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"Drive'em Home with AdWords!"


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Howie Jacobson Photo
10/3/08 Interview with Howie Jacobson

howieConnect, Inc.
15 Indigo Creek Trail
Durham, NC 27712
Biography

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Why AdWords Are Important
  1. AdWords is the paid inclusion program that makes Google most of its money; the program is the quickest, simplest and most assured way for local businesses to get found on the Internet, but most businesses don’t know anything about it.
  2. AdWords accounts for the sponsored listings that come up on the right side or top of the screen when a Google search is run; they are separate from and more prominent than the regular (organic) search listings.
  3. The program is a cost-effective source of good leads for a lot of businesses because it identifies people who are “hottest” for what a business has, based on people’s own word choices—at the moment they are looking.
  4. AdWords may not be cost-effective for those competing in a market where others have deeper pockets or more expensive products or where there is insufficient search volume; AdWords may still be helpful as an easy way to send traffic to your web site to test and improve it.
  5. In effect, Google has created a stock market for words; keywords have a value based on the people bidding on them; keywords might go for as little as a penny per click for getting leads to your web site.
  6. Keywords are what people type to find things; they are how search engines make sense of online content; agents can take advantage of searches for specific real estate words and terms that relate to their market.

Getting Keywords and Ads Right
  1. One way to evaluate keywords is to type in the words related to your market that you want to use—see what comes up; organic listings show you the most relevant sites, and paid listings show who is bidding; no paid listings probably mean that other people did not find the words beneficial.
  2. The ad is the bridge between the mind of the prospect and your offer; a good ad addresses both those elements in a way that stands out from all the other ads—you want your ad to appeal to the prospect’s motivation (such as a desire to buy a three-bedroom property in Portland, ME).
  3. A Google search-results page is highly competitive—numerous ads for the same thing are vying for attention from the same person; Google advertisers (savvy and high-tech) tend to be stiffer competition than those in the Yellow Pages; study your competition and find how you can differentiate your business.

Mistakes to Avoid
  1. A big mistake is not setting a comfortable budget; be sure you can live with what you set up—e.g., $20 per day; without a tolerable budget, every other mistake is compounded.
  2. Another mistake is not understanding that by default, your ad will show on three different networks—the Google search results page, Google partners (AOL, Netscape, etc. who show Google results as their own) and the content network.
  3. The content network is Google showing ads on other people’s web sites—they make money if visitors click on the ad from their site; viewers of your ad through the content network are not as ready to act—getting their interest requires peaking their curiosity with a big benefit or warning or something else that shakes them.
  4. Writing the same ad for all three networks sub-optimizes for some ad viewers.

The Best Strategy for Ad Follow-up
  1. Group your keywords by similar desires—each being an “ad group;” each ad group should have its own landing page.
  2. Google prefers that the landing page be tightly related to the keywords and the ad; if the match is poor, you are penalized by having to pay Google more.
  3. If ad viewers do not see what they want immediately on your landing page, they will hit the back-button rather than search your site; AdWords can be set up to test different versions of a landing page—code responses to determine which version is most effective.

Improving Your AdWords Campaign
  1. Look at a set of data within AdWords—noting the percentage of clicks to the number of viewings of an ad; different ads can be compared on this basis; at the point where you are getting enough clicks, you also want to track conversions and evaluate the money that they bring in to you.
  2. Google is the spiritual heir of traditional direct mail; the Google system makes testing to refine effectiveness easy; with Google, you can get answers within hours or days for tens or hundreds of dollars instead of taking months and thousands of dollars.

Favorite Web Sites
  1. Crazy Egg puts easy visitor behavior tracking on your site—free for small accounts; you put a code on your page, and it will show you how many people are clicking, where they are clicking based on certain keywords, how much time they are spending and more useful information.
  2. Keyword Spy can be purchased through AdWords for an extra $80 per month; when you type in a keyword term, you not only see all the Google advertisers using that term but also all the keywords they are using.
  3. Jacobson makes a research tool available at AskHowie.com/FreeWords that will give you the 100 most-searched terms (and the search numbers) related to a term you type in.
  4. Between seeing what people are searching for, knowing what your competitors are bidding on and viewing Google itself, you get more market research than you could have done for a million dollars a month 20 years ago.

Summary Advice for Using Adwords
Contact Information for Howie Jacobson:

(e) howie@askhowie.com
(w)www.askhowie.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Jacobson’s web site: http://askhowie.com/
Google: www.google.com
Adwords: http://adwords.google.com
Craze Egg: http://crazyegg.com
Keyword Spy: http://keywordspy.com
Free Words: www.askhowie.com/freewords