Since Google came out with Google AdWords in 2000, thousands of companies small and large have used the service to reach a targeted audience who has expressed an interest in their product or services. Fast Company.com calls Google AdWords a "targeted do-it-yourself advertising...which let businesses pick their own keywords to reach the customers they want."
So how does AdWords work?
"The concept behind Google AdWords is very simple," writes Bruce C. Brown in The Complete Guide to Google Advertising. "Google AdWords is user-friendly, and is a quick and simple way to purchase highly targeted cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) advertising." What you do is to create an AdWords advertisement using keywords (which your targeted audiences is using to search for products and services). These AdWords advertisements are then displayed alongside search results on Google and other sites in Google's vast network. When setting up the campaign you specify the amount you are willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad. The beauty of a pay-per-click campaign is that you are in complete control of your advertising budget, which is great for the small business owner.
AdSense, another Google program
AdSense is a program where small African American businesses can actually earn money from Google. Drs. Mireille Liong-A-Kong, natural hair activist and owner of http://going-natural.com displays Adsense advertisements on her website where she's announcing a natural hair pageant-Miss Nappturality.
"Most of the ads on my site are from Google AdSense," Liong-A-Kong, a native of Suriname, told TNJ.com in a recent interview. "The ads change depending on the content’s page," she explained.
"I earn money by allowing Google to advertise on my site. It is a fairly easy way to earn a little extra if you have a website with enough traffic. The more visitors you have the more you earn because you show the ad to more people when you have more visitors. You earn extra if a visitor clicks on an ad and with more visitors it’s very likely that there will be more clicks on ads, hence more earnings."
While Liong-A-Kong does not use AdWords she says she thinks it's a good program for small businesses. "I would use AdWords if I was doing a campaign to expand name recognition," says Liong-A-Kong. "The good thing about AdWords is that you can work with a fixed budget. You can decide how much you want to spend per day, week or month on ads. It can be $5, %10, $100 or $1000. You choose on what sites you’d like to have your ads shown by choosing keywords. As long as you have credit, your ads will show on sites around the globe that have the keywords you enter."
The Complete Guide to Google Advertising covers dozens of topics from establishing a budget for your pay-per-click campaign to the specifics of editing your campaign settings. Below are a few tips Brown offers to make your campaign a success.
• Design Google AdWords ads so they target potential customers who are ready to buy.
• Make your ad link directly to the product page, instead of a generic page or Web site home page.
• Be willing to bid for a good position. If you do not want to spend much money and are willing to settle for the bottom of the bids, no one is going to see your ad.
Mireille Liong-A-Kong earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She is the author of Going Natural: how to fall in love with nappy hair.
Bruce C. Brown is the best-selling author of How to Use the Internet to Advertise, Promote and Market Your Business or Web Site with Little or No Money and The Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Marketing: Pay-Per-Click Advertising Secrets Revealed.