond that, I am afraid the Outsmart jury is out. Id like to wait and see on this one.

That said, my favourite Twitter is that of Borat whose satirical one learners have me in stitches. It’s light relief and for now, that’s all Twitter means to me. For now.

Why Companies Should Have Blog

I’ve been wracking my brains trying to come up with an appropriate theme for my very first Out-Smarts blog and then it came to me. What better way to start a blog than to tell people why anyone would want to blog anyway – from a sales and marketing perspective of course!

First of all, for the uninitiated (and there aren’t many out there these days) according to Wikipedia, a blog is “a user-generated website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological”. These online logs are: updated often; usually informal; tend to be unregulated and have unique or interesting content.

Many people associate blogging with personal web pages where people spout about their lives and experiences. It’s true – it seems that there’s a blog out there on any subject you care to mention but blogging is by no means limited to narcissists among us. There are some very attractive benefits to be reaped for companies that blog wisely.

The benefits of blogging from a company’s standpoint are intangible and therefore its difficult to apply a dollar amount to them but they can be measured in terms of:

Increased brand awareness – the more people that read your blog the more people become aware of your offering and the more established your brand becomes.

Enhanced customer service – a blog is the perfect media to communicate messages to your customers and partners. But remember, citizens of the blogosphere don’t like to be sold to so make sure your blog adds value by giving product updates or soliciting for suggestions on how to improve your offering.

Visibility a blog is a great way to present your companies unique offering and to spread the word that you’re out there and open for business.

Open Communication Channels – a blog is a 2-way thing, it’s a relationship between you and the outside world. Readers and commentators can include not only your clients, customers and employees but also your competition. It’s the perfect forum to measure market trends and attitudes and to communicate with key players in your industry.

Enhanced Search Engine Positioning – Internet search engines like web pages that are updated regularly so by adding a blog to your website, your page will go up in the ratings and your site will attract more traffic to your site.

Networking– by publishing a blog you are presenting yourself as an expert in the field you chose to blog on. If your blog is insightful it will help you establish yourself within your peer group building trust within a community and in turn giving you trusted contacts that will help you build your business

As I discovered myself, getting up and running with a blog is easy; it doesn’t need to cost that much and anyone can do it (given a little time and effort). With some blogging software and a server you can be off to the races in no time.

All sounds too good to be true? Well, the number of people writing blogs online is forecast (by Forrester) to reach 100,000 people this year with another 200 million former bloggers out there. So the challenge becomes how to get yourself heard above all of the dotsam and netsam out there. Doing so will be the subject of subsequent blogs on this site.